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Psalms 77:9

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Hath God - in anger shut up his tender mercies? - The tender mercies of God are the source whence all his kindness to the children of men flows. The metaphor here is taken from a spring, the mouth of which is closed, so that its waters can no longer run in the same channel; but, being confined, break out, and take some other course. Wilt thou take thy mercy from the Israelites, and give it to some other people? This he most certainly did. He took it from the Jews, and gave it to the Gentiles.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Hath God forgotten to be gracious? - Has he passed over mercy in administering his government? Has he ceased to remember that man needs mercy? Has he forgotten that this is an attribute of his own nature?

Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? - The original word here rendered “tender mercies” refers to the “bowels,” as the seat of compassion or mercy, in accordance with a usage common in Hebrew. See Psalm 25:6, note; Isaiah 16:11, note; Isaiah 63:15, note. Compare Luke 1:78 (in Greek); Philemon 1:8; Philemon 2:1; 1 John 3:17. We speak of the “heart” as the seat of affection and kindness. The Hebrews included the heart, but they used a more general word. The word rendered “shut up” means “closed;” and the question is whether his mercy was closed, or had ceased forever. The psalmist concludes that if this were done, it must be as the result of anger - anger in view of the sins of people.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Days of trouble must be days of prayer; when God seems to have withdrawn from us, we must seek him till we find him. In the day of his trouble the psalmist did not seek for the diversion of business or amusement, but he sought God, and his favor and grace. Those that are under trouble of mind, must pray it away. He pored upon the trouble; the methods that should have relieved him did but increase his grief. When he remembered God, it was only the Divine justice and wrath. His spirit was overwhelmed, and sank under the load. But let not the remembrance of the comforts we have lost, make us unthankful for those that are left. Particularly he called to remembrance the comforts with which he supported himself in former sorrows. Here is the language of a sorrowful, deserted soul, walking in darkness; a common case even among those that fear the Lord, Isa 50:10. Nothing wounds and pierces like the thought of God's being angry. God's own people, in a cloudy and dark day, may be tempted to make wrong conclusions about their spiritual state, and that of God's kingdom in the world. But we must not give way to such fears. Let faith answer them from the Scripture. The troubled fountain will work itself clear again; and the recollection of former times of joyful experience often raises a hope, tending to relief. Doubts and fears proceed from the want and weakness of faith. Despondency and distrust under affliction, are too often the infirmities of believers, and, as such, are to be thought upon by us with sorrow and shame. When, unbelief is working in us, we must thus suppress its risings.
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