Psalm 77:7
Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favorable no more?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7-9) The self-questionings here follow as they rise sigh after sigh in the poet’s heart. God’s silences have always been more appalling to the human spirit than even the most terrible of His manifestations. To the pious Israelite, to whom the past history of his race appeared one scene of opportune interpositions to save at the moment when distress became too intolerable, it seemed as if the divine protection was altogether withdrawn when the misery was protracted and the sign of help withheld.

Psalm 77:7-9. Will the Lord cast off for ever? — “The psalmist now relates the process of his meditations, and of that controversy which arose in his heart between faith and distrust.” Most commentators suppose that the psalmist’s distress and despondency were occasioned chiefly, if not solely, by public calamities. Thus Poole seems to have understood the passage. “Will the Lord cast off — His peculiar and chosen people? This does not seem to agree either with God’s nature, or with that everlasting covenant which he hath made with them. Is his mercy clean gone for ever? — Are all the stores of his mercy quite spent? Doth he now cease to be what he hath styled himself, The Lord, gracious and merciful? &c. Doth his promise fail for evermore? — Will he never make good those gracious promises in which he hath commanded us to hope? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? — Because he hath so long disused so to be? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? — So as they can never flow forth, no, not to his own people?” In the same light it is considered by Dr. Horne, who observes upon it, “While he (the psalmist) viewed the distressful scene around him, he found himself strongly tempted to question God’s love of the church; to think that he had finally rejected his people; that the promised mercy of redemption would never be accomplished; and that indignation had restrained the bowels of our heavenly Father, which no longer yearned toward his afflicted children. These were the thoughts suggested to a desponding soul by the desolations of Zion at that time; and the state of things in the world may possibly be such as to suggest the like thoughts to many in the Christian Church, before our Lord shall appear again for her final redemption.” But there does not seem to be any intimation in the Psalm that the author’s trouble and dejection arose from public miseries. Personal trials and temptations might, and it seems probable from the expressions here used, that they were at least the principal causes of his distress and despondency. Thus Henry: “This is the language of a disconsolate soul, now walking in darkness, and having no light, a case not uncommon even with those who fear the Lord, and obey the voice of his servant, Isaiah 50:10.” Especially, we may add, when exercised with afflictive and trying dispensations of providence, or assaulted with sore temptations. Even “God’s own people, in a cloudy and dark day,” and the rather if they have grieved the Holy Spirit, which should have witnessed their sonship, and have defiled their conscience by yielding to any known sin, in temper, word, or work, or to lukewarmness and sloth, or the spirit of the world, “may be tempted to make desperate conclusions about their own spiritual state, or the condition of God’s church and kingdom in the world; and, as to both, may be ready to give up all for gone. We may be tempted to think that God has abandoned and cast us off; that the covenant of grace fails us, and that the tender mercy of our God shall be for ever withheld from us. But we must not give way to such suggestions as these. If fear and melancholy ask such peevish questions, let faith answer them from the Scripture. Will the Lord cast off for ever? God forbid, Romans 11:1. No; the Lord will not cast off his” obedient “people, Psalm 94:14. Will he be favourable no more? Yes, he will; for though he cause grief, yet he will have compassion, Lamentations 3:32. Is his mercy clean gone for ever? No; his mercy endureth for ever; as it is from everlasting, so it is to everlasting, Psalm 103:17. Doth his promise fail for evermore? No; it is impossible for God to lie, Hebrews 6:18. Hath God forgotten to be gracious? No; he cannot deny himself, and his own name, which he hath proclaimed to be gracious and merciful, Exodus 34:6. Has his anger shut up his tender mercies? No; they are new every morning, Lamentations 3:22.” Thus Henry. To whose encouraging observations we may add, nearly in the words of Sherlock, that “whether the calamities which afflicted the psalmist were private to himself, or public to his people and country, yet as long as his thoughts dwelt on them, and led him into expostulations with God for the severity of his judgments, he found no ease or relief. He complained heavily, but what did he get by his complaint? Was he not forced immediately to confess the impropriety and folly of it? I said, This is my infirmity. He said very right. In complaining, he followed the natural impressions of passion and impatience: in acknowledging the folly of his complaint, he spoke not only the language of grace, but of sense and reason. But this good man, being well grounded in religion, was able so far to get the better of his doubts and fears as to pass a right judgment in his own case: and to call to his assistance the proper reflections which the great works of Providence administered for the support and confirmation of his hope and confidence toward God. Here then was his comfort; here the cure of all his grief. The scene around him was dark and gloomy; but, dark as it was, it was under the guidance and direction of the hand which had never failed the faithful, to deliver him out of all his troubles.”77:1-10 Days of trouble must be days of prayer; when God seems to have withdrawn from us, we must seek him till we find him. In the day of his trouble the psalmist did not seek for the diversion of business or amusement, but he sought God, and his favor and grace. Those that are under trouble of mind, must pray it away. He pored upon the trouble; the methods that should have relieved him did but increase his grief. When he remembered God, it was only the Divine justice and wrath. His spirit was overwhelmed, and sank under the load. But let not the remembrance of the comforts we have lost, make us unthankful for those that are left. Particularly he called to remembrance the comforts with which he supported himself in former sorrows. Here is the language of a sorrowful, deserted soul, walking in darkness; a common case even among those that fear the Lord, Isa 50:10. Nothing wounds and pierces like the thought of God's being angry. God's own people, in a cloudy and dark day, may be tempted to make wrong conclusions about their spiritual state, and that of God's kingdom in the world. But we must not give way to such fears. Let faith answer them from the Scripture. The troubled fountain will work itself clear again; and the recollection of former times of joyful experience often raises a hope, tending to relief. Doubts and fears proceed from the want and weakness of faith. Despondency and distrust under affliction, are too often the infirmities of believers, and, as such, are to be thought upon by us with sorrow and shame. When, unbelief is working in us, we must thus suppress its risings.Will the Lord cast off for ever? - This was the subject, and the substance, of his inquiry: whether it was a fair and just conclusion that God would show no mercy; would never be gracious again. Evidently the thought passed through his mind that this seemed to be the character of God; that things looked as if this were so; that it was difficult, if not impossible, to understand the divine dealings otherwise; and he asks whether this was a fair conclusion; whether he must be constrained to believe that this was so.

And will he be favorable no more? - Will he no more show favor to people? Will he pardon and save no more of the race of mankind?

4. holdest … waking—or, "fast," that I cannot sleep. Thus he is led to express his anxious feelings in several earnest questions indicative of impatient sorrow. Will the Lord cast off his peculiar and chosen people? This doth not seem to agree either with God’s nature, or with that everlasting covenant which he hath made with them. Will the Lord cast off for ever?.... The Syriac version of this, and the two following verses, is not by way of interrogation, but affirmation: "the Lord hath forgotten me for ever, nor will he", &c. and so expresses the language of unbelief; but the Arabic version, in connection with the last words, with which it begins this verse, is, "and I weighed in my spirit whether the Lord", &c. and so makes it a subject of inquiry, and at most of questioning or doubting. The Targum, different from either, begins this and each of the verses thus, "is it possible that the Lord", &c. suggesting that it was not possible that he should do this and the other, and so speaks the language of faith. Unbelief in the psalmist said, the Lord will cast "me", or "his people", off, for either or both may be understood; which so appears when God hides his face, or does not immediately arise to help; or suffers the enemy to prevail, and difficulties and discouragements to obtain and continue; but Faith says, he will not cast off his people, whom he foreknew, from having a share in his affections, from being interested in his covenant, from his sight, and being the objects of his care, from enjoying the privileges of his house and family, or so as to perish eternally:

and will he be favourable no more? or bear good will, show kindness, be propitious, graciously accept, as the word (p) signifies; this question supposes that he had been favourable, and bore a good will, as the gracious purposes and kind intentions of his heart, the well stored covenant of his grace, and the mission of his Son to be a Saviour, show; that he has been propitious through the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, and has accepted of the persons and services of his people, and indulged them with near communion with himself; but that now he is not, he having withdrawn the sense of his love, and the communications of his divine favours; and Unbelief says he will be so no more, and adds, I am cut off from before his eyes, and am as the slain, that are remembered no more; and shall go softly all my years, in the bitterness of my soul; but Faith says, he will be favourable again; that joy will come in the morning; that the Lord will hear, and be a light unto the souls of his people, though in darkness; and will bring to the light, and cause to behold his righteousness.

(p) "acceptos habere", Cocceius, so Ainsworth; "propitius et gratiosus esse", Michaelis.

Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. “For age after age will the Lord cast off?

And will he not once again shew favour?”

7. The emphasis is on for ever; lit. for ages to come, which are compared with the ages past (Psalm 77:5); a different word from that in Psalm 77:8, and Psalm 74:1. Cp. Psalm 85:5.

For ‘shew favour,’ cp. Psalm 44:3; Psalms 18; Psalm 85:1; Psalm 106:4.Verse 7. - Will the Lord cast off forever? The psalmist asked himself in the night such questions as these: Is it really to be supposed that God will cast off his people forever? And will he be favourable (or, gracious) no more? Surely such desertion is incredible. The poet is resolved to pray without intermission, and he prays; fore his soul is comfortless and sorely tempted by the vast distance between the former days and the present times. According to the pointing, והאזין appears to be meant to be imperative after the form הקטיל, which occurs instead of הקטל and הקתילה, cf. Psalm 94:1; Isaiah 43:8; Jeremiah 17:18, and the mode of writing הקטיל, Psalm 142:5, 2 Kings 8:6, and frequently; therefore et audi equals ut audias (cf. 2 Samuel 21:3). But such an isolated form of address is not to be tolerated; והאזין has been regarded as perf. consec. in the sense of ut audiat, although this modification of האזין into האזין in connection with the appearing of the Waw consec. cannot be supported in any other instance (Ew. ֗234, e), and Kimchi on this account tries to persuade himself to that which is impossible, viz., that והאזין in respect of sound stands for ויאזין. The preterites in Psalm 77:3 express that which has commenced and which will go on. The poet labours in his present time of affliction to press forward to the Lord, who has withdrawn from him; his hand is diffused, i.e., stretched out (not: poured out, for the radical meaning of נגר, as the Syriac shows, is protrahere), in the night-time without wearying and leaving off; it is fixedly and stedfastly (אמוּנה, as it is expressed in Exodus 17:12) stretched out towards heaven. His soul is comfortless, and all comfort up to the present rebounds as it were from it (cf. Genesis 37:35; Jeremiah 31:15). If he remembers God, who was once near to him, then he is compelled to groan (cf. Psalm 55:18, Psalm 55:3; and on the cohortative form of a Lamed He verb, cf. Ges. ֗75, 6), because He has hidden Himself from him; if he muses, in order to find Him again, then his spirit veils itself, i.e., it sinks into night and feebleness (התעטּף as in Psalm 107:5; Psalm 142:4; Psalm 143:4). Each of the two members of Psalm 77:4 are protasis and apodosis; concerning this emotional kind of structure of a sentence, vid., Ewald, ֗357, b.
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