Psalm 42:3
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say to me, Where is your God?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) My tears.—Comp. Psalm 80:5; Psalm 102:9; and Ovid Metam. x. 75, “Cura dolorque animi lacrimæque alimenta fuere.”

Where is thy God?—For this bitter taunt comp. Psalm 79:10; Psalm 115:2; Joel 2:17, etc.

Psalm 42:3-4. My tears have been my meat, &c. — That is, I am wholly given over to grief and sorrow while I hear the continual reproaches of my enemies, saying unto me, Where is thy God? — Of whom thou hast so often boasted, as of one so able and ready to help all that trust in him, and call upon him? and particularly as one engaged to thee by many great and special promises? He is departed from thee, and nowhere to be found of thee. He is either unable or unwilling to help thee, or regardless of thee. When I remember these things — Namely, my banishment from God’s presence, and my enemies’ scoffs and triumphs upon that occasion. I pour out my soul — In fervent prayer and bitter sorrows, whereby his very heart was almost melted or dissolved, and his spirits spent, and he was ready to faint away. For I had gone with the multitude — In the way to Jerusalem, according to the custom, in the company of the Israelites, who went thither in great numbers at the solemn feasts. I went with them to the house of God — Or, I led them, encouraging them by my presence and forwardness. With a multitude that kept holy-day — The feasts, or festival solemnities, which they kept holy unto the Lord.42:1-5 The psalmist looked to the Lord as his chief good, and set his heart upon him accordingly; casting anchor thus at first, he rides out the storm. A gracious soul can take little satisfaction in God's courts, if it do not meet with God himself there. Living souls never can take up their rest any where short of a living God. To appear before the Lord is the desire of the upright, as it is the dread of the hypocrite. Nothing is more grievous to a gracious soul, than what is intended to shake its confidence in the Lord. It was not the remembrance of the pleasures of his court that afflicted David; but the remembrance of the free access he formerly had to God's house, and his pleasure in attending there. Those that commune much with their own hearts, will often have to chide them. See the cure of sorrow. When the soul rests on itself, it sinks; if it catches hold on the power and promise of God, the head is kept above the billows. And what is our support under present woes but this, that we shall have comfort in Him. We have great cause to mourn for sin; but being cast down springs from unbelief and a rebellious will; we should therefore strive and pray against it.My tears have been my meat - The word rendered tears in this place is in the singular number, and means literally weeping. Compare Psalm 39:12. The word meat here means literally bread, and is used in the general signification of food, as the word meat is always used in the English version of the Bible. The English word meat, which originally signified food, has been changed gradually in its signification, until it now denotes in common usage animal food, or flesh. The idea here is, that instead of eating, he had wept. The state described is that which occurs so often when excessive sorrow takes away the appetite, or destroys the relish for food, and occasions fasting. This was the foundation of the whole idea of fasting - that sorrow, and especially sorrow for sin, takes away the desire for food for the time, and leads to involuntary abstinence. Hence arose the correlative idea of abstaining from food with a view to promote that deep sense of sin, or to produce a condition of the body which would be favorable to a proper recollection of guilt.

Day and night - Constantly; without intermission. See the notes at Psalm 1:2. "While they continually say unto me." While it is constantly said to me; that is, by mine enemies. See Psalm 42:10.

Where is thy God? - See Psalm 3:2; Psalm 22:8. The meaning here is, "He seems to be utterly forsaken or abandoned by God. He trusted in God. He professed to be his friend. He looked to him as his protector. But he is now forsaken, as if he had no God; and God is treating him as if he were none of his; as if he had no love for him, and no concern about his welfare."

3. Where is thy God?—implying that He had forsaken him (compare 2Sa 16:7; Ps 3:2; 22:8). My tears have been my meat; which notes both the great abundance and constant course of his tears, and the secret satisfaction and ease which he found in giving vent to his passion this way. Possibly his tears and grief took away his appetite, and so were to him instead of food.

Where is thy God, of whom thou hast so often boasted, as of one so able and ready to help all that trust in him and call upon him, and particularly as one engaged to time by many great and special promises? He is gone and departed from thee, and no where to be found of thee. He is either unable or unwilling to help thee, or regardless of thee. My tears have been my meat day and night,.... That is, he could not eat for sorrow, like Hannah,

1 Samuel 1:7,8; or while he was eating tears fell in plenty, and they were as common, day and night, as his food, and mixed with it (f); see Psalm 80:5;

while they continually say unto me, his enemies the Philistines,

where is thy God? theirs were to be seen and pointed at, as the host of heaven, the sun, moon, and stars, and idols of gold, silver, brass, wood, and stone; wherefore they ask, where was his? but David's God was invisible; he is in the heavens, and does what he pleases, Psalm 115:2; or the sense is, that if there was such a God he believed in and professed, and he was his servant, surely he would never have suffered him to fall into so much distress and calamity, but would have appeared for his relief and deliverance; and therefore tauntingly, and by way of reproach, ask where he was.

(f) "--lachrymaeque alimenta fuere", Ovid. Metamorph. l. 10. Fab. 1. v. 75.

{c} My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

(c) As others take pleasure in eating and drinking, so he was altogether given to weeping.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. my meat] Lit. my bread. Cp. Psalm 80:5; Psalm 102:4; Psalm 102:9. Tears take the place of his daily food. So Ovid, Metam. x. 75, “Cura dolorque animi lacrimaeque alimenta fuere.”

continually] Lit. all the day, and so in Psalm 42:10.

Where is thy God] Cp. Psalm 79:10; Psalm 115:2; Joel 2:17; Micah 7:10. The bitterest ingredient in his cup of sorrow is the taunt of the heathen that his plight demonstrates the impotence or indifference of the God Whom he serves.

3, 4. Present sorrow contrasted with past happiness.Verse 3. - My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? (comp. Psalm 80:9, "Thou feedest them with the bread of tears;" and Ovid, 'Metaph.,' 10:288, "Cure dolorque animi, lachrymaeque, alimenta fuere" - "They who grieve deeply do not eat; they only weep;" yet they live on, so that their tears appear to be their aliment). David's grief at being shut out from God's presence is intensified by the reproaches of his enemies, "Where is thy God?" i.e. "Is he not wholly gone from thee? Has he not utterly cast thee off?" (comp. 2 Samuel 16:8). (Heb.: 41:11-13) Having now described their behaviour towards him, sick in soul and body as he is, so devoid of affection, yea, so malignantly hostile and so totally contrary to the will and promise of God, David prays that God would raise him up, for he is now lying low, sick in soul and in body. The prayer is followed, as in Psalm 39:14 and many other passages, by the future with ah: that I may be able to requite them, or: then will I requite them. What is meant is the requiting which it was David's duty as a duly constituted king to exercise, and which he did really execute by the power of God, when he subdued the rebellion of Absalom and maintained his ground in opposition to faithlessness and meanness. Instead of בּזאת אדע (Genesis 42:33, cf. Genesis 15:8, Exodus 7:17; Numbers 16:28; Joshua 3:10) the expression is בּזאת ידעתּי in the sense of (ex hoc) cognoverim. On חפצתּ בּי cf. Psalm 18:20; Psalm 22:9; Psalm 35:27. By the second כּי, the בּזאת, which points forwards, is explained. The adversatively accented subject ואני stands first in Psalm 41:13 as a nom. absol., just as in Psalm 35:13. Psalm 41:13 states, retrospectively from the standpoint of fulfilment, what will then be made manifest and assure him of the divine good pleasure, viz., Jahve upholds him (תּמך as in Psalm 63:9), and firmly sets him as His chosen one before Him (cf. Psalm 39:6) in accordance with the Messianic promise in 2 Samuel 7:16, which speaks of an unlimited future.
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