Psalms 44


The depiction recorded in this psalm is not of the time of David.  This is a description of defeat and dispersion of the people of Israel by an anonymous psalmist.  These events could not have occurred until after Solomon’s time. 

לַמְנַצֵּחַ לִבְנֵי־קֹרַח מַשְׂכִּיל׃   44:1

Psal. 44:1   A poem for the leader, for the sons of Korach:

אֱלֹהִים בְּאָזְנֵינוּ שָׁמַעְנוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ סִפְּרוּ־לָנוּ פֹּעַל פָּעַלְתָּ בִימֵיהֶם בִּימֵי קֶדֶם׃   44:2

Psal. 44:2   God, we have heard with our ears;

                               our fathers recounted to us the work You did in their days, in days of old.

אַתָּה יָדְךָ גּוֹיִם הוֹרַשְׁתָּ וַתִּטָּעֵם תָּרַע לְאֻמִּים וַתְּשַׁלְּחֵם׃   44:3

Psal. 44:3   You, Your “hand,” dispossessed nations and established them,

                               You split peoples and sent them off.

The first third-person plural pronoun, them, must refer to the fathers of the preceding verse, not the nations in this verse.

כִּי לֹא בְחַרְבָּם יָרְשׁוּ אָרֶץ וּזְרוֹעָם לֹא־הוֹשִׁיעָה לָּמוֹ כִּי־יְמִינְךָ וּזְרוֹעֲךָ וְאוֹר פָּנֶיךָ כִּי רְצִיתָם׃   44:4

Psal. 44:4   For not by their sword did they possess the land,

                               nor did their arm give victory to him;

                      only Your right “hand” and Your “arm” and the light of Your presence,

                               because You were favorable to them.

Again, the third-person plural pronouns in this verse refer to the fathers.

אַתָּה־הוּא מַלְכִּי אֱלֹהִים צַוֵּה יְשׁוּעוֹת יַעֲקֹב׃   44:5

Psal. 44:5   That is You, God, my King.

                               Command the salvation of Jacob.

בְּךָ צָרֵינוּ נְנַגֵּחַ בְּשִׁמְךָ נָבוּס קָמֵינוּ׃   44:6

Psal. 44:6   Because of You our adversaries can we thrust at;

                                because of Your name we can tread down those rising against us.

כִּי לֹא בְקַשְׁתִּי אֶבְטָח וְחַרְבִּי לֹא תוֹשִׁיעֵנִי׃   44:7

Psal. 44:7   Surely in my bow I will not trust;

                                nor can my sword save me.

כִּי הוֹשַׁעְתָּנוּ מִצָּרֵינוּ וּמְשַׂנְאֵינוּ הֱבִישׁוֹתָ׃   44:8

Psal. 44:8   Only You deliver us from our adversaries

                                and put to shame those who hate us.

בֵּאלֹהִים הִלַּלְנוּ כָל־הַיּוֹם וְשִׁמְךָ לְעוֹלָם נוֹדֶה סֶלָה׃   44:9

Psal. 44:9   We glory in God all the time

                                and will praise Your name forever.           Selah.

אַף־זָנַחְתָּ וַתַּכְלִימֵנוּ וְלֹא־תֵצֵא בְּצִבְאוֹתֵינוּ׃   44:10

Psal. 44:10   Still You have rejected, and brought us to shame,

                                that You will not go forth with our armies.

תְּשִׁיבֵנוּ אָחוֹר מִנִּי־צָר וּמְשַׂנְאֵינוּ שָׁסוּ לָמוֹ׃   44:11

Psal. 44:11   You would make us turn backward from an adversary,

                                and those who hate us plunder for themselves.

תִּתְּנֵנוּ כְּצֹאן מַאֲכָל וּבַגּוֹיִם זֵרִיתָנוּ׃   44:12

Psal. 44:12   You could have given us food as a flock,

                                but You dispersed us among the nations.

תִּמְכֹּר־עַמְּךָ בְלֹא־הוֹן וְלֹא־רִבִּיתָ בִּמְחִירֵיהֶם׃   44:13

Psal. 44:13   You would sell Your people at no value,

                                 as You made no increase in their price.

תְּשִׂימֵנוּ חֶרְפָּה לִשְׁכֵנֵינוּ לַעַג וָקֶלֶס לִסְבִיבוֹתֵינוּ׃   44:14

Psal. 44:14   You would make us a taunt for our neighbors,

                                 a mockery and a derision for those surrounding us.

תְּשִׂימֵנוּ מָשָׁל בַּגּוֹיִם מְנוֹד־רֹאשׁ בַּל־אֻמִּים׃   44:15

Psal. 44:15   You would make us a byword among nations,

                                 a shaking of the head among peoples.

כָּל־הַיּוֹם כְּלִמָּתִי נֶגְדִּי וּבֹשֶׁת פָּנַי כִּסָּתְנִי׃   44:16

Psal. 44:16   My confusion is before me all the time,

                                  and the shame of my face covers me,

מִקּוֹל מְחָרֵף וּמְגַדֵּף מִפְּנֵי אוֹיֵב וּמִתְנַקֵּם׃   44:17

Psal. 44:17   because of the taunting and reviling voice,

                                 because of the enemy and the vengeful.

כָּל־זֹאת בָּאַתְנוּ וְלֹא שְׁכַחֲנוּךָ וְלֹא־שִׁקַּרְנוּ בִּבְרִיתֶךָ׃   44:18

Psal. 44:18   All this comes upon us though we have not forgotten You;

                                 nor have we been false with Your covenant.

This verse and three of the next four (vss. 19, 21, and 22) are hard to believe, given the description of the times from the passing of Solomon until the destruction of the first Temple that comprises most of the preceding books of the bible from 2Kings to Malachi.  Israel was an unfaithful people.

לֹא־נָסוֹג אָחוֹר לִבֵּנוּ וַתֵּט אֲשֻׁרֵינוּ מִנִּי אָרְחֶךָ׃   44:19

Psal. 44:19   Our heart is not turned back,

                                 or our steps stretched out from Your path.

This verse contains an error, an unacknowledged mismatch in number.  The noun translated as our steps is obviously plural, but its verb, translated as stretched out, is singular.

כִּי דִכִּיתָנוּ בִּמְקוֹם תַּנִּים וַתְּכַס עָלֵינוּ בְצַלְמָוֶת׃   44:20

Psal. 44:20   Yet You crush us down into a place of serpents

                                and cover us over with the shadow of death.

אִם־שָׁכַחְנוּ שֵׁם אֱלֹהֵינוּ וַנִּפְרֹשׂ כַּפֵּינוּ לְאֵל זָר׃   44:21

Psal. 44:21   If we forgot the name of our God

                                or stretched forth our hands to a strange god,

הֲלֹא אֱלֹהִים יַחֲקָר־זֹאת כִּי־הוּא יֹדֵעַ תַּעֲלֻמוֹת לֵב׃   44:22

Psal. 44:22   would God not search this out?

                                For He is the Perceiver of the secrets of the heart.

כִּי־עָלֶיךָ הֹרַגְנוּ כָל־הַיּוֹם נֶחְשַׁבְנוּ כְּצֹאן טִבְחָה׃   44:23

Psal. 44:23   Yet for Your sake we are killed all the time;

                               we are regarded as a herd of slaughtered meat.

עוּרָה לָמָּה תִישַׁן אֲדֹנָי הָקִיצָה אַל־תִּזְנַח לָנֶצַח׃   44:24

Psal. 44:24   Awake! how can You sleep, Master?

                               Wake up! May You not reject forever.

לָמָּה־פָנֶיךָ תַסְתִּיר תִּשְׁכַּח עָנְיֵנוּ וְלַחֲצֵנוּ׃   44:25

Psal. 44:25   Why would You hide Your face,

                                forget our affliction and our oppression?

כִּי שָׁחָה לֶעָפָר נַפְשֵׁנוּ דָּבְקָה לָאָרֶץ בִּטְנֵנוּ׃   44:26

Psal. 44:26   Indeed our soul is bowed down to the dust,

                                our belly cleaves to the earth.

קוּמָה עֶזְרָתָה לָּנוּ וּפְדֵנוּ לְמַעַן חַסְדֶּךָ׃   44:27

Psal. 44:27   Arise, be a Help to us and redeem us for the sake of Your mercy.


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