John Tng (26
"Psalm 39 & the MacDonald White Paper(1939)"
To find the hidden clues in Ps39 that point to 1939 in the history of Israel, one has to know the significance of the "MacDonald White Paper" issued by the British government on May 17, 1939. Quoting from the book, "Who Owns the Land?" by Dr. Stanley A. Ellisen (of whom John F. Walvoord commented -- "You have done a massive piece of work here....For anyone interested in knowing the background of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this is must reading."), on p71,
"Despite this Arab opposition, a flood of 150,000 Jewish immigrants entered Palestine from 1931 to 1935. This influx of Jews.....During this time Europe also was smoldering with unrest and fear as Hitler feverishly armed and incited his Third Reich to pursue his anti-Semitic campaign. If the European Jews ever needed a refuge, it was in the climatic year fo 1939.
When they needed it most, however, it was cut off. On May 17, 1939, the British government of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain issued a paper that shook the halls of Zion. That paper, infamously known as the "MacDonald White Paper" (after Malcom MacDonald, the Colonial Secretary), cut the immigration of Jews to Palestine almost to nothing. ...... This paper was bitterly denounced by Winston Churchill before Parliament for its repudiation of the Balfour Declaration. It also aroused a storm of protest from around the world."
Let us turn to Ps39 to see if there are indeed hidden clues pointing to the "MacDonald White Paper".
#1 FOR I DWELL WITH YOU AS AN ALIEN, A STRANGER (Ps39:12). Aliens are immigrants -- strangers in a foreign land. The issue of immigraton has to do with people moving from one place to another for "DWELLing" purpose.
#2 MAN IS A MERE PHANTOM AS HE GOES TO AND FRO: HE BUSTLES ABOUT (Ps39:6). Dr. Stanley A. Ellisen continues on p72 in his book,
"One year later Chamberlain was forced to resign when Germany invaded Norway and threatened the British Isles themselves. Nevertheless, the Chamberlain policy on immigration continued throughout the war. Although thousands did escape Hitler's clutches, they were HALTED as they approached Palestine. Many were TURNED BACK at gunpoint when coming ashore; many more died at sea."
Indeed, the Jews were being tossed to and fro in those tumultuous years!
#3 LET ME KNOW HOW FLEETING IS MY LIFE (Ps39:4). On the eve of WWII, and indeed throughout the war, the Jews were not just immigrants, they were refugees, ravaged by Hitler and his war machine. Under such a circumstance, it is understandable that the Jews were full of anguish and very mindful of the transience of life.
James 4 NIV
14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Psalm 39 NIV
4 "Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.
5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah
6 Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.
7 "But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
8 Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools.
9 I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this.
10 Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 You rebuke and discipline men for their sin; you consume their wealth like a moth-- each man is but a breath. Selah
12 "Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were.
13 Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more."
End of Ps39
CONCLUSION. The plight of the Jews in 1939 is captured accurately in Ps39.