Ps 74:1-23. If the historical allusions of Ps 74:6-8, &c., 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 2Ch 35:15; Ezr 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.
1. cast . . . off--with abhorrence (compare
Ps 43:2; 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
by the word "smoke," suggests its continuance.
sheep . . . pasture--(Compare Ps 80:1; 95:7).
2. The terms to denote God's relation to His people increase in force: "congregation"--"purchased"--"redeemed"--"Zion," His dwelling.
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.
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."
7. defiled--or, "profaned," as in Ps 89:39.
8. together--at once, all alike.
synagogues--literally, "assemblies," for places of assembly, whether such as schools of the prophets (2Ki 4:23), or "synagogues" in the usual sense, there is much doubt.
9. signs--of God's presence, as altar, ark, &c. (compare
2Ch 36:18, 19;
no more any prophet-- (Isa 3:2; Jer 40:1; 43:6).
how long--this is to last. Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer 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."
11. Why cease to help us? (Compare Ps 3:7; 7:6; 60:5).
12. For--literally, "And," in an adversative sense.
13-15. Examples of the "salvation wrought" are cited.
divide the sea--that is, Red Sea.
brakest . . . waters--Pharaoh and his host (compare Isa 51:9, 10; Eze 29:3, 4).
14. heads of leviathan--The word is a collective, and so used for
the people . . . wilderness--that is, wild beasts, as conies (Pr 30:25, 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.
15. cleave the fountain--that is, the rocks of Horeb and Kadesh; for
driedst up--Jordan, and, perhaps, Arnon and Jabbok (Nu 21:14).
16, 17. The fixed orders of nature and bounds of earth are of God.
18. (Compare Ps 74:10; De 32:6). The contrast is striking--that such a God should be thus insulted!
19. multitude--literally, "beast," their flock or company of men
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.
20. And the prevalence of injustice in heathen lands is a reason for invoking God's regard to His promise (compare Nu 14:21; Ps 7:16; 18:48).