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FRAMEWORKS: Psa 80: Another Plea for God to come & save


For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant.” Of Asaph. A psalm.


[Preliminary Comments: There is something of a mystery in this psalm for the psalmist does not tell us specifically what calamity has struck them to create in him this call of anguish. Clearly things have gone wrong [v.4,5] so their neighbours mock them [v.6]. He uses the analogy of Israel being a vine [v.8,14-16] brought from Egypt by God and established in this land [v.8,9] where they spread throughout Canaan [v.10,11] but now their protection seems to have been removed [v.12] so their neighbours ravage them [v.13]. In the remaining verses he pleads for God to come. Three times in the psalm [v.3,7,19] we find the same refrain Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, implying, restore us in your favour. This is reinforced by other pleas: hear us [v.1], awaken your might, come & save us [v.2], return to us, watch over us [v.14], let your hand rest on us [v.17], and revive us [v.18]. He also poses two questions: how long will you do this [v.4] and why have you done this [v.12]. Similarly to some others of this sort of psalm, there is no mention of the sin of Israel that caused this situation.]



v.1 A cry to the Lord, their Shepherd who rules over them


v.1  Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
     you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
     shine forth


v.2 As you rule in the centre of Israel, come and save us


v.2  before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
     come and save us.


v.3 Let your glory return to us and restore us


v.3   Restore us, O God;
     make your face shine on us,
     that we may be saved.


v.4 How long will you wait and ignore the prayers of your people


v.4   How long, Lord God Almighty,
     will your anger smolder
     against the prayers of your people?

v.5 For you have allowed them a time of great anguish


v.5  You have fed them with the bread of tears;
     you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.

v.6 You have made an object of mockery by those around us


v.6  You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors,
     and our enemies mock us.


v.7 Again the same call, let your glory shine and save us


v.7   Restore us, God Almighty;
     make your face shine on us,
     that we may be saved.


v.8 You established us here, taking us out of Egypt


v.8  You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
     you drove out the nations and planted it.

v.9 Your cleared out the pagan occupants before us


v.9  You cleared the ground for it,
     and it took root and filled the land.

v.10,11 You allowed us to spread across the breadth of Canaan


v.10  The mountains were covered with its shade,
     the mighty cedars with its branches.

v.11  Its branches reached as far as the Sea,
     its shoots as far as the River.


v.12 So why have you removed our protection to other plunder us?


v.12   Why have you broken down its walls
     so that all who pass by pick its grapes?

v.13 Wild beasts – our neighbours – rave us


v.13  Boars from the forest ravage it,
     and insects from the fields feed on it.

v.14 Lord, please turn and see out plight


v.14   Return to us, God Almighty!
     Look down from heaven and see!

v.14b.15 You planted us, please watch over us


Watch over this vine,
v.15   the root your right hand has planted,
     the son you have raised up for yourself.


v.16 We been cut down and burned following your rebuke


v.16   Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
     at your rebuke your people perish.

v.17 May your saviour come to our aid


v.17   Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
     the son of man you have raised up for yourself.

v.18 Restore us so we can praise you again


v.18  Then we will not turn away from you;
     revive us, and we will call on your name.


v.19 A third time, let your glory shine and save us


v.19   Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
     make your face shine on us,
     that we may be saved.



[Additional Comments: Scripture shows us that when God's judgment came, it always came with a same cause – the failure of Israel to keep the covenant. Again and again in scripture we see that God waits for the repentance of His people. If it is not forthcoming, discipline follows, which seems to be what is likely to have happened here.]



Continue to Psa 81