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PSALM XLII. The title of this psalm is, “To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.” On the phrase "To the chief Musician," see Notes on the title to Ps. ir. On the term Maschil, see Notes on the title to Ps. xxxii. This title is prefixed to eleven psalms. It properly means, as in the margin, giving instruction. But why such a title was prefixed to these psalms rather than to others is unknown. So far as appears, the title, in that sense, would be applicable to many other psalms as well as to these, whether understood in the signification of "giving instruction" in general, or of “giving instruc

on any particular subject. It is not easy to give an account of the origin of such titles long after the occasion for affixing them has passed away. The phrase “ for the sons of Korah” is rendered in the margin“ of the sons,” etc. The Hebrew may mean for the sons of Korah; of the sons of Korah; or to the sons of Korah, as it is here rendered by Prof. Alexander. The LXX. render the title “ For the end---eis TÒ TÉAOS :- for understanding, eis ouveow : - to the sons of Kore, roîs vioîs Kope." So the Latin Vulgate. De Wette renders it, “A of the sons of Korah.". The psalms to which this title is prefixed are the xlii., xliv., xlv., xlvi., xlvii., xlviii., xlix., lxxxiv., lxxxv., lxxxvii., lxxxvii. So far as the title is concerned, may mean either that the psalms were dedicated to them, or that they were submitted to them for arranging the music; or that they were designed to be employed by them as leaders of the music; or that they were the authors of these psalms, that is, that the psalms thus indicated emanated from their body, or were composed by one of their number. Which of these is the true idea must be determined, if determined at all, from some other source than the mere title. The sons of Korah were a family of Levitical singers. Korah was a greatgrandson of Levi (Num. xvi. 1). He was united with Dathan and Abiram in opposition to Moses, and was the leader of the conspiracy, Num. xvi. 2; Jude 11. Korah had three sons, Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph (Ex. vi. 24); and of their descendants David selected a number to preside over the music of the sanctuary, 1 Chron. vi. 22, 23, 31; and they continued in this service until the time of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xx. 19. One of the most eminent of the descendants of Korah, who was employed especially in the musical service of the sanctuary, was Heman: 1 Chron. vi. 33, “ of the sons of the Kohathites ; Heman, a singer.” The sons of Heman were appointed by David, in connexion with the sons of Asaph, and of Jeduthun, to preside over the music: 1 Chron. xxv. 1, 4, 6; 2 Chron. v. 12; xxix. '14; xxxv. 15. See Notes on the title to Ps. xxxix. The general appellation, the “sons of Korah,” seems to have been given to this company or class of singers. Their office was to preside over the music of the sanctuary; to arrange tunes for the music; to distribute the parts; and possibly to furnish compositions for that service. Whether, however, they actually composed any of the psalms is uncertain. It would seem that the usual custom was for the author of a psalm or hymn designed for public service to deliver it, when composed, into the hands of these leaders of the music, to be employed by them in the public devotions of the people. Thus, in 1 Chron. xvi. 7, it is said, “Then on that day David delivered first this psalm, to thank the Lord, into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.Comp. 2 Chron. xxix. 30. See also Notes on the title of Ps. 1.


It is not absolutely certain, therefore, who composed this psalm. If it was written by David, as seems most probable, it was with some reference to the

sons of Korah ;"' that is, to those who presided over the music of the sanctuary. In other words, it was prepared especially to be used by them in the sanctuary, in contradistinction from psalms which had more general reference, or which were composed for no such specific design. If it was written by the sons of Korah, that is, by any one of their number, it was intended by the author, undoubtedly, to illustrate the feelings of a man of God in deep trials; and the language and the allusions were probably drawn from the history of David, as furnishing the best historical instance for such an illustration of feeling. In this case, the language would be that of one placing himself in imagination in such circumstances, and giving in poetic form a description of the emotions which would pass through his mind, as if they were his own,-unless it be supposed that one of the sons of Korah, the author of the psalm, had actually experienced such trials himself. I regard the former as the most probable supposition, and consider that the psalm was composed by David specifically for the use of the leaders of the music in the sanctuary. The name of the author may have been omitted because it was so well understood who he was that there was no need to designate him.

There is a very marked resemblance between this psalm and the fortythird. They were composed on a similar, if not on the same occasion; and the two might be united so as to constitute one connected psalm. In fact, they are thus united in thirty-seven codices of Kennicott, and in nine of De Rossi. The structure of both is the same, though they are separated in most of the Hebrew MSS., in the Septuagint and Latin Vulgate, in the Chaldee Paraphrase, and in the Syriac and Arabic versions.

The forty-second psalm consists of two parts, marked by the burden or refrain in vers. 5 and 11; and if Psalm. xliii

. were regarded as a part of the same composition, the two would be divided into three parts, marked by the same burden or refrain, in Ps. xlii. 5, 11, and xliii. 5. Of these parts the general structure is similar, containing (a) an expression of trouble, sorrow, despondency; and then (%) a solemn appeal of the author to his own soul, asking why he should be cast down, and exhorting himself to put his trust in God.

The occasion on which the psalm was composed by David, if he wrote it,or the occasion which was supposed by the author, if that' author was one of the sons of Korah,-is not certainly known. The psalm agrees best with the supposition that it was in the time of the rebellion of Absalom, when David was driven from his throne, and from the place which he had appointed for the worship of God after he had removed the ark to Mount Zion, and when he was an exile and a wanderer beyond the Jordan, 2 Samuel xv.xvii.

The psalm records the feelings of one who had been driven away from the place where he had been accustomed to worship God, and his recollections of those sad days when he endeavoured to comfort himself in his despondency by looking to God, and by dwelling on his promises. I. In the first part (vers. 1-5) there is (1) An expression of his desire to hold communion with God—the pant

ing of his soul after God, vers. 1, 2. (2) His tears under the reproaches of his enemies, while they said,

“Where is thy God?” ver. 3. (3) His remembrance of the former days when he had gone with the

multitude to the house of God; and the expression of a firm belief, implied in the language used, that he would go again to the house of God, and with them would keep “ holyday," ver. 4. See Notes

on that verse. (4) Self-remonstrance for his despondency, and an exhortation to himself

to arouse and to trust in God, with the confident assurance that he

would yet be permitted to praise Him, ver. 5. II. The second part contains a series of similar reflections, vers. 6--11.

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