Psalm 42:11
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.
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Psalm 42:11. Why art thou cast down, &c. — See note on Psalm 42:5. Who is the health of my countenance — Hebrew, The salvations of my face: which will make my face to shine, and my countenance cheerful, which supposes the gladness of the heart and the bettering of his condition. And my God — As he formerly was, so he is still, and ever will be; and will assuredly show himself to be my God, although, for a season, he may hide his face, or withdraw his help from me.

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.Why art thou cast down, O my soul? - This closes the second strophe of the psalm, and, with one or two slight and immaterial variations, is the same as that which closes the first Psalm 42:5. In this latter, the word "why" is inserted, and the expression "the salvation of my countenance" occurs instead of "salvations of his countenance," with the addition of the words "and my God" at the close. The sense, however, is the same; and the verse contains, as before, self-reproof for being thus cast down, and self-exhortation to put trust in God. In the former part of the psalm Psa 42:5 he had addressed this language to himself, as designed to impress his own mind with the guilt of thus yielding to discouragement and sorrow; but he had then almost immediately admitted that his mind was distressed, and that he was cast down; here he rallies again, and endeavors to arouse himself to the conviction that he ought not to be thus depressed and dejected. He exhorts himself, therefore; he charges his own soul to hope in God. He expresses again the assurance that he would yet be permitted to praise him. He regards God now as the "salvation of his countenance," or as his Deliverer and Friend, and expresses the conviction that he would yet make such manifestations of himself as to clear up and illuminate his countenance, at present made dark and saddened by affliction; and he appeals to him now as "his God." He has reached the true source of comfort to the afflicted and the sad - the living God as his God; and his mind is calm. Why should a man be sorrowful when he feels that he has a God? Why should his heart be sad when he can pour out his sorrows before Him? Why should he be cast down and gloomy when he can hope: hope for the favor of God here; hope for immortal life in the world to come! 11. This brings on a renewed self-chiding, and excites hopes of relief.

health—or help.

of my countenance—(compare Ps 42:5) who cheers me, driving away clouds of sorrow from my face.

my God—It is He of whose existence and favor my foes would have me doubt.

The health of my countenance, Heb. the salvations of my face i.e. either,

1. Which are present and manifest, being before my face. Or,

2. Which will make my face to shine, and my countenance cheerful, which supposeth the gladness of the heart, and the bettering of his condition. Or,

3. Of his person; as the face sometimes signifies, as 2 Samuel 17:11 Isaiah 3:15. As also the Greek word signifying face, is very frequently put for the person, whereof the face is an eminent part. My God: as he formerly was, so he still is, and ever will be, and will suddenly show himself to be, my God, although for a season he may hide his face, or withdraw his help from me.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul?.... The same expostulation as in Psalm 42:5; and so is what follows,

and why art thou disquieted within me? and the same argument and means are made use of to remove dejection and disquietude;

hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him; See Gill on Psalm 42:5; to which is added a new argument, taken from the grace and goodness of God, and covenant interest in him;

who is the health of my countenance, and my God; as the bodily health of man is seen in the countenance, and for the most part to be judged of by it; so is the spiritual health of the saints, and which they have from the Lord; when he, as the sun of righteousness, arises upon them with healing in his wings, he, by his gracious presence, makes their countenances cheerful, fills them with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and causes them to lift up their heads with an holy boldness and confidence, and without shame and fear: or as it may be rendered, who "is the salvations of my countenance" (o); that is, who is or will be the author of full and complete salvation to me; which will be so public and open, so clear and manifest, as to be beheld by myself and others; and this the psalmist mentions, in order to remove his present dejections; and besides, this God of salvation he believed was his covenant God, and would be so even unto death; and therefore he had no just reason to be dejected and disquieted.

(o) "salutes", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Michaelis.

{k} 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.

(k) This repetition declares that David did not overcome at once, to teach us to be constant, for as much as God will certainly deliver his.

Verse 11. - Why art thou cast down (or, bowed down), O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me! hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him. Thus far is identical with ver. 5; but what follows is slightly different: who is the health of my countenance, and my God, instead of "for the help (health?) of his countenance." Most commentators assimilate the text in ver. 5 to that of the present verse, which can be effected by a mere alteration of the pointing; but Hengstenberg, Kay, Professor Alexander, and others regard the variant forms as preferable.

Psalm 42:11(Heb.: 42:7-12) The poet here continues to console himself with God's help. God Himself is indeed dishonoured in him; He will not suffer the trust he has reposed in Him to go unjustified. True, עלי seems at the beginning of the line to be tame, but from עלי and אזכּרך, the beginning and end of the line, standing in contrast, עלי is made emphatic, and it is at the same time clear that על־כּן is not equivalent to אשׁר על־כּן - which Gesenius asserts in his Lexicon, erroneously referring to Psalm 1:5; Psalm 45:3, is a poetical usage of the language; an assertion for which, however, there is as little support as that כּי על־כּן in Numbers 14:43 and other passages is equivalent to על־כּן כּי. In all such passages, e.g., Jeremiah 48:36, על־כּן means "therefore," and the relationship of reason and consequence is reversed. So even here: within him his soul is bowed very low, and on account of this downcast condition he thinks continually of God, from whom he is separated. Even in Jonah 2:8 this thinking upon God does not appear as the cause but as the consequence of pain. The "land of Jordan and of Hermonim" is not necessarily the northern mountain range together with the sources of the Jordan. The land beyond the Jordan is so called in opposition to ארץ לבנון, the land on this side. According to Dietrich (Abhandlungen, S. 18), חרמונים is an amplificative plural: the Hermon, as a peak soaring far above all lower summits. John Wilson (Lands of the Bible, ii. 161) refers the plural to its two summits. But the plural serves to denote the whole range of the Antilebanon extending to the south-east, and accordingly to designate the east Jordanic country. It is not for one moment to be supposed that the psalmist calls Hermon even, in comparison with his native Zion, the chosen of God. הר מצער, i.e., the mountain of littleness: the other member of the antithesis, the majesty of Zion, is wanting, and the מן which is repeated before הר is also opposed to this. Hitzig, striking out the מ of מהר, makes it an address to Zion: "because I remember thee out of the land of Jordan and of summits of Hermon, thou little mountain;" but, according to Psalm 42:8, these words are addressed to Elohim. In the vicinity of Mitz‛are, a mountain unknown to us, in the country beyond Jordan, the poet is sojourning; from thence he looks longingly towards the district round about his home, and just as there, in a strange land, the wild waters of the awe-inspiring mountains roar around him, there seems to be a corresponding tumult in his soul. In Psalm 42:8 he depicts the natural features of the country round about him - and it may remind one quite as much of the high and magnificent waterfalls of the lake of Muzêrı̂b as of the waterfall at the course of the Jordan near Paneas and the waters that dash headlong down the mountains round about - and in Psalm 42:8 he says that he feels just as though all these threatening masses of water were following like so many waves of misfortune over his head (Tholuck, Hitzig, and Riehm). Billow follows billow as if called by one another (cf. Isaiah 6:3 concerning the continuous antiphon of the seraphim) at the roar (לקול as in Habakkuk 3:16) of the cataracts, which in their terrible grandeur proclaim the Creator, God (lxx τῶν καταῤῥακτῶν σου) - all these breaking, sporting waves of God pass over him, who finds himself thus surrounded by the mighty works of nature, but taking no delight in them; and in them all he sees nothing but the mirrored image of the many afflictions which threaten to involve him in utter destruction (cf. the borrowed passage in that mosaic work taken from the Psalms, Jonah 2:4).

He, however, calls upon himself in Psalm 42:9 to take courage in the hope that a morning will dawn after this night of affliction (Psalm 30:6), when Jahve, the God of redemption and of the people of redemption, will command His loving-kindness (cf. Psalm 44:5, Amos; 3f.); and when this by day has accomplished its work of deliverance, there follows upon the day of deliverance a night of thanksgiving (Job 35:10): the joyous excitement, the strong feeling of gratitude, will not suffer him to sleep. The suffix of שׁירה is the suffix of the object: a hymn in praise of Him, prayer (viz., praiseful prayer, Habakkuk 3:1) to the God of his life (cf. Sir. 23:4), i.e., who is his life, and will not suffer him to come under the dominion of death. Therefore will he say (אומרה), in order to bring about by prayer such a day of loving-kindness and such a night of thanksgiving songs, to the God of his rock, i.e., who is his rock (gen. apos.): Why, etc.? Concerning the different accentuation of למה here and in Psalm 43:2, vid., on Psalm 37:20 (cf. Psalm 10:1). In this instance, where it is not followed by a guttural, it serves as a "variation" Hitzig); but even the retreating of the tone when a guttural follows is not consistently carried out, vid., Psalm 49:6, cf. 1 Samuel 28:15 (Ew. 243, b). The view of Vaihinger and Hengstenberg is inadmissible, viz., that Psalm 42:10 to Psalm 42:11 are the "prayer," which the psalmist means in Psalm 42:9; it is the prayerful sigh of the yearning for deliverance, which is intended to form the burthen of that prayer. In some MSS we find the reading כּרצח instead of בּרצח; the בּ is here really synonymous with the כּ, it is the Beth essentiae (vid., Psalm 35:2): after the manner of a crushing (cf. Ezekiel 21:27, and the verb in Psalm 62:4 of overthrowing a wall) in my bones, i.e., causing me a crunching pain which seethes in my bones, mine oppressors reproach me (חרף with the transfer of the primary meaning carpere, as is also customary in the Latin, to a plucking and stripping one of his good name). The use of ב here differs from its use in Psalm 42:10; for the reproaching is not added to the crushing as a continuing state, but is itself thus crushing in its operation (vid., Psalm 42:4). Instead of בּאמר we have here the easier form of expression בּאמרם; and in the refrain פּני ואלהי, which is also to be restored in Psalm 42:6.

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