Psalm 80:13

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 13. The boar out of the wood doth waste it. Such creatures are famous for rending and devouring vines. Babylon, like a beast from the marshes of the Euphrates, came up and wasted Judah and Israel. Fierce peoples, comparable to wild swine of the forest, warred with the Jewish nation, until it was gored and torn like a vine destroyed by greedy hogs.

And the wild beast of the field doth devour it. First one foe and then another wreaked vengeance on the nation, neither did God interpose to chase them away. Ruin followed ruin; the fox devoured the young shoots which had been saved from the damage wrought by the boar. Alas, poor land. How low wast thou brought! An oak or cedar might have been crushed by such ravages, but how canst thou endure it, O weak and tender vine? See what evils follow in the train of sin, and how terrible a thing it is for a people to be forsaken of their God.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 13. The boar out of the wood doth waste it. The very boar that laid her waste is a singular wild beast. Singular, because proud. For thus saith every proud one, It is I, it is I, and no other. Augustine.

Verse 13. The boar out of the wood doth waste it. No image of a destructive enemy could be more appropriate than that which is used. We have read of the little foxes that spoil the vines, but the wild boar is a much more destructive enemy, breaking its way through fences, rooting up the ground, tearing down the vines themselves, and treading them under its feet. A single party of these animals will sometimes destroy an entire vineyard in a single night. We can well imagine the damage that would be done to a vineyard even by the domesticated swine, but the wild boar is infinitely more destructive. It is of a very great size, often resembling a donkey rather than a boar, and is swift and active beyond conception. The wild boar is scarcely recognizable as the very near relation of the domestic species. It runs with such speed, that a high bred horse finds some difficulty in overtaking it, while an indifferent steed would be left hopelessly behind. Even on level ground the hunter has hard work to overtake it; and if it can get upon broken or hilly ground, no horse can catch it. The wild boar can leap to a considerable distance, and can wheel and turn when at full speed, with an agility that makes it a singularly dangerous foe. Indeed, the inhabitants of countries where the wild boar flourishes would as soon face a lion as one of these animals, the stroke of whose razor like tusks is made with lightning swiftness, and which is sufficient to rip up a horse, and cut a dog nearly asunder. J. G. Wood, in "Bible Animals." 1869.

Verse 13. The boar.

In vengeance of neglected sacrifice,
On Aneus' fields she sent a monstrous boar,
That levelled harvests and whole forests tore. Pope's Homer's Iliad.

Verse 13. The wood. Or rather marsh; that is, a moist marshy piece of ground, where trees and plants flourish, and which wild beasts delight in. Such is the neighbourhood of the river Jordan, thus described by Maundrell: "After having descended to the outermost banks, you go about a furlong upon a level strand, before you come to the immediate bank of the river. The second bank is so beset with bushes and trees, such as tamarisks, willows, oleanders, and the like, that you can see no water till you have made your way through them. In this thicket anciently (and the same is reported of it to this day), several sorts of wild beasts were wont to harbour themselves." ... In these places, according to the same author, live many wild boars. Bp. Pococke in particular observed very large herds of them on the other side of Jordan, where it flows out of the Sea of Tiberias; and several of them on the same side on which he was, lying among the reeds by the sea. Richard Mant.

Verse 13. According to the Talmud, the middle letter of the word rendered wood, in this verse, is the middle letter of the Hebrew Psalter. Daniel Cresswell.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 8-15. Parallel between the Church and a vine.

Verse 13. What are the greatest enemies of the Church? Where do they come from? How shall we defeat them?