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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 77:6

 

 

I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:

Adam Clarke Commentary

I call to remembrance my song in the night - I do not think that נגינתי neginathi means my song. We know that נגינת neginath signifies some stringed musical instrument that was struck with a plectrum, but here it possibly might be applied to the Psalm that was played on it. But it appears to me rather that the psalmist here speaks of the circumstances of composing the short ode contained in the seventh, eighth, and ninth verses; which it is probable he sung to his harp as a kind of dirge, if indeed he had a harp in that distressful captivity.

My spirit made diligent search - The verb חפש chaphas signifies such an investigation as a man makes who is obliged to strip himself in order to do it; or, to lift up coverings, to search fold by fold, or in our phrase, to leave no stone unturned. The Vulgate translates: "Et scopebam spiritum meum." As scopebam is no pure Latin word, it may probably be taken from the Greek σκοπεω scopeo, "to look about, to consider attentively." It is however used by no author but St. Jerome; and by him only here and in Isaiah 14:23; : And I will sweep it with the besom of destruction; scopabo eam in scopa terens. Hence we see that he has formed a verb from a noun scope, a sweeping brush or besom; and this sense my old Psalter follows in this place, translating the passage thus: And I sweped my gast: which is thus paraphrased: "And swa I sweped my gaste, (I swept my soul), that is, I purged it of all fylth."


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-77.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

I call to remembrance my song in the night - Compare Job 35:10, note; Psalm 42:8, note. The word here rendered “song” - נגינה negı̂ynâh - means properly the music of stringed instruments, Lamentations 5:14; Isaiah 38:20; then, a stringed instrument. It is the word which we have so often in the titles to the psalms (Psalm 4:1-8; Psalm 6:1-10; Psalm 54:1-7; Psalm 67:1-7; Psalm 76:1-12); and it is used here in the sense of song or psalm. The idea is, that there had been times in his life when, even in darkness and sorrow, he could sing; when he could find things for which to praise God; when he could find something that would cheer him; when he could take some bright views of God adapted to calm down his feelings, and to give peace to his soul. He recalls those times and scenes to his remembrance, with a desire to have those cheerful impressions renewed; and he asks himself what it was which then comforted and sustained him. He endeavors to bring those things back again, for if he found comfort then, he thinks that he might find comfort from the same considerations now.

I commune with mine own heart - I think over the matter. See the notes at Psalm 4:4.

And my spirit made diligent search - In reference

(a) to the grounds of my former support and comfort; and

(b) in reference to the whole matter as it lies before me now.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-77.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 77:6

I call to remembrance my song in the night.

The song in the night

Among all those pains and pleasures which make up so large a part of every human lot, none are more real and more vivid than the pains and the pleasures of memory. Much that is sad, and tragic, and lamentable in the past would die but that it is kept alive in the memory, and much that is joyful and inspiring would perish out of life altogether but that it has become a property of the memory. There is not a little courage implied in this testimony of the psalmist: “I call to remembrance my song in the night”--for you cannot recall the song without recalling the night. And the song seems so slight a thing--some poor, thin, quavering notes that perhaps aimed to be melody and were not. But the night--that was vast and awful. Its gloom was absolute; its darkness a darkness that could be felt. It wrapped the spirit round until heaven and earth alike were lost, beauty a dream, and light a legend. That was the night upon which that trembling song broke; and into the depths of which it wandered. And to recall the song is to remember the night. It needs some courage deliberately to do that. There is something in this well worthy of our thought. There should be nothing in life we are afraid to recall. Even our sins should be so associated with memories of penitence and God’s pardoning mercy that there is room for the note of praise even out of so desolate a night as that. We are not really “more than conquerors” until we can dare to look steadily at the darkest dispensations of earth. The suggestion with some people is that they can only continue to believe by hiding some of their trials out of sight, and resolutely refusing to think of them. If this be so, the victory is surely against, them. Will you now take yet another point in our meditation? It was the night that made the song. Not entirely, of course, for have we not already seen that the song had been impossible but for a communication of the reality of the Divine love. But the fact remains that but for the night the song had not been what it was. He whose love-song is the eternal inspiration and solace of our race was the Man of Sorrows, and His life was a song in the night. (C. S. Horne, M. A.)

The song remembered in the night

He looked out of the bars of his window of darkness, and thought of the old light of bygone times. For there are times when the soul cannot sing, the heart cannot be glad. Yet even then the old days may be thought of. A man may get lap out of the darkness unto the light of another man’s window, and take comfort from that. So this is what this wise soul did. He goes to the window, he knows where it is, and looking out through the great darkness, he says--“I call to remembrance the days of old, the years of ancient times.” For, thank God, to-day’s darkness blots not out yesterday’s light, and in the depth of winter it is oftentimes pleasant to remember the summer glory: so the uses of darkness are sometimes to make men value the light. Now, this is the remedy. He called to mind olden days, and so by degrees the light came. He speaks most pathetic words. It is so dark, I cannot sing, I have nothing to say to Thee, O God, but I will call to remembrance the song I did sing once. And so the memory does what the heart could not do at the time; and even from this little beginning victory commences: “I call to remembrance my song in the night.” And the tongue, toe dumb to sing, still perhaps whispers to itself the old song; and there mark amongst many other things the uses of learning, and singing when you are glad, teaching songs; they get into the memory, and lie there till they are wanted. Now, in calling to remembrance the old song, he called to mind that he had once sung it. What had been may be; yesterday is as to-morrow; old summers foretell future summers; and therefore he says, “No light now; but there was light once, I will call that to remembrance.” But some of you may say that the very fact that you have known better days and know them not now, is a source of deeper trouble. Not at all. A thing that hath been may be. It is the very fact of the fickleness of the weather that gives us hope. It is now night, I call to remembrance the song I have sung in summer days I have seen sweet times of peace; they are gone now, they will come again. Ask me about next year’s swallows, I call to remembrance the swallows of the past. They have been, they are not now, but they will come again. Their being gone is the, warrant of their coming again. A man sometimes is disappointed, disheartened; somebody who has been a friend has deceived him, and he says, “There is no such thing as honesty,” and the man turns cynical, scornful, and denounces his fellows as being false. Think of the utter gloom that comes when a man has been thoroughly deceived. How hard it is to believe in the eleven, when the twelfth is a rogue. That is a terrible night for a man. But call to remembrance the song of the souls we have known that have loved us truly, purely, honestly, even to the end. Open the great book as the king did who could not sleep. Read of those who were true, think of all those you have known (now gone to rest), who were staunch, honest, and faithful; and though there is no song possible just now, yet “I call to remembrance my song in the night,” and the men that were a comfort are amongst the men that are. So, far away from the!and of his birth, a man, perhaps in exile, sits down in a foreign land, it may be Babylon, but he cannot sing there, his heart is sad, and his harp hangs on the willows; though it is all night, he can call to remembrance the song he used to sing at home. Though unable to sing (for it needs a glad heart to make a very merry tongue), he can do as those Jews did, who opened their windows and looked towards Jerusalem, that even if they could not see the wreath of the smoking sacrifice ascending upward, they could remember the time that had been, and so take comfort from that. It is good to sing, but the next best thing is to think of the time when you have sung; for through the words which the heart utters it will become quiet and calm. (G. Dawson, M. A.)

I commune with mine own heart; and my spirit made diligent search.

Man, “know thyself”!

Communion with ourselves! that is surely something very wonderful; and evidence enough of a sublime nature. “I commune with my own heart: and my spirit diligently explores her own hidden world.” Why, nothing in the whole compass of nature can do that. A wise man will surely say, “I am not going to analyze creatures who are lower than myself to know myself; but I must commune with myself, and make inquiry of the measureless capacities involved in my personal spirit.” Now, whoever thus searches into himself is constrained to search after the living God. Unless a man is under the influence and control of his inner and diviner nature he inevitably leads a life and acts a part which degrades and ruins him. God, the Father of his spirit, is infinitely averse to this, which He has most affectingly shown and proved by that great mystery of Love, God manifest in man’s flesh. Bethlehem, Calvary, and Mount Olivet simply mean God’s infinite concern for man’s redemption. If Christ’s Ascension does not signify the possibility of man’s ascension to God and the angel world, it signifies nothing. To be destitute of self-knowledge is, strictly speaking, to be destitute of all true and right knowledge. If we know not ourselves, nor the end of our being, we shall fall into many foolish and hurtful snares, and mistake the value of everything. We shall take appearances and sophistries for truth, and regard God’s truth as dreams. And worse than all, we shall misuse ourselves; thinking that we are wise when we are foolish, and that we are doing well when we are perishing. For we may take every possible care of the corruptible body of our flesh, while we are destroying the health and happiness of the precious inner man. Self-knowledge will inspire more than dignity and self-respect; it will inspire awe and a sublime hope. There will be no self-adulation in this knowledge; on the contrary, self-knowledge is always associated with sweet, restful, childlike humility. For right self-knowledge recognizes the Infinite Father-Spirit to be alone great and worshipful. We all share in Divinity; that is the one great human inheritance. To claim direct relationship to the Infinite Spirit is not presumptuous: “Our Father, which art in heaven.” And the one tremendous thought is that our Divine birthright is for eternity. The Everlasting Christ, as the ideal of our own humanity, is not only revealed to us; but the breath of His power is within us all. (John Pulsford, D. D.)

Self-companionship

Often reflect upon thyself, and observe what company is with thy heart. We may know by the noise in the school that the master is not there; much of the misrule in our bosom arises from the neglect of visiting our hearts. (W. Gurnall.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 77:6". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-77.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I call to remembrance my song in the night,.... What had been an occasion of praising the Lord with a song, and which he had sung in the night seasons, when he was at leisure, his thoughts free, and he retired from company; or it now being night with him, he endeavoured to recollect what had been matter of praise and thankfulness to him, and tried to sing one of those songs now, in order to remove his melancholy thoughts and fears, but all to no purpose:

I commune with mine own heart; or "meditate"F15אשיחה "meditabor", Montanus; meditatus sum, V. L. "meditor", Junius & Tremellius; "meditabar", Piscator, Cocceius. with it; looked into his own heart, put questions to it, and conversed with himself, in order to find out the reason of the present dispensation:

and my spirit made diligent search; into the causes of his troubles, and ways and means of deliverance out of them, and what would be the issue and consequence of them; the result of all which was as follows.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-77.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(d) Of thanksgiving, which I was accustomed to sing in my prosperity.

(e) Both the reasons why I was chastened, and when my sorrows would end.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-77.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

My song — The mercies of God vouchsafed to me, and to his people, which have obliged me to sing his praises, not only in the day, but also by night.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-77.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6.I will call to remembrance my song in the night. By his song he denotes the exercise of thanksgiving in which he had engaged during the time of his prosperity. (289) There is no remedy better adapted for healing our sorrows, as I have just now observed, than this; but Satan often craftily suggests to our thoughts the benefits of God, that the very feeling of the want of them may inflict upon our minds a deeper wound. It is, therefore, highly probable, that the prophet was pierced with bitter pangs when he compared the joy experienced by him in time past with the calamities which he was presently suffering. He expressly mentions the night; because, when we are then alone by ourselves, and withdrawn from the society and presence of men, it engenders in the mind more cares and thoughts than are experienced during the day. What is added immediately after with respect to communing with his own heart, is to the same effect. Solitude has an influence in leading men to retire within their own minds, to examine themselves thoroughly, and to speak to themselves freely and in good earnest, when no created being is with them to impose a restraint by his presence.

The last clause of the verse, And my spirit will search diligently, admits of a twofold exposition. The word חפש, chaphas, for search diligently, (290) being in the masculine gender, and the word רוה, ruach, for spirit, being sometimes feminine, some commentators suppose that the name of God is to be understood, and explain the sentence as if the Psalmist had said, There is nothing, O Lord! so hidden in my heart into which thou hast not penetrated. And God is with the highest propriety said to search the spirit of the man whom he awakens from his indolence or torpor, and whom he examines by acute afflictions. Then all hiding — places and retreats, however obscure, are explored, and affections before unknown are brought into the light. As, however, the gender of the noun in the Hebrew language is ambiguous, others more freely translate, MY spirit hath searched diligently. This being the sense which is most generally embraced, and being, at the same time, the most natural, I readily adopt it. In that debate, of which the inspired writer makes mention, he searched for the causes on account of which he was so severely afflicted, and also into what. his calamities would ultimately issue. It is surely highly profitable to meditate on these subjects, and it is the design of God to stir us up to do this when any adversity presses upon us. There is nothing more perverse than the stupidity (291) of those who harden themselves under the scourges of God. Only we must keep within due bounds, in order that we may not be swallowed up of over much sorrow, and that the unfathomable depth of the Divine judgments may not overwhelm us by our attempting to search them out thoroughly. The prophet’s meaning is, that when he sought for comfort in all directions, he could find none to assuage the bitterness of his grief.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-77.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-77.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 77:6. I call to remembrance my song In the night I conversed with my heart, and my spirit made inquiry, saying,—Green.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-77.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I call to remembrance my song in the night, the many and great mercies and favours of God vouchsafed by him to me, and to his people, which have obliged me to adore him, and sing his praises not only in the day, the time appointed for that work. but also by night, as oft as they come into my mind.

My spirit made diligent search, what should be the cause of this strange and vast alteration, and how these sore calamities could come from the hand of so gracious and merciful a God as ours is, and what might be expected as to their continuance or removal.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-77.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6. My song in the night—In my happier days my nights were often spent in praise and thanksgiving, now in mourning or silent grief. This applied to the nation in comparing their earlier history with their present state. These meditations lead the psalmist to the earnest inquiries of Psalms 77:7-9, to ascertain if the known ways of God with his people offer any hope in the present distress.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-77.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

my song. Note that the whole of this member (verses: Psalms 77:1-6) is occupation with self.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-77.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) I call to remembrance.—Better,

“Let me recall my harpings in the night;

Let me complain in my own heart,

And my spirit questions and questions.”


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-77.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
my song
42:8; Job 35:10; Habakkuk 3:17,18; Jonah 1:2; Acts 16:25
commune
4:4; Ecclesiastes 1:16
and
139:23,24; Job 10:2; Lamentations 3:40; 1 Corinthians 11:28-32

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 77:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-77.html.

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