Psalm 77:7
Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?
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(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to save at the moment when distress became too intolerable, it seemed as if the divine protection was altogether withdrawn when the misery was protracted and the sign of help withheld.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?
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. Psalm 77:7He calls his eyelids the "guards of my eyes." He who holds these so that they remain open when they want to shut together for sleep, is God; for his looking up to Him keeps the poet awake in spite of all overstraining of his powers. Hupfeld and others render thus: "Thou hast held, i.e., caused to last, the night-watches of mine eyes," - which is affected in thought and expression. The preterites state what has been hitherto and has not yet come to a close. He still endures, as formerly, such thumps and blows within him, as though he lay upon an anvil (פּעם), and his voice fails him. Then silent soliloquy takes the place of audible prayer; he throws himself back in thought to the days of old (Psalm 143:5), the years of past periods (Isaiah 51:9), which were so rich in the proofs of the power and loving-kindness of the God who was then manifest, but is now hidden. He remembers the happier past of his people and his own, inasmuch as he now in the night purposely calls back to himself in his mind the time when joyful thankfulness impelled him to the song of praise accompanied by the music of the harp (בּלּילה belongs according to the accents to the verb, not to נגינתי, although that construction certainly is strongly commended by parallel passages like Psalm 16:7; Psalm 42:9; Psalm 92:3, cf. Job 35:10), in place of which, crying and sighing and gloomy silence have now entered. He gives himself up to musing "with his heart," i.e., in the retirement of his inmost nature, inasmuch as he allows his thoughts incessantly to hover to and fro between the present and the former days, and in consequence of this (fut. consec. as in Psalm 42:6) his spirit betakes itself to scrupulizing (what the lxx reproduces with σκάλλειν, Aquila with σκαλεύειν) - his conflict of temptation grows fiercer. Now follow the two doubting questions of the tempted one: he asks in different applications, Psalm 77:8-10 (cf. Psalm 85:6), whether it is then all at an end with God's loving-kindness and promise, at the same time saying to himself, that this nevertheless is at variance with the unchangeableness of His nature (Malachi 3:6) and the inviolability of His covenant. אפס (only occurring as a 3. praet.) alternates with גּמר (Psalm 12:2). חנּות is an infinitive construct formed after the manner of the Lamed He verbs, which, however, does also occur as infinitive absolute (שׁמּות, Ezekiel 36:3, cf. on Psalm 17:3); Gesenius and Olshausen (who doubts this infinitive form, 245, f) explain it, as do Aben-Ezra and Kimchi, as the plural of a substantive חנּה, but in the passage cited from Ezekiel (vid., Hitzig) such a substantival plural is syntactically impossible. קפץ רחמים is to draw together or contract and draw back one's compassion, so that it does not manifest itself outwardly, just as he who will not give shuts (יקפּץ) his hand (Deuteronomy 15:7; cf. supra, Psalm 17:10).
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