PSALM 43 OVERVIEW
Subject. On account of the similarity of the structure of this Psalm to that of Psalm forty- two, it has been supposed to be a fragment wrongly separated from the preceding song; but it is always dangerous to allow these theories of error in Holy Scripture, and in this instance it would be very difficult to show just cause for such an admission. Why should the Psalm have been broken? Its similarity would have secured its unity had it ever been part and parcel of the forty-second. Is it not far more likely that some in their fancied wisdom united them wrongly in the few MSS in which they are found as one? We believe the fact is that the style of the poetry was pleasant to the writer, and therefore in after life he wrote this supplemental hymn after the same manner. As an appendix it needed no title. David complains of his enemies, and asks the privilege of communion with God as his surest deliverance from them.
Verse 1. Judge me, O God. Others are unable to understand my motives, and unwilling to give me a just verdict. My heart is clear as to intent and therefore I bring my case before thee, content that thou wilt impartially weigh my character, and right my wrongs. If thou wilt judge, thy acceptance of my conduct will be enough for me; I can laugh at human misrepresentation if my conscience knows that thou art on my side; thou art the only one I care for; and besides, thy verdict will not sleep, but thou wilt see practical justice done to thy slandered servant. And plead my cause against an ungodly nation. One such advocate as the Lord will more than suffice to answer a nation of brawling accusers. When people are ungodly, no wonder that they are unjust; those who are not true to God himself cannot be expected to deal rightly with his people. Hating the King they will not love his subjects. Popular opinion weighs with many, but divine opinion is far more weighty with the gracious few. One good word from God outweighs ten thousand railing speeches of men. He bears a brazen shield before him whose reliance in all things is upon his God; the arrows of calumny fall harmlessly from such a buckler. O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. Deceit and injustice are boon companions: he who fawns will not fear to slander. From two such devils none can deliver us but God. His wisdom can outwit the craft of the vilest serpent, and his power can over match the most raging lion. Whether this was Doeg or Ahithophel is small matter, such double distilled villains are plentiful, and the only way of dealing with them is to refer the matter to the righteous Judge of all; if we try to fight them with their own weapons, we shall suffer more serious injury from ourselves than from them. O child of God, leave these thine enemies in better hands, remembering that vengeance belongeth not to thee, but to thy Lord. Turn to him in prayer, crying, "O deliver me," and ere long you shall publish abroad the remembrance of his salvation.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. This Psalm is evidently a continuation or supplement to the preceding. In some MSS of Kenicott and de Rossi's, they are united, and make one Psalm. George Phillips, B.D.
Verse 1. Judge me, O God, and plead my cause, etc. Believers may appeal to God's justice, and plead God's righteousness.
- Touching suffering wrongs of men.
- Touching sin in relation to God's wrath.
- Touching suffering wrongs of men, believers may appeal upon these three grounds:
- The injustice that men do to believers, is as well against God's just nature, as against the believers' ease. So their appeals to God are agreeable to God's enmity against injustice; therefore, his enmity concurs with their appeals. Romans 1:18 .
- Justice in men is according to God's nature, as well as for the believer's welfare, and, therefore, the disposition and inclination of God's nature concurs with their prayers for deliverance. Psalms 11:7 Luke 23:6-7 .
- Such wrong God who do wrong his people 2 Chronicles 15:11 Zechariah 2:8 Acts 9:4-5 ; so that in deliverance God vindicates himself as well as the believers.
- Touching sin in relation to God's wrath, a true believer may plead God's justice or righteousness on these three grounds:
- Christ our Advocate or Attorney so pleads. John 17:24 , etc. Now, the client may plead the same as the advocate, seeing it is in relation to the same party and the same issue.
- Christ hath satisfied God's justice, so that on Christ was laid all the sins of all believers. He was "wounded" for them. Now, God cannot in justice punish twice; therefore, seeing Christ was wounded, believers must be healed. Isa 53:1-12.
- Believers have God's righteousness imputed to them 2 Corinthians 5:1-21 ; therefore, God must deal with believers as he will deal with his own righteousness.
Useful is this doctrine two ways.
- For terror to the enemies of believers. How many prevailing cries to the justice of God are against such enemies?
- Their own sins cry. 2. Believers injuries cry. 3. Believer's prayers cry. 4. Christ's intercession cries over against their prayers and desires Revelation 6:9 , compared with Revelation 8:3 .
- The second use is for comfort to believers, that as God's mercy is for them, so his justice to deliver them, not only from men, but from sin; and in and through Christ they may humbly plead justice as against sinners, so against sin; not only against the guilt but against the power, that seeing Christ died, sin should not live. Condensed from Nathanael Homes, 1652.
Verse 1. Ungodly ... deceitful ... unjust. There are ungodly men who, being destitute of religious principle, will not scruple to injure us, when they can thereby gratify their passions or advance their worldly interests. There are deceitful men who will put on the garb of friendship, and acquire our confidence and esteem, and then treacherously cheat us out of our property, or our reputation, or our peace. There are unjust men, who by fraud or by violence, would rob us of our dearest rights and most valuable possessions, and not only reduce our powers and opportunities of doing good, but even diminish our means of comfortable subsistence. And there are oppressors, who taking advantage of our weakness or dependence, and trampling alike on the maxims of equity and humanity, may exact from us unreasonable services, impose upon us heavy burdens and cruel restraints, and ply us with insults, and harassments, and deprivations, from which we can make no escape, and for which we can find no redress. Andrew Thomson, D.D., in "Lectures on Portions of the Psalms." 1826.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1. We apply to God --
- As our Judge: Judge me.
- As our Advocate: Plead my cause.
- As our Deliverer: O deliver me.
Verse 1. Popular opinion outweighed by divine approbation.
Verse 1. How the Lord pleads the cause of his people.
Verse 1. Deceit and injustice twin vipers; their origin, their character, their folly, their end.
Verse 1-2,4-5. Five mys:
- My cause -- "plead it."
- My strength -- "thou art."
- My joy -- God is.
- My soul -- "why disquieted."
- My God.
WORKS WRITTEN ABOUT THE FORTY-THIRD PSALM IN SPURGEON'S DAY
"Soul cordials against Sore Discomforts: in a Commentary or Explanations and Applications of the whole Forty-third Psalm," pp. 312-562 of "The Works of Dr. Nathanael Homes," 1652 (folio).
In "Sabbaths at Home." by HENRY MARCH, there is an exposition of this Psalm. See "Treasury of David," Vol. II, Page 323.