Psalm 42:8
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.
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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. Psalm 42:8(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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