Psalms 74:1-23 . If the historical allusions of Psalms 74:6-8 , &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 2 Chronicles 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.
1. cast . . . off--with abhorrence (compare Psalms 43:2 , 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 Deuteronomy 29:20 , by the word "smoke," suggests its continuance.
sheep . . . pasture--(Compare Psalms 80:1 , 95:7 ).
2. The terms to denote God's relation to His people increase in force: "congregation"--"purchased"--"redeemed"--"Zion," His dwelling.
4. 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, 6. 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--( 1 Kings 6:29 ).
thereof--that is, of the temple, in the writer's mind, though not expressed till Psalms 74:7 , in which its utter destruction by fire is mentioned ( 2 Kings 25:9 , Isaiah 64:11 ).
7. defiled--or, "profaned," as in Psalms 89:39 .
8. together--at once, all alike.
synagogues--literally, "assemblies," for places of assembly, whether such as schools of the prophets ( 2 Kings 4:23 ), or "synagogues" in the usual sense, there is much doubt.
9. signs--of God's presence, as altar, ark, &c. (compare Psalms 74:4 , 2 Chronicles 36:18 2 Chronicles 36:19 , Daniel 5:2 ).
no more any prophet--( Isaiah 3:2 , Jeremiah 40:1 , 43:6 ).
how long--this is to last. Jeremiah's prophecy ( Jeremiah 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."
12. For--literally, "And," in an adversative sense.
14. heads of leviathan--The word is a collective, and so used for many.
the people . . . wilderness--that is, wild beasts, as conies ( Proverbs 30:25 Proverbs 30:26 ), 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 ( Numbers 21:14 ).
16, 17. The fixed orders of nature and bounds of earth are of God.
19. multitude--literally, "beast," their flock or company of men ( Psalms 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.