Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.The Elohimic Judica (the introit of the so-called Cross or Passion Sunday which opens the celebritas Passionis), with which the supplicatory and plaintive first strophe of the Psalm begins, calls to mind the Jehovic Judica in Psalm 7:9; Psalm 26:1; Psalm 35:1, Psalm 35:24 : judge me, i.e., decide my cause (lxx κρῖνόν με, Symmachus κρῖνόν μοι). ריבה has the tone upon the ultima before the ריבי which begins with the half-guttural ר, as is also the case in Psalm 74:22; Psalm 119:154. The second prayer runs: vindica me a gente impia; מן standing for contra in consequence of a constr. praegnans. לא־חסיד is here equivalent to one practising no חסד towards men, that is to say, one totally wanting in that חסד, by which God's חסד is to be imitated and repaid by man in his conduct towards his fellow-men. There is some uncertainty whether by אישׁ one chief enemy, the leader of all the rest, is intended to be mentioned side by side with the unloving nation, or whether the special manner of his enemies is thus merely individualised. עולה means roguish, mischievous conduct, utterly devoid of all sense of right. In Psalm 43:2 the poet establishes his petition by a twofold Why. He loves God and longs after Him, but in the mirror of his present condition he seems to himself like one cast off by Him. This contradiction between his own consciousness and the inference which he is obliged to draw from his afflicted state cannot remain unsolved. אלהי מעזּי, God of my fortress, is equivalent to who is my fortress. Instead of אלך we here have the form אתהלּך, of the slow deliberate gait of one who is lost in his own thoughts and feelings. The sting of his pain is his distance from the sanctuary of his God. In connection with Psalm 43:3 one is reminded of Psalm 57:4 and Exodus 15:13, quite as much as of Psalm 42:9. "Light and truth" is equivalent to mercy and truth. What is intended is the light of mercy or loving-kindness which is coupled with the truth of fidelity to the promises; the light, in which the will or purpose of love, which is God's most especial nature, becomes outwardly manifest. The poet wishes to be guided by these two angels of God; he desires that he may be brought (according tot he Chethb of the Babylonian text יבואוני, "let come upon me;" but the אל which follows does not suit this form) to the place where his God dwells and reveals Himself. "Tabernacles" is, as in Psalm 84:2; Psalm 46:5, an amplificative designation of the tent, magnificent in itself and raised to special honour by Him who dwells therein.
For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.The poet, in anticipation, revels in the thought of that which he has prayed for, and calls upon his timorous soul to hope confidently for it. The cohortatives in Psalm 43:4 are, as in Psalm 39:14 and frequently, an apodosis to the petition. The poet knows no joy like that which proceeds from God, and the joy which proceeds from Him he accounts as the very highest; hence he calls God אל שׂמחת גּילי, and therefore he knows no higher aim for his longing than again to be where the fountainhead of this exultant joy is (Hosea 9:5), and where it flows forth in streams (Psalm 36:9). Removed back thither, he will give thanks to Him with the cithern (Beth instrum.). He calls Him אלהים אלהי, an expression which, in the Elohim-Psalms, is equivalent to יהוה אלהי in the Jahve-Psalms. The hope expressed in Psalm 43:4 casts its rays into the prayer in Psalm 43:3. In Psalm 43:5, the spirit having taken courage in God, holds this picture drawn by hope before the distressed soul, that she may therewith comfort herself. Instead of wthmy, Psalm 42:6, the expression here used, as in Psalm 42:12, is וּמה־תּהמי. Variations like these are not opposed to a unity of authorship.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.