Verse 2. My soul longeth, it pines, and faints to meet with the saints in the Lord's house. The desire was deep and insatiable -- the very soul of the man was yearning for his God.
Yea, even fainteth; as though it could not long hold out, but was exhausted with delay. He had a holy lovesickness upon him, and was wasted with an inward consumption because he was debarred the worship of the Lord in the appointed place.
For the courts of the Lord. To stand once again in those areas which were dedicated to holy adoration was the soul longing of the psalmist. True subjects love the courts of their king.
My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. It was God himself that he pined for, the only living and true God. His whole nature entered into his longing. Even the clay cold flesh grew warm through the intense action of his fervent spirit. Seldom, indeed, does the flesh incline in the right direction, but in the matter of Sabbath services our weary body sometimes comes to the assistance of our longing heart, for it desires the physical rest as much as the soul desires the spiritual repose. The psalmist declared that he could not remain silent in his desires, but began to cry out for God and his house; he wept, he sighed, he pleaded for the privilege. Some need to be whipped to church, while here is David crying for it. He needed no clatter of bells from the belfry to ring him in, he carried his bell in his own bosom: holy appetite is a better call to worship than a full chime.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 1-2. See Psalms on "Psalms 84:1" for further information.
Verse 2. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, etc. Every amiableness is not so great to make a longing, nor every longing so great to make a fainting; nor every fainting so great to make the soul to faint; Oh, then, consider how great this amiableness is, which makes my soul not only to long, but to faint with longing! And blame me not for fainting, as though it were my own fault for not restraining my longing; for seeing his Tabernacles are of infinite amiableness, they must need work in me an infinite delighting, and that delighting an infinite longing; and what restraint can there be of that which is infinite? No, alas, my fainting is but answerable to my longing, and my longing but answerable to the amiableness. If I had the offer made me, which was made to Christ, to enjoy all the kingdoms of the earth, but with condition to want the Courts of the Lord; this want would bring to my soul a greater grief than that enjoying would give it contentment: for seeing his Tabernacles are so amiable, where He is Lord of Hosts, how amiable must they needs be, where he is Prince of Peace? and Prince of Peace he is in his Courts, though in his camp he be Lord of Hosts. Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 2. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth. The word hlk (fainteth) signifies to be consumed with longing, as the Latins say, deperire aliquem amore (he is dying of love), that is, he so vehemently loves, and is enflamed with so great a desire to obtain the loved object, that he wastes and pines away unless his wish is gratified. Therefore, an ardent longing is meant, which so torments and burns the mind, that flesh and marrow waste away, so long as it is not permitted to enjoy the thing desired. Mollerus.
Verse 2. soul ... heart ... flesh. Marking the whole man, with every faculty and affection. The verbs are also very expressive. The first longeth, means literally, "hath grown pale," as with the intensity of the feeling; the second, fainteth, is more exactly "faileth," or "is consumed." Job 19:27 . J. J. Stewart Perowne.
Verse 2. Crieth. The word that is here rendered crieth, is from (Heb.), that signifies to shout, shrill, or cry out, as soldiers do at the beginning of a battle, when they cry out, Fall on, fall on, fall on, or when they cry out after a victory, Victory, victory, victory! The Hebrew word notes a strong cry, or to cry as a child cries when it is sadly hungry, for now very whit of the child cries, hands cry, and face cries, and feet cry. Thomas Brooks.
Verse 2. Living God. Psalms 42:2 , My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God, is the only other place in the Psalms where God is so named. This particular form of expression, El Chay, occurs but twice beside in the Bible, Joshua 3:10 Hosea 1:10 . J. J. Stewart Perowne.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1-3. The Titles for God in these three verses are worth dwelling upon. Jehovah of Hosts; the living God; my King and my God.
- The object of desire:
- The house of the Lord;
- The Lord of the house; the life of God in us and our life in him.
- The Occasion of the Desire. Exclusion from the Sanctuary. David says not, Oh how I long for my palace, my crown, my sceptre, my kingdom; but, Oh how I long to return to the house of God!
- The Strength of the Desire.
- It was an inward longing, "my soul longeth," etc.;
- A painful longing, "yea, fainteth;"
- A prayerful longing, "my heart crieth out;"
- An entire longing, "my heart, my flesh," etc.; Or,
- The value of God's house is known by attending it.
- It is better known by being afterwards banished from it.
- It is best know by being restored to it. G. R.