View Psalms 74 in the note window.
This psalm, which so particularly describes the destruction of
Jerusalem, was probably written by another Asaph, who lived at the
time of the captivity.
He, in the name of the Jews, complains of the miseries they suffered,
ver. 1 - 11.
Encourages himself by recollecting the mighty works of God, ver. 12 - 17.
Prays for deliverance, ver. 18 - 23.
Maschil of Asaph
Title of the psalm. Maschil of Asaph - Not composed by that famous
Asaph, who flourished in David's time, but by some of his posterity,
who is called by their father's name, as this psalm speaks of the
destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem, and of God's people by the
2: Thy congregation - Thy people. Thine inheritance - The tribe of
Judah, which thou hast in a special manner chosen for thine inheritance,
and for the birth of the Messiah. Nor is it strange that he mentions this
tribe particularly, because the calamity here remembered, did principally
befal this tribe, and Benjamin, which was united with it.
3: Lift up - Come speedily to our rescue.
Because - Because otherwise our destruction is irrecoverable.
4: Roar - In a way of triumph. Midst, &c. - In the places where
thy people used to assemble for thy worship. Set up - Monuments of their
5: Famous - The temple was so noble a structure, that it was a great
honour to any man to be employed in the meanest part of the work, though
it were but in cutting down the trees of Lebanon.
6: Axes and hammers - These words are not Hebrew, but Chaldee
or Syriack, to point out the time when this was done, even when
the Chaldeans brought in their language, together with their arms,
among the Israelites.
8: Destroy them - All at once. So they intended, although afterwards
they changed their council, and carried some away captive. Burnt up - All
the public places wherein the Jews used to meet together to worship God
every sabbath - day.
9: Signs - Those tokens of God's gracious presence, which we used to
enjoy. The temple and ark, and sacrifices, and solemn feasts, were signs
between God and his people. Prophet - Who can foretell things to come.
Probably Ezekiel and Jeremiah were dead when this psalm was composed;
and David was involved in civil affairs, and did not teach the people
as a prophet. Knoweth - How long their captivity should continue.
11: Why - Why dost thou forebear the exercise of thy power?
Bosom - In which thou now seemest to hide it.
12: King - It belongs therefore to thy office to protect and save me.
Midst - In the view of the world.
13: Dragons - He means Pharaoh and his mighty men.
14: Leviathan - Pharaoh. The people - To the ravenous birds and
beasts of the desert. These creatures are significantly called
the people of the wilderness, because they are the only people
that inhabit it.
15: The flood - Thou didst by cleaving the rock, make a fountain and
a stream to flow from it, for the refreshment of thy people in those dry
deserts. Driedst - Jordan and the Red Sea; for the sea itself;
yea, a greater sea than that, is called a river, (Jon 2:3),
where the Hebrew word is the same which is here used. And the same
title is expressly given to the sea, by Homer, and other ancient writers.
16: The light - The moon, the lesser light.
17: Set - Thou hast fixed the bounds of the habitable world in
general, and of all the countries and people upon the earth.
And as this clause shews God's power over all places, so the next
displays his dominion over all times and seasons.
18: Remember - Though we deserve to be forgotten, yet do not suffer
our enemies to reproach the name of the great and glorious God.
19: Soul - The life. Turtle - dove - Of thy church, which is fitly
compared to a turtle - dove, because simple and harmless, and meek,
20: The covenant - Made with Abraham, whereby thou didst give the
land of Canaan to him, and to his seed for ever.
Dark places - This dark and dismal land in which we live.
21: Return - From the throne of thy grace, to which they make their