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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 79

Verses 1-13

Title. A psalm of Asaph, an elegy over the slain, as is supposed, when Shishak king of Egypt invaded Judea with a great army, besieging the cities and slaughtering the people. Sir Isaac Newton thinks, that Shishak and Sesostris are the same person. This psalm cannot refer to the burning of the city by the Chaldeans, because the last verse represents the temple as still standing, and the choirs as singing, “Oh Lord, we will show forth thy praise unto all generations.” See an account of this invasion, which happened in the fifth year of Rehoboam, son of Solomon, as recorded in 1 Kings 14:25. 2 Chronicles 12:2.

Psalms 79:1 . Oh God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance. Shishak with twelve hundred chariots, seventy thousand horsemen, and a countless army of infantry; took the fenced cities, and it would seem, without much resistance, till he reached Jerusalem, where blood was shed like water. Jerusalem also opened her gates; the Egyptians entered the temple, the palace, the arsenal, and carried away all the treasures of Solomon, leaving Jerusalem desolate without, and naked within.

Psalms 79:11 . Preserve thou those that are appointed to die. The reading of the LXX relieves the text. “Preserve thou the children of those that have been slain.” Let the stock survive the fall of the tree. So here; Judah acquired strength, and flourished again.


What a narrow escape was this of David’s house and kingdom from utter destruction. Rehoboam and his princes, intoxicated with wealth and pride, knew neither themselves nor their fathers’ God. They had not recovered from the countless carnage in the war with Jeroboam, who had averted this storm by an alliance with Egypt, and had probably invited it on Judah for revenge. How vain to lay up gold as the dust. It tempts the thieves to carry it away.

How happy for Judah, that she had at this time the prophet Shemaiah to pray for his country, and advise his sovereign and the princes to submission to the stroke that could not be averted. He assembled good men to cry, Help us, oh God of our salvation. They alleged the wanton insolence of the invaders, who on profaning the temple said, Where is their God; for the heathen placed every city and temple under the patronage of some divinity. So the Lord was entreated once more to relieve and comfort Zion. The Lord allowed Shishak to do his work, and gave him gold for his reward; but he limited his commission.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 79". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.