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80. Psalm 80
1To the Overseer. -- `On the Lilies.` A testimony of Asaph. -- A Psalm. Shepherd of Israel, give ear, Leading Joseph as a flock, Inhabiting the cherubs -- shine forth, 2Before Ephraim, and Benjamin, and Manasseh, Wake up Thy might, and come for our salvation. 3O God, cause us to turn back, And cause Thy face to shine, and we are saved. 4Jehovah, God of Hosts, till when? Thou hast burned against the prayer of Thy people. 5Thou hast caused them to eat bread of tears, And causest them to drink With tears a third time. 6Thou makest us a strife to our neighbors, And our enemies mock at it. 7God of Hosts, turn us back, And cause Thy face to shine, and we are saved. 8A vine out of Egypt Thou dost bring, Thou dost cast out nations, and plantest it. 9Thou hast looked before it, and dost root it, And it filleth the land, 10Covered have been hills [with] its shadow, And its boughs [are] cedars of God. 11It sendeth forth its branches unto the sea, And unto the river its sucklings. 12Why hast Thou broken down its hedges, And all passing by the way have plucked it? 13A boar out of the forest doth waste it, And a wild beast of the fields consumeth it. 14God of Hosts, turn back, we beseech Thee, Look from heaven, and see, and inspect this vine, 15And the root that Thy right hand planted, And the branch Thou madest strong for Thee, 16Burnt with fire -- cut down, From the rebuke of Thy face they perish. 17Let Thy hand be on the man of Thy right hand, On the son of man Thou hast strengthened for Thyself. 18And we do not go back from Thee, Thou dost revive us, and in Thy name we call. 19O Jehovah, God of Hosts, turn us back, Cause Thy face to shine, and we are saved!
12 Why then hast thou broken down its hedges? This is the application of the similitude; for nothing seems more inconsistent than that God should abandon the vine which he had planted with his own hand, to be rooted up by wild beasts. It is true that he often threatened and forewarned the people by his prophets that he would do this; but what constrained him to inflict upon them so strange and dreadful a species of punishment was, that he might render their ingratitude the more detestable. At the same time, it is not without reason that true believers are enjoined to take encouragement from such distinguished liberality on the part of God; that, even in the midst of this rooting up, they might at least hope that He, who never forsakes the work of his own hands, would graciously extend his care towards them, (Psalm 138:8.) The people were brought to desolation, on account of their own incurable obstinacy; but God did not fail to save a small number of shoots, by means of which he afterwards restored his vine. This form of supplicating pardon was, indeed, set forth for the use of the whole people, with the view of preventing a horrible destruction. But as very few sought to appease the wrath of God by truly humbling themselves before him, it was enough that these few were delivered from destruction, that from them a new vine might afterwards spring up and flourish. The indignity which was done to the Church is aggravated from the contrast contained in the words, when God, on the one hand, is exhibited to us as a vine-keeper, and when the destroyers of this vine, on the other, are represented to be not only all that pass by, but also the wild boars and other savage beasts. The word כרסם, kiresem, which I have translated to waste, is taken by some for to fill the belly. 394394 “יכרסמנה, (jechar-semenna,) will destroy it Targum, Will tear it up with its tusk Fut pih From חרסם, he cut off, cut down, consumed, a quadriliteral, same as the Chaldaic קוסם. Occurs here only in Scripture, and, according to others, is compounded of כרש, a belly, as though וכרש, will fill the belly from it.” — Bythner This sense would very well agree with the present passage; but it is not supported by the ordinary meaning of the word.