Psalm 42:10
As with a sword in my bones, my enemies reproach me; while they say daily to me, Where is your God?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) As with a sword.—Margin, killing; better, crushing. The insertion of the conjunction is erroneous. Render, with a shattering of my bones. This, no doubt, refers to actual ill-treatment of the exile by his conductors, who heaped blows, as well as insults, on their captives. We may even suppose this violence especially directed at this particular sufferer, who could not refrain from lingering and looking back, and so irritating his convoy, who would naturally be in a hurry to push forwards. How vividly, too, does the picture of the insulting taunt, “Where is thy God?” rise before us, if we think of the soldiers overhearing the exile’s ejaculations of prayer.

Psalm 42:10. As with a sword in my bones — Or, in my body, the bones being often put for the body, whereof they are a very considerable part. Or, as a sword which pierceth and cutteth my flesh even to the bones, and cutteth or breaketh the very bones also. So painful and vexatious are their reproaches. While they say, Where is thy God? — What is become of thy God. in whom thou trustedst? Why does he make no more haste to send thee deliverance?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.As with a sword in my bones - Margin, killing. The treatment which I receive in their reproaches is like death. The word rendered "sword" - רצח retsach - means properly killing, slaying, breaking in pieces, crushing. It occurs only here and in Ezekiel 21:22, where it is rendered slaughter. The Septuagint renders it, "In the bruising of my bones they reproach me." The Vulgate, "While they break my bones they reproach me." Luther, "It is as death in my bones, that my enemies reproach me." The idea in the Hebrew is, that their reproaches were like breaking or crushing his very bones. The idea of the "sword" is not in the original.

Mine enemies reproach me - That is, as one forsaken of God, and as suffering justly under his displeasure. Their argument was, that if he was truly the friend of God, he would not leave him thus; that the fact of his being thus abandoned proved that he was not a friend of God.

While they say daily unto me - They say this constantly. I am compelled to hear it every day.

Where is thy God? - See the notes at Psalm 42:3.

9, 10. in view of which [Ps 42:8], he dictates to himself a prayer based on his distress, aggravated as it was by the cruel taunts and infidel suggestions of his foes. In my bones, or in my body, the bones being oft put for the body, whereof they are a very considerable part. Or, as a sword, which pierceth and cutteth my flesh even to the bones, and cutteth or breaketh the very bones also. So painful and vexatious are their reproaches.

Where is thy God? of which See Poole "Psalm 42:3". As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me,.... The reproaches of his enemies were grievous and cutting to him, as if a sword pierced through the marrow in his bones, which, being very sensitive, gives exquisite pain. There is a various reading here: some copies, as Vatablus observes, read "in", or with, and others "as", which seems to be the truest; and our translators supply "as", to make the sense, though they read "with"; but some (n) only read "as"; and the sense is, the reproaches cast upon the psalmist were as a sword cutting and killing; and these reproaches were as follow;

while they say daily unto me, where is thy God? See Gill on Psalm 42:3.

(n) , Symmachus in Drusius; "ut occisio", Pagninus, Amama; so Aben Ezra interprets it.

As with a sword in my {i} bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

(i) That is, I am most grievously tormented.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. My bones are smitten asunder with mine adversaries’ reproaches,

While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

Lit. with crushing in my bones do mine adversaries reproach me. They stab him to the heart with their taunts. ‘The bones,’ in the language of Hebrew poetry, denote the whole physical organism of the living man, as being the framework of it. They are the seat of pain; and mental torture affects the body. Cp. Psalm 6:2 (note); Lamentations 3:4; Isaiah 38:13.Verse 10. - As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me. The reproaches of his enemies were as daggers struck into his bones; or, according to others, as blows that crushed his bones (LXX.). So keenly did he feel them. The worst of all was that they could say daily unto him, Where is thy God? What has become of him? Has he wholly forsaken thee (see above, ver. 3)? (Heb.: 42:2-6) The poet compares the thirsting of his soul after God to the thirsting of a stag. איּל (like other names of animals is epicoene, so that there is no necessity to adopt Bצttcher's emendation כּעיּלת תערג) is construed with a feminine predicate in order to indicate the stag (hind) as an image of the soul. ערג is not merely a quiet languishing, but a strong, audible thirsting or panting for water, caused by prevailing drought, Psalm 63:2; Joel 1:20; the signification desiderare refers back to the primary notion of inclinare (cf. Arab. 'l-mı̂l, the act of inclining), for the primary meaning of the verb Arab. ‛rj is to be slanting, inclined or bent, out of which has been developed the signification of ascending and moving upwards, which is transferred in Hebrew to an upward-directed longing. Moreover, it is not with Luther (lxx, Vulgate and authorized version) to be rendered: as the (a) stag crieth, etc., but (and it is accented accordingly): as a stag, which, etc. אפיק equals אפק is, according to its primary signification, a watercourse holding water (vid., Psalm 18:16). By the addition of מים the full and flowing watercourse is distinguished from one that is dried up. על and אל point to the difference in the object of the longing, viz., the hind has this object beneath herself, the soul above itself; the longing of the one goes deorsum, the longing of the other sursum. The soul's longing is a thirsting לאל חי. Such is the name here applied to God (as in Psalm 84:3) in the sense in which flowing water is called living, as the spring or fountain of life (Psalm 36:10) from which flows forth a grace that never dries up, and which stills the thirst of the soul. The spot where this God reveals Himself to him who seeks Him is the sanctuary on Zion: when shall I come and appear in the presence of Elohim?! The expression used in the Law for the three appearings of the Israelites in the sanctuary at solemn feasts is אל־פני ה נראה or את־פני, Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:23. Here we find instead of this expression, in accordance with the license of poetic brevity, the bare acc. localis which is even used in other instances in the definition of localities, e.g., Ezekiel 40:44). Bttcher, Olshausen, and others are of opinion that אראה in the mind of the poet is to be read אראה, and that it has only been changed into אראה through the later religious timidity; but the avoidance of the phrase ראה פּני ה is explained from the fundamental assumption of the Tra that a man could not behold God's פנים without dying, Exodus 33:20. The poet now tells us in Psalm 42:4 what the circumstances were which drove him to such intense longing. His customary food does not revive him, tears are his daily bread, which day and night run down upon his mouth (cf. Psalm 80:6; Psalm 102:20), and that בּאמר, when say to him, viz., the speakers, all day long, i.e., continually: Where is thy God? Without cessation, these mocking words are continually heard, uttered again and again by those who are found about him, as their thoughts, as it were, in the soul of the poet. This derision, in the Psalms and in the Prophets, is always the keenest sting of pain: Psalm 79:10; Psalm 115:2 (cf. Psalm 71:11), Joel 2:17; Micah 7:10.

In this gloomy present, in which he is made a mock of, as one who is forsaken of God, on account of his trust in the faithfulness of the promises, he calls to remembrance the bright and cheerful past, and he pours out his soul within him (on the עלי used here and further on instead of בּי or בּקרבּי, and as distinguishing between the ego and the soul, vid., Psychol. S. 152; tr. p. 180), inasmuch as he suffers it to melt entirely away in pain (Job 30:16). As in Psalm 77:4, the cohortatives affirm that he yields himself up most thoroughly to this bittersweet remembrance and to this free outward expression of his pain אלּה (haecce) points forwards; the כּי (quod) which follows opens up the expansion of this word. The futures, as expressing the object of the remembrance, state what was a habit in the time past. עבר frequently signifies not praeterire, but, without the object that is passed over coming into consideration, porro ire. סך (a collateral form of סך), properly a thicket, is figuratively (cf. Isaiah 9:17; Isaiah 10:34) an interwoven mass, a mixed multitude. The rendering therefore is: that I moved on in a dense crowd (here the distinctive Zinnor). The form אדּדּם is Hithpa., as in Isaiah 38:15, after the form הדּמּה from the verb דּדה, "to pass lightly and swiftly along," derived by reduplication from the root דא (cf. Arab. d'ud'u), which has the primary meaning to push, to drive (ἐλαύνειν, pousser), and in various combinations of the ד (דא, Arab. dah, דח, Arab. da‛, דב, דף) expresses manifold shades of onward motion in lighter or heavier thrusts or jerks. The suffix, as in גּדלני equals גּדל עמּי, Job 31:18 (Ges. 121, 4), denotes those in reference to whom, or connection with whom, this moving onwards took place, so that consequently אדּדּם includes within itself, together with the subjective notion, the transitive notion of אדדּם, for the singer of the Psalm is a Levite; as an example in support of this אדּדּם, vid., 2 Chronicles 20:27., cf. v. 21. המון חוגג is the apposition to the personal suffix of this אדדם: with them, a multitude keeping holy-day. In Psalm 42:6 the poet seeks to solace and encourage himself at this contrast of the present with the past: Why art thou thus cast down... (lxx ἵνα τί περίλυπος εἶ, κ. τ. λ., cf. Matthew 26:38; John 12:27). It is the spirit which, as the stronger and more valiant part of the man, speaks to the soul as to the σκεῦος ἀσθενέστερον; the spiritual man soothes the natural man. The Hithpa. השׁתּוחח, which occurs only here and in Psalm 43:1-5, signifies to bow one's self very low, to sit down upon the ground like a mourner (Psalm 35:14; Psalm 38:7), and to bend one's self downwards (Psalm 44:26). המה (the future of which Ben-Asher here points ותּהמי, but Ben-Naphtali ותּהמּי), to utter a deep groan, to speak quietly and mumbling to one's self. Why this gnawing and almost desponding grief? I shall yet praise Him with thanksgiving, praise ישׁוּעות פּניו, the ready succour of His countenance turned towards me in mercy. Such is the text handed down to us. Although it is, however, a custom with the psalmists and prophets not to express such refrainlike thoughts in exactly the same form and words (cf. Psalm 24:7, Psalm 24:9; Psalm 49:13, 21; Psalm 56:5, Psalm 56:11; Psalm 59:10, 18), nevertheless it is to be read here by a change in the division both of the words and the verses, according to Psalm 42:5 and Psalm 43:5, ישׁוּעות פּני ואלהי, as is done by the lxx (Cod. Alex.), Syriac, Vulgate, and most modern expositors. For the words ישׁועות פניו, though in themselves a good enough sense (vid., e.g., Psalm 44:4, Isaiah 64:9), produce no proper closing cadence, and are not sufficient to form a line of a verse.

(Note: Even an old Hebrew MS directs attention to the erroneousness of the Soph pasuk here; vid., Pinsker, Einleitung, S. 133 l.)

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