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Psalm 43

 

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Prayer For Deliverance
No MT Intro
A continuation of Psalm 42
Prayer To God In Time of Trouble Prayer For Healing In Preparation For a Pilgrimage The Prayer of Someone in Exile Lament of a Levite in Exile
43:1-2 43:1-2 43:1-2 43:1-2 43:1
        43:2
43:3-4 43:3-4 43:3-4 43:3-4 43:3
        43:4
43:5 43:5 43:5 43:5 43:5

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 43:1-2
 1Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation;
 O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
 2For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me?
 Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

43:1 Because of

1. the refrain in Ps. 42:5 and 11, which reoccurs in Ps. 43:5

2. no introduction in the MT in Psalm 43 (the only Psalm in Book 2 with no introduction)

this was probably part of Psalm 42 at one time but was divided for some unknown reason. The Jewish Study Bible's marginal note (p. 1330) suggests that the fact that Psalm 42 focuses on the past, while Psalm 43 focuses on the future, that may be a hint as to why and where they were divided!

▣ "vindicate" This verb (BDB 1047, KB 1622, Qal imperative, cf. Ps. 7:8; 26:1; 35:24) basically means "to judge." The psalmist is using court language (cf. Ps. 17:1-3). YHWH is the righteous and fair judge of all human activity (i.e., Ps. 9:4).

▣ "plead my case" This is also a court metaphor (BDB 936, KB 1224, Qal imperative). YHWH is the only fair and impartial judge! This same powerful court imagery is in Romans 8:31-39!

▣ "an ungodly nation" If it is true that Psalms 42 and 43 were originally one Psalm and that 42:6 means the author was in exile, then the "ungodly nation" would probably refer to Syria.

It is surprising that the next line uses the descriptive phrase, "the deceitful and unjust man!" One would have expected the plural and a description that focused on idolatry or aggression.

43:2 Life is hard, unfair, and problems come unexpectedly. All of us wonder why.

1. have I offended God

2. have I violated God's law

3. is this a judgment for sin or a random occurrence of evil events and people in a fallen world?

The psalmist asks "Why" (Ps. 43:2), so do all humans!

Remember this is OT Wisdom Literature, which is a genre well known in the ANE. It addresses questions all humans ask. For Israel, the questions are related to YHWH and His revelations through Moses. The OT does not answer all the questions in the same way as the NT. There is a change.

1. progressive revelation

2. new covenant

3. the mystery of evil

 

▣ "the God of my strength" This is a recurrent refrain (BDB 731, i.e., a place of safety or protection, often translated "refuge," cf. Ps. 27:1; 28:7-8; 31:2,4; 37:39; 52:7; Isa. 17:10; 25:4; 27:5; Jer. 16:19). Faithful followers can always know that YHWH is their hope, protection, and place of safety amidst the problems and conflicts of this fallen world. However, this peace must be embraced. It is a faith act and a worldview that is unrelated to the swirling circumstances of this present reality!

▣ "Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" This is very similar to Ps. 42:9.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 43:3-4
 3O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me;
 Let them bring me to Your holy hill
 And to Your dwelling places.
 4Then I will go to the altar of God,
 To God my exceeding joy;
 And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.

43:3 "send" This verb (BDB 1018, KB 1511, Qal imperative) is a prayer request which personifies YHWH's

1. light — BDB 21

a. as YHWH's favor — Ps. 4:6; 44:3

b. as a guide — Micah 7:8

c. as eschatological light — Isa. 9:2 (first coming of Jesus); Isa. 60:19-20 (second coming of Jesus)

2. truth — BDB 54 (see Special Topic at Ps. 12:1)

a. an attribute of YHWH often translated "faithfulness" — Ps. 40:10; 71:22; 115:1; 138:2

b. often personified as YHWH's agents or messengers — Ps. 40:11; 43:3; 57:3; 85:10; 89:14

Notice what "the light" and "the truth" are to do.

1. let them lead me — BDB 634, KB 685, Hiphil imperfect used in a jussive sense

2. let them bring me to Your holy hill — BDB 97, KB 112, Hiphil imperfect used in a jussive sense

 

▣ "holy hill" This is one of many ways to refer to the temple on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem. It is also called (usually with the adjective "holy"):

1. Zion

2. house

3. sanctuary

4. habitation

5. temple

6. mountain

7. city of God

 

Here it is parallel to "Your dwelling places" (cf. Ps. 46:4; 84:1). The plural denotes all the buildings of the temple complex or the plural of majesty (cf. NIDOTE, vol. 2, p. 1132).

43:4 The psalmist desires to go (BDB 97, KB 112, Qal cohortative) to the temple and praise (BDB 392, KB 389, Hiphil imperfect used in a cohortative sense) God with his lyre (BDB 490, i.e., a stringed instrument, cf Ps. 33:2).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 43:5
 5Why are you in despair, O my soul?
 And why are you disturbed within me?
 Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him,
 The help of my countenance and my God.

43:5 This is the repeated refrain from Ps. 42:5,11. This is what unifies these two psalms.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS — see list at Psalm 42. These two Psalms are a literary unit.

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