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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 43

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Psalms 43:0


Prayer For Deliverance No MT Intro A continuation ofPsalms 42:0; Psalms 42:0 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
Psalms 43:1-2 Psalms 43:1-2 Psalms 43:1-2 Psalms 43:1-2 Psalms 43:1
Psalms 43:2
Psalms 43:3-4 Psalms 43:3-4 Psalms 43:3-4 Psalms 43:3-4 Psalms 43:3
Psalms 43:4
Psalms 43:5 Psalms 43:5 Psalms 43:5 Psalms 43:5 Psalms 43:5

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


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.

Verses 1-2

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 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?

Psalms 43:1 Because of

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

2. no introduction in the MT in Psalms 43:0 (the only Psalm in Book 2 with no introduction)

this was probably part of Psalms 42:0 at one time but was divided for some unknown reason. The Jewish Study Bible's marginal note (p. 1330) suggests that the fact that Psalms 42:0 focuses on the past, while Psalms 43:0 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. Psalms 7:8; Psalms 26:1; Psalms 35:24) basically means “to judge.” The psalmist is using court language (cf. Psalms 17:1-3). YHWH is the righteous and fair judge of all human activity (i.e., Psalms 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 42:0 and 43 were originally one Psalm and that Psalms 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.

Psalms 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” (Psalms 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. Psalms 27:1; Psalms 28:7-8; Psalms 31:2, Psalms 31:4; Psalms 37:39; Psalms 52:7; Isaiah 17:10; Isaiah 25:4; Isaiah 27:5; Jeremiah 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 Psalms 42:9.

Verses 3-4

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 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.

Psalms 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 Psalms 4:6; Psalms 44:3

b. as a guide Micah 7:8

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

2. truth BDB 54 (see SPECIAL TOPIC: Believe, Trust, Faith, and Faithfulness in the Old Testament)

a. an attribute of YHWH often translated “faithfulness” Psalms 40:10; Psalms 71:22; Psalms 115:1; Psalms 138:2

b. often personified as YHWH's agents or messengers Psalms 40:11; Psalms 43:3; Psalms 57:3; Psalms 85:10; Psalms 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. Psalms 46:4; Psalms 84:1). The plural denotes all the buildings of the temple complex or the plural of majesty (cf. NIDOTE, vol. 2, p. 1132).

Psalms 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 Psalms 33:2).

Verse 5

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 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.

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

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS see list at Psalms 42:0. These two Psalms are a literary unit.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Psalms 43". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/psalms-43.html. 2021.
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