Psalm 42:6
O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember you from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
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(6) Cast down.—The poet, though faith condemns his dejection, still feels it, and cannot help expressing it. The heart will not be tranquil all at once, and the utterance of its trouble, so natural, so pathetic, long after served, in the very words of the LXX., to express a deeper grief, and mark a more tremendous crisis (John 12:27; Matthew 26:38).

Therefore will I.—Better, therefore do I remember thee. (Comp. Jonah 2:7.)

From the land of Jordani.e., the uplands of the north-east, where the river rises. The poet has not vet passed quite into the land of exile, the country beyond Jordan, but already he is on its borders, and as his sad eyes turn again and again towards the loved country he is leaving, its sacred summits begin to disappear, while ever nearer and higher rise the snow-clad peaks of Hermon.

Hermonites.—Rather, of the Hermons, i.e., either collectively for the whole range (as generally of mountains, the Balkans, etc.) or with reference to the appearance of the mountain as a ridge with a conspicuous peak at either end. (See Thomson, Land and Book, p. 177.) In reality, however, the group known especially as Hermon has three summits, situated, like the angles of a triangle, a quarter of a mile from each other, and of almost equal elevation. (See Smith’s Bible Dict., “Hermon.” Comp. Our Work in Palestine, p. 246.)

The hill Mizar.—Marg., the little hill. So LXX. and Vulg., a monte modico. (Comp. the play on the name Zoar in Genesis 19:20.) Hence some think the poet is contrasting Hermon with Zion. In such a case, however, the custom of Hebrew poetry was to exalt Zion, and not depreciate the higher mountains, and it is very natural to suppose that some lower ridge or pass, over which the exile may be supposed wending his sad way, was actually called “the little,” or “the less.”

Psalm 42:6. My soul is cast down within me — I am overcome with grief, while I am forced to hide myself in this wilderness beyond Jordan, and wander up and down on these solitary mountains, far distant from thy tabernacle; therefore — That I may revive my drooping spirits; I will remember thee from the land of Jordan — I will consider thy infinite mercy, and power, and faithfulness, and thy gracious presence in the sanctuary, from whence thou dost hear and answer all those that call upon thee. From the hill Mizar — From all the places and parts of the land to which I shall be driven; whether from the parts about, or beyond Jordan on the east; or mount Hermon, which was in the northern parts, here called Hermonim, in the plural number, because of its great extent, and many tops and parts of it called by several names.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.O my God, my soul is cast down within me - This is the utterance of a soul in anguish, notwithstanding the purpose not to be cast down, and the conviction that hope ought to be cherished. The psalmist cannot but say that, despite all this, he is sad. His troubles come rushing over his soul; they all return at once; his heart is oppressed, and he is constrained to confess that, notwithstanding his solemn purpose not to be sad, and the conviction that he ought to be cheerful, and his wish to be and to appear so, yet his sorrows get the mastery over all this, and his heart is filled with grief. What sufferer has not felt thus? When he really wished to trust in God; when he hoped that things would be better; when he saw that he ought to be calm and cheerful, his sorrows have returned like a flood, sweeping all these feelings away for the time, filling his soul with anguish, compelling him to form these resolutions anew, and driving him afresh to the throne of grace, to beat back the returning tide of grief, and to bring the soul to calmness and peace.

Therefore will I remember thee - I will look to thee; I will come to thee; I will recall thy former merciful visitations. In this lone land; far away from the place of worship; in the midst of these privations, troubles, and sorrows; surrounded as I am by taunting foes, and having no source of consolation here, I will remember my God. Even here, amidst these sorrows, I will lift up my heart in grateful remembrance of him, and will think of him alone. The words which follow are designed merely to give an idea of the desolation and sadness of his condition, and of the fact of his exile.

From the land of Jordan - Referring probably to the fact he was then in that "land." The phrase would denote the region adjacent to the Jordan, and through which the Jordan flowed, as we speak of "the valley of the Mississippi," that is the region through which that river flows. The lands adjacent to the Jordan on either side were covered with underbrush and thickets, and were, in former times, the favorite resorts of wild animals: Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44. The psalmist was on the eastern side of the Jordan.

And of the Hermonites - The land of the Hermonites. The region in which Mount Hermon is situated. This was on the northeast of Palestine, beyond the Jordan. Mount Hermon was a ridge or spur of Antilibanus: Joshua 11:3, Joshua 11:17. This spur or ridge lies near the sources of the Jordan. It consists of several summits, and is therefore spoken of here in the plural number, Hermonim, the Hebrew plural of Hermon. These mountains were called by the Sidonians, Sirion. See the notes at Psalm 29:6. Different names were given to different parts of these sum mits of the mountain-ranges. The principal summit, or Mount Hermon properly so called, rises to the height of ten or twelve thousand feet, and is covered with perpetual snow; or rather, as Dr. Robinson says (Biblical Researches, iii. 344), the snow is perpetual in the ravines; so that the top presents the appearance of radiant stripes around and below the summit. The word is used here with reference to the mountain-region to which the general name of Hermon was given on the northeast of Palestine, and on the east of the sources of the Jordan. It would seem not improbable that after passing the Jordan the psalmist had gone in that direction in his exile.

From the hill Mizar - Margin, the little hill. So the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and Luther. DeWette renders it as a proper name. The word Mizar, or Mitsar (Hebrew), means properly smallness; and thus, anything small or little. The word seems here, however, to be used as a proper name, and was probably applied to some part of that mountain-range, though to what particular portion is now unknown. This would seem to have been the place where the psalmist took up his abode in his exile. As no such name is now known to be given to any part of that mountain-range, it is impossible to identify the spot. It would seem from the following verse, however, that it was not far from the Jordan.

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.

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.

Psalm 42:6

"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,


That I may revive my drooping spirits, I will consider thy infinite mercy, and power, and faithfulness, and thy gracious presence in the sanctuary, from whence thou dost hear and answer all those that call upon thee, in all the parts of the land.

From the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar, i.e. from all the places and parts of the land to which I shall be driven; whether from the parts about or beyond Jordan on the east: or, the Hermonim, i.e. either the people inhabiting Hermon; or the mountain of Hermon, which was in the northern parts, Numbers 34:7 Deu 3:8 Psalm 89:12, here called Hermonim, in the plural number, because of its great largeness, and many tops and parts of it, which are called by several names: or,

the hill Mizar; a hill so called, though not mentioned elsewhere, which is supposed to have been in the southern parts of the land; but peradventure it was in the east and beyond Jordan; and David might mention these places, because when he was banished by Absalom, he had been successively at all of them, and in all of them had remembered God, and directed his prayer to him. 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.

O my God, my soul is cast down within me: {f} therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

(f) That is, when I remember you in this land of my banishment among the mountains.

6. Within me, or rather, as in Psalm 42:4, upon me, stands emphatically at the beginning of the sentence. His own feelings overwhelm him, and therefore he must turn to God, whose goodness he can call to mind, remote though he is from the place where God’s presence is specially manifested. He describes the place from which he speaks as the land of Jordan and the Hermons, probably the neighbourhood of Dan (Tell-el-Kadi) or Caesarea Philippi (Banias), where the Jordan rises from the roots of Hermon. The plural Hermons either denotes the Hermon range in general or refers to the three peaks in which Mount Hermon culminates. The hill Mizar or mount Mizar was probably some hill in the immediate neighbourhood of which he was[23]; perhaps some point whence he could command a view of the hills beyond the Jordan, over which he would fain be travelling to Jerusalem. Its name—the little mountain—may perhaps be meant to contrast its insignificance with the fame and splendour of God’s holy mountain where he desires to be (Psalm 43:3; Psalm 48:2).

[23] Prof. G. A. Smith notes that there are in the same neighbourhood “two or three names with the same or kindred radicals,” and suggests that they may be “a reminiscence of the name of a hill in this district.” Hist. Geogr. of the Holy Land, P. 477.

6–11. From self he turns to God and pleads his cause.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. (Heb.: 41:14) The closing doxology of the First Book, vid., Introduction. Concerning בּרוּך vid., Psalm 18:47. The expression "from aeon to aeon" is, according to Berachoth ix. 5, directed against those who deny the truth of the future world. אמן ואמן (a double aleethe's or aleethoo's) seals it in a climactic form.
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