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Psalms 4:6 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Many there are that say, Who will show us [any] good? Jehovah, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— [There be] many that say, Who will shew us [any] good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Many are saying, “Who will show us [any] good?” Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O LORD!
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— [There are] many that say, Who will show us [any] good? LORD, lift thou upon us the light of thy countenance.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Many say, Who shall cause us to see good? Lift up upon us the light of thy countenance, O Jehovah.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Multitudes, are saying, Who will show us prosperity? Lift thou upon us the light of thy countenance, O Yahweh.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Many are saying, 'Who doth show us good?' Lift on us the light of Thy face, O Jehovah,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— The light of thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us: thou hast given gladness in my heart.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— There be many that say, Who wil shew vs [any] good? LORD lift thou vp the light of thy countenance vpon vs.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Many say, Who will shew us good things? the light of thy countenance, O Lord, has been manifested towards us.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— [There be] many that say, Who will shew us [any] good? Yahweh, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
[There be] many 7227
{7227} Prime
By contraction from H7231; abundant (in quantity, size, age, number, rank, quality).
that say, 559
{0559} Prime
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
Who x4310
(4310) Complement
An interrogitive pronoun of persons, as H4100 is of things, who? (occasionally, by a peculiar idiom, of things); also (indefinitely) whoever; often used in oblique construction with prefix or suffix.
will shew 7200
{7200} Prime
A primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitively, intransitively and causatively).
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
us [any] good? 2896
{2896} Prime
From H2895; good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adverb (well).
Yhw יָהוֶה, 3068
{3068} Prime
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
lift thou up 5375
{5375} Prime
A primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, absolutely and relatively.
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
the light 216
{0216} Prime
From H0215; illumination or (concretely) luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.).
of thy countenance 6440
{6440} Prime
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פָּנֶה paneh, {paw-neh'}; from H6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.).
upon x5921
(5921) Complement
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Psalms 4:6-7

_ _ Contrast true with vain confidence.

_ _ light of thy countenance upon us — figure for favor (Numbers 6:26; Psalms 44:3; Psalms 81:16).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Psalms 4:6-8

_ _ We have here,

_ _ I. The foolish wish of worldly people: There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Who will make us to see good? What good they meant is intimated, Psalms 4:7. It was the increase of their corn and wine; all they desired was plenty of the wealth of this world, that they might enjoy abundance of the delights of sense. Thus far they are right, that they are desirous of good and solicitous about it; but there are these things amiss in this wish: — 1. They enquire, in general, “Who will make us happy?” but do not apply themselves to God who alone can; and so they expose themselves to be ill-advised, and show they would rather be beholden to any than to God, for they would willingly live without him. 2. They enquire for good that may be seen, seeming good, sensible good; and they show no concern for the good things that are out of sight and are the objects of faith only. The source of idolatry was a desire of gods that they might see, therefore they worshipped the sun; but, as we must be taught to worship an unseen God, so to seek an unseen good, 2 Corinthians 4:18. We look with an eye of faith further than we can see with an eye of sense. 3. They enquire for any good, not for the chief good; all they want is outward good, present good, partial good, good meat, good drink, a good trade, and a good estate; and what are all these worth without a good God and a good heart? Any good will serve the turn of most men, but a gracious soul will not be put off so. This way, this wish, of carnal worldlings is their folly, yet many there be that join in it; and their doom will be accordingly. “Son, remember that thou in thy life-time receivedst thy good things, the penny thou didst agree for.”

_ _ II. The wise choice which godly people make. David, and the pious few that adhered to him, dissented from that wish, and joined in this prayer, Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. 1. He disagrees from the vote of the many. God had set him apart for himself by distinguishing favours, and therefore he sets himself apart by a distinguishing character. “They are for any good, for worldly good, but so am not I; I will not say as they say; any good will not serve my turn; the wealth of the world will never make a portion for my soul, and therefore I cannot take up with it.” 2. He and his friends agree in their choice of God's favour as their felicity; it is this which in their account is better than life and all the comforts of life. (1.) This is what they most earnestly desire and seek after; this is the breathing of their souls, “Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Most are for other things, but we are for this.” Good people, as they are distinguished by their practices, so they are by their prayers, not the length and language of them, but the faith and fervency of them; those whom God has set apart have a prayer by themselves, which, though others may speak the words of it, they only offer up in sincerity; and this is a prayer which they all say Amen to; “Lord, let us have thy favour, and let us know that we have it, and we desire no more; that is enough to make us happy. Lord, be at peace with us, accept of us, manifest thyself to us, let us be satisfied of thy loving-kindness and we will be satisfied with it.” Observe, Though David speaks of himself only in the Psalms 4:7, he speaks, in this prayer, for others also, — “upon us,” as Christ taught us to pray, “Our Father.” All the saints come to the throne of grace on the same errand, and in this they are one, they all desire God's favour as their chief good. We should beg it for others as well as for ourselves, for in God's favour there is enough for us all and we shall have never the less for others sharing in what we have. (2.) This is what, above any thing, they rejoice in (Psalms 4:7): “Thou hast hereby often put gladness into my heart; not only supported and refreshed me, but filled me with joy unspeakable; and therefore this is what I will still pursue, what I will seek after all the days of my life.” When God puts grace in the heart he puts gladness in the heart; nor is any joy comparable to that which gracious souls have in the communications of the divine favour, no, not the joy of harvest, of a plentiful harvest, when the corn and wine increase. This is gladness in the heart, inward, solid, substantial joy. The mirth of worldly people is but a flash, a shadow; even in laughter their heart is sorrowful, Proverbs 14:13. “Thou hast given gladness in my heart;” so the word is. True joy is God's gift, not as the world giveth, John 14:27. The saints have no reason to envy carnal worldlings their mirth and joy, but should pity them rather, for they may know better and will not. (3.) This is what they entirely confide in, and in this confidence they are always easy, Psalms 4:8. He had laid himself down and slept (Psalms 3:5), and so he will still: “I will lay myself down (having the assurance of thy favour) in peace, and with as much pleasure as those whose corn and wine increase, and who lie down as Boaz did in his threshing-floor, at the end of the heap of corn, to sleep there when his heart was merry (Ruth 3:7), for thou only makest me to dwell in safety. Though I am alone, yet I am not alone, for God is with me; though I have no guards to attend me, the Lord alone is sufficient to protect me; he can do it himself when all other defences fail.” If he have the light of God's countenance, [1.] He can enjoy himself. His soul returns to God, and reposes itself in him as its rest, and so he lays himself down and sleeps in peace. He has what he would have and is sure that nothing can come amiss to him. [2.] He fears no disturbance from his enemies, sleeps quietly, and is very secure, because God himself has undertaken to keep him safe. When he comes to sleep the sleep of death, and to lie down in the grave, and to make his bed in the darkness, he will then, with good old Simeon, depart in peace (Luke 2:29), being assured that God will receive his soul, to be safe with himself, and that his body also shall be made to dwell in safety in the grave. [3.] He commits all his affairs to God, and contentedly leaves the issue of them with him. It is said of the husbandman that, having cast his seed into the ground, he sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed springs and grows up, he knows not how, Mark 4:26, Mark 4:27. So a good man, having by faith and prayer cast his care upon God, sleeps and rests night and day, and is very easy, leaving it to his God to perform all things for him and prepared to welcome his holy will.

_ _ In singing these verses, and praying over them, let us, with a holy contempt of the wealth and pleasure of this world, as insufficient to make us happy, earnestly seek the favour of God and pleasingly solace ourselves in that favour; and, with a holy indifferency about the issue of all our worldly concerns, let us commit ourselves and all our affairs to the guidance and custody of the divine Providence, and be satisfied that all shall be made to work for good to us if we keep ourselves in the love of God.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Psalms 4:6

Many — Of my followers, who are weary of waiting upon God. Who — Who will put an end to our troubles, and give us tranquility. Lift up — Upon me and my friends. Give us an assurance of thy love, and evidence it by thy powerful assistance.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Psalms 4:6

[There be] many that say, Who will shew us [any] (k) good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.

(k) The multitude seeks worldly wealth, but David sets his happiness in God's favour.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Psalms 39:6 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up [riches], and knoweth not who shall gather them.
Psalms 49:16-20 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; ... Man [that is] in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts [that] perish.
Ecclesiastes 2:3-26 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what [was] that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. ... For [God] giveth to a man that [is] good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to [him that is] good before God. This also [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.
Isaiah 55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for [that which is] not bread? and your labour for [that which] satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye [that which is] good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, [and] be merry.
Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
James 5:1-5 Go to now, [ye] rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon [you]. ... Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.


Psalms 21:6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.
Psalms 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him [for] the help of his countenance.
Psalms 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.
Psalms 67:1 [[To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm [or] Song.]] God be merciful unto us, and bless us; [and] cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
Psalms 80:1-3 [[To the chief Musician upon Shoshannimeduth, A Psalm of Asaph.]] Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest [between] the cherubims, shine forth. ... Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Psalms 80:7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Psalms 80:19 Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Psalms 89:15 Blessed [is] the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.
Psalms 119:135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.
Numbers 6:26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Nu 6:26. Ps 21:6; 39:6; 42:5; 44:3; 49:16; 67:1; 80:1, 7, 19; 89:15; 119:135. Ec 2:3. Is 55:2. Lk 12:19; 16:19. Jm 4:13; 5:1.

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