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Psalms 27:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face - How much labor and skill have been employed to make sense of this verse as it stands in our translation! The original words are the following, from which our Version has been forcibly extracted: -

אבקש יהוה פניך את פני בקשו לבי אמר לך lecha amar libbi bakkeshu panai ; eth paneycha, Yehovah, abakkesh ; of which I believe the true rendering to be as follows: "Unto thee, my heart, he hath said, Seek ye my face. Thy face, O Jehovah, I will seek. O my heart, God hath commanded thee to seek his face." Then, his face I will seek. Which may be paraphrased thus: Unto thee, his Church, God hath said Seek ye, all who compose it, my face. To which I, his Church, have answered, Thy face, O Jehovah, I will seek. On referring to Archbishop Secker, I find that he, and indeed Bishop Horsley, are of the same mind.

I had formerly proposed another method of reading this difficult verse. Suspecting that some error had got into the text, for פני בקשו bakkeshu panay, "seek ye my face," I had substituted פניך אבקש abakkesh paneycha, "I will seek thy face;" or with the Vulgate and Septuagint, פניך בקשתי bakkesti paneycha, "I have sought thy face," exquisivit te facies mea, Εξεζητησα το προσωπον σου . And this small alteration seemed to make a good sense: "My heart said unto thee, I have sought thy face, (or, I will seek thy face), and thy face, O Lord, I will seek." I have not only done what it was my duty and interest to do, but I will continue to do it. Some have proposed to mend the text thus: לבי אמר לך לך lech lecha, amar libbi, "Go to, saith my heart," יהוה פני נבקש nebakkesh peney Jehovah, "Let us seek the face of Jehovah." This is rather a violent emendation, and is supported by neither MSS. nor Versions. The whole verse is wanting in one of Dr. Kennicott's MSS. On the whole I prefer what is first proposed, and which requires no alteration in the text; next, that of the Vulgate and Septuagint.

The old Psalter paraphrases thus: Til yhe saide my hert, the my face soght: thy face, lord, I sal seke. "The gernyng of my hert that spekes til god, and he anely heres: saide til the my face, that es my presence soght the and na nother thyng. And fra now I sal seke thy face lastandly, til my dede; and that I fynd my sekyng:" i.e., To thee, said my heart; thee my face sought: thy face, O Lord, I shall seek. The gerning of my hert, that spekes til God, and he anely heres, "til the my face"; that es, my presence soght the and no nother thyng: and fra now I sal seke thy face lastandly, til my dede, and that I fynd my sekyng:" i.e., The yearning strong desire of my heart, which speaks to God, and he alone hears; my face is to thee; that is, myself sought thee, and none other thing, and from now I shall seek thee lastingly till my death, and till that I find what I seek.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face … - Margin, “My heart said unto thee, Let my face seek thy face.” The literal translation would be: “To Thee hath said my heart, Seek ye my face; thy face, O Lord, will I seek.” DeWette thus expresses the idea, “Of thee my heart thinks (in regard to the command to seek thy face), thy face, Lord, I will seek.” Our translators have given the correct meaning, though the original is quite obscure. The passage is designed to denote the state of the mind, or the disposition, in regard to the commands of God. The command or precept was to seek God. The prompt purpose of the mind or heart of the psalmist was, that he would do it. He “immediately” complied with that command, as it was a principle of his life - one of the steady promptings of his heart - that he would do this. The heart asked no excuse; pleaded for no delay; desired no reason for not complying with the command, but at once assented to the propriety of the law, and resolved to obey. This related undoubtedly at first to prayer, but the “principle” is applicable to all the commands of God. It is the prompting of a pious heart immediately and always to obey the voice of God, no matter what his command is, and no matter what sacrifice may be required in obeying it.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Wherever the believer is, he can find a way to the throne of grace by prayer. God calls us by his Spirit, by his word, by his worship, and by special providences, merciful and afflicting. When we are foolishly making court to lying vanities, God is, in love to us, calling us to seek our own mercies in him. The call is general, "Seek ye my face;" but we must apply it to ourselves, "I will seek it." The word does us no good, when we do not ourselves accept the exhortation: a gracious heart readily answers to the call of a gracious God, being made willing in the day of his power. The psalmist requests the favour of the Lord; the continuance of his presence with him; the benefit of Divine guidance, and the benefit of Divine protection. God's time to help those that trust in him, is, when all other helpers fail. He is a surer and better Friend than earthly parents are, or can be. What was the belief which supported the psalmist? That he should see the goodness of the Lord. There is nothing like the believing hope of eternal life, the foresights of that glory, and foretastes of those pleasures, to keep us from fainting under all calamities. In the mean time he should be strengthened to bear up under his burdens. Let us look unto the suffering Saviour, and pray in faith, not to be delivered into the hands of our enemies. Let us encourage each other to wait on the Lord, with patient expectation, and fervent prayer.
Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 457

God calls upon His creatures to turn their attention from the confusion and perplexity around them and admire His handiwork. As we study His works, angels from heaven will be by our side to enlighten our minds and guard them from Satan's deceptions. As you look at the wonderful things that God's hand has made, let your proud, foolish heart feel its dependence and inferiority. How terrible it is when the acknowledgment of God is not made when it should be made! How sad to humble oneself when it is too late! CT 457.1

The psalmist declares, “When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8. The whole of this psalm should find a place in the reading and spelling lessons of the school. The twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and seventy-eighth psalms tell of the rich blessings bestowed by God upon His people and of their poor returns for all His benefits. The eighty-first psalm explains why Israel was scattered—they forgot God, as the churches in our land are forgetting Him today. Consider also the eighty-ninth, ninetieth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety-third psalms. CT 457.2

These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come; and should they not be studied in our schools? The word of God contains instructive lessons, given in reproof, in warning, in encouragement, and in rich promises. Would not such food as this be meat in due season to the youth? CT 457.3

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3 (EGW), 1142

Direction to Study Several Psalms—How terrible it is when the acknowledgment of God is not made when it should be made! How sad to humble one's self when it is too late! Why, O why, do not men heed the invitation? The psalmist said, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” [Psalm 27:8]. The whole of this psalm is excellent, and should be placed in the reading and spelling lessons of the classes. The twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and seventy-eighth psalms tell of the rich blessings bestowed by God upon His people, and of their poor returns for all His benefits. The eighty-first psalm explains why Israel was scattered. They forgot God, as the churches in our land are forgetting Him today. Read the eighty-ninth, ninetieth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety-third psalms. My attention has been called to these matters. Shall we not consider the Word of the Lord? These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, and should they not be the objects of study in our schools? The Word of God contains instructive lessons, given in reproof, in warning, in encouragement, and in rich promises. Would not such food as this be meat in due season to the youth (Manuscript 96, 1899)? 3BC 1142.1

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 457

God calls upon His creatures to turn their attention from the confusion and perplexity around them and admire His handiwork. As we study His works, angels from heaven will be by our side to enlighten our minds and guard them from Satan's deceptions. As you look at the wonderful things that God's hand has made, let your proud, foolish heart feel its dependence and inferiority. How terrible it is when the acknowledgment of God is not made when it should be made! How sad to humble oneself when it is too late! CT 457.1

The psalmist declares, “When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8. The whole of this psalm should find a place in the reading and spelling lessons of the school. The twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and seventy-eighth psalms tell of the rich blessings bestowed by God upon His people and of their poor returns for all His benefits. The eighty-first psalm explains why Israel was scattered—they forgot God, as the churches in our land are forgetting Him today. Consider also the eighty-ninth, ninetieth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety-third psalms. CT 457.2

These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come; and should they not be studied in our schools? The word of God contains instructive lessons, given in reproof, in warning, in encouragement, and in rich promises. Would not such food as this be meat in due season to the youth? CT 457.3

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3 (EGW), 1142

Direction to Study Several Psalms—How terrible it is when the acknowledgment of God is not made when it should be made! How sad to humble one's self when it is too late! Why, O why, do not men heed the invitation? The psalmist said, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” [Psalm 27:8]. The whole of this psalm is excellent, and should be placed in the reading and spelling lessons of the classes. The twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and seventy-eighth psalms tell of the rich blessings bestowed by God upon His people, and of their poor returns for all His benefits. The eighty-first psalm explains why Israel was scattered. They forgot God, as the churches in our land are forgetting Him today. Read the eighty-ninth, ninetieth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety-third psalms. My attention has been called to these matters. Shall we not consider the Word of the Lord? These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, and should they not be the objects of study in our schools? The Word of God contains instructive lessons, given in reproof, in warning, in encouragement, and in rich promises. Would not such food as this be meat in due season to the youth (Manuscript 96, 1899)? 3BC 1142.1

Read in context »