Bible Commentaries
Psalms 44

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Psalms 44:1 « To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, Maschil. » We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, [what] work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.

Maschil ] i.e. Making wise, or giving instruction; for which purpose this psalm was composed by David (as it is most probable), or some other excellent prophet, for the use of the Church, which is haeres crucis, the heir of the cross, as Luther speaketh; and is here instructed how to carry herself under it, and to get benefit by it.

Ver. 1. We have heard with our ears ] i.e. We have both heard and heeded it, with utmost attention and affection. It is not a redundancy, but an emphasis that is here used.

Our fathers have told us ] According to that they were commanded, Deu 6:1-10 and elsewhere, to whet good things upon their young children, and to propagate the memory of God’s noble acts to all posterity, Exodus 12:26 ; Exodus 13:14 Jos 4:6-7 Psalms 78:4 ; Psalms 78:6 . Hear this, saith Basil, and blush, ye fathers, that neglect to teach your children. They made their mouths as it were books, wherein the noble acts of the Lord might be read to his praise, and to the drawing of their children’s hearts unto him.

What work thou didst ] All which they faithfully related and carefully recorded, for the use of after ages. Psalms 102:18 , "This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people that shall be created shall praise the Lord."

Verse 2

Psalms 44:2 [How] thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; [how] thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.

Ver. 2. How thou didst drive out the heathen ] i.e. The Canaanites. These God, the great proprietary of all, supplanted, after that they had for a long time grown there as trees, and abounded with all kind of sensual delights, till they had filled the land from one end to the other with their uncleanness, Ezra 9:11 .

How thou didst afflict (or break in pieces) the people, and cast them out] Or, cause them (the Israelites) to spread and propagate (so Mollerus readeth it), as the vine sendeth out her branches.

Verse 3

Psa 44:3 For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

Ver. 3. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, &c. ] Men are apt to arrogate to themselves, and say, as Luther hath it, Hoc ego feci. I made this, Sesostris, king of Egypt, when he had conquered any country, was wont to set up pillars, and thereupon to engrave these words, This land I got in possession by my own power, he was afterwards slain by his own servants (Herod. lib. 2).

But thy right hand ] Quia per eam praelia et opera facta sunt, saith Kimchi. God is the great doer in all achievements.

And the light of thy countenance ] i.e. Illustris praesentia tua qua praeivisti et praeluxisti eis, thy gracious presence and conduct (Junius).

Because thou hadst a favour unto them ] Free grace was the fundamental cause of all their felicity. God loved them because he loved them, Deuteronomy 7:7 . He chose them of his love, and then loved them for his choice.

Verse 4

Psa 44:4 Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

Ver. 4. Thou art my King, O God ] Heb. Thou art he, my King; Or, Thou art the same, my King, i.e. the same that thou wast to those of old. Oh, see to thy subjects, as ever thou hast done.

Command deliverances for Jacob ] A Mandamus from thee will do it; he spake the word, and it was done. Some read it, Command deliverances, O Jacob; that is, O God of Jacob, as Psalms 24:6 .

Verse 5

Psa 44:5 Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

Ver. 5. Through thee will we push down our enemies ] Cornu petemus, a metaphor from horned creatures, as Deuteronomy 33:17 . This we shall soon do if thou do but only give the word of command; for together with thy word goeth forth a power.

Through thy name ] Tuo nomine et numine, auspicio et ductu.

Verse 6

Psa 44:6 For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

Ver. 6. For I will not trust in my bow ] To trust in men or means is the ready road to utter ruin. Idas, one of the Argonauts, is brought in by the poet, bragging that he trusted not in the gods, but in his own arm and arms. αιια ουδε η οφελλει αιιευς τοσον οδατιον περ εμον δορυ .

What need we to fear the Turks (said Sigismund, the young king of Hungary, in his pride and jollity), who need not at all to fear the falling of the heavens, which, if they should fall, yet were we able with our spears and halberds to hold them up for falling upon us? He shortly after this received a notable overthrow. Carnal confidence endeth in confusion.

Verse 7

Psa 44:7 But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

Ver. 7. But thou hast saved us ] Thou hast wrought and fought for us against those that sought to destroy us. Thou hast, and, therefore, thou will for thou art the same, my King, Psalms 44:4 .

Verse 8

Psa 44:8 In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

Ver. 8. In God we boast all the day long ] The Spaniards are said to be great boasters in the very lowest ebb of fortune. A godly man may be, and must be so by a holy gloriation; he must make his boasts of such a King, immortal, invisible, &c. The three children did so: Our God can deliver us, &c.

And praise thy name ] Thou alone shall have the praise of all our prosperity.

Verse 9

Psa 44:9 But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies.

Ver. 9. But thou hast cut off, and put us to shame ] Here is a sudden change, and a sad complaint, but handsomely brought in, the better to insinuate, the sooner to prevail for redress. Only this, it should have been remembered that the Lord’s hand was not shortened … but their iniquities had separated between them and their God, Isaiah 59:1-2 . That noble General Trajan told Valens, the Arian emperor, that by warring against God he had abandoned the victory, and sent it to the enemies (Niceph. l. 11, c. 40).

Verse 10

Psa 44:10 Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves.

Ver. 10. Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy ] By expectorating our faith and courage, and leaving us to a fearful faint heartedness, that flieth at the sound of a shaken leaf. God strengtheneth or weakeneth the arm of either army, Ezekiel 30:24 .

Verse 11

Psa 44:11 Thou hast given us like sheep [appointed] for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen.

Ver. 11. Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat ] Aliqui occisi, dispersi alii, et venundati gratias, Some of us are slain, others scattered here and there, and sold for nought (Aben-Ezra).

And hast scattered us, &c. ] Oh the many miseries of such a banishment! The poet Tyrtaeus thus expresses it:

Est miserum, patria amissa laribusque vagare:

Mendiea et timida voce rogare cibos.

Cum natisque errare suis, et coniuge moesta,

Et cum matre pia, cumque parente sene.

Verse 12

Psa 44:12 Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase [thy wealth] by their price.

Ver. 12. Thou sellest thy people for nought ] Thirty for a penny the Jews were sold by the Romans, saith Josephus, at the last devastation.

And dost not increase thy wealth by their price ] Thou takest thy first chapman (as the pope gave England, in Henry VIIl’s time, Primo occupaluro, to him that could first seize it), and hast not made thy best of them; but given them away, for whom thou wast wont to give great nations, Isaiah 43:3 . All the comfort in this case was, that yet they were dear to God as his sons, though sold for slaves to the enemies, as may be seen, Isaiah 50:1 ; Isaiah 52:3 .

Verse 13

Psa 44:13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.

Ver. 13. Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours ] This to a generous spirit is very grievous. The Cappadocians were noted for a servile people; and Tiberius said of his Romans, that they were homines ad servitutem parati men prepared for slavery, (Ammian. 1. 2). The Jews at this day hear ill among all nations for a nasty and sordid people. O Marcomanni, O Quades, O Sarmatae, tandem alios vobis deteriores inveni, said that emperor, O Marcomans, O Quades, O Sarmatians, I have at length found a more odious and contemptible people than you are any, meaning the Jews, with whose stench he was much annoyed.

Verse 14

Psa 44:14 Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.

Ver. 14. Thou makest us a byword among the heathen ] Who use to say, As base as a Jew, as wretched as an Israelite, &c. The Turks at this day say, Iudaeus sim si fallam, If I be not as good as my word, count me a very Jew. We use to say, As hard hearted as a Jew. Thus is fulfilled that which was threatened Deuteronomy 28:37 1Ki 9:7 Jeremiah 24:9 .

Verse 15

Psa 44:15 My confusion [is] continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me,

Ver. 15. My confusion is continually before me ] Heb. All the day long, or every day; so as that there is neither hope of better nor place of worse.

Verse 16

Psa 44:16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger.

Ver. 16. For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth ] Reproacheth religion, blasphemeth God and his people, as if he eared not what became of them; and his dispensation seemeth to say as much: this reflecteth upon the saints, and maketh them cry out -

- Pudet haec opprobria nobis,

Et dici potuisse, et non potuisse refelli.

Verse 17

Psa 44:17 All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.

Ver. 17. All this is come upon us; yet ] This they allege, viz. their constance as an arguent of their sincerity, and a motive to pity. Apply this, with Jerome, to Christians, and then it is the voice of martyrs.

Neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant ] ie. We have not relinquished the true religion, or revolted to dumb idols; but held us close to thy sincere service. And, therefore, if that heathen emperor going against his enemy could say, Non sic Deos coluimus ut ille nor vinceret, We have not so served the gods that they should serve us no better than to suffer us to be worsted (Antonin. Philosoph.); how much more may God’s faithful servants be confident of his help, and say, "All people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever?" Micah 4:5 .

Verse 18

Psa 44:18 Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;

Ver. 18. Our heart is not turned back ] Metaphora a stadio, saith Vatablus. As those that run a race stand not at a stay, much less turn back again; so neither have we either stopped or stepped backward, but advanced still toward the mark, having Nondum metam, We have not yet attained, for our motto, as St Paul had, Philippians 3:12 ; being in nothing terrified by our adversaries, nor afraid with any amazement, Philippians 1:28 1 Peter 3:6 .

Neither have our steps declined ] We have watched over every particular action; God’s people are best when at worst.

Verse 19

Psa 44:19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.

Ver. 19. Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons ] i.e. In deserts haunted by dragons, see Isaiah 34:13 ; Isaiah 35:7 , whereinto we are driven in banishment, and there hast crushed us, and covered us with the shadow of death, i.e. deadly calamity (Or. κακωσεως ).

Verse 20

Psa 44:20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;

Ver. 20. If we have forgotten the name of our God ] i.e. Foregone our religion, as renegadoes, denying the Lord that bought us. In the time of the Maccabees many defected to Paganism; Demas, forsaking Paul, became an idolatrous priest at Thessalonica, saith Dorotheus; Julian turned Pagan; Damascen, Mahometan, as some write; Harding, an obstinate Papist. In the Palatinate, when, not forty years since, taken by the Spaniard, scarce one man in twenty stood out, but fell to Popery, as fast as leaves fall in antumn.

Or stretched out our hands to a strange god ] This Ignatius, Laurentius, and thousands of those primitive Christians would die, rather than be drawn to do. So the three children, the seven brethren, &c. Origen, for yielding a little, was excommunicated.

Verse 21

Psa 44:21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Ver. 21. Shall not God search this out? ] What pretences or excuses soever be used for the colouring and covering of the same.

For he knoweth, &c. ] See Matthew 10:26 , See Trapp on " Mat 10:26 "

Verse 22

Psa 44:22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Ver. 22. Yea, for thy sake are we killed, &c. ] q.d. Thou knowest that for thy sake, and not for vain glory, or out of pertinace, &c., we are killed. It is the cause, and not the punishment, that maketh the martyr. Some suffer as malefactors rather, Potes videre hominem morte affici, quare mortificetur nescis (Aug.).

We are counted as sheep for the slaughter ] As those Christians in Calabria, A. D. 1560, thrust up in one house together, as in a sheepfold, and butchered individually; Rom 8:36 besides those many, whose names being written in red letters of blood in the Church’s calendar, are written in golden letters in Christ’s register in the book of life, as Prudentius hath it.

Verse 23

Psa 44:23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast [us] not off for ever.

Ver. 23. Awake, why sleepest thou? ] Considering all the premises, stir up thyself, and come and save us? carest thou not that we perish?

Verse 24

Psa 44:24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, [and] forgettest our affliction and our oppression?

Ver. 24. Wherefore hidest thou thy face? ] God sometimes concealeth his love, as Joseph did, out of increasement of love; he retireth, but faith fetcheth him out, as the woman of Canaan did, Mark 7:24-25 .

Verse 25

Psa 44:25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.

Ver. 25. For our soul, &c. ] Soul and belly (or body), both are oppressed, and lie suppliant at God’s feet; resolved there to live and die together.

Verse 26

Psa 44:26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.

Ver. 26. Arise for our help ] Heb. A help for us, a sufficient help, proportionable to our necessities. The Hebrew hath a letter more than ordinary. Hebrew Text Note

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 44". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.