Psalm 89:46
How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(46) How long.—With this persistent cry of the Maccabæan age (see Psalm 74:10), the poet shows that faith is not extinct, though it has a sore struggle with despair.

89:38-52 Sometimes it is not easy to reconcile God's providences with his promises, yet we are sure that God's works fulfil his word. When the great Anointed One, Christ himself, was upon the cross, God seemed to have cast him off, yet did not make void his covenant, for that was established for ever. The honour of the house of David was lost. Thrones and crowns are often laid in the dust; but there is a crown of glory reserved for Christ's spiritual seed, which fadeth not away. From all this complaint learn what work sin makes with families, noble families, with families in which religion has appeared. They plead with God for mercy. God's unchangeableness and faithfulness assure us that He will not cast off those whom he has chosen and covenanted with. They were reproached for serving him. The scoffers of the latter days, in like manner, reproach the footsteps of the Messiah when they ask, Where is the promise of his coming? 2Pe 3:3,4. The records of the Lord's dealings with the family of David, show us his dealings with his church, and with believers. Their afflictions and distresses may be grievous, but he will not finally cast them off. Self-deceivers abuse this doctrine, and others by a careless walk bring themselves into darkness and distress; yet let the true believer rely on it for encouragement in the path of duty, and in bearing the cross. The psalm ends with praise, even after this sad complaint. Those who give God thanks for what he has done, may give him thanks for what he will do. God will follow those with his mercies, who follow him with praises.How long, Lord? - How long is this to continue? Can it be that this is to continue always? Is there to be no change for the better? Are the promises which have been made, never to be fulfilled? Compare Psalm 13:1, note; Psalm 77:7-9, notes.

Wilt thou hide thyself for ever? - Thy favor. Wilt thou never come forth and manifest thyself as the Helper of those who trust in thee?

Shall thy wrath burn like fire? - Fire which entirely consumes; fire which never ceases as long as there is anything to burn; fire which never puts itself out, but which wholly destroys that on which it preys.

46. How long, &c.—(Compare Ps 13:1; 88:14; Jer 4:4). No text from Poole on this verse.

How long, Lord, wilt thou hide thyself? for ever?.... When God hides his face front his people, though it is but for a little while, it seems long, and a kind of an eternity to them; and so it seemed to the man Christ Jesus; and indeed what he endured, when his Father hid his face from him, was of the same kind with an eternal absence; see Psalm 13:1,

shall thy wrath burn like fire? it did so when Christ bore the sins of his people, and all the punishment due unto them; when his strength was dried up like a potsherd; when he, the antitype of the passover lamb roasted with fire, was sacrificed for us; all which is entirely consistent with God's everlasting and invariable love to him, as his own Son. See Gill on Psalm 89:38.

How long, {g} LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?

(g) The prophet in joining prayer with his complaint, shows that his faith never failed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
46. How long, Jehovah, wilt thou hide thyself for ever?

(How long) shall thy wrath burn like fire?

A repetition of Psalm 79:5, with slight variations.

46–51. The Psalmist appeals to God to withdraw His wrath and remove this contradiction, pleading the shortness of life and the taunts of God’s enemies as grounds for a speedy answer.

Verses 46-51. - The psalm ends with an appeal to God - "How long" is the present state of things to continue? How long is God's wrath to endure? Will he not remember how weak and futile, how short-lived and fleeting, the whole race of man is? Well he not bethink him of his old loving kindnesses to David, and of the promises made to him, and confirmed by oath? Will he not therefore remove their reproach from Israel, and especially from his anointed, on whom the disgrace chiefly falls? To these questions there can be but one answer. God will assuredly make his faithfulness known (see ver. 1). Verse 46. - How long, Lord? wilt thou hide thyself forever; (comp. Psalm 13:1; Psalm 74:10; Psalm 79:5). Shall thy wrath burn like fire? i.e. furiously, without cessation, till all be consumed. Psalm 89:46After this statement of the present condition of things the psalmist begins to pray for the removal of all that is thus contradictory to the promise. The plaintive question, Psalm 89:47, with the exception of one word, is verbatim the same as Psalm 79:5. The wrath to which quousque refers, makes itself to be felt, as the intensifying (vid., Psalm 13:2) לנצח implies, in the intensity and duration of everlasting wrath. חלד is this temporal life which glides past secretly and unnoticed (Psalm 17:14); and זכר־אני is not equivalent to זכרני (instead of which by way of emphasis only זכרני אני can be said), but אני מה־חלד stands for מה־חלד אני - according to the sense equivalent to אני מה־חדל, Psalm 39:5, cf. Psalm 39:6. The conjecture of Houbigant and modern expositors, זכר אדני (cf. Psalm 89:51), is not needed, since the inverted position of the words is just the same as in Psalm 39:5. In Psalm 89:48 it is not pointed על־מה שׁוא, "wherefore (Job 10:2; Job 13:14) hast Thou in vain (Psalm 127:1) created?" (Hengstenberg), but על־מה־שּׁוא, on account of or for what a nothing (מה־שׁוא belonging together as adjective and substantive, as in Psalm 30:10; Job 26:14) hast Thou created all the children of men? (De Wette, Hupfeld, and Hitzig). על, of the ground of a matter and direct motive, which is better suited to the question in Psalm 89:49 than the other way of taking it: the life of all men passes on into death and Hades; why then might not God, within this brief space of time, this handbreadth, manifest Himself to His creatures as the merciful and kind, and not as the always angry God? The music strikes in here, and how can it do so otherwise than in elegiac mesto? If God's justice tarries and fails in this present world, then the Old Testament faith becomes sorely tempted and tried, because it is not able to find consolation in the life beyond. Thus it is with the faith of the poet in the present juncture of affairs, the outward appearance of which is in such perplexing contradiction to the loving-kindness sworn to David and also hitherto vouchsafed. חסדים has not the sense in this passage of the promises of favour, as in 2 Chronicles 6:42, but proofs of favour; הראשׁנים glances back at the long period of the reigns of David and of Solomon.

(Note: The Pasek between חראשׁנים and אדני is not designed merely to remove the limited predicate from the Lord, who is indeed the First and the Last, but also to secure its pronunciation to the guttural Aleph, which might be easily passed over after Mem; cf. Genesis 1:27; Genesis 21:17; Genesis 30:20; Genesis 42:21, and frequently.)

The Asaph Psalm 77 and the Tephilla Isaiah 63 contain similar complaints, just as in connection with Psalm 89:51 one is reminded of the Asaph Psalm 79:2, Psalm 79:10, and in connection with Psalm 89:52 of Psalm 79:12. The phrase נשׂא בחיקו is used in other instances of loving nurture, Numbers 11:12; Isaiah 40:11. In this passage it must have a sense akin to חרפּת עבדיך. It is impossible on syntactic grounds to regard כּל־רבּים עמּים as still dependent upon חרפּת (Ewald) or, as Hupfeld is fond of calling it, as a "post-liminiar" genitive. Can it be that the כל is perhaps a mutilation of כּלמּת, after Ezekiel 36:15, as Bttcher suggests? We do not need this conjecture. For (1) to carry any one in one's bosom, if he is an enemy, may signify: to be obliged to cherish him with the vexation proceeding from him (Jeremiah 15:15), without being able to get rid of him; (2) there is no doubt that רבּים can, after the manner of numerals, be placed before the substantive to which it belongs, Ezekiel 32:10, Proverbs 31:29; 1 Chronicles 28:5; Nehemiah 9:28; cf. the other position, e.g., Jeremiah 16:16; (3) consequently כּל־רבּים עמּים may signify the "totality of many peoples" just as well as כּל גּוים רבּים in Ezekiel 31:6. The poet complains as a member of the nation, as a citizen of the empire, that he is obliged to foster many nations in his bosom, inasmuch as the land of Israel was overwhelmed by the Egyptians and their allies, the Libyans, Troglodytes, and Ethiopians. The אשׁר which follows in Psalm 89:52 cannot now be referred back over Psalm 89:51 to חרפּת (quâ calumniâ), and yet the relative sense, not the confirmatory (because, quoniam), is at issue. We therefore refer it to עמים, and take אויביך as an apposition, as in Psalm 139:20 : who reproach Thee, (as) Thine enemies, Jahve, who reproach the footsteps (עקּבות as in Psalm 77:20 with Dag. dirimens, which gives it an emotional turn) of Thine anointed, i.e., they follow him everywhere, wheresoever he may go, and whatsoever he may do. With these significant words, עקּבות משׁיחך, the Third Book of the Psalms dies away.

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