Psalms 79

A Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Prayer for Help.

1 O God, the 1nations have invaded 2Your inheritance; They have defiled Your 3holy temple; They have 4laid Jerusalem in ruins.
2 They have given the 5dead bodies of Your servants for food to the birds of the heavens, The flesh of Your godly ones to the beasts of the earth.
3 They have poured out their blood like water round about Jerusalem; And there was 6no one to bury them.
4 We have become a 7reproach to our neighbors, A scoffing and derision to those around us.
5 8How long, O LORD? Will You be angry forever? Will Your 9jealousy 10burn like fire?
6 11Pour out Your wrath upon the nations which 12do not know You, And upon the kingdoms which 13do not call upon Your name.
7 For they have 14devoured Jacob And 15laid waste his habitation.
8 16Do not remember the iniquities of our forefathers against us; Let Your compassion come quickly to 17meet us, For we are 18brought very low.
9 19Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of 20Your name; And deliver us and 21forgive our sins 22for Your name's sake.
10 23Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Let there be known among the nations in our sight, 24Vengeance for the blood of Your servants which has been shed.
11 Let 25the groaning of the prisoner come before You; According to the greatness of Your power preserve those who are 26doomed to die.
12 And return to our neighbors 27sevenfold 28into their bosom The 29reproach with which they have reproached You, O Lord.
13 So we Your people and the 30sheep of Your pasture Will 31give thanks to You forever; To all generations we will 32tell of Your praise.

Psalms 79 Commentary

Chapter 79

The deplorable condition of the people of God. (1-5) A petition for relief. (6-13)

Verses 1-5 God is complained to: whither should children go but to a Father able and willing to help them? See what a change sin made in the holy city, when the heathen were suffered to pour in upon them. God's own people defiled it by their sins, therefore he suffered their enemies to defile it by their insolence. They desired that God would be reconciled. Those who desire God's favour as better than life, cannot but dread his wrath as worse than death. In every affliction we should first beseech the Lord to cleanse away the guilt of our sins; then he will visit us with his tender mercies.

Verses 6-13 Those who persist in ignorance of God, and neglect of prayer, are the ungodly. How unrighteous soever men were, the Lord was righteous in permitting them to do what they did. Deliverances from trouble are mercies indeed, when grounded upon the pardon of sin; we should therefore be more earnest in prayer for the removal of our sins than for the removal of afflictions. They had no hopes but from God's mercies, his tender mercies. They plead no merit, they pretend to none, but, Help us for the glory of thy name; pardon us for thy name's sake. The Christian forgets not that he is often bound in the chain of his sins. The world to him is a prison; sentence of death is passed upon him, and he knows not how soon it may be executed. How fervently should he at all times pray, O let the sighing of a prisoner come before thee, according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die! How glorious will the day be, when, triumphant over sin and sorrow, the church beholds the adversary disarmed for ever! while that church shall, from age to age, sing the praises of her great Shepherd and Bishop, her King and her God.

Cross References 32

  • 1. Lamentations 1:10
  • 2. Psalms 74:2
  • 3. Psalms 74:3, 7
  • 4. 2 Kings 25:9, 10; 2 Chronicles 36:17-19; Jeremiah 26:18; Jeremiah 52:12-14; Micah 3:12
  • 5. Deuteronomy 28:26; Jeremiah 7:33; Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 19:7; Jeremiah 34:20
  • 6. Jeremiah 14:16; Jeremiah 16:4
  • 7. Psalms 44:13; Psalms 80:6; Daniel 9:16
  • 8. Psalms 13:1; Psalms 74:1, 9, 10; Psalms 85:5; Psalms 89:46
  • 9. Deuteronomy 29:20; Ezekiel 36:5; Ezekiel 38:19
  • 10. Psalms 89:46; Zephaniah 3:8
  • 11. Psalms 69:24; Jeremiah 10:25; Ezekiel 21:31; Zephaniah 3:8
  • 12. 1 Thessalonians 4:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:8
  • 13. Psalms 14:4; Psalms 53:4
  • 14. Psalms 53:4
  • 15. 2 Chronicles 36:19; Jeremiah 39:8
  • 16. Psalms 106:6; Isaiah 64:9
  • 17. Psalms 21:3
  • 18. Deuteronomy 28:43; Psalms 116:6; Psalms 142:6; Isaiah 26:5
  • 19. 2 Chronicles 14:11
  • 20. Psalms 31:3
  • 21. Psalms 25:11; Psalms 65:3
  • 22. Jeremiah 14:7
  • 23. Psalms 42:10; Psalms 115:2
  • 24. Psalms 94:1, 2
  • 25. Psalms 102:20
  • 26. Psalms 102:20
  • 27. Genesis 4:15; Leviticus 26:21, 28; Psalms 12:6; Psalms 119:164; Proverbs 6:31; Proverbs 24:16; Isaiah 30:26
  • 28. Psalms 35:13; Isaiah 65:6, 7; Jeremiah 32:18; Luke 6:38
  • 29. Ps 74:10, 18, 22
  • 30. Psalms 74:1; Psalms 95:7; Psalms 100:3
  • 31. Psalms 44:8
  • 32. Psalms 89:1; Isaiah 43:21

Footnotes 8

Chapter Summary


\\<>\\. This psalm was not written by one Asaph, who is supposed to live after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, or, according to some, even after the times of Antiochus, of whom there is no account, nor any certainty that there ever was such a man in those times; but by Asaph, the seer and prophet, that lived in the time of David, who, under a prophetic spirit, foresaw and foretold things that should come to pass, spoken of in this psalm: nor is it any objection that what is here said is delivered as an history of facts, since many prophecies are delivered in this way, especially those of the prophet Isaiah. The Targum is, ``a song by the hands of Asaph, concerning the destruction of the house of the sanctuary (or temple), which he said by a spirit of prophecy.'' The title of the Syriac versions, ``said by Asaph concerning the destruction of Jerusalem.'' The argument of the psalm is of the same kind with the Seventy Fourth. Some refer it to the times of Antiochus Epiphanes; so Theodoret; but though the temple was then defiled, Jerusalem was not utterly destroyed; and others to the destruction of the city and temple by Nebuchadnezzar; and why may it not refer to both, and even to the after destruction of both by Titus Vespasian? and may include the affliction and troubles of the Christians under Rome Pagan and Papal, and especially the latter; for Jerusalem and the temple may be understood in a mystical and spiritual sense; at least the troubles of the Jews, in the times referred to, were typical of what should befall the people of God under the New Testament, and in antichristian times.

Psalms 79 Commentaries

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