Psalm 44:21
Shall not God search this out? for he knows the secrets of the heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Shall not God search this out? - That is, If this had been the case, it would be known to God. If, as a nation, we had been given to idolatry, or if our hearts had been secretly alienated from the true God, though there had been no open manifestation of apostasy, yet that could not have been concealed from him. The question here asked implies a solemn declaration on the part of the psalmist that this was not so; or that there was no such national apostasy from God, and no such prevalence of idolatry in the land as to account for what had occurred. The reason for the calamities which had come upon them, therefore, must be found in something else.

For he knoweth the secrets of the heart - What is in the heart: what is concealed from the world. If there were any such alienation from him in the hearts of the people, he would know it. The fact that God knows the heart, or that he understands all the secret thoughts, purposes, and motives of people, is one that is everywhere affirmed in the Scriptures. See 1 Chronicles 28:9; Romans 8:27; compare the notes at Revelation 2:23.

20, 21. A solemn appeal to God to witness their constancy.

stretched out … hands—gesture of worship (Ex 9:29; Ps 88:9).

We appeal to the heart-searching God, concerning the sincerity of this profession of ours. Shall not God search this out?.... Undoubtedly he would, was it so, and expose it, and punish for it; as he will the Balaamites and children of Jezebel, Revelation 2:18; this seems to be an appeal to God for the truth of all that the church had said concerning her steadfastness and integrity under the most trying exercises;

for he knoweth the secrets of the heart; whether the heart is turned back, or there is any inclination to apostatize from God, or his name is forgotten in it; as well as whether in fact the hand has been stretched out, or prayer made to a strange god, Jeremiah 17:9.

Shall not God {q} search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

(q) They take God to witness that they were upright toward him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. It would be vain to attempt to conceal any faithlessness from the Searcher of hearts. Cp. Job’s protestations of innocence, ch. Psalm 31:4 ff.; and Psalm 139:1; Psalm 139:23; Jeremiah 17:10.Verse 21. - Shall not God search this out! i.e. visit for it - punish it. Such a result was to be expected. But when there had been no precedent idolatry, no neglect of the worship of Jehovah, what then? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart. Secret idolatry would, of course, explain the state of things; but the writer evidently knows of no secret idolatry. (Heb.: 44:14-17) To this defeat is now also added the shame that springs out of it. A distinction is made between the neighbouring nations, or those countries lying immediately round about Israel (סביבות, as in the exactly similar passage Psalm 79:4, cf. Psalm 80:7, which closely resembles it), and the nations of the earth that dwell farther away from Israel. משׁל is here a jesting, taunting proverb, and one that holds Israel up as an example of a nation undergoing chastisement (vid., Habakkuk 2:6). The shaking of the head is, as in Psalm 22:8, a gesture of malicious astonishment. In נגדּי תּמיד (as in Psalm 38:18) we have both the permanent aspect or look and the perpetual consciousness. Instead of "shame covers my face," the expression is "the shame of my face covers me," i.e., it has overwhelmed my entire inward and outward being (cf. concerning the radical notions of בּושׁ, Psalm 6:11, and חפר, Psalm 34:6). The juxtaposition of "enemy and revengeful man" has its origin in Psalm 8:3. In Psalm 44:17 מקּול and מפּני alternate; the former is used of the impression made by the jeering voice, the other of the impression produced by the enraged mien.
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