1O God, have You cast us off forever? Will Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? 2Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, the scepter of Your inheritance which You have redeemed; this mount Zion in which You have dwelt. 3Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolations, even all the evil the enemy has done in the sanctuary.4Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place; they set up their banners for signs.5They are known for bringing their axes against the thick trees.6And now all its engravings they strike down with axes and hammers.7They have set fire to Your sanctuary; they have defiled to the ground the dwelling place of Your name.8They said in their hearts, Together let us violently oppress them. They have burned up all the meeting places of the Mighty God in the land.9We do not see our signs; there is no prophet any more; neither is there among us any who knows how long.10O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever?11Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? From your bosom, draw it out of Your bosom and exterminate them.12For God is my King of old, working deliverance in the midst of the earth.13You have divided the sea by Your strength; You have broken the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.14You have crushed the heads of leviathan, and given him to be food to the people living in the wilderness.15You have cleaved open the fountain and the flood; You have dried up mighty rivers.16The day is Yours, the night also is Yours; You have prepared the light and the sun.17You have established all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter.18Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O Jehovah, and that the foolish people have blasphemed Your name.19O do not deliver the soul of Your turtle dove to the beasts; forget not the community of Your lowly forever.20Have regard to the covenant; for the dark places of the earth are full of the abode of violence.21O let not the oppressed return ashamed; let the lowly and needy praise Your name.22Arise, O God, plead Your own case; remember the daily reproaches of the fool.23Forget not the voice of Your enemies; the roar of those who rise up against You continually increases.
Jamieson Fausset Brown Bible Commentary 1
If the historical allusions of Ps 74:6
, &c., be referred, as is probable, to the period of the captivity, the author was probably a descendant and namesake of Asaph, David's contemporary and singer (compare 2Chr 35:15
; Ezra 2:41
). He complains of God's desertion of His Church, and appeals for aid, encouraging himself by recounting some of God's mighty deeds, and urges his prayer on the ground of God's covenant relation to His people, and the wickedness of His and their common enemy. (Psa. 74:1-23)
cast . . . off--with abhorrence (compare Ps 43:2
; Ps 44:9
). There is no disavowal of guilt implied. The figure of fire to denote God's anger is often used; and here, and in Deut 29:20
, by the word "smoke," suggests its continuance.
sheep . . . pasture--(Compare Ps 80:1
; Ps 95:7
The terms to denote God's relation to His people increase in force: "congregation"--"purchased"--"redeemed"--"Zion," His dwelling. 3
Lift . . . feet-- (Gen 29:1
) --that is, Come (to behold) the desolations (Ps 73:19
roar--with bestial fury.
congregations--literally, "worshipping assemblies."
ensigns--literally, "signs"--substituted their idolatrous objects, or tokens of authority, for those articles of the temple which denoted God's presence. 5
Though some terms and clauses here are very obscure, the general sense is that the spoilers destroyed the beauties of the temple with the violence of woodmen.
was famous--literally, "was known." 6
carved work-- (1Kgs 6:29
thereof--that is, of the temple, in the writer's mind, though not expressed till Ps 74:7
, in which its utter destruction by fire is mentioned (2Kgs 25:9
; Isa 64:11
defiled--or, "profaned," as in Ps 89:39
together--at once, all alike.
synagogues--literally, "assemblies," for places of assembly, whether such as schools of the prophets (2Kgs 4:23
), or "synagogues" in the usual sense, there is much doubt. 9
signs--of God's presence, as altar, ark, &c. (compare Ps 74:4
; 2Chr 36:18
-19; Dan 5:2
no more any prophet-- (Isa 3:2
; Jer 40:1
; Jer 43:6
how long--this is to last. Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer 25:11
), if published, may not have been generally known or understood. To the bulk of the people, during the captivity, the occasional and local prophetical services of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel would not make an exception to the clause, "there is no more any prophet." 10
(Compare Ps 31:1
how long . . . reproach?--us, as deserted of God.
blaspheme thy name--or, "perfections," as power, goodness, &c. (Ps 29:2
Why cease to help us? (Compare Ps 3:7
; Ps 7:6
; Ps 60:5
For--literally, "And," in an adversative sense. 13
Examples of the "salvation wrought" are cited.
divide the sea--that is, Red Sea.
brakest . . . waters--Pharaoh and his host (compare Isa 51:9
; Ezek 29:3
heads of leviathan--The word is a collective, and so used for many.
the people . . . wilderness--that is, wild beasts, as conies (Pro 30:25
), are called a people. Others take the passages literally, that the sea monsters thrown out on dry land were food for the wandering Arabs. 15
cleave the fountain--that is, the rocks of Horeb and Kadesh; for fountains.
driedst up--Jordan, and, perhaps, Arnon and Jabbok (Num 21:14
The fixed orders of nature and bounds of earth are of God. 18
(Compare Ps 74:10
; Deut 32:6
). The contrast is striking--that such a God should be thus insulted! 19
multitude--literally, "beast," their flock or company of men (Ps 68:10
turtledove--that is, the meek and lonely Church.
congregation--literally, "the company," as above--thus the Church is represented as the spoiled and defeated remnant of an army, exposed to violence. 20
And the prevalence of injustice in heathen lands is a reason for invoking God's regard to His promise (compare Num 14:21
; Ps 7:16
; Ps 18:48
oppressed--broken (Ps 9:9
return--from seeking God.
ashamed-- (Ps 35:4
(Compare Ps 3:7
; Ps 7:6
). God hears the wicked to their own ruin (Gen 4:10
; Gen 18:20