Psalm 42:8
Yet the LORD will command his loving kindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer to the God of my life.
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(8) Yet the Lord.—Better, By day Jehovah shall command (or, literally, Jehovah command) his grace.

And in the night his songi.e., a song to Him; but the emendation shîrah, “song,” for shîrôh, “his song,” commends itself. The parallelism of this verse seems to confirm the conclusion drawn from the sentence at end of Book II., that the title “prayer,” and “song” were used indiscriminately for any of the hymns in religious use.

Psalm 42:8-9. Yet the Lord will command — Will effectually provide and confer upon me; his lovingkindness — His blessings, the effect of his lovingkindness, which God is often said to command. In the day-time, and in the night — Both day and night, that is, continually. His song shall be with me — I shall have constant cause for singing and praising God for his loving-kindness. And my prayer shall be unto the God of my life — The giver and preserver of my life from time to time. I will boldly and believingly direct my prayers to him, of whose readiness to hear and help me I have had such ample experience. I will say unto God my rock — I will expostulate the case with him, who hath formerly been a sure refuge to me; Why hast thou forgotten me? — Why dost thou now seem quite to neglect and forget me? Why go I mourning? — Why dost thou leave me in this mourning state, and not succour me speedily?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.Yet the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the daytime - literally, "By day the Lord will command his mercy;" that is, he will so order or direct his mercy or his favor. The word "daytime" here refers evidently to prosperity; and the expectation of the psalmist was that a time of prosperity would return; that he might hope for better days; that the loving-kindness of God would again be manifested to him. He did not wholly despair. He expected to see better times (compare the notes at Psalm 42:5); and, in view of this, and in the confident assurance of it, he says in the subsequent part of the verse that even in the night - the season of calamity - his song should be unto God, and he would praise Him. Some, however, as DeWette, have understood the words "daytime" and "night" as synonymous with "day and night;" that is, at all times; implying an assurance that God would always show his loving-kindness. But it seems to me that the above is the most correct interpretation.

And in the night his song shall be with me - I will praise him, even in the dark night of calamity and sorrow. God will even then give me such views of himself, and such manifest consolations, that my heart will be full of gratitude, and my lips will utter praise. See the notes at Job 35:10; compare Acts 16:25.

And my prayer unto the God of my life - To God, who has given me life, and who preserves my life. The meaning is, that in the dark night of sorrow and trouble he would not cease to call on God. Feeling that he had given life, and that he was able to sustain and to defend life, he would go to him and supplicate his mercy. He would not allow affliction to drive him from God, but it should lead him the more earnestly and fervently to implore his aid. Afflictions, God's apparently severe dealings, which it might be supposed would have a tendency to turn people from God, are the very means of leading them to him.

8. Still he relies on as constant a flow of divine mercy which will elicit his praise and encourage his prayer to God. Will command i.e. will effectually procure or confer upon me, as this verb is used, Leviticus 25:21 Psalm 7:6, &c. The verb is future, but some render it by the time past,

the Lord hath commanded; making this rehearsal of his former experiences of God’s goodness his argument to support himself, and to prevail with God in prayer; which may seem to suit best with the foregoing and following verses. But we must remember that David’s hopes and fears were strangely mixed, and his expressions of them are commonly interwoven in the same Psalm, and sometimes in one and the same verse, as it is here, Psalm 42:5,11. And therefore there is no necessity of departing from the proper signification of the verb.

His loving-kindness, i.e. his blessings, the effects of his loving-kindness, which God is oft said to command, as Deu 28:8 Psalm 133:3.

And in the night; both day and night, i.e. continually.

His song shall be with me, i.e. I shall have constant matter of singing and praising God for his loving-kindness.

My prayer shall be unto the God; and therefore I will boldly and believingly direct my prayers to him, of whose readiness to hear and help me I have had such ample experience.

The God of my life; the giver and preserver of my life from time to time. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime,.... Which is a tender affection in God towards his people, springs from his sovereign will and pleasure, is from everlasting, is ever the same, never removes from them, and is better than life; the effects of which are all spiritual blessings, grace, and glory: and this the Lord "commands" when he sends it forth with power, makes a clear manifestation and home application of it to them; when he commands his covenant, or bestows covenant blessings on them; when he commands his strength, or gives them strength to bear up under afflictions; when he commands deliverances for Jacob, or works salvation for them; and when he commands blessings temporal and spiritual on them, especially life for evermore: see Psalm 111:9; and this is done in "the daytime"; either, as some interpret it, in a fit and seasonable time, in God's appointed time, who has his set time to favour his people, and show his lovingkindness to them; or openly and publicly, so as themselves and others may see the salvation of the Lord; or continually; for mercy, goodness, and lovingkindness, follow them all the days of their lives; yea, are from everlasting to everlasting: and these words may be read either in the past tense, as some do, "yet the Lord hath commanded" (m), &c. and so respect what had been, and relate to the former experiences and manifestations of the love of God, with which the psalmist encourages himself under his present afflictions; or in the future, as in our version; and so they are an expression of faith as to what would be hereafter, that the Lord would appear again, and show him his face and favour;

and in the night his song shall be with me; signifying hereby, that he strongly believed he should have occasion of singing praise to God in the night season, though he was now in such mournful circumstances: he calls it "his song"; that is, the Lord's song; because the matter of it are his lovingkindness, and the blessings springing from it; because the Lord himself is the subject of it; his perfections, his works, his salvation and glory; and because he gives songs in the night, and puts them into the mouths of his people; see Isaiah 12:2; and the psalmist says it would be with him, in his heart, and in his mouth, and be his constant companion wherever he was, lying down, or rising up; and that "in the night"; either figuratively understood of affliction and distress, out of which he would be delivered, and so be compassed about with songs of deliverance; or literally, it being a time of leisure to call to mind the salvation and mercies of the day, and be thankful for them; see Psalm 77:6;

and my prayer unto the God of my life: natural, spiritual, and eternal; being the author, giver, and preserver of each; and this is no inconsiderable mercy, to have such a God to pray unto in a time of distress; as well as in a time of salvation, to go to, and make known requests with thanksgiving; which seems to be intended here, since it is joined with a song. Prayer and praise go together, the object of which are not lifeless idols, that cannot save; but the living God, who is a God hearing and answering prayer, and does not despise the prayer of the destitute. The prayer of the psalmist follows.

(m) "praecepit", Tigurine version; "mandavit", Hammond; so Aben Ezra and others.

Yet the LORD {h} 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.

(h) He assures himself of God's help in time to come.

8. According to the rendering of the A.V., retained by the R.V., this verse expresses the Psalmist’s confidence that he will soon again experience the favour of God, and give Him thanks for His goodness. But it is equally possible to render

In the day-time Jehovah used to give his lovingkindness charge concerning me,

And in the night his song was with me,

Even prayer unto the God of my life.

This rendering gives the best connexion of thought. The verse is a retrospect like Psalm 42:4, and is a further explanation of the ‘remembering God’ of which he speaks in Psalm 42:6. He contrasts the present, in which tears are his constant food (Psalm 42:3) and God’s indignation seems to be let loose upon him, with the past, in which God’s lovingkindness constantly watched over him, and glad songs of praise to Him were his constant companions. In the day-time and in the night, though divided between the two lines for rhythmical reasons, are to be connected together (= continually), and taken as referring equally to both clauses. Cp. Psalm 92:2. God’s lovingkindness, like His light and truth in Psalm 43:3, is almost personified as the Psalmist’s guardian angel.

Prayer denotes any form of communion with God—here predominantly thanksgiving. Cp. 1 Samuel 2:1; Habakkuk 3:1.

With the beautiful phrase the God of my life cp. Psalm 66:9; and Sir 23:1; Sir 23:4, “O Lord, Father and Master” (δέσποτα) of mylife”: … “Father and God of my life.”

The Lord] Contrary to the general rule in Book ii (Introd. p. lv.) the name Jehovah has been retained here; unless it is the insertion or alteration of a later editor.Verse 8. - Yet the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the daytime. Notwithstanding all these present woes, God wilt at some time "command" his loving-kindness to make itself apparent (comp. Psalm 44:4; Psalm 68:28), and both "in the daytime" and in the night will so comfort me that his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life; i.e. I shall offer him both praise and prayer continually both day and night (Psalm 92:2) for his great mercies. (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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