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How Long, O Lord?

A Psalm of Asaph.

1O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple;
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
2They have given the bodies of your servants
to the birds of the heavens for food,
the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth.
3They have poured out their blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there was no one to bury them.
4We have become a taunt to our neighbors,
mocked and derided by those around us.

5How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
6Pour out your anger on the nations
that do not know you,
and on the kingdoms
that do not call upon your name!
7For they have devoured Jacob
and laid waste his habitation.

8Do not remember against us our former iniquities;11Or the iniquities of former generations
let your compassion come speedily to meet us,
for we are brought very low.
9Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us, and atone for our sins,
for your name's sake!
10Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants
be known among the nations before our eyes!

11Let the groans of the prisoners come before you;
according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die!
12Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors
the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!
13But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
from generation to generation we will recount your praise.


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Ps 79:1-13. This Psalm, like the seventy-fourth, probably depicts the desolations of the Chaldeans (Jer 52:12-24). It comprises the usual complaint, prayer, and promised thanks for relief.

1. (Compare Ps 74:2-7).

2, 3. (Compare Jer 15:3; 16:4).

4. (Compare Ps 44:13; Jer 42:18; La 2:15).

5. How long—(Ps 13:1).

be angry—(Ps 74:1-10).

jealousy burn—(De 29:20).

6, 7. (Compare Jer 10:25). Though we deserve much, do not the heathen deserve more for their violence to us (Jer 51:3-5; Zec 1:14)? The singular denotes the chief power, and the use of the plural indicates the combined confederates.

called upon—or, "by"

thy name—proclaimed Thy attributes and professed allegiance (Isa 12:4; Ac 2:21).

8. former iniquities—literally, "iniquities of former times."

prevent us—literally, "meet us," as in Ps 21:3.

9. for … glory of thy name [and for] thy name's sake—both mean for illustrating Thy attributes, faithfulness, power, &c.

purge … sins—literally, "provide atonement for us." Deliverance from sin and suffering, for their good and God's glory, often distinguish the prayers of Old Testament saints (compare Eph 1:7).

10. This ground of pleading often used (Ex 32:12; Nu 14:13-16).

blood … shed—(Ps 79:3).

11. prisoner—the whole captive people.

power—literally, "arm" (Ps 10:15).

12. into their bosom—The lap or folds of the dress is used by Eastern people for receiving articles. The figure denotes retaliation (compare Isa 65:6, 7). They reproached God as well as His people.

13. sheep … pasture—(Compare Ps 74:1; 78:70).




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