Psalm 85:4
Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.
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(4) Turn us.—Here equivalent to restore us once more. If, the poet felt, the captivity had taught its lesson, why, on the restoration, did not complete freedom from misfortune ensue? It is this which supplies the motive of his song.

Psalm 85:4. Turn us, O God of our salvation — That is, either, 1st, Convert us. As thou hast brought back our bodies to thy land, so bring back our hearts to thyself, from whom many of them are to this day alienated. Or rather, restore us to our former tranquillity, and free us from the troubles which we yet groan under from our malicious neighbours and enemies. And cause thine anger toward us to cease — He prudently endeavours to get the root and cause of their continued miseries removed, namely, God’s anger procured by their sins.

85:1-7 The sense of present afflictions should not do away the remembrance of former mercies. The favour of God is the fountain of happiness to nations, as well as to particular persons. When God forgives sin, he covers it; and when he covers the sin of his people, he covers it all. See what the pardon of sin is. In compassion to us, when Christ our Intercessor has stood before thee, thou hast turned away thine anger. When we are reconciled to God, then, and not till then, we may expect the comfort of his being reconciled to us. He shows mercy to those to whom he grants salvation; for salvation is of mere mercy. The Lord's people may expect sharp and tedious afflictions when they commit sin; but when they return to him with humble prayer, he will make them again to rejoice in him.Turn us, O God of our salvation - The God from whom salvation must come, and on whom we are dependent for it. The prayer here is, "turn us;" turn us from our sins; bring us to repentance; make us willing to forsake every evil way; and enable us to do it. This is the proper spirit always in prayer. The first thing is not that he would take away his wrath, but that he would dispose us to forsake our sins, and to turn to himself; that we may be led to abandon that which has brought his displeasure upon us, and then that he will cause his anger toward us to cease. We have no authority for asking God to turn away his judgments unless we are willing to forsake our sins; and in all cases we can hope for the divine interposition and mercy, when the judgments of God are upon us, only as we are willing to turn from our iniquities.

And cause thine anger toward us to cease - The word used here, and rendered "cause to cease" - פרר pârar - means properly to break; then, to violate; and then, to annul, or to bring to an end. The idea here is, that if they were turned from sin, the cause of his anger would be removed, and would cease of course. Compare Psalm 80:3.

4-7. having still occasion for the anger which is deprecated. Turn us; either,

1. Convert us. As thou hast brought back our bodies to thy land, so bring back our hearts to thyself, from whom many of them to this day are alienated. Or rather,

2. Restore us to our former tranquillity, and free us from the troubles which we yet groan under from our malicious neighbours and enemies; for this best suits with the following clause of the verse, which commonly explains the former.

Cause thine anger toward us to cease; he prudently endeavours to take away the root and cause of their continued miseries, to wit, God’s anger procured by their sins.

Turn us, O God of our salvation,.... Who appointed it in his purposes, contrived it in council, secured it in covenant, and sent his Son to effect it; the prayer to him is for converting grace, either at first, for first conversion is his work, and his only; or after backslidings, for he it is that restores the souls of his people; and perhaps it is a prayer of the Jews, for their conversion in the latter day; when sensible of sin, and seeking after the Messiah they have rejected, when the Lord will turn them to himself, and turn away iniquity from them, and they shall be saved, Hosea 3:5,

and cause thine anger towards us to cease: the manifest tokens of which are now upon them, being scattered up and down in the world, and made a proverb, a taunt, and a jeer; but will be removed, and cease, when they shall be converted.

Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.
4. Turn us] I.e. Restore us. Cp. Psalm 80:3. For R.V. marg. Turn to us, cp. Isaiah 63:17; but the rendering of the text is preferable.

cause thine anger &c.] Lit. break off thine indignation with us: cease to be provoked with us. The cognate verb is constantly used of Israel’s ‘provocation’ of Jehovah (e.g. Jeremiah 7:18 ff.).

4–7. Yet in spite of forgiveness and restoration, much is still lacking. Oh that God would wholly withdraw His wrath, and gladden His people with a full salvation! Cp. the prayer of Psalm 126:4.

Verses 4-7. - The prayer. Two things are prayed for - first, that God will turn the hearts of his people wholly towards himself (ver. 4); and secondly, that he will complete his work of deliverance by removing the traces, that still exist, of his past anger (vers. 5-7). Israel is still in a state of great distress and weakness, suffering from the natural consequences of its sins, which keep it depressed and sad. Verse 4. - Turn us, O God of our salvation. Thou art turned to us (ver. 1); let us also be turned to thee. We cannot turn of our own mere wish to turn; we need thy helping grace (comp. Psalm 80:3, 7, 19). And cause thine anger toward us to cease. Verbally, this contradicts ver. 3, whence it has been supposed by some to come from the mouth of another speaker. But really there is no contradiction, if we understand, both here and in the next verse, by God's anger, the effects of his anger, which were still continuing (comp. Ezra 3:12, 13; Ezra 4:4-24; Ezra 9:2-15; Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 2:17; Nehemiah 4:1-22; Nehemiah 5:1-19). Psalm 85:4The poet now prays God to manifest anew the loving-kindness He has shown formerly. In the sense of "restore us again," שׁוּבנוּ does not form any bond of connection between this and the preceding strophe; but it does it, according to Ges. 121, 4, it is intended in the sense of (אלינוּ) שׁוּב לנוּ, turn again to us. The poet prays that God would manifest Himself anew to His people as He has done in former days. Thus the transition from the retrospective perfects to the petition is, in the presence of the existing extremity, adequately brought about. Assuming the post-exilic origin of the Psalm, we see from this strophe that it was composed at a period in which the distance between the temporal and spiritual condition of Israel and the national restoration, promised together with the termination of the Exile, made itself distinctly felt. On עמּנוּ (in relation to and bearing towards us) beside כּעסך, cf. Job 10:17, and also on הפר, Psalm 89:34. In the question in Psalm 89:6 reminding God of His love and of His promise, משׁך has the signification of constant endless continuing or pursuing, as in Psalm 36:11. The expression in Psalm 85:7 is like Psalm 71:20, cf. Psalm 80:19; שׁוּב is here the representative of rursus, Ges. 142. ישׁעך from ישׁע, like קצפּך in Psalm 38:2, has ĕ (cf. the inflexion of פּרי and חק) instead of the ı̆ in אלהי ישׁענוּ. Here at the close of the strophe the prayer turns back inferentially to this attribute of God.
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