Many are saying, 'Who doth show us good?' Lift on us the light of Thy face, O Jehovah,
Psalm 4:6 Additional TranslationsKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
(Heb.: 4:7-8) Looking into his own small camp David is conscious of a disheartened feeling which is gaining power over him. The words: who will make us see, i.e., (as in Psalm 34:13) experience any good? can be taken as expressive of a wish according to 2 Samuel 23:15; Isaiah 42:23; but the situation gives it the character of a despondent question arising from a disheartened view of the future. The gloom has now, lasted so long with David's companions in tribulation that their faith is turned to fear, their hope to despair. David therefore prays as he looks upon them: Oh lift upon us (נסה־עלינוּ)
(Note: The Metheg which stands in the second syllable before the tone stands by the Sheb, in the metrical books, if this syllable is the first in a word marked with a greater distinctive without any conjunctive preceding it, and beginning with Sheb; it is, therefore, not נסה־עלינוּ but נסה־עלינוּ, cf. Psalm 51:2 בּבוא־, Psalm 69:28 תּנה־, Psalm 81:3 שׂאו־, Psalm 116:17 לך־, Psalm 119:175 תּחי־. The reason and object are the same as stated in note p. *84 supra.)
the light of Thy countenance. The form of the petition reminds one of the priestly benediction in Numbers 6. There it is: פּניו יאר ה in the second portion, in the third פּניו ישּׂא ה, here these two wishes are blended into one prayer; and moreover in נסה there is an allusion to neec a banner, for the imper. of נשׂא, the regular form of which is שׂא, will also admit of the form נשׂא (Psalm 10:12), but the mode of writing נסה (without example elsewhere, for נסּה Job 4:2 signifies "to be attempted") is only explained by the mingling of the verbs נשׂא and נסס, Arab. nṣṣ, extollere (Psalm 60:6); נסּי ה (cf. Psalm 60:6) is, moreover, a primeval word of the Tra (Exodus 17:15). If we may suppose that this mingling is not merely a mingling of forms in writing, but also a mingling of the ideas in those forms, then we have three thoughts in this prayer which are brought before the eye and ear in the briefest possible expression: may Jahve cause His face to shine upon them; may He lift upon them the light of His countenance so that they may have it above them like the sun in the sky, and may that light be a banner promising them the victory, around which they shall rally.
David, however, despite the hopelessness of the present, is even now at peace in His God. The joy which Jahve has put into his heart in the midst of outward trial and adversity is מעת דּגנם ותירושׁם רבּוּ. The expression is as concise as possible: (1) gaudium prae equivalent to gaudium magnum prae -majus quam; then (2) מעת after the analogy of the comparatio decurtata (e.g., Psalm 18:34 my feet are like hinds, i.e., like the feet of hinds) is equivalent to משּׂמחת עת; (3) אשׁר is omitted after עת according to Ges. 123, 3, for עת is the construct state, and what follows is the second member of the genitival relation, dependent upon it (cf. Psalm 90:15; Isaiah 29:1); the plurality of things: corn and new wine, inasmuch as it is the stores of both that are specially meant, is exceptionally joined with the plur. instead of the sing., and the chief word raabbu stands at the end by way of emphasis. The suff. does not refer to the people of the land in general (as in Psalm 65:10), but, in accordance with the contrast, to the Absolomites, to those of the nation who have fallen away from David. When David came to Mahanaim, while the rebels were encamped in Gilead, the country round about him was hostile, so that he had to receive provisions by stealth, 2 Samuel 17:26-29. Perhaps it was at the time of the feast of tabernacles. The harvest and the vintage were over. A rich harvest of corn and new wine was garnered. The followers of Absolom had, in these rich stores which were at their disposal, a powerful reserve upon which to fall back. David and his host were like a band of beggars or marauders. But the king brought down from the sceptre of the beggar's staff is nevertheless happier than they, the rebels against him. What he possesses in his heart is a richer treasure than all that they have in their barns and cellars.
Psalm 4:6 Parallel CommentariesCause Countenance Face Good Light Shew Shine ShowCause Countenance Face Good Light Shew Shine ShowThe ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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