1. O God! thou hast cast us off; thou hast scattered us; thou hast been displeased: O turn thyself to us again! 2. Thou hast made the earth [or the land] to tremble; thou hast caused it to open wide: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh. 3. Thou hast showed thy people hard things: thou hast made us drunk with the wine of astonishment.1
1 The three first verses, which complain of calamities and distresses, seem not to correspond to the title of the psalm, from which we would naturally expect the expressions of joy and praise for the victory obtained. Hare conjectures that these three verses have accidentally changed place with Psalm 85:2, 3, 4. Archbishop Secker observes, that this conjecture "is bold, but otherwise very ingenious and plausible; and this change would make each psalm more consistent, and reconcile this psalm to its title very well; for the historical books mention no distress in the war to which the title refers." Dr Adam Clarke considers this conjecture well founded; but others think the apparent discrepancy may be removed by supposing that the psalm was written after some of the battles of which mention is made in the title, and that the Author does not restrict himself to those events, but takes in a wider range, so as to embrace the afflictive condition both of Israel and Judah during the latter part of Saul's life, and the former years of David's reign.
2 It was customary among the Hebrews to make their wine stronger and more inebriating by the addition of hotter and more powerful ingredients; such as honey, spices, defrutum, (i.e., wine inspissated by boiling it down to two-thirds or one-half of the quantity,) mandrakes, opiates, and other drugs. Such were the stupifying ingredients which the celebrated Helen is represented, in Homer's Odyssey, as mixing in the bowl, together with the wine, for her guests oppressed with grief, to raise their spirits; and such is probably the wine to which there is here an allusion. The people were stupified by the heavy judgments of God, like a person stupified with wine which had been rendered more intoxicating by the deleterious drugs with which it had been mingled. This highly poetical language is not unfrequently employed to express the divine judgments: as in Isaiah 51:17, 20-22, and Jeremiah 25:15, 16. The original word
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