“I opened to my beloved.
But my beloved had turned away.
He was gone.
My soul failed me
When he spoke.
I sought him.
But I did not find him.
I called him.
But he gave no answer.
Making their rounds in the city,
The sentinels found me.
They beat me.
They wounded me.
They took away my mantle.
These were the sentinels of the walls.”
This is a lot like chapter 3, where this female lover went searching in the streets to find her lover. Instead of her lover being at the door, he had left. Her soul was faint. Once again, like in chapter 3, she called for him, but her lover gave no answer. However, when she searched the city, the result here was more brutal. The sentinels or watchmen guards of the town, instead of helping her, beat her up, wounded her, and took her coat or mantle.
“Whoever plans to do evil
Will be called a mischief-maker.
The devising of folly is sin.
The scoffer is an abomination to all.
If you faint in the day of adversity,
Your strength is small.”
Mischief-makers are those who plan to do evil. The very planning of folly is a sin. The scoffer or the mocker cynic is an abomination to all people. If you faint during hard times, your strength is obviously small.
A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave, a prayer
“With my voice
I cry to Yahweh!
With my voice
I make supplication to Yahweh!
I pour out my complaint before him.
I tell my trouble before him.
When my spirit is faint,
You know my way!”
Psalm 142 is a maskil or wisdom song of David, when he was in the cave. There is no explicit mention of an incident in the life of David where he was being persecuted in a cave. He may have been hiding out when he was trying to escape from King Saul. There is no doubt that it is a personal lament to Yahweh. David cries with his voice to Yahweh as he makes his supplications or complaints. He was telling Yahweh his troubles because his spirit was weak or faint. Yahweh knew David so that made him hopeful.
To the choirmaster leader, according to Jeduthun, a psalm of Asaph
“I cry aloud to God!
I cry aloud to God!
Thus he may hear me!
In the day of my trouble
I seek Yahweh!
In the night
My hand is stretched out without wearying.
My soul refuses to be comforted.
I think of God!
My spirit faints!”
Psalm 77 is another in the choral psalms of Asaph, the Temple singer. This time it is according to Jeduthun, the name of one of the Levite Merari families that David appointed as music master in 1 Chronicles, chapters 16 and 25. Jeduthun was a trumpet player. His sons led the music in the Temple. His name appears here and in Psalms 39 and 62. Once again this is a lamentation about how bad things are. Asaph or this psalmist is seeking Yahweh with a personal cry to God. He cried out aloud so that God could hear him. When he was in trouble he always sought Yahweh. He spent his nights with outstretched arms in prayer. He refused to be comforted. He was thinking of God. He moaned and meditated as his spirit became faint. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.
A psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah
You are my God!
I seek you!
My soul thirsts for you!
My flesh faints for you!
I am like in a dry and weary land.
There is no water.
So I have looked upon you
In the sanctuary.
I behold your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love
Is better than life,
My lips will praise you.
So I will bless you
As long as I live.
I will lift up my hands.
I will call on your name.”
This Psalm 63 refers to the time that David was in the wilderness with his outlaw band of warriors against King Saul. There is no indication of any choral element in this psalm. David was seeking God. His soul was thirsty for God, like in Psalm 42. His flesh was faint without God. He was like in a dry and weary land without water. He wanted to look on the sanctuary of God, but it did not exist at this time. He wanted to behold the power and glory of God. He realized the steadfast love of God was better than life itself. His lips would praise and bless God as long as he lived. He was going to lift up his hands and call upon the name of God.
To the choirmaster leader, with stringed instruments, a psalm of David
“Hear my cry!
Listen to my prayer!
From the end of the earth
I call to you,
When my heart is faint.”
Psalm 61 is a simple choral psalm of David that used stringed instruments. The psalmist or David wants God to hear his cry. He wanted God to listen to his prayer, like the usual plea. However, he speaks from the ends of the earth, as if he were in exile. He calls to God, not Yahweh, when his heart is faint.
“I know that my redeemer lives.
Then at the last he will stand upon the earth.
After my skin has been thus destroyed,
Then in my flesh I shall see God.
I shall see him on my side.
My eyes shall behold.
Not another shall behold.
My heart faints within me!”
This passage has a different translation in the Greek, Syriac, and Latin. It is often referred to as a precursor of Jesus the redeemer, or the Messianic savior who came to earth. Redeemer could also mean defender or vindicator. The Hebrew word of ‘goel’ or redeemer means a member of the family who avenged your honor, despite debts. Job believed that someone would help him. Whether this is God or not is not clear. However, even more controversial is the idea that his flesh will see God after his skin has been destroyed. Is this a hint at a resurrection, since throughout this work he talked about Sheol as a dead end place? His eyes will see even though he was faint.
“When Heliodorus arrived at the treasury with his bodyguard, then and there the Sovereign of spirits and of all authority caused so great a manifestation that all who had been so bold as to accompany him were astounded by the power of God. They became faint with terror. There appeared to them a magnificently caparisoned horse, with a rider of frightening mien. It rushed furiously at Heliodorus and struck at him with its front hoofs. Its rider was seen to have armor and weapons of gold. Two young men also appeared to him, remarkably strong, gloriously beautiful and splendidly dressed. They stood on each side of him and scourged him continuously, inflicting many blows on him. When he suddenly fell to the ground and deep darkness came over him, his men took him up. They put him on a stretcher and carried him away. This man who had just entered the aforesaid treasury, with a great retinue and his bodyguard, was now unable to help himself. They recognized clearly the sovereign power of God.”
When Heliodorus arrived at the Temple treasury with his bodyguards, he was met by a heavenly manifestation or apparition that showed the power of God. He became faint. Appearing to him was a horse and rider who kicked him. This golden armored rider had 2 other strong, beautifully dressed men to whip him on each side until he fell to the ground. Finally they took him away on a stretcher as he was unable to help himself. This was a show of strength of the sovereign God. To what extent they were real men or not, we do not know, but the effect was real on Heliodorus.
“When Seron approached the ascent of Beth-horon, Judas went out to meet him with a small company. But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said to Judas.
‘How can we?
Few as we are,
How can we fight against so great and so strong a multitude?
We are faint,
We have eaten nothing today.’
‘It is easy for many to be hemmed in by a few,
In the sight of heaven,
There is no difference between saving by many or by few.
It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends,
But strength comes from heaven.
They come against us in great insolence and lawlessness.
They want to destroy us, our wives, and our children.
They want to despoil us.
However, we fight for our lives and our laws.
He himself will crush them before us.
As for you,
Do not be afraid of them.’”
This is like a pep talk before the battle. Beth-horon was in the northwest corner of the Benjamin territory that might have close to the town of Modein since it was about 12 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Judas’ men said that they were too few to fight a battle against so many Syrian troops. They said that they were hungry and faint. Judas Maccabeus responded that there was no difference between a big army and a small army because strength comes from heaven. They were insolent and lawless. They wanted to destroy us, our wives, and our children. They wanted to get rid of us. However, we fight for our lives and our laws. They should not be afraid because the God of heaven in on their side.
“The king was seated on his royal throne. He was clothed in the full array of his majesty. He was all covered with gold and precious stones. He was most terrifying. Lifting his face, flushed with splendor, he looked at her in fierce anger. The queen faltered. She turned pale and faint. She collapsed on the head of the maid who went in front of her. Then God changed the spirit of the king to gentleness. In alarm he sprang from his throne. He took her in his arms until she came to herself. He comforted her with soothing words. He said to her.
‘What is it, Esther?
I am your husband.
You shall not die.
Our law applies only to our subjects.
This Greek text shows the king seated on his royal throne with all his majesty and splendor, covered with gold and precious stones. He had a fierce terrifying look on his face. Queen Esther faltered, turned pale, and fainted. She fell on the maid in front of her. With that, God changed the spirit of the king to gentleness. He took her in his arms and told to take courage. She was not going to die since the law about interrupting the king unannounced applied only to the subjects of the king and not to her as his wife.