Psalm 44:18
Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from your way;
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44:17-26 In afflictions, we must not seek relief by any sinful compliance; but should continually meditate on the truth, purity, and knowledge of our heart-searching God. Hearts sins and secret sins are known to God, and must be reckoned for. He knows the secret of the heart, therefore judges of the words and actions. While our troubles do not drive us from our duty to God, we should not suffer them to drive us from our comfort in God. Let us take care that prosperity and ease do not render us careless and lukewarm. The church of God cannot be prevailed on by persecution to forget God; the believer's heart does not turn back from God. The Spirit of prophecy had reference to those who suffered unto death, for the testimony of Christ. Observe the pleas used, ver. 25,26. Not their own merit and righteousness, but the poor sinner's pleas. None that belong to Christ shall be cast off, but every one of them shall be saved, and that for ever. The mercy of God, purchased, promised, and constantly flowing forth, and offered to believers, does away every doubt arising from our sins; while we pray in faith, Redeem us for thy mercies' sake.Our heart is not turned back - That is, We have not turned away from thy service; we have not apostatized from thee; we have not fallen into idolatry. This must mean that such was not at that time the characteristic of the nation; it was not a prominent thing among the people; there was no such general and pervading iniquity as to explain the fact that these calamities had come upon them, or to be properly the cause of these troubles.

Neither have our steps declined from thy way - Margin, goings. The idea as expressed by our translators is, that the people had not departed from the path prescribed by God; that is, from what he required in his law. The Septuagint and the Vulgate render it, "Thou hast turned our steps from thy way;" that is, though our heart is not turned back, and we have not revolted from thee, yet thou hast turned our steps from thy way, or hast turned us from the way of thy favor and from prosperity. The rendering in the common version, however, is more in conformity with the idea in the original.

18. declined—turned aside from God's law. Is not turned back, to wit, from thee, or thy worship and service, unto idols, as it follows, Psalm 44:20.

Neither have our steps declined from thy way: because it is easy and ordinary falsely to pretend sincerity of heart, which men cannot discern nor confute, they prove it from the unblamableness of their lives and actions. Our heart is not turned back,.... To its original hardness, blindness, and bondage, to its former sin and folly, to cherish, gratify, and fulfil its lusts and desires; not from God, from love to him, faith in him, and desires after him; nor from his worship and service; their trials had no such influence upon them as to cause them to apostatize from God, neither in heart, nor in action;

neither have our steps declined from thy way; from the way of his commandments, from the paths of holiness, truth, and faith, being directed and guided therein by the counsel of the Lord, and kept and preserved by his power.

Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;
Verse 18. - Our heart is not turned back; i.e. turned away from God, as it was when they passed through the wilderness (Psalm 78:41). Neither have our steps declined from thy way. Neither in respect of inward feeling nor of outward act have we strayed from the right path. (Heb.: 44:10-13) Just as אף signifies imo vero (Psalm 58:3) when it comes after an antecedent clause that is expressly or virtually a negative, it may mean "nevertheless, ho'moos," when it opposes a contrastive to an affirmative assertion, as is very frequently the case with גּם or וגם. True, it does not mean this in itself, but in virtue of its logical relation: we praise Thee, we celebrate Thy name unceasingly - also ( equals nevertheless) Thou hast cast off. From this point the Psalm comes into closest connection with Psalm 89:39, on a still more extended scale, however, with Psalm 60:1-12, which dates from the time of the Syro-Ammonitish war, in which Psalm Psa 44:10 recurs almost word for word. The צבאות are not exactly standing armies (an objection which has been raised against the Maccabean explanation), they are the hosts of the people that are drafted into battle, as in Exodus 12:41, the hosts that went forth out of Egypt. Instead of leading these to victory as their victorious Captain (2 Samuel 5:24), God leaves them to themselves and allows them to be smitten by the enemy. The enemy spoil למו, i.e., just as they like, without meeting with any resistance, to their hearts' content. And whilst He gives over (נתן as in Micah 5:2, and the first יתּן in Isaiah 41:2) one portion of the people as "sheep appointed for food," another becomes a diaspora or dispersion among the heathen, viz., by being sold to them as slaves, and that בּלא־הון, "for not-riches," i.e., for a very low price, a mere nothing. We see from Joel 3:3 in what way this is intended. The form of the litotes is continued in Psalm 44:13: Thou didst not go high in the matter of their purchase-money; the rendering of Maurer is correct: in statuendis pretiis eorum. The ב is in this instance not the Beth of the price as in Psalm 44:13, but, as in the phrase הלּל בּ, the Beth of the sphere and thereby indirectly of the object. רבּה in the sense of the Aramaic רבּי (cf. Proverbs 22:16, and the derivatives תּרבּית, מרבּית), to make a profit, to practise usury (Hupfeld), produces a though that is unworthy of God; vid., on the other hand, Isaiah 52:3. At the heads of the strophe stands (Psalm 44:10) a perfect with an aorist following: ולא תצא is consequently a negative ותּצא. And Psalm 44:18, which sums up the whole, shows that all the rest is also intended to be retrospective.
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