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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 77



Verse 1

Psalms 77:1 « To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of Asaph. » I cried unto God with my voice, [even] unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.

A Psalm of Asaph] Or, for Asaph; David’s melancholy psalm some call it, made by him when he was in grievous affliction and desertion. Out of which he seeketh to wind by earnest prayer, by deep meditation upon God’s former favours and unchangeable nature; and, lastly, by calling to mind God’s wondrous works of old, both in proving and in preserving his Church and chosen.

Ver. 1. I cried unto God with my voice, &c.] I prayed instantly and constantly, and sped accordingly. No faithful prayer is ineffectual.

Verse 2

Psalms 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.

Ver. 2. In the day of my trouble] The time of affliction is the time of supplication, Psalms 50:15.

My sore ran in the night] Heb. My hand was poured out; that is, stretched out in prayer; or wet with continual weeping. Non fuit remissa, nec retracta in lectum.

And ceased not] Or, was not tired; in allusion, belike, to Moses’s hands held up against Amalek; though

My soul refused to be comforted] I prayed on, though I had little heart to do it (as Daniel afterwards did the king’s work, though he were sick), or though with much infirmity, while I rather wrangled with God, by cavilling objections, than wrestled with him, as I ought to have done; by important prayer.

Verse 3

Psalms 77:3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.

Ver. 3. I remembered God, and was troubled] Tumultuabar, fluctuando perstrepebam; for God seemed to be angry, and to cast out my prayers; this made me mourn, and little less than murmur.

My spirit was overwhelmed] With sense of sin and fear of wrath. This was a very grievous and dangerous temptation, such as we must pray not to be led into, or at least not be left under, lest we utterly despair.

Verse 4

Psalms 77:4 Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

Ver. 4. Thou holdest mine eyes waking] Thou holdest the watches of mine eyes, that is, mine eyebrows, saith the Chaldee, so that I can neither sleep nor speak. Job complaineth of the like misery, Job 7:8 See Psalms 38:10

That I cannot speak] Curae leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.

Verse 5

Psalms 77:5 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.

Ver. 5. I have considered the days of old] What thou didst for Adam, Abraham, Israel, in Egypt, &c., all which was written purposely, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope. See Deuteronomy 32:7.

Verse 6

Psalms 77:6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.

Ver. 6. I call to remembrance my song in the night] i.e. My former feelings and experiments, being glad, in this scarcity of comfort, to live upon the old store, as bees do in winter.

I commune with mine own heart] Psalms 4:4, see there.

And my spirit made diligent search] For the cause and cure of my present distempers.

Verse 7

Psalms 77:7 Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?

Ver. 7. Will the Lord cast off for ever?] No, nor at all, though the extremity and length of the psalmist’s grief put him upon these sad interrogatories, with some diffidence, touching the nature and promise of God.

Will he be favourable no more?] So the devil and carnal reason would have persuaded him; and did haply for a time. But this very questioning the matter showeth he yet lay languishing at hope’s hospital, waiting for comfort. The soul may successively doubt, and yet believe.

Verse 8

Psalms 77:8 Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth [his] promise fail for evermore?

Ver. 8. Is his mercy clean gone for ever?] They that go down into the pit (of despair) cannot hope for God’s truth, Isaiah 38:18, but so doth not any saint in his deepest desertions.

Doth his promise fail for evermore?] Hath he retracted his promises, recalled his oracles confirmed with oath, seal? No, he will not suffer his faithfulness to fail, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his mouth, Psalms 89:33.

Verse 9

Psalms 77:9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

Ver. 9. Hath God forgotten to be gracious?] So it seemeth sometimes to those that are long afflicted and short-spirited; but what saith the prophet? Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, they may prove unnatural, and grow out of kind, as Medea, and those Suevian women (Heyl. Geog.), who threw their young children at the Romans, under the conduct of Drusus, son-in-law to Augustus, instead of darts, yet God will not forget his people, Isaiah 49:15. Indeed, he can as soon forget himself, and change his nature.

Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies?] These things the psalmist speaketh not as utterly despairing, but as one courageously, wrestling against an old manslayer, and a misgiving heart of his own. Homines vero securi, et voluptatibus ebrii, nihil horum intelllgunt. This is little understood by profane sensualists, who, therefore, reap no great benefit by the reading of these psalms.

Verse 10

Psalms 77:10 And I said, This [is] my infirmity: [but I will remember] the years of the right hand of the most High.

Ver. 10. And I said, This is my infirmity] My frailty and folly. Here he begins to recollect, and recall himself, as every good soul will, after its extravagancies and outbursts. Vatablus rendereth it, Mors mea est, This is my death; Beza, Caedes mea haec, This is my death wound, sc. whereof I should surely die, were it not for the change of God’s hand upon me.

But I will remember, &c.] This is supplied out of the following verse. Some make no such supply, but render the text thus, The right hand of the Most High can change these things. Others, This is the change of the right hand of the Most High, and is therefore to be taken patiently; shall we receive good at God’s hands, and not evil? Job 2:10. I am not utterly deserted, but only the case is a little altered, the right hand of the Most High alternated.

Verse 11

Psalms 77:11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

Ver. 11. I will remember the works, &c.] Remember, and commemorate, as the Hebrew (by a double reading) importeth.

I will remember thy wonders] God is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working, Isaiah 28:29, and as we behold the sun in the waters, so God in his works. Saeculum speculum, the world is a glass or theatre, but especially the Church, wherein God setteth forth his wonders to the view of all.

Verse 12

Psalms 77:12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

Ver. 12. I will meditate also of all thy works, and talk, &c.] {See Trapp on "Psalms 45:1"}

Verse 13

Psalms 77:13 Thy way, O God, [is] in the sanctuary: who [is so] great a God as [our] God?

Ver. 13. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary] There it is only that I can get satisfaction about thy proceedings, Psalms 73:17. There I am taught, that thou art righteous in all thy ways, and holy in all thy works, Psalms 145:17. Some render this text, Thy way, O God, is in holiness. Some by sanctuary understand heaven; q.d. Thy way is in heaven, far above man’s reach.

Who is so great a God as our God?] And therefore no wonder his ways are so incomprehensible.

Verse 14

Psalms 77:14 Thou [art] the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.

Ver. 14. Thou art the God that doest wonders] In the daily defence and government of thy Church. Thou art the great Thaumaturgus, or wonder worker.

Thou hast declared thy strength among the people] As among the Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, &c. Vere magnus est Dens Christianorum, said one Calocerius, a heathen.

Verse 15

Psalms 77:15 Thou hast with [thine] arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

Ver. 15. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people] viz. Out of the bondage of Egypt, that memorable mercy; but nothing to that of ours and theirs from sin’s thraldom.

The sons of Jacob and Joseph] Joseph is instanced, quia nobilis inter fratres, vel in malis quae pendit, vel in bonis quae rependit, as Austin hath it (De Doct. Christ. 1. iv. c. 6).

Verse 16

Psalms 77:16 The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.

Ver. 16. The waters saw thee, O God … they were afraid] This is check to such as will not see to fear so mighty a God. "Lord," saith the prophet, "when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see; but they shall see and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them," Isaiah 26:11.

Verse 17

Psalms 77:17 The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.

Ver. 17. The clouds poured out water, the skies, &c.] Calvin taketh this to be a description of that hideous tempest, Exodus 9:18-26, the seventh plague of Egypt. But others with more probability hold, that the prophet here hath respect to that very time mentioned in the former verse, when the Lord looked upon the host of the Egyptians out of the fiery and cloudy pillar, and so troubled and turmoiled them with stormy tempests, that their chariot wheels fell off, and themselves sank as lead in the mighty waters, Exodus 14:24-25; Exodus 15:10. Of these terrible tempests mention is made also by Justin.

Verse 18

Psalms 77:18 The voice of thy thunder [was] in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.

Ver. 18. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven] Heb. in the sphere or round orb of the air. Of the thunder in the air, see Job 37:2-5, Psalms 29:1-11 This made the Egyptians say, Let us flee, for God fighteth for Israel against us.

The lightnings lightened the world] Such flakes of fire there were with flashes of lightning, as darkened the sun, and made the whole heaven seem to be on a light fire.

Verse 19

Psalms 77:19 Thy way [is] in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.

Ver. 19. Thy way is in the sea, &c.] A way of thine own miraculous making. God usually goeth a way by himself.

And thy footsteps are not known] Not so much as is the way or an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent upon a rock, or the way of a ship in the midst of the sea, Proverbs 30:19. Let God alone with his own work, commit we ourselves to him in well doing, and it shall go well with us, no question of it. Pit viam desperatae salutis, impii foveam insperatae mortis intrant (Oros.).

Verse 20

Psalms 77:20 Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Ver. 20. Thou leddest thy people like a flock] And so he still leadeth his Church with much love and care, by good magistrates and ministers, who are as his under-shepherds.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

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