To the Chief Musician; for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
39 I said, “I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue; I will muzzle my mouth While the wicked are in my presence.” 2 I was mute and silent [before my enemies], I refrained even from good, And my [a]distress grew worse. 3 My heart was hot within me. While I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue: 4 “Lord, let me know my [life’s] end And [to appreciate] the extent of my days; Let me know how frail I am [how transient is my stay here]. 5 “Behold, You have made my days as [short as] hand widths, And my lifetime is as nothing in Your sight. Surely every man at his best is a mere breath [a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes]!Selah. 6 “Surely every man walks around like a shadow [in a charade]; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; Each one builds up riches, not knowing who will receive them.
7 “And now, Lord, for what do I expectantly wait? My hope [my confident expectation] is in You. 8 “Save me from all my transgressions; Do not make me the scorn and reproach of the [self-righteous, arrogant] fool. 9 “I am mute, I do not open my mouth, Because it is You who has done it. 10 “Remove Your plague from me; I am wasting away because of the conflict and opposition of Your hand. 11 “With rebukes You discipline man for sin; You consume like a moth what is precious to him; Surely every man is a mere breath [a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes]. Selah.
12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and listen to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears; For I am Your temporary guest, A sojourner like all my fathers. 13 “O look away from me, that I may smile and again know joy Before I depart and am no more.”
God Sustains His Servant.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
40 I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of a horrible pit [of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my footsteps and establishing my path. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear [with great reverence] And will trust confidently in the Lord.
4 Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not regard the proud nor those who lapse into lies. 5 Many, O Lord my God, are the wonderful works which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of your wonders, They would be too many to count.
6 Sacrifice and meal offering You do not desire, nor do You delight in them; You have opened my ears and given me the capacity to hear [and obey Your word]; Burnt offerings and sin offerings You do not require. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I come [to the throne]; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8 “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.”
9 I have proclaimed good news of righteousness [and the joy that comes from obedience to You] in the great assembly; Behold, I will not restrain my lips [from proclaiming Your righteousness], As You know, O Lord. 10 I have not concealed Your righteousness within my heart; I have proclaimed Your faithfulness and Your salvation. I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold Your compassion and tender mercy from me, O Lord; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me. 12 For innumerable evils have encompassed me; My sins have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see. They are more numerous than the hairs of my head, And my heart has failed me.
13 Be pleased, O Lord, to save me; O Lord, make haste to help me. 14 Let those be ashamed and humiliated together Who seek my life to destroy it; Let those be turned back [in defeat] and dishonored Who delight in my hurt. 15 Let those be appalled and desolate because of their shame Who say to me, “Aha, aha [rejoicing in my misfortune]!” 16 Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let those who love Your salvation say continually, “The Lord be magnified!” 17 Even though I am afflicted and needy, Still the Lord takes thought and is mindful of me. You are my help and my rescuer. O my God, do not delay.
The Psalmist in Sickness Complains of Enemies and False Friends.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
41 Blessed [by God’s grace and compassion] is he who considers the helpless; The Lord will save him in the day of trouble. 2 The Lord will protect him and keep him alive; And he will be called blessed in the land; You do not hand him over to the desire of his enemies. 3 The Lord will sustain and strengthen him on his sickbed; In his illness, You will restore him to health.
4 As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” 5 My enemies speak evil of me, saying, “When will he die and his name perish?” 6 And when one comes to see me, he speaks empty words, While his heart gathers malicious gossip [against me]; When he goes away, he tells it [everywhere]. 7 All who hate me whisper together about me; Against me they devise my hurt [imagining the worst for me], saying, 8 “A wicked thing is poured out upon him and holds him; And when he lies down, he will not rise up again.” 9 Even my own close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me [betraying me].
10 But You, O Lord, be gracious to me and [b]restore me [to health], So that I may repay them. 11 By this I know that You favor and delight in me, Because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me. 12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And You set me in Your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting [from this age to the next, and forever]. Amen and Amen (so be it).
Thirsting for God in Trouble and Exile.
To the Chief Musician. A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of the sons of Korah.
42 As the deer pants [longingly] for the water brooks, So my [c]soul pants [longingly] for You, O God. 2 My soul (my life, my inner self) thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and see the face of God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I [vividly] remember as I pour out my soul; How I used to go along before the great crowd of people and lead them in procession to the house of God [like a choirmaster before his singers, timing the steps to the music and the chant of the song], With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a great crowd keeping a festival.
5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become restless and disturbed within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. 6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me [the burden more than I can bear]; Therefore I will [fervently] remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of [Mount] Hermon, from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep at the [thundering] sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. 8 Yet the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song will be with me, A prayer to the God of my life.
9 I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” 10 As a crushing of my bones [with a sword], my adversaries taunt me, While they say continually to me, “Where is your God?” 11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? Why have you become restless and disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, The [d]help of my countenance and my God.
Prayer for Rescue.
43 Judge and vindicate me, O God; plead my case against an ungodly nation. O rescue me from the deceitful and unjust man! 2 For You are the God of my strength [my stronghold—in whom I take refuge]; why have You rejected me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
3 O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your dwelling places. 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, To God, my exceeding joy; With the lyre I will praise You, O God, my God!
5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you restless and disturbed within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him, The [e]help of my [sad] countenance and my God.
Former Times of Help and Present Troubles.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem.
44 We have heard with our ears, O God, Our fathers have told us The work You did in their days, In the days of old. 2 You drove out the [pagan] nations with Your own hand; Then you planted and established them (Israel); [It was by Your power that] You uprooted the [pagan] peoples, Then You spread them abroad. 3 For our fathers did not possess the land [of Canaan] by their own sword, Nor did their own arm save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, Because You favored and delighted in them.
4 You are my King, O God; Command victories and deliverance for Jacob (Israel). 5 Through You we will gore our enemies [like a bull]; Through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, Nor will my sword save me. 7 But You have saved us from our enemies, And You have put them to shame and humiliated those who hate us. 8 In God we have boasted all the day long, And we will praise and give thanks to Your name forever. Selah.
9 But now You have rejected us and brought us to dishonor, And You do not go out with our armies [to lead us to victory]. 10 You make us turn back from the enemy, And those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves. 11 You have made us like sheep to be eaten [as mutton] And have scattered us [in exile] among the nations. 12 You sell Your people cheaply, And have not increased Your wealth by their sale. 13 You have made us the reproach and taunt of our neighbors, A scoffing and a derision to those around us. 14 You make us a byword among the nations, A [f]laughingstock among the people. 15 My dishonor is before me all day long, And humiliation has covered my face, 16 Because of the voice of the taunter and reviler, Because of the presence of the enemy and the avenger.
17 All this has come upon us, yet we have not forgotten You, Nor have we been false to Your covenant [which You made with our fathers]. 18 Our heart has not turned back, Nor have our steps wandered from Your path, 19 Yet You have [distressingly] crushed us in the place of jackals And covered us with [the deep darkness of] the shadow of death.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God Or stretched out our hands to a strange god, 21 Would not God discover this? For He knows the secrets of the heart. 22 [g]But for Your sake we are killed all the day long; We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 23 Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord? Awaken, do not reject us forever. 24 Why do You hide Your face And forget our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our life has melted away into the dust; Our body clings to the ground. 26 Rise up! Come be our help, And ransom us for the sake of Your steadfast love.
A Song Celebrating the King’s Marriage.
To the Chief Musician; set to the [tune of] “Lilies.” A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem. A Song of Love.
45 [h]My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my psalm to the King. My tongue is like the pen of a skillful writer. 2 You are fairer than the sons of men; Graciousness is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.
3 Strap Your sword on Your thigh, O mighty One, In Your splendor and Your majesty! 4 And in Your majesty ride on triumphantly For the cause of truth and humility and righteousness; Let Your right hand guide You to awesome things. 5 Your arrows are sharp; The peoples (nations) fall under You; Your arrows pierce the hearts of the King’s enemies.
6 [i]Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You have loved righteousness (virtue, morality, justice) and hated wickedness; Therefore God, your God, has anointed You Above Your companions with the oil of jubilation. 8 All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes and cassia; From ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad. 9 Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies; At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.
10 Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear [to my instruction]: Forget your people and your father’s house; 11 Then the King will desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, bow down and honor Him. 12 The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; The rich among the people will seek your favor.
13 Glorious is the King’s daughter within [the palace]; Her robe is interwoven with gold. 14 She will be brought to the King in embroidered garments; The virgins, her companions who follow her, Will be brought to You. 15 With gladness and rejoicing will they be led; They will enter into the King’s palace.
16 In place of your fathers will be [j]your sons; You shall make princes in all the land. 17 I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the peoples will praise and give You thanks forever and ever.
Psalm 42:1The Hebrew word translated “soul” in this psalm and elsewhere in the book of Psalms is nephesh. This word usually refers to a person’s “life” or “self,” but can also mean “throat,” as perhaps in vv 1, 2.
Psalm 44:22The ancient rabbis applied this verse to Israel under persecution, especially to those who suffered under the reign of Hadrian following the Bar Cochba revolt (a.d. 132-135). One rabbi said that he was ready to die for God provided that he be killed immediately, because he could not endure the tortures of what was called “the great persecution.” The tortures included placing red-hot iron discs under the victim’s armpits or sticking needles under the nails until the victim died from the pain (shock).
Psalm 45:1Jesus spoke of what was written of Him “in the Psalms” (see Luke 24:44). This is one such Messianic psalm; however, the capitalization indicating the deity is provided with the understanding that the chapter is written against the background of an ordinary royal wedding with anonymous participants. The New Testament reference to this psalm is in Heb 1:8, 9, where vv 6, 7 is quoted and applied to Christ. The preceding verses could also be applied to Christ, as well as most of the following verses referring to the King. However, v 16 can only apply to a mortal king (see note there).
Psalm 45:6This verse has mystified many commentators since God is distinguished from the King in vv 2 and 7, and various translations have been proposed to make the Hebrew rendered “O God” something other than a reference to the deity of the King. But the writer of Hebrews clearly understood it this way.
Psalm 45:16Unlike the other references to the King, this verse cannot be applied prophetically to Christ because He had no children. But it is not unusual for a prophecy to have more than one fulfillment (typically in the near future of the prophecy and another in the distant future), and by analogy there is no reason why this psalm cannot refer both to an ordinary king and to the future Messianic King.
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