Verse 5. "How long, Lord?" Will there be no end to these chastisements? They are most sharp and overwhelming; wilt thou much longer continue them?
"Wilt thou be angry for ever?" Is thy mercy gone so that thou wilt for ever smite?
"Shall thy jealousy burn like fire?" There was great cause for the Lord to be jealous, since idols had been set up, and Israel had gone aside from his worship, but the psalmist begs the Lord not to consume his people utterly as with fire, but to abate their woes.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. See Psalms on "Psalms 79:1" for further information.
Verse 1,. 4-5. See Psalms on "Psalms 79:1" for further information.
Verse 5. "How long, Lord? Wilt thou be angry for ever?" The voice of complaint says not, How long, Lord, shall this wickedness of our enemy endure? How long shall we see this desolation? But, How long, O Lord? Wilt thou be angry for ever? We are admonished, therefore, in this passage, that we should recognize the anger of God against us in all our afflictions, lest as the nations are accustomed, we only accuse the malice of our enemies, and never think of our sins and the divine punishment. It cannot be that he who acknowledges the anger of God that is upon him, should not at the same time acknowledge his fault also, unless he wishes to attribute the iniquity to God of being angry and inflicting stripes upon the undeserving. Musculus.
Verse 5. The word "jealousy" signifies not mere revenge but revenge mingled with love, for unless he loved, says Jerome, he would not be jealous, and after the manner of a husband avenge the sin of his wife. Lorinus.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The cause of anger: jealousy.
- The moderation of it. If it continued for ever, the
people would perish, the promises be unfulfilled, the
covenant fail, and the Lord's honour be impeached.
- The staying of it. By prayer; by pleading his name,
his glory, and the blood of Jesus.