Maschil of Asaph. O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?
Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt.
Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.
Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs.
A man was famous according as he had lifted up ° axes upon the thick trees.
But now they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers.
They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground.
They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.
We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.
O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?
Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosom.
For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.
Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou driedst up mighty rivers.
The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun.
Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.
Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.
O deliver not the soul of thy turtledove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever.
Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.
O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name.
Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily.
Forget not the voice of thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually.
 

74:1 O God, why. The first eleven verses of this psalm, like the first sixteen verses of Asaph’s Psalm 73, constitute a lamentation about the apparent prosperity of God’s enemies and His apparent indifference to the sufferings of His people. In both cases, the theme then changes to one of understanding and victory.

74:12 my King of old. The psalmist remembers that “the LORD sitteth upon the flood (Hebrew mabbul, the great cataclysm in Noah’s day); yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever” (Psalm 29:10).

74:13 divide the sea. Psalm 74:13-17 is best understood as a commentary on Psalm 74:12: “For God is my king of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” The psalmist vividly recalls the ancient judgment of the great Flood, as assurance that He will eventually bring righteousness and peace out of sin and turmoil in this present world as well.

74:13 dragons in the waters. The mighty “dragons” in the waters, the same as “leviathan” (see also Job 41:1-34; Isaiah 27:1), were invulnerable to human weapons and were probably great marine reptiles, like dinosaurs. These “dragons” were broken and buried in the mighty waters and rushing sediments of the flood.

74:14 meat to the people. The “people” mentioned here could refer to the fish and other marine creatures whose habitats were overwhelmed in the Flood, but that were not preserved on the ark (which contained only land animals). The Hebrew word normally refers to human tribes, but can also be used for animal flocks (e.g., Proverbs 30:25). The carcasses of the mighty leviathans could have provided sustenance to sustain marine life through the cataclysm.

74:15 cleave the fountain. This must refer to the breaking open of all “the fountains of the great deep” (Genesis 7:11) at the beginning of the Food.

74:15 mighty rivers. The great flood-rivers, which drained the waters off the rising lands after the Flood, were gradually dried up, leaving their evidences in the great valleys and alluvia of all the earth’s rivers. Almost all present-day rivers give evidence of much greater depths and flows in the past.

74:16 the light and the sun. Note that the “light” prepared by God is distinct from “the sun.” God first called for light energy, then light generators (Genesis 1:5, 14).

74:17 borders of the earth. God established both the boundaries of the lands and of the nations to occupy those lands, and even the inclination of the earth’s axis to control their seasons.

Psalm 75 (title) Al-taschith. On the meaning of Al-taschith and “A Psalm or Song,” see footnotes to Psalm 57 and 66.


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