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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Psalms 74



Verse 1

Psalm 74:1-23. If the historical allusions of Psalm 74:6-8, etc., be referred, as is probable, to the period of the captivity, the author was probably a descendant and namesake of Asaph, David‘s contemporary and singer (compare 2 Chronicles 35:15; Ezra 2:41). He complains of God‘s desertion of His Church, and appeals for aid, encouraging himself by recounting some of God‘s mighty deeds, and urges his prayer on the ground of God‘s covenant relation to His people, and the wickedness of His and their common enemy.

cast … off — with abhorrence (compare Psalm 43:2; Psalm 44:9). There is no disavowal of guilt implied. The figure of fire to denote God‘s anger is often used; and here, and in Deuteronomy 29:20, by the word “smoke,” suggests its continuance.

sheep … pasture — (Compare Psalm 80:1; Psalm 95:7).

Verse 2

The terms to denote God‘s relation to His people increase in force: “congregation” - “purchased” - “redeemed” - “Zion,” His dwelling.

Verse 3
feet — (Genesis 29:1) - that is, Come (to behold) the desolations (Psalm 73:19).

Verse 4

roar — with bestial fury.

congregations — literally, “worshipping assemblies.”

ensigns — literally, “signs” - substituted their idolatrous objects, or tokens of authority, for those articles of the temple which denoted God‘s presence.

Verse 5-6

Though some terms and clauses here are very obscure, the general sense is that the spoilers destroyed the beauties of the temple with the violence of woodmen.

was famous — literally, “was known.”

Verse 6

carved work — (1 Kings 6:29).

thereof — that is, of the temple, in the writer‘s mind, though not expressed till Psalm 74:7, in which its utter destruction by fire is mentioned (2 Kings 25:9; Isaiah 64:11).

Verse 7

defiled — or, “profaned,” as in Psalm 89:39.

Verse 8

together — at once, all alike.

synagogues — literally, “assemblies,” for places of assembly, whether such as schools of the prophets (2 Kings 4:23), or “synagogues” in the usual sense, there is much doubt.

Verse 9

signs — of God‘s presence, as altar, ark, etc. (compare Psalm 74:4; 2 Chronicles 36:18, 2 Chronicles 36:19; Daniel 5:2).

no more any prophet — (Isaiah 3:2; Jeremiah 40:1; Jeremiah 43:6).

how long — this is to last. Jeremiah‘s prophecy (Jeremiah 25:11), if published, may not have been generally known or understood. To the bulk of the people, during the captivity, the occasional and local prophetical services of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel would not make an exception to the clause, “there is no more any prophet.”

Verse 10

(Compare Psalm 31:1).

how long … reproach? — us, as deserted of God.

blaspheme thy name — or, “perfections,” as power, goodness, etc. (Psalm 29:2).

Verse 11

Why cease to help us? (Compare Psalm 3:7; Psalm 7:6; Psalm 60:5).

Verse 12

For — literally, “And,” in an adversative sense.

Verses 13-15

Examples of the “salvation wrought” are cited.

divide the sea — that is, Red Sea.

brakest … waters — Pharaoh and his host (compare Isaiah 51:9, Isaiah 51:10; Ezekiel 29:3, Ezekiel 29:4).

Verse 14

heads of leviathan — The word is a collective, and so used for many.

the people … wilderness — that is, wild beasts, as conies (Proverbs 30:25, Proverbs 30:26), are called a people. Others take the passages literally, that the sea monsters thrown out on dry land were food for the wandering Arabs.

Verse 15

cleave the fountain — that is, the rocks of Horeb and Kadesh; for fountains.

driedst up — Jordan, and, perhaps, Arnon and Jabbok (Numbers 21:14).

Verse 16-17

The fixed orders of nature and bounds of earth are of God.

Verse 18

(Compare Psalm 74:10; Deuteronomy 32:6). The contrast is striking - that such a God should be thus insulted!

Verse 19

multitude — literally, “beast,” their flock or company of men (Psalm 68:10).

turtledove — that is, the meek and lonely Church.

congregation — literally, “the company,” as above - thus the Church is represented as the spoiled and defeated remnant of an army, exposed to violence.

Verse 20

And the prevalence of injustice in heathen lands is a reason for invoking God‘s regard to His promise (compare Numbers 14:21; Psalm 7:16; Psalm 18:48).

Verse 21

oppressed — broken (Psalm 9:9).

return — from seeking God.

ashamed — (Psalm 35:4).

Verse 22-23

(Compare Psalm 3:7; Psalm 7:6). God hears the wicked to their own ruin (Genesis 4:10; Genesis 18:20).


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 74:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 23rd, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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