PSALMS 43      Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  meaning  -  Psalms  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


  1. Judge me, O god, and plead my cause against an unmerciful nation; O deliver me from the man of deceit and iniquity.
  2. For you are the god of my strength, why have you cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
  3. Send out your light and your truth, let them guide me, let them bring me to the mountain of your holiness and to your habitations.
  4. And I will go to the altar of god, to god the joy of my exultation, and upon the harp will I praise you O god, my god.
  5. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me; hope you in god, for I will yet praise him, the salvation of my countenance and my god.

The Internal Sense

The grievousness of the lord's temptations even to despair, verses 1, 2. His prayer to the Father that Divine Truth may comfort him, verses 3, 4. His consolation, verse 5.


Verse 2. Why go I mourning [in black] because of the oppression of the enemy? See Exposition, at verse 9, of Psalm xlii.

Verses 3, 4. Send out your light and your truth, let them guide me, let them bring me to the mountain of your holiness, and to your habitations, and I will go to the altar of god, to god. That by the altar of god is here meant the lord as to the divine human principle, is very manifest, for the subject treated of is concerning the way to heaven, and to the lord there, the way to heaven is meant by send out your light and your truth, let them guide me, light is illustration in which truths appear; heaven to which they were to lead, is meant by the mountain of holiness and your habitations; the mountain of holiness is the heaven where the lord's celestial kingdom is, in which the good of love reigns; habitations are those heavens where the lord's spiritual kingdom is, in which truth grounded in that good prevails; and since both are meant, therefore it is said, that I may enter to the altar of god, to god, and by the altar of god is meant where the lord is with the good of love, and by god is meant where the lord is with truth derived from that good, for the lord is called god from Divine Truth, and jehovah from Divine Good. AE 391.

Verse 4. Upon the harp will I praise you, O god, my god. That the harp signifies praise from spiritual truths, is evident, for it is said, upon the harp will I praise you, O god, my god; and it is also before said, send out your light and your truth, they shall guide me. AE 323.

Verse 5. O my soul. It is impossible that any thing should be known, or even thought, respecting influx and the commerce of the soul with the body, unless it be known what the soul is, and also somewhat concerning its quality; if the soul be a thing unknown, nothing can be said concerning its influx and commerce; for how can the communication of two parts be a subject of thought, when the mind is in total ignorance concerning the quality of one of them? That ignorance prevails as to every quality of the soul, especially in the learned world, may be manifest from this consideration, that some believe it to be a certain aethereal principle, some a principle of flame or fire, some a principle of pure thought, some a principle of general vitality, some a principle of natural activity; and what is still a further proof of the prevailing ignorance concerning the nature of the soul is, that various places in the body are assigned it, some placing it in the heart, some in the brain, and in the fibres there, others in the striated bodies, others in the ventricles, and others in the small gland, some in every part; but in this case they conceive of a vital principle such as is common to every living thing; from which considerations it is evident, that nothing is known concerning the soul, and this is the reason why all that has been asserted on the subject is grounded in mere conjecture. And whereas it was impossible thus to form any idea respecting the soul, the generality of mankind could not but believe, that the soul is a mere principle of vitality, which when the body dies, is dissipated; and hence it is, that the learned have less belief in a life after death than the simple, and in consequence of such unbelief, neither can they believe in the things belonging to that life, which are the celestial and spiritual things of faith and love; this is also evident from the lord's words in Matthew, "You have hid these things, from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to infants," Matt 11:25; and again, "Seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, neither do they understand," Matt 13:13; for the simple think no such thing concerning the soul, but believe that they shall live after death, in which simple faith lies concealed, although they are not aware of it, a belief that they shall live there as men, shall see angels, shall discourse with them, and enjoy happiness. AC 6053.

As to what concerns the soul, of which it is said that it shall live after death, it is nothing else but the man himself, who lives in the body, that is, the interior man, who by the body acts in the world, and who gives to the body to live; this man, when he is loosed from the body, is called a spirit, and appears in this case altogether in a human form, yet cannot in any wise be seen by the eyes of the body, but by the eyes of the spirit, and before the eyes of the latter appears as a man in the world, has senses, namely of touch, of smell, of hearing, of seeing, much more exquisite than in the world; has appetites, cupidities, desires, affections, loves, such as in the world, but in a more excellent degree; thinks also as in the world, but more perfectly; discourses with others; in a word, he is there as in the world, insomuch that if he does not reflect upon the circumstance of his being in the other life, he knows no other than that he is in the world, which I have occasionally heard from spirits; for the life after death is a continuation of the life in the world. This then is the soul of man which lives after death. But lest the idea should fall upon somewhat unknown by using the term soul, in consequence of the conjectures and hypotheses concerning it, it is better to say the spirit of man, or if you prefer it, the interior man, for it appears there altogether as a man, with all the members and organs that man has, and it is also the real man himself in the body; that this is the case, may also be manifest from the angels seen, as recorded in the Word, who were all seen, in the human form, for all the angels in heaven have a human form, because the lord has, who after his resurrection appeared so often as a man. The ground and reason why an angel and the spirit of a man is a man in form is because the universal heaven from the lord has a tendency to conspire to a human form, whence the universal heaven is called the grand man, which man, and the correspondence of all things of man therewith, have been treated of at the close of several chapters; and whereas the lord lives in every individual in heaven, and by influx from the universal heaven acts upon every individual, therefore every angel is an image thereof, that is, a form most perfectly human, in like manner man after death. All the spirits, as many as I have seen, which are thousands and thousands, have been seen by me altogether as men, and some of them have said that they are men as in the world, and have added, that in the life of the body they had not the least belief that it would be so; many have expressed concern, that mankind are in such ignorance respecting their state after death, and that they entertain such vain and empty thoughts concerning the soul, and that several, who have thought more deeply on the subject, have made the soul into somewhat as it were of a subtle aerial principle, which idea must needs lead into that insane error, that it is dissipated after death. AC 5054.

Verse 5. I will yet praise him the salvations of my countenance [or faces] and my god. The salvations of the faces signify all things which are within, thus which are of the mind and affections, consequently which are of the love and faith, which, as being saving, are called salvations. Evil affections, which are lusts, are also expressed by the faces, because they appear in the face, for the face is the external or natural form of the interiors which are of the mind [anima] and of the mind [mens]; also in the spiritual world they make one, for it is not there allowed to assume the semblance of any other face than what is of the affections, thus which corresponds to the interiors of the mind; hence it is that the angels of heaven have dignified and beautiful faces, whereas the infernal spirits have faces dark and deformed. AE 412.

The Translator's Notes and Observations

Verse 3. Send out your light and your truth. A distinction appears here to be made between light and truth, when yet they are one and the same, light being the internal of truth, and truth the external. It is possible to have truth without light, as is the case with those who read the letter of the word without attending to its spiritual meaning, which is properly the light of the letter, and without which the letter is darkness.

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