Psa 74: Pleas from a Devastated Land
maskil of Asaph.
Comments: Asaph had been a lead musician in David's
day and his name here should be “after the style of Asaph” for
with the reference to the destruction of the temple [v.3,7] this
must be post 586 when Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar's
men. In the first Part [v.1-11] the writer appeals to the Lord
to come to the devasted Jerusalem to help them. In Part 2 [v.12-17]
he determines to declare the Lord's greatness, as if to maintain
perspective in a time when it would be easy to lose it. In the
final Part [v.18-23] he again prays for the Lord to come to their
aid, remembering His covenant with them [v.20], and defend the
Land and His people (implied] that He had established.]
1: v.1-11: Petition for God to come to their aid after destruction
A Cry for help after a destruction
God, why have you rejected us forever?
Why does your anger smolder against the
sheep of your pasture?
the nation you purchased long ago,
the people of your inheritance, whom
Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
your steps toward these everlasting ruins,
all this destruction the enemy has brought
on the sanctuary.
The enemy activity expounded included the destruction of the Temple
foes roared in the place where you met with us;
they set up their standards as signs.
behaved like men wielding axes
to cut through a thicket of trees.
smashed all the carved paneling
with their axes and hatchets.
burned your sanctuary to the ground;
they defiled the dwelling place of your
said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!”
They burned every place where God was
worshiped in the land.
He feels they are left adrift without any prophetic channel from
are given no signs from God;
no prophets are left,
and none of us knows how long this will
long will the enemy mock you, God?
Will the foe revile your name forever?
do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
Take it from the folds of your garment
and destroy them!
2: v.12-17: Declaration of the Lord's Greatness
Nevertheless a declaration of God's rule over them
God is my King from long ago;
he brings salvation on the earth.
He remembers the Lord's sovereignty in Creation
was you who split open the sea by your power;
you broke the heads of the monster in
was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan
and gave it as food to the creatures
of the desert.
was you who opened up springs and streams;
you dried up the ever-flowing rivers.
day is yours, and yours also the night;
you established the sun and moon.
was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter.
3: v.18-23: Specific Petitions for deliverance & dealing with
He appeals to Him not to forget His people
how the enemy has mocked you, Lord
how foolish people have reviled your
not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;
do not forget the lives of your afflicted
He appeals to Him to remember His covenant with Israel
regard for your covenant,
because haunts of violence fill the dark
places of the land.
not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace;
may the poor and needy praise your name.
He cries to Him to rise up against His enemies
up, O God, and defend your cause;
remember how fools mock you all day long.
not ignore the clamor of your adversaries
the uproar of your enemies, which rises
Comments: Interestingly there is not mention of Israel's
sin and the cause of this destruction. His confidence in God and
in His covenant is sufficiently great that the writer simply makes
this psalm a straight forward appeal to the Lord for Him to come
on their behalf to this devasted city and land. Another interesting
point is that there is no mention of Jeremiah who we know had
been left when the Babylonians left. It is possible therefore
that the writer is one of the stragglers left after Jeremiah's
party have left for Egypt. It is a testimony to the barrenness
of this once ‘Chosen and Promised Land, where the Temple, priests
and prophets have all gone.]
to Psa 75