Psalms 80

1 To victory; this psalm is the witnessing of Asaph for lilies. Thou that governest Israel, give attention; that leadest forth Joseph as a sheep. Thou that sittest on cherubim, be showed (To victory, the teaching for the lilies, the song of Asaph. Thou who governest Israel, take heed; thou who leadest forth Joseph like a flock of sheep. Thou who sittest upon cherubim, show thyself)
2 before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh. Stir thy power, and come thou, that thou make us safe. (to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh. Stir up thy power, and come thou, and save us.)
3 God of virtues, turn thou us (again); and show thy face, and we shall be safe. (God of hosts, bring us back; and shine thy face upon us, and we shall be saved.)
4 Lord God of virtues, how long shalt thou be wroth on the prayer of thy servant(s)? (Lord God of hosts, how long shalt thou be angry with thy people's prayers?)
5 How long shalt thou feed us with the bread of tears; and shalt give drink to us with tears in (great) measure? (How long shalt thou feed us with tears, instead of bread? and for drink, give us more tears, or even greater sorrow?)
6 Thou hast set us into against-saying to our neighbours (Thou hast made our neighbours to speak out against us); and our enemies have scorned us.
7 God of virtues, turn thou us (again); and show thy face, and we shall be safe. (God of hosts, bring us back; and shine thy face upon us, and we shall be saved.)
8 Thou translatedest a vine from Egypt; thou castedest out heathen men, and plantedest it. (Thou broughtest up a vine out of Egypt; thou threwest out the heathen, and then thou plantedest that vine, that is, us.)
9 Thou were leader of the way in the sight thereof; and thou plantedest the roots thereof, and it filled the land. (Thou madest a place for it on the way; and it planted its roots, and it filled the land.)
10 The shadow thereof covered hills; and the branches thereof filled the cedars of God. (Its shadow covered the hills; and its branches were thick, like the cedars of God.)
11 It stretched forth his scions till to the sea, and the generations thereof till to the flood. (It stretched out its branches unto the Mediterranean Sea, and as far as the Euphrates River.)
12 Why hast thou destroyed the wall thereof; and all men that go forth by the way, gather away the grapes thereof? (But why hast thou destroyed the wall around it? so that now all those who go forth by the way, can gather up, or take away, all of its grapes?)
13 A boar (out) of the wood destroyed it; and a singular wild beast devoured it.
14 God of virtues, be thou turned (again to us); behold from heaven, and see, and visit this vine. (God of hosts, turn thou again to us; look down from heaven, and see us in dire straits, and help us/and care for this vine.)
15 And make thou it perfect, which thy right hand planted; and behold thou on the son of man, which thou hast confirmed to thee. (And make thou perfect what thy right hand hath planted; yea, look thou upon the son of man, whom thou hast made strong for thyself/yea, look thou upon the branch, that thou hast made strong for thyself.)
16 (These) Things (were) burnt with fire, and undermined; (they who did this thing) shall perish for the blaming of thy cheer. (For our enemies have burned it with fire, and have cut it down; but they shall die from the look of blame on thy face.)
17 Thine hand be made on the man of thy right hand; and on the son of man, whom thou hast confirmed to thee. (Let thy hand rest upon the man at thy right hand; yea, upon the son of the man whom thou hast made strong for thy service.)
18 And we departed not from thee; thou shalt quicken us, and we shall inwardly call thy name. (And we shall never leave thee; so grant thou us new life, and we shall call upon thy name.)
19 Lord God of virtues, turn thou us (again); and show thy face, and we shall be safe. (Lord God of hosts, bring us back; and shine thy face upon us, and we shall be saved.)

Psalms 80 Commentary

Chapter 80

The psalmist complains of the miseries of the church. (1-7) Its former prosperity and present desolation. (8-16) A prayer for mercy. (17-19)

Verses 1-7 He that dwelleth upon the mercy-seat, is the good Shepherd of his people. But we can neither expect the comfort of his love, nor the protection of his arm, unless we partake of his converting grace. If he is really angry at the prayers of his people, it is because, although they pray, their ends are not right, or there is some secret sin indulged in them, or he will try their patience and perseverance in prayer. When God is displeased with his people, we must expect to see them in tears, and their enemies in triumph. There is no salvation but from God's favour; there is no conversion to God but by his own grace.

Verses 8-16 The church is represented as a vine and a vineyard. The root of this vine is Christ, the branches are believers. The church is like a vine, needing support, but spreading and fruitful. If a vine do not bring forth fruit, no tree is so worthless. And are not we planted as in a well-cultivated garden, with every means of being fruitful in works of righteousness? But the useless leaves of profession, and the empty boughs of notions and forms, abound far more than real piety. It was wasted and ruined. There was a good reason for this change in God's way toward them. And it is well or ill with us, according as we are under God's smiles or frowns. When we consider the state of the purest part of the visible church, we cannot wonder that it is visited with sharp corrections. They request that God would help the vine. Lord, it is formed by thyself, and for thyself, therefore it may, with humble confidence, be committed to thyself.

Verses 17-19 The Messiah, the Protector and Saviour of the church, is the Man of God's right hand; he is the Arm of the Lord, for all power is given to him. In him is our strength, by which we are enabled to persevere to the end. The vine, therefore, cannot be ruined, nor can any fruitful branch perish; but the unfruitful will be cut off and cast into the fire. The end of our redemption is, that we should serve Him who hath redeemed us, and not go back to our old sins.

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician upon Shoshannimeduth, A Psalm of Asaph. Of the word "shoshannim," See Gill on "Ps 45:1," and of "shushaneduth," See Gill on "Ps 60:1" which seems to be the same with this here, and is thought by some to be the name of a musical instrument now unknown, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; though these two words are not to be read together as one, for there is a dividing accent on "shoshannim," and which may be rendered "concerning the lilies" {a}; and so may denote the subject matter of the psalm, or respect the people of God, comparable to lilies for their beauty, purity, and holiness in Christ, Song of Solomon 6:2, and to lilies among thorns, Song of Solomon 2:2, being in great afflictions and persecutions, as appears from Psalm 80:5, the word "eduth" is to be read not along with "shoshannim," but with what follows, thus, "Eduth unto Asaph a psalm"; some render the word "eduth" an ornament or glory, as R. Marinus in Aben Ezra; and take the sense to be, that the psalm was a glorious one, and desirable to Asaph; but it rather signifies a testimony, and is by the Targum interpreted of the testimony of the law; but it is rather to be understood of the testimony of the Gospel, which is the testimony of Christ, and bears witness of him; and there is a testimony of him in this psalm, Psalm 80:17, and there seem to be in it many breathings after his coming and appearance in the flesh. Some take this psalm to be of the same argument with the foregoing, and think it refers to the destruction of the Jews, the two tribes, by the Chaldeans; so Theodoret; but there is no mention made of the temple, nor of Jerusalem, as in the preceding psalm; and besides, why should Manasseh and Ephraim be mentioned? wherefore others are of opinion that it has regard to the captivity of the ten tribes by Salmaneser; but then it may be asked, why is Benjamin taken notice of, which had no concern in the affliction? this has led others to conclude that it respects some time of affliction before either of these captivities, or between them both; and it may be applied to any affliction of the people of God in any age or period of time; and no doubt was written by Asaph, or by David, and put into his hands before the distress was, under a spirit of prophecy. Kimchi interprets it of the present captivity of the Jews, and Jarchi of their three captivities.

{a} Mynvv la "super liliis," Tigurine version, Cocceius; "pro liliis," Musculus.

Psalms 80 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.