Will not you, O God, which had cast us off? and you, O God, which did not go out with our armies?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 60:1. The meaning is, that although God had seemed to reject and forsake them, they had no other resource, and the appeal might be still made to him. The psalmist hoped that he would again be favorable to his people, and would not forsake them altogether. It is still true that although God may seem to forsake us, that although he may leave us for a time to discouragement and darkness, yet we have no other resource but himself; it is still true that we may hope in his mercy, and plead for his return.
And thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies? - Who didst suffer us to be defeated. See the notes at Psalm 60:2-3.Revelation 18:10; He will put it into the hearts of the kings of the earth to hate her; he will encourage them to reward her double; he will give her blood to drink, because she is worthy; her destruction will be according to his righteous judgment, and will be irretrievable; he will call upon all his people to rejoice at it, whose shoutings on this occasion will be like those of persons that enter into a conquered city in triumph;
which hadst cast us off; who seemed in former times to have cast off his people, when they were killed all the day long; accounted as sheep for the slaughter; were slain in great numbers in the Low Countries; burnt here in England; massacred in France and Ireland: especially God seemed to have cast off his people, and to have had no regard to his interest, when antichrist so prevailed, that all the world wondered after the beast;
and thou, O God, which didst not go forth with our armies: but suffered the antichristian beast to make war with the saints, and to overcome and kill them; and which was the case in many pitched battles with the Waldenses and Albigenses before the Reformation, and with the Protestants in Germany since. But this will not be always the case; he whose name is the Word of God, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, will fight with the antichristian powers, and overcome them, and make his people more than conquerors over them; and his having formerly seemed to have cast them off, and not going forth with their armies, will serve as a foil to set off the glorious and complete victory that will at last be obtained.Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. Wilt not thou, O God &c.] This rendering, which is that of the LXX, Vulg., Symm., and Jer., is grammatically legitimate, though less obvious than that of R.V.;
Hast not thou, O God, cast us off?
And thou goest not forth, O God, with our hosts.
It suits the context better as the answer to Psalm 60:9 in a tone of confidence which corresponds to that of Psalm 60:12. Though God has for the moment deserted us, and has not led our armies to victory, He will surely now give us help, for we trust in Him alone. The rendering of R.V. introduces a note of despair, which harmonises ill with the confidence of Psalm 60:12. With it the connexion of thought would be, Who can lead us into the enemy’s stronghold? None but God, and God has deserted us. Yet even now perhaps He will hear our prayer (Psalm 60:11). With the second line cp. Psalm 44:9.Verse 10. - Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? rather, Hast not thou, O God, cast us off? Can we expect thee to lead us, when thou hast so lately cast us off, and, as we hear it said on all sides, dost not go out with our armies? A reference, perhaps, to Psalm 44:9. 2 Samuel 5:20, where David uses this word of the defeat of the Philistines, and explains it figuratively. The word signifies to break through what has hitherto been a compact mass, to burst, blast, scatter, disperse. The prayer is first of all timidly uttered in תּשׁובב לנוּ in the form of a wish; then in רפה (Psalm 60:4) and הושׁיעה (Psalm 60:7) it waxes more and more eloquent. שׁובב ל here signifies to grant restoration (like הניח ל, to give rest; Psalm 23:3; Isaiah 58:12). The word also signifies to make a turn, to turn one's self away, in which sense, however, it cannot be construed with ל. On פּצמתּהּ Dunash has already compared Arab. fṣm, rumpere, scindere, and Mose ha-Darshan the Targumic פּצּם equals פרע, Jeremiah 22:14. The deep wounds which the Edomites had inflicted upon the country, are after all a wrathful visitation of God Himself - reeling or intoxicating wine, or as יין תּרעלה (not יין), properly conceived of, is: wine which is sheer intoxication (an apposition instead of the genitive attraction, vid., on Isaiah 30:20), is reached out by Him to His people. The figure of the intoxicating cup has passed over from the Psalms of David and of Asaph to the prophets (e.g., Isaiah 51:17, Isaiah 51:21). A kindred thought is expressed in the proverb: Quem Deus perdere vult, eum dementat. All the preterites as far as השׁקיתנוּ (Psalm 60:5) glance back plaintively at that which has been suffered.
But Psalm 60:6 cannot be thus intended; for to explain with Ewald and Hitzig, following the lxx, "Thou hast set up a banner for those who reverence Thee, not for victory, but for flight," is inadmissible, notwithstanding the fact that מפּני קשׁת nuwc is a customary phrase and the inscribed ללמּד is favourable to the mention of the bow. For (1) The words, beginning with נתתּ, do not sound like an utterance of something worthy of complaint - in this case it ought at least to have been expressed by עך להתנוסס (only for flight, not for victory); (2) it is more than improbable that the bow, instead of being called קשׁת (feminine of the Arabic masculine kaus), is here, according to an incorrect Aramaic form of writing, called קשׁט, whereas this word in its primary form קשׁט (Proverbs 22:21) corresponds to the Aramaic קוּשׁטא not in the signification "a bow," but (as it is also intended in the Targum of our passage) in the signification "truth" (Arabic ḳisṭ of strict unswerving justice, root קש, to be hard, strong, firm; just as, vice versa, the word ṣidḳ, coming from a synonymous root, is equivalent to "truth"). We therefore take the perfect predication, like Psalm 60:4, as the foundation of the prayer which follows: Thou hast given those who fear Thee a banner to muster themselves (sich aufpanieren), i.e., to raise themselves as around a standard or like a standard, on account of the truth - help then, in order that Thy beloved ones may be delivered, with Thy right hand, and answer me. This rendering, in accordance with which Psalm 60:6 expresses the good cause of Israel in opposition to its enemies, is also favoured by the heightened effect of the music, which comes in here, as Sela prescribes. The reflexive התנוסס here therefore signifies not, as Hithpal. of נוּס, "to betake one's self to flight," but "to raise one's self" - a signification on behalf of which we cannot appeal to Zechariah 9:16, where מתנוססות is apparently equivalent to מתנוצצות "sparkling," but which here results from the juxtaposition with נס (cf. נסה, Psalm 4:7), inasmuch as נס itself, like Arab. naṣṣun, is so called from נסס, Arab. naṣṣ, to set up, raise, whether it be that the Hithpo. falls back upon the Kal of the verb or that it is intended as a denominative (to raise one's self as a banner, sich aufpanieren).
(Note: This expression wel illustrates the power of the German language in coining words, so that the language critically dealt with may be exactly reproduced to the German mind. The meaning will at once be clear when we inform our readers that Panier is a banner of standard; the reflexive denominative, therefore, in imitation of the Hebrew, sich aufpanieren signifies to "up-standard one's self," to raise one's self up after the manner of a standard, which being "done into English" may mean to rally (as around a standard). We have done our best above faithfully to convey the meaning of the German text, and we leave our readers to infer from this illustration the difficulties with which translators have not unfrequently to contend. - Tr.])
It is undeniable that not merely in later (e.g., Nehemiah 5:15), but also even in older Hebrew, מפּני denotes the reason and motive (e.g., Deuteronomy 28:20). Moreover Psalm 44 is like a commentary on this מפּני קשׁט, in which the consciousness of the people of the covenant revelation briefly and comprehensively expresses itself concerning their vocation in the world. Israel looks upon its battle against the heathen, as now against Edom, as a rising for the truth in accordance with its mission. By reason of the fact and of the consciousness which are expressed in Psalm 60:6, arises the prayer in Psalm 60:7, that Jahve would interpose to help and to rescue His own people from the power of the enemy. ימינך is instrumental (vid., on Psalm 3:5). It is to be read ענני according to the Ker, as in Psalm 108:7, instead of עננוּ; so that here the king of Israel is speaking, who, as he prays, stands in the place of his people.
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