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Psalms 43:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: Oh deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; deliver me from the deceitful and unrighteous man.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause, Against a nation, without lovingkindness, From the man of deceit and perversity, wilt thou deliver me?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Judge me, O God, And plead my cause against a nation not pious, From a man of deceit and perverseness Thou dost deliver me,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— A psalm for David. Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Iudge mee, O God, and plead my cause against an vngodly nation; O deliuer me from the deceitfull and vniust man.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— [[A Psalm of David.]] Judge me, o God, and plead my cause, against an ungodly nation: deliver me from the unjust and crafty man.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Judge me, O Elohim, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Judge 8199
{8199} Prime
A primitive root; to judge, that is, pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish; by extension to govern; passively to litigate (literally or figuratively).
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
me, O lhm אֱלֹהִים, 430
{0430} Prime
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
and plead 7378
{7378} Prime
A primitive root; properly to toss, that is, grapple; mostly figuratively to wrangle, that is, hold a controversy; (by implication) to defend.
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
my cause 7379
{7379} Prime
From H7378; a contest (personal or legal).
against an ungodly 3808
{3808} Prime
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
{2623} Prime
From H2616; properly kind, that is, (religiously) pious (a saint).
nation: 1471
{1471} Prime
Apparently from the same root as H1465 (in the sense of massing); a foreign nation; hence a Gentile; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts.
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
O deliver 6403
{6403} Prime
A primitive root; to slip out, that is, escape; causatively to deliver.
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
me from the deceitful 4820
{4820} Prime
From H7411 in the sense of deceiving; fraud.
and unjust 5766
{5766} Prime
From H5765; (moral) evil.
man. 376
{0376} Prime
Contracted for H0582 (or perhaps rather from an unused root meaning to be extant); a man as an individual or a male person; often used as an adjunct to a more definite term (and in such cases frequently not expressed in translation.).
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Psalms 43:1

_ _ Psalms 43:1-5. Excepting the recurrence of the refrain, there is no good reason to suppose this a part of the preceding, though the scope is the same. It has always been placed separate.

_ _ Judge — or, “vindicate” (Psalms 10:18).

_ _ plead, etc. — (Psalms 35:1).

_ _ ungodly — neither in character or condition objects of God’s favor (compare Psalms 4:3).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Psalms 43:1-5

_ _ David here makes application to God, by faith and prayer, as his judge, his strength, his guide, his joy, his hope, with suitable affections and expressions.

_ _ I. As his Judge, his righteous Judge, who he knew would judge him, and who (being conscious of his own integrity) he knew would judge for him (Psalms 43:1): Judge me, O God! and plead my cause. There were those that impeached him; against them he is defendant, and from their courts, where he stood unjustly convicted and condemned, he appeals to the court of heaven, the supreme judicature, praying to have their judgment given against him reversed and his innocency cleared. There were those that had injured him; against them he is plaintiff, and exhibits his complaint to him who is the avenger of wrong, praying for justice for himself and upon them. Observe, 1. Who his enemies were with whom he had this struggle. Here was a sinful body of men, whom he calls an ungodly or unmerciful nation. Those that are unmerciful make it appear that they are ungodly; for, those that have any fear or love of their master will have compassion on their fellow-servants. And here was one bad man the head of them, a deceitful and unjust man, most probably Saul, who not only showed no kindness to David, but dealt most perfidiously and dishonestly with him. If Absalom was the man he meant, his character was no better. As long as there are such bad men out of hell, and nations of them, it is not strange that good men, who are yet out of heaven, meet with hard and base treatment. Some think that David, by the spirit of prophecy, calculated this psalm for the use of the Jews in their captivity in Babylon, and that the Chaldeans are the ungodly nation here meant; to them it was very applicable, but only as other similar scriptures, none of which are of private interpretation. God might design it for their use, whether David did or no. 2. What is his prayer with reference to them: Judge me. As to the quarrel God had with him for sin, he prays, “Enter not into judgment with me, for then I shall be condemned;” but, as to the quarrel his enemies had with him he prays, “Lord, judge me, for I know that I shall be justified; plead my cause against them, take my part, and in thy providence appear on my behalf.” He that has an honest cause may expect that God will plead it. “Plead my cause so as to deliver me from them, that they may not have their will against me.” We must reckon our cause sufficiently pleaded if we be delivered, though our enemies be not destroyed.

_ _ II. As his strength, his all-sufficient strength; so he eyes God (Psalms 43:2): “Thou art the God of my strength, my God, my strength, from whom all my strength is derived, in whom I strengthen myself, who hast often strengthened me, and without whom I am weak as water and utterly unable either to do or suffer any thing for thee.” David now went mourning, destitute of spiritual joys, yet he found God to be the God of his strength. If we cannot comfort ourselves in God, we may stay ourselves upon him, and may have spiritual supports when we want spiritual delights. David here pleads this with God: “Thou art the God on whom I depend as my strength; why then dost thou cast me off?” This was a mistake; for God never cast off any that trusted in him, whatever melancholy apprehensions they may have had of their own state. “Thou art the God of my strength; why then is my enemy too strong for me, and why go I mourning because of his oppressive power?” It is hard to reconcile the mighty force of the church's enemies with the almighty power of the church's God; but the day will reconcile them when all his enemies shall become his footstool.

_ _ III. As his guide, his faithful guide (Psalms 43:3): Lead me, bring me to thy holy hill. He prays, 1. That God by his providence would bring him back from his banishment, and open a way for him again to the free enjoyment of the privileges of God's sanctuary. His heart is upon the holy hill and the tabernacles, not upon his family-comforts, his court-preferments, or his diversions; he could bear the want of these, but he is impatient to see God's tabernacles again; nothing so amiable in his eyes as those; thither he would gladly be brought back. In order to this he prays, “Send out thy light and thy truth; let me have this as a fruit of thy favour, which is light, and the performance of thy promise, which is truth.” We need desire no more to make us happy than the good that flows from God's favour and is included in his promise. That mercy, that truth, is enough, is all; and, when we see these in God's providences, we see ourselves under a very safe conduct. Note, Those whom God leads he leads to his holy hill, and to his tabernacles; those therefore who pretend to be led by the Spirit, and yet turn their backs upon instituted ordinances, certainly deceive themselves. 2. That God by his grace would bring him into communion with himself, and prepare him for the vision and fruition of himself in the other world. Some of the Jewish writers by the light and truth here understand Messiah the Prince and Elias his forerunner: these have come, in answer to the prayers of the Old Testament; but we are still to pray for God's light and truth, the Spirit of light and truth, who supplies the want of Christ's bodily presence, to lead us into the mystery of godliness and to guide us in the way to heaven. When God sends his light and truth into our hearts, these will guide us to the upper world in all our devotions as well as in all our aims and expectations; and, if we conscientiously follow that light and that truth, they will certainly bring us to the holy hill above.

_ _ IV. As his joy, his exceeding joy. If God guide him to his tabernacles, if he restore him to his former liberties, he knows very well what he has to do: Then will I go unto the altar of God, Psalms 43:4. He will get as near as he can unto God, his exceeding joy. Note, 1. Those that come to the tabernacles should come to the altar; those that come to ordinances should qualify themselves to come, and then come to special ordinances, to those that are most affecting and most binding. The nearer we come, the closer we cleave, to God, the better. 2. Those that come to the altar of God must see to it that therein they come unto God, and draw near to him with the heart, with a true heart: we come in vain to holy ordinances if we do not in them come to the holy God. 3. Those that come unto God must come to him as their exceeding joy, not only as their future bliss, but as their present joy, and that not a common, but an exceeding joy, far exceeding all the joys of sense and time. The phrase, in the original, is very emphatic — unto God the gladness of my joy, or of my triumph. Whatever we rejoice or triumph in God must be the joy of it; all our joy in it must terminate in him, and must pass through the gift to the giver. 4. When we come to God as our exceeding joy our comforts in him must be the matter of our praises to him as God, and our God: Upon the harp will I praise thee, O God! my God. David excelled at the harp (1 Samuel 16:16, 1 Samuel 16:18), and with that in which he excelled he would praise God; for God is to be praised with the best we have; it is fit he should be, for he is the best.

_ _ V. As his hope, his never-failing hope, Psalms 43:5. Here, as before, David quarrels with himself for his dejections and despondencies, and owns he did ill to yield to them, and that he had no reason to do so: Why art thou cast down, O my soul? He then quiets himself in the believing expectation he had of giving glory to God (Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him) and of enjoying glory with God: He is the health of my countenance and my God. That is what we cannot too much insist upon, for it is what we must live and die by.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Psalms 43:1

Nation — So he calls the company of his enemies for their great numbers. Man — Probably Achitophel or Absalom.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Psalms 43:1

Judge (a) me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly (b) nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.

(a) He desires God to undertake his cause against the enemies but chiefly that he would restore him to the tabernacle.

(b) That is, the cruel company of my enemies.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
am 2983, bc 1021 (Title), This Psalm is evidently a continuation of the preceding, and had the same author; and they are written as one in forty-six manuscripts The sameness of subject, similarity of composition, and return of the same burden in both, are sufficient evidence of this opinion.


Psalms 7:8 The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity [that is] in me.
Psalms 26:1 [[[A Psalm] of David.]] Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; [therefore] I shall not slide.
Psalms 35:24 Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.
Psalms 75:7 But God [is] the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
1 Corinthians 4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously:


Psalms 35:1 [[[A Psalm] of David.]] Plead [my cause], O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
1 Samuel 24:15 The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.
Proverbs 22:23 For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Proverbs 23:11 For their redeemer [is] mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.
Micah 7:9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, [and] I shall behold his righteousness.

or, unmerciful

the deceitful:
Heb. a man of deceit and iniquity,
Psalms 71:4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
2 Samuel 15:31 And [one] told David, saying, Ahithophel [is] among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.
2 Samuel 16:20-23 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do. ... And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, [was] as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so [was] all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.
2 Samuel 17:1-4 Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: ... And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.
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1S 24:15. 2S 15:31; 16:20; 17:1. Ps 7:8; 26:1; 35:1, 24; 71:4; 75:7. Pv 22:23; 23:11. Mi 7:9. 1Co 4:4. 1P 2:23.

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