Why hide you your face, and forget our affliction and our oppression?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 44:24-25. Wherefore hidest thou thy face? — Dost not regard our miseries, nor afford us any pity or help? and forgettest our affliction — Actest as if thou didst forget, or overlook it, when we have not forgotten thee? Does this become thy faithfulness and goodness? For our soul is bowed down to the dust — Under prevailing grief and fear. We lie prostrate at our enemies’ feet. Our belly cleaveth unto the earth — We are not only thrown down to the earth, but we lie there. We cannot lift up ourselves, neither revive our own drooping spirits, nor recover ourselves out of our low and sad condition. And we lie exposed to be trodden on by every insulting foe.Psalm 13:1. Why dost thou turn away from us, and refuse to aid us, and leave us to these unpitied sufferings?
And forgettest our affliction and our oppression - Our trials, and the wrongs that are committed against us. These are earnest appeals. They are the pleadings of the oppressed and the wronged. The language is such as man would use in addressing his fellow-men; and, when applied to God, it must be understood as such language. As used in the Psalms, it denotes earnestness, but not irreverence; it is solemn petition, not dictation; it is affectionate pleading, not complaint. It indicates depth of suffering and distress, and is the strongest language which could be employed to denote entire helplessness and dependence. At the same time, it is language which implies that the cause for which they suffered was the cause of God, and that they might properly call on him to interfere in behalf of his own friends.Hidest thou thy face, i.e. dost not regard our miseries, nor affordest us any pity or help.
Forgettest our affliction and our oppression, when we have not forgotten thee. This seems not well to become thy faithfulness and goodness. Psalm 10:1;
and forgettest our affliction and our oppression. Not that the Lord does really forget either the persons of his people, which he cannot, since they are engraven on the palms of his hands, and a book of remembrance is written for them: nor the afflictions of his people; he knows their souls in adversity; he chooses them in the furnace of affliction; he makes all afflictions work together for good, and delivers out of them. But because deliverance is not immediately wrought, and they sometimes continue long under their afflictions and oppressions, they seem to be forgotten by him, as during the ten persecutions and the long reign of antichrist.Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. hidest thou thy face] In anger or indifference, instead of shewing the light of Thy countenance in gracious help to Thy people (Psalm 44:3; Psalm 80:3).
our affliction and our oppression] Cp. Deuteronomy 26:7; Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:9; 2 Kings 13:4; 2 Kings 14:26. The latter word occurs elsewhere in the Psalter only in Psalm 42:9, Psalm 43:2.Verse 24. - Wherefore hidest thou thy face (comp. Psalm 13:1; Psalm 27:9; Psalm 69:17, etc.). And forgettest our affliction and our oppression? (see Psalm 13:1; Psalm 74:19). Psalm 35:8; Psalm 36:12, to come upon one, and more especially of an evil lot and of powers that are hostile. שׁקּר, to lie or deceive, with בּ of the object on whom the deception or treachery is practised, as in Psalm 89:34. In Psalm 44:19 אשּׁוּר is construed as fem., exactly as in Job 31:8; the fut. consec. is also intended as such (as e.g., in Job 3:10; Numbers 16:14): that our step should have declined from, etc.; inward apostasy is followed by outward wandering and downfall. This is therefore not one of the many instances in which the לא of one clause also has influence over the clause that follows (Ges. 152, 3). כּי, Psalm 44:20, has the sense of quod: we have not revolted against Thee, that Thou shouldest on that account have done to us the thing which is now befallen us. Concerning תּנּיּם vid., Isaiah 13:22. A "place of jackals" is, like a habitation of dragons (Jeremiah 10:22), the most lonesome and terrible wilderness; the place chosen was, according to this, an inhospitable מדבר, far removed from the dwellings of men. כּסּה is construed with על of the person covered, and with בּ of that with which (1 Samuel 19:13) he is covered: Thou coveredst us over with deepest darkness (vid., Psalm 23:4). אם, Psalm 44:21, is not that of asseveration (verily we have not forgotten), but, as the interrogatory apodosis Psalm 44:22 shows, conditional: if we have ( equals should have) forgotten. This would not remain hidden from Him who knoweth the heart, for the secrets of men's hearts are known to Him. Both the form and matter here again strongly remind one of Job 31, more especially Job 31:4; cf. also on תּעלמות, Job 11:6; Job 28:11.
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