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80. Psalm 80

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.

2Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.

3Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

4O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?

5Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.

6Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.

7Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

8Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.

9Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.

10The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.

11She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.

12Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?

13The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.

14Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;

15And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.

16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.

17Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.

18So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.

19Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be 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.


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