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A PRACTICAL EXPOSITION OF
THE FORTY-SECOND PSALM.
REV. JOHN R. MACDUFF,
AUTHOR OF “MORNING AND NIGHT WATCHES," “ MEMORIES OF GENNESARET,
“ WORDS OF JESUS, ETC. ETC.
“The portion of God's Word that is specially precious to
“What a precious, soul-comforting Psalm is that forty-
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THE FORTY-SECOND PSALM.
I To the Chief Musician, MASCHIL, for the Sons of Korah. 1 As the hart panteth after the water-brooks,-so panteth my soul
after thee, O God. 2 my soul thirsteth for God, for the living God :—when shall 1
come and appear before God? 3 my tears have been my meat day and night,
While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 4 when I remember these things, 1 pour out my soul in me: For I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house
of God, With the voice of joy and praise,—with a multitude that kept holy
dap. 5 Why art thou cast down, 0 mp soul ?—and why art thou dis
quieted in me? Hope thou in God : for I shall pet praise him
For the help of his countenance [or, his presence is salvation). 6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: Therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of
the Hermonites, From the hill Mizar. 7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water-spouts ;
All thy waves and thg billows are gone over me. 8 Qet the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the dap-time,
And in the night his song shall be with me,
And my praper unto the God of my life. 9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?
why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me;
While they say daily unto me, where is thy Bod ? 11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul ?—and why art thou dis
quieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall get praise him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.*
* The title of the Psalm (buvo Maschil—instruction,) is the same as that of other twelve. Some have referred the word merely to the music-indicating the tune to which the Psalms were set,—demanding of the sons of Korah, and “the chief musician,” (the conductors of templesong,) some melody specially adapted to the sentiments they contain. Others, with greater probability, take it as indicative of their design ;that while expressive of personal feeling and experience, they were intended for the “instruction” and comfort of the Church in all ages. Hence the term given to them of didactic.
Though his name is not mentioned, there is little doubt that David, and not the sons of Korah, as some have supposed, was the author of this Psalm. The reader is referred to Hengstenberg for a statement of the internal grounds, in the Psalm itself, to favour this conclusion. “To me,” says Calvin, “it appears more probable that the sons of Korah are here mentioned because this Psalm was committed as a precious treasure to be preserved by them ;—as we know that out of the number of the singers some were chosen and appointed to be keepers of the Psalms. That there is no mention made of David's name, does not in itself involve any difficulty, since we see the same omission in other Psalms, of which there is, notwithstanding, the strongest grounds for concluding that he was author."
According to an arbitrary division by the Jews of their Psalter into five parts, supposed to have been made by Ezra after the return from Babylon, the Forty-second Psalm forms the commencement of the second book. Regarding its structure, we may remark, that it is divided into two portions or strophes, each of these closing with a refrain in verses 5 and 11.
The following is an excellent poetical paraphrase of the Psalm, by Bishop Lowth :
“As pants the wearied hart for cooling springs,
That sinks exhausted in the summer's chase;
So thirsts to reach Thy sacred dwelling-place.
While taunting foes deride my deep despair;
Thy mighty God, deserted wanderer, where ?'
When to Thy fane I led the willing throng;
And festal joys still closed with sacred song.
Why droop to earth, with various foes oppress'd?
peace be yet an inmate of this breast.
O’er Hermon's rugged rocks and deserts dear:
There Thy remembrance shall my spirit cheer.
Harsh sounding cataracts responsive roar;
And dash my shatter'd bark from shore to shore.