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Summary: We are going to examine this psalm as if it was written by godly King Hezekiah, although it could have been written by any of Israel’s godly kings. After David, he was the greatest king ever to sit upon the throne of Judea.

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April 22, 2015

Tom Lowe

Title: PSALM 43

A psalm of Hezekiah?

Psalm 43 (KJV)

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

2 For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.

5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Introduction

We are going to examine this psalm as if it was written by godly King Hezekiah, although it could have been written by any of Israel’s godly kings. After David, he was the greatest king ever to sit upon the throne of Judea. He did more to bring the nation back to God than any other king. Two tremendously significant events took place in his life. The first was an illness which threatened his very life, and from which he recovered only by a miracle of healing sent by the direct intervention of God. The other was an invasion by the Assyrians which threatened Judah’s independence, and from which he was rescued only by a miracle of help sent by the direct intervention of God. Psalm 42 stands connected with the first of these events, psalm 43 with the second. Psalms 42 and 43 originally composed one psalm. Psalm 43 has no title of its own. The content and wording of the two are clearly similar (see 42:9b and 43:2b), and psalm 43 has the refrain which appears twice in psalm 42.

Was David the psalmist who penned this psalm? Many believe he was, and they can point to several places which appear to support that idea, such as verse 4. However, the Temple was not built until the reign of King Solomon; and the Assyrians did not besiege Jerusalem until Hezekiah was king. Hezekiah is probably the one who wrote it.

Throughout most of his reign Hezekiah faced the threat of invasion from the north. He inherited the Assyrian menace from his father, King Ahaz, who, ignoring the pleadings and prophecies of Isaiah, had insisted on mortgaging the Judean kingdom to the Assyrians. He had hoped that by compromise and by conciliation he could buy off the great northern power. When Hezekiah came to the throne, fired with a dynamic faith in God, he at once set about preparing for the inevitable confrontations with the great king of the north.

Psalm 43 is a wonderful expression of the king’s joy emanating from the confidence he has in God to save him from the invading Assyrians. They are threatening him and oppressing him. Their propaganda is full of lies about him. The people are divided over what to do about their enemies, and they are clearly not supporting their king, but he believes God will defend him.

Commentary

43:1-2 Hezekiah knew that there could be no coexistence between Judea and Assyria. If for no other reason, religious differences made lasting peace between the two peoples impossible. Assyria demanded total surrender to its influence, the acceptance of an Assyrian governor, the imposition of Assyrian ideals and beliefs. How could Hezekiah tamely surrender his sovereignty to a king who believed in a multitude of false and fierce gods? With his faith in the true and living God and in the national destiny of the people of God, there was no way he could yield to Assyrian demands. He had hardly set down upon his throne than he began a series of measures aimed at the ultimate defense of his little land against the armed might of the Assyrian war machine.

He was not left long in doubt about Assyrian intentions. The invincible Assyrian army moved south and besieged the sister city of Samaria, capital of the ten-tribe nation of Israel. After a long and stubborn siege Samaria fell. Hezekiah would have been surprised if it hadn’t. There were so many prophecies about its fall that the credibility of Scripture was bound up with its overthrow. But that only made the little nation of Judea more vulnerable. Hezekiah and his God now became the object of incessant Assyrian propaganda aimed at softening up Judah. That seems to be the background of this psalm.

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

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