|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
42:6-11 The way to forget our miseries, is to remember the God of our mercies. David saw troubles coming from God's wrath, and that discouraged him. But if one trouble follow hard after another, if all seem to combine for our ruin, let us remember they are all appointed and overruled by the Lord. David regards the Divine favour as the fountain of all the good he looked for. In the Saviour's name let us hope and pray. One word from him will calm every storm, and turn midnight darkness into the light of noon, the bitterest complaints into joyful praises. Our believing expectation of mercy must quicken our prayers for it. At length, is faith came off conqueror, by encouraging him to trust in the name of the Lord, and to stay himself upon his God. He adds, And my God; this thought enabled him to triumph over all his griefs and fears. Let us never think that the God of our life, and the Rock of our salvation, has forgotten us, if we have made his mercy, truth, and power, our refuge. Thus the psalmist strove against his despondency: at last his faith and hope obtained the victory. Let us learn to check all unbelieving doubts and fears. Apply the promise first to ourselves, and then plead it to God.
Verse 6. - O my God, my soul is cast down within me; or, bowed down, as in the first clause of ver. 5. Therefore will I remember thee. As a remedy for my depression, I will call thee to mind, and cast myself on thee. From the land of Jordan. From the place of my present abode - the Trans-Jordanic region - to which, on the revolt of Absalom, David had fled (2 Samuel 17:24). And of the Hormonites; rather, and of the Hermons. This expression is not elsewhere used, and can only be explained conjecturally. It probably means the mountain ranges which, starting from Hermon in the north, extend in a southerly direction down the entire Trans-Jordanic territory. From the hill Mizar. This name occurs nowhere else; and can be assigned to no special locality.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O my God, my soul is cast down within me,.... Which the psalmist repeats, partly to show the greatness of his dejection, though he had not lost his view of interest in God as his covenant God; and partly to observe another method he made use of to remove his dejection and refresh his spirits; and that was by calling to mind past experiences of divine goodness;
therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan; the country round about it, or rather beyond it; which was at the farthest parts of the land of Canaan, where David was obliged to flee, and where he had often met with God;
and of the Hermonites; who inhabited the mountain of Hermon; or the Hermonian mountains, as the Targum; see Psalm 133:3; a mountain upon the border of the land of Israel eastward, and which was very high; Cocceius thinks the Geshurites are meant; see 1 Samuel 27:8; here also the Lord had appeared to him, and for him; and
from the hill Mizar; or "the little hill" (k); which might be so in comparison of Hermon. The above interpreter thinks Zoar is meant, which Lot so called, Genesis 19:20; which was near Sodom and Gomorrah: Kimchi thinks it might be Zior, mentioned in Joshua 15:54; but, be it what or where it will, in this little hill David enjoyed the divine Presence; or was indulged with some remarkable favour; from all which he concludes he had no just reason to be dejected and disquieted in his mind: and right it is for the people of God to call to mind past experiences, and make mention of them; partly for the glory of divine grace, and to express their gratitude to God, and their sense of his goodness; and partly to cheer and refresh their own spirits, and prevent dejection and despondency: and delightful it is to call to mind, how, at such a time, and in such a place, the Lord was pleased to manifest his love, apply some gracious promise, or deliver from some sore temptation or distress: all which must tend to encourage faith and hope. The Jewish writers differently interpret these words; Jarchi, of David's remembrance of the wonderful works God did for the people of Israel of old, in drying up the river Jordan, and giving them the law on Mount Sinai, a little hill, in comparison of some others: Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, understand them as a reason of his dejection, when he remembered how the Israelites came from those several parts to the solemn feasts at Jerusalem, which he was now deprived of; and the Targum paraphrases them of the inhabitants of those places, and of the people that received the law on Mount Sinai, remembering God; and so Arama thinks "beyond Jordan" is mentioned because the law was given there; and by the hill Mizar he understands Sinai: and some Christian interpreters consider them as a reason why David's soul was cast down in him, he being in such places as here mentioned, at a distance from his own house, from Jerusalem, and the place of divine worship, and so render the words, "because that I remember thee", &c. (l).
(k) "de monte modico", V. L. Musculus; "parvo", Pagninus, Vatablus; so Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (l) "propterea quod", Tigurine version, Piscator, Muis; "quia", Noldius, p. 727, No. 1790.
The Treasury of David
6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts; all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
8 Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
"O my God, my soul is cast down within me." Here the song begins again upon the brass. So sweet an ending deserves that for the sake of a second hopeful close the Psalm should even begin again. Perhaps the Psalmist's dejection continued, the spasm of despondency returned; well, then, he will down with his harp again, and try again its power upon himself, as in his younger days, he saw its influence upon Saul when the evil spirit came upon him. With God the song begins the second time more nearly than at first. The singer was also a little more tranquil. Outward expression of desire was gone; there was no visible panting; the sorrow was now all restrained within doors. Within or upon himself he was cast down; and, verily, it may well be so, while our thoughts look more within than upward. If self were to furnish comfort, we should have but poor provender. There is no solid foundation for comfort in such fickle frames as our heart is subject to. It is well to tell the Lord how we feel, and the more plain the confession the better: David talks like a sick child to its mother, and we should learn to imitate him. "Therefore will I remember thee." 'Tis well to fly to our God. Here is terra firma. Blessed downcasting which drives us to so sure a rock of refuge as thee, O Lord! "From the hill Mizar." He recalls his seasons of choice communion by the river and among the hills, and especially that dearest hour upon the little hill, where love spake her sweetest language and revealed her nearest fellowship. It is great wisdom to store up in memory our choice occasions of converse with heaven; we may want them another day, when the Lord is slow in bringing back his banished ones, and our soul is aching with fear. "His love in times past" has been a precious cordial to many a fainting one; like soft breath it has fanned the smoking flax into a flame, and bound up the bruised reed. Oh, never-to-be-forgotten valley of Achor, thou art a door of hope! Fair days, now gone, ye have left a light behind you which cheers our present gloom. Or does David mean that even where he was he would bethink him of his God; does he declare that, forgetful of time and place, he would count Jordan as sacred as Siloa, Hermon as holy as Zion, and even Mizar, that insignificant rising ground, as glorious as the mountains which are round about Jerusalem! Oh! it is a heavenly heart which can sing -
"To me remains nor place nor time;
My country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there.
"Could I be cast where thou art not,
That were indeed a dreadful lot,
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. Dejection again described.
therefore—that is, finding no comfort in myself, I turn to Thee, even in this distant "land of Jordan and the (mountains) Hermon, the country east of Jordan.
hill Mizar—as a name of a small hill contrasted with the mountains round about Jerusalem, perhaps denoted the contempt with which the place of exile was regarded.
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