Psalm 43:3
O send out your light and your truth: let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill, and to your tabernacles.
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(3) O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me.—Instead of the violent and contemptuous escort of Assyrian soldiers, leading the exile away from the “holy hill,” the poet prays for God’s light and truth to lead him, like two angel guides, back to it. Light and truth! What a guidance in this world of falsehood and shadow! The Urim and Thummim of the saints (Deuteronomy 33:8), the promised attendants of Israel, have been, and are, the escort of all faithful souls in all ages.

Psalm 43:3-5. O send out — Actually impart and discover; thy light and thy truth — Thy favour, or the light of thy countenance, and the truth of thy promises made to me; or, the true light, the illumination of thy Spirit, and the direction of thy gracious providence, whereby I may be led in the right way. Let them bring me unto thy holy hill — Of Zion, the place of thy presence and worship. Then will I go unto the altar of God — To offer sacrifices of thanksgiving for my deliverance; unto God my exceeding joy — The principal author and matter of all my joy and comfort; or, as it is literally translated in the margin, The gladness of my joy: Why art thou cast down, O my soul, &c. — See above, Psalm 42:5; Psalm 42:11. 43:6-11 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 send out thy light and thy truth - Send them forth as from thy presence; or, let them be made manifest. The word light here is equivalent to favor or mercy, as when one prays for the "light of God's countenance" (see the notes at Psalm 4:6); and the idea is, that now, in the time of darkness and trouble, when the light of God's countenance seemed to be withdrawn or hidden, he prays that God would impart light; that he would restore his favor; that he would conduct him back again to his former privileges. The word truth here is equivalent to truthfulness or faithfulness; and the prayer is, that God would manifest his faithfulness to him as one of his own people, by restoring him to the privileges and blessings from which he had been unjustly driven. Compare the notesat Psalm 25:5.

Let them lead me - That is, Let them lead me back to my accustomed privileges; let me go under their guidance to the enjoyment of the blessings connected with the place of public worship.

Let them bring me unto thy holy hill - Mount Zion; the place where the worship of God was then celebrated, and hence called the "holy hill" of God.

And to thy tabernacles - The tabernacle was the sacred tent erected for the worship of God (see the notes at Psalm 15:1), and was regarded as the place where Yahweh had his abode. The tabernacle was divided, as the temple was afterward, into two parts or rooms, the holy and the most holy place (see the notes at Hebrews 9:1-5); and hence the plural term, tabernacles, might be employed in speaking of it. The language here implies, as in Psalm 42:1-11, that the author of the psalm was now exiled or banished from this, and hence, also it may be inferred that the two psalms were composed by the same author, and with reference to the same occasion. If the reference here, moreover, is to Mount Zion as the "holy hill," it may be observed that this would fix the composition of the psalm to the time of David, as before his time that was not the place of the worship of God, but was made "holy" by his removing the ark there. After his time the place of worship was removed to Mount Moriah, where the temple was built. It cannot be demonstrated, however, with absolute certainty that the reference here is to Mount Zion, though that seems in every way probable. Compare Psalm 2:6, note; Psalm 3:4, note; compare 2 Samuel 5:7-9; 2 Samuel 6:17.

3. light—as in Ps 27:1.

truth—or, "faithfulness" (Ps 25:5), manifest it by fulfilling promises. Light and truth are personified as messengers who will bring him to the privileged place of worship.

tabernacles—plural, in allusion to the various courts.

Send out, i.e. actually impart and discover them; for at present thou seemest to conceal and withhold them from me.

Thy light and thy truth, i.e. thy favour, or the light of thy countenance, and the truth of thy promises made to me; as God’s mercy and truth oft go together, as 2 Samuel 15:20 Psalm 61:7 Psalm 89:14, &c. Or this may be a figure called hendiaduo, whereby light and truth is put either for the light of God’s truth; or rather, for true light, the illumination of God’s Spirit, and the direction of providence, his gracious whereby he might be led (as it follows) in the right way, which would bring him to God’s holy hill.

Unto thy holy hill, to wit, of Zion, the place of God’s presence and worship.

To thy tabernacles, i.e. tabernacle; which he calls tabernacles, either,

1. Because there were now two tabernacles, one at Zion, where the ark was; and another at Gibeon, 1 Chronicles 16:37,39. Although he here seems to speak but of one of them, even of that which was upon God’s holy hill. Or,

2. Because of the several parts of it, the most holy, and the holy place, and the church. These indeed were in that of Gibeon, but not in that of Zion. Or rather,

3. By a mere enallage of the number, the plural for the singular; which is frequent, as in other words, so in those which belong to this matter, as tabernacles, Psalm 46:4, and sanctuaries, Leviticus 26:31 Psalm 73:17, &c.; Psalm 74:7 Jeremiah 51:51. Nay, the most holy place, though but one simple part, is by the Greeks called holies. So in other authors, we read the rivers of Nilus, of that one river; and right hands, for one right hand; and many like phrases. O send out thy light and thy truth,.... By light is meant, not the law, as Arama; but rather, as some Jewish (p) interpreters understand it, the Messiah, the sun of righteousness, and light of the world; who is the author of all light, natural, spiritual, and eternal; and whose coming into the world is often signified by being sent into it. The Spirit of God also is the enlightener of men, both at first conversion and afterwards, and is sent down into their hearts as a comforter of them, by being the Spirit of adoption. The Gospel of Christ is a great and glorious light, which, with the Holy Ghost, is sent down from heaven; though perhaps here rather may be meant the light of God's countenance, the discoveries of his favour and lovingkindness, which produce light, life, joy, peace, and comfort: and by "truth" may be meant, either Christ himself, who is the truth; or the Gospel the word of truth; or rather the faithfulness of God in the fulfilment of his promises; and so the words are a petition that God would show forth his lovingkindness, and make good his word, which would be of the following use:

let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles; that is, to the place of public worship, where the tabernacle was, the "hill" where it was, which seems to be Mount Zion; and is called "holy"; not that there was any real holiness in it; only relative, because of the worship of God in it; and the "tabernacle" is called "tabernacles", because of the holy place and the most holy place in it; the one being the first, the other the second tabernacle, as in Hebrews 9:2; and this hill and tabernacles represented the church and ordinances of God, to which such who are possessed of light and truth are led.

(p) Midrash Tillim, & Jarchi, in loc.

O send out thy {c} light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

(c) That is, your favour which appears by the performance of your promises.

3. O send out thy light and thy truth] Cp. Psalm 57:3. God’s light and truth, like His lovingkindness in Psalm 42:8, are almost personified. As of old He gave His lovingkindness charge concerning His servant, so now may He manifest the light of His countenance, and evermore shew him favour (Psalm 36:9; Psalm 44:3); and thus prove Himself true to His own character and His promises.

let them lead me &c.] Is the Psalmist thinking of the wonders of the Exodus? Cp. Exodus 13:21; Exodus 15:13.

tabernacles] Or, dwelling-place. Cp. Psalm 26:8; Psalm 46:4; Psalm 84:1. The plural may be ‘amplificative,’ expressive of the dignity of the Temple as the dwelling-place of God; or it may be used with reference to the various courts and buildings of which it was composed.

3, 4. Prayer for restoration.Verse 3. - O send out thy light and thy truth (Psalm 40:11; Psalm 57:3, where, however, "mercy (חסד) and truth" take the place of "light and truth"). Both words equally signify God's favour. Let them lead me. As the pillar of fire and of the cloud led the Israelites into the promised land, so let God's "light and truth" now lead David back to Jerusalem and God's "holy hill of Zion." Let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles; or, thy dwelling-place. In his exile it was David's most earnest desire to revisit the tabernacle which he had set up on Mount Zion, where God's presence dwelt, and prayer was most acceptably offered (see 2 Samuel 15:25; Psalm 42:2). He had made his being brought back to it a test of the return of God's favour (2 Samuel 15:25, 26). (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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