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Bible Commentaries

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Psalms 79

Verses 1-13

PSALM 79

The confession by the godly of the sin and utter helplessness of God's people, with an appeal to God to act on their behalf on the ground of his tender mercies, and for the glory of His great Name.

Psalm 78 had set forth the utter ruin of God's people, and that their only hope lies in the sovereign grace of God. This psalm is the proper response of the godly. They own their sin and cast themselves upon God and His mercy.

(vv. 1-4) The godly spread out their sad condition before God. Apparently the enemy has completely triumphed over God's people, leaving them utterly helpless; in reproach and derision before the world. They plead, however, that the enemy is attacking God's inheritance, God's holy temple, God's servants, and God's saints.

(vv. 5-7) The godly rightly feel that an attack against God, and His possessions, must have a limit. God cannot allow it to go on for ever. Thus they ask, “How long, Lord?” furthermore they own they are suffering under the chastening anger and jealousy of the Lord. They plead, however, that the instruments of His chastening are simply expressing their hatred against God. They have not known God or called upon His Name.

(vv. 8-10) They acknowledge their sins and that they are brought very low: but they plead God's tender mercies, the glory of His Name, and the reproach of the enemies who say, “Where is their God?” Outwardly it might appear to the world that God was indifferent to the sufferings of His people.

(vv. 11-13) Finally they plead their own utter weakness and God's great power. “Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee,” is followed by the prayer that the greatness of God's power might preserve His people who, apparently, were at the point of death. Then they plead that those who reproach the Lord may be dealt with in judgment and thus eternal praises would arise from those who, in spite of all their failure, are still the sheep of His pasture.

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 79". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-79.html. 1832.