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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania,
THE BOOK OF PSALMS.
Moses, and was the leader of the con
spiracy, Num. xvi. 2; Jude 11. Korah The title of this psalm is, “To the had three sons, Assir, Elkanah, and chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Abiasaph (Ex. vi. 24) i and of their Korah."
On the phrase “ To the chief descendants David selected a number to Musician," see Notes on the title to Ps. preside over the music of the sanctuary, iv. On the term Maschil, see Notes on 1 Chron. vi. 22, 23, 31; and they conthe title to Ps. xxxii. This title is
tinued in this service until the time of fixed to eleven psalms. It properly Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xx. 19. One of means, as in the margin, giving instruc- the most eminent of the descendants of tion. But why such a title was prefixed | Korah, who was employed especially in to these psalms rather than to others is the musical service of the sanctuary, unknown. So far as appears, the title, was Heman: 1 Chron. vi. 33, “Of the in that sense, would be applicable to sons of the Kohathites; Heman, a many other psalms as well as to these, singer.” The sons of Heman were apwhether understood in the signification pointed by David, in connexion with the of "giving instruction in general, or sons of Asaph, and of Jeduthun, to preof "giving instruction”
on any par
side over the music: 1 Chron, xxv. 1. ticular subject. It is not easy to give an 6; 2 Chron. v. 12; xxix. 14; xxxv. account of the origin of such titles long 15. See Notes on the title to Ps. xxxix. after the occasion for affixing them has The general appellation, the “sons of passed away. The phrase " for the sons Korah," seems to have been given to öf Korah” is rendered in the margin this company or class of singers. Their of the sons,” etc. The Hebrew may office was to preside over the music of mean for the sons of Korah ; of the the sanctuary ; to arrange tunes for the sons of Korah; or to the sons of Korah, music; to distribute the parts; and posas it is here rendered by Prof. Alex- | sibly to furnish compositions for that ander. The LXX. render the title For service. Whether, however, they acthe end-eis tò tédos": -- for understand- tually composed any of the psalms is ing, eis oúveolv :
to the sons of Korea uncertain. It would seem that the Tois viois Kope.” So the Latin Ďulgate. usual custom was for the author of a De Wette renders it, “A poem of the psalm or hymn designed for public sersons of Korah.” The psalms to which vice to deliver it, when composed, into this title is prefixed are the xlii., xliv., the hands of these leaders of the music, xlv., xlvi., xlvii., xlviii., xlix., lxxxiv., to be employed by them in the public lxxxv., lxxxvii., lxxxviii. So far as devotions of the people. Thus, in the title is concerned, it may mean either 1 Chron. xvi. 7, it is said, “Then on that the psalms were dedicated to them, that day David delivered first this psalm, or that they were submitted to them for to thank the Lord, into the hand of Asaph arranging the music ; or that they were and his brethren;" Comp. 2. Chron. designed to be employed by them as xxix. 30. See also Notes on the title of leaders of the music; or that they were
Ps. 1. the authors of these psalms, that is, that It not absolutely certain, therefore, the psalms thus indicated emanated from who composed this psalm. If it was their body, or were composed by one of written by David, as seems most probatheir number, Which of these is the ble, it was with some reference to the true idea must be determined, if deter- “ sons of Korah;" that is, to those who mined at all, from some other source presided over the music of the sanctuary. than the mere title. The sons of Korah In other words, it was prepared especially were a family of Levitical singers. to be used by them in the sanctumy, in Korah was a great-grandson of Levi, contradistinction from psalms which had (Num. xvi. 1). He was united with a more general reference, or which were Dathan and Abiram in opposition to 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 forty-third. 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 il; 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 (6) 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 Darid, 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 know. 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.-xviii.
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 Godthe panting 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 de
spondency, 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. (1) A description of his desponding
feelings under these circumstances; under the troubles which had rolled over him like
waters, vers. 6, 7. (2) An assurance that God would
yet manifest His loving-kindness to him; and, on the ground of that, an earnest appeal to God as his God, vers.
8, 9.. (3) A further statement of his
troubles, as derived from the reproaches of his enemies, as if a sword penetrated even to
his bones, ver. 10. (4) Self-remonstrance again for his
despondency, and an exhortation to himself to trust in God (in the same language with which the former part of the
psalm closes), ver. 11. The idea of the whole is, that we
AS S the hart 2 panteth after the To the chief Musician, 1 Maschil
, for the sons
water-brooks, so panteth my of Koral.
soul after thee, O God. 1 Or, A Psalm giving instruction to the sons, etc.
2 brayeth. should not be overwhelmed or cast down female deer. The word rendered in in trouble; that we should confide in the text panteth, and in the margin God; that we should be cheerful, not brayeth-27y, arag—occurs oply in desponding; that we should go to God, whatever may happen; and that we
this place and in Joel i. 20, where it should feel that all will yet be well, that
is applied to the beasts of the field as all will be overruled for good, and that “crying” to God in a time of drought. brighter and happier days will come. The word properly means to rise; How often have the people of God oc- to ascend ; and then, to look up tocasion to use the language of this psalm ! wards anything; to long for. It reIn a world of trouble and sorrow such
fers here to the intense desire of as ours is; in a world where the friends of God have often been, and may again
the hind, in the heat of day, for be, persecuted; in the anguish which
water; or, in Joel, to the desire of the is felt from the ingratitude of children,
cattle for water in a time of drought. kindred, and friends; in the distress Luther renders it “ cries;" the Sepwhich springs up in the heart when, tuagint and Vulgate render it simply from sickness or from any other cause, “ desires." Neither the idea of panting we are long deprived of the privileges nor braying seems to be in the original of public worship-in exile as it were word. It is the idea of looking for, from the sanctuary how imperfect longing for, desiring, that is expressed would be a book professing to be a revelation from God, if it did not contain
there. By water-brooks are meant some such psalm as this, so accurately
the streams that run in vallies. Dr. describing the feelings of those who are Thomson (Land and the Book, vol. i., in such circumstances; so adapted to p. 253) says, “I have seen large their wants; so well fitted to direct to flocks of these panting harts gather the true source of consolation! It is this
round the water-brooks in the great adaptedness of the Bible to the actual
deserts of Central Syria, so subdued requirements of mankind,—this accurate
by thirst that you could approach description of the feelings which through our own mind and heart,--this quite near them before they fled.” constant direction to God as the true
There is an idea of tenderness in the source of support and consolation, reference to the word hart herewhich so much endears the Bible to the female deer, gazelle -which would hearts of the people of God, and which not strike us if the reference had been serves, more than any arguments from
to any other animal. These are so miracle and prophecy-valuable as those
timid, so gentle, so delicate in their arguments are — to keep up in their minds the conviction that the Bible is a
structure, so much the natural obDivine revelation. Psalms like this jects of love and compassion, that our make the Bible a complete book, and feelings are drawn towards them as show that He who gave it “knew what
to all other animals in similar ciris in man," and what man needs in cumstances. We sympathize with this vale of tears.
them; we pity them; we love them;
we feel deeply for them when they 1. As the hart panteth after the are pursued, when they fly away in water-brooks. Marg., brayeth. The
fear, when they are in want. The word rendered hart — 398, ayyal, following engraving will help us more means commonly a stag, hart, male to appreciate the comparison employed deer: Deut. xii. 15; xiv. 5; Isa. | by the psalmist. Nothing could xxxv. 6. The word is masculine, but more beautifully or appropriately dein this place is joined with a feminine scribe the earnest longing of a soul verb, as words of the common gender after God, in the circumstances of the may be, and thus denotes a hind, or psalmist, than this image. So