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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.

17 Let that hand be upon the Man of thy right hand. Here the Psalmist repeats in plain words the prayer which he had expressed under the figure of a vineyard, pleading that God would defend, under his hand, the Man of his right hand, and the Son of man whom he hath strengthened for himself It is uncertain whether he speaks of the king alone, or whether the people also are included. Although Jeroboam was anointed to be king, yet he did not come to the possession of the royal dignity in a lawful way; and God never so approved of any of his successors, as to divest the posterity of David of the right and power of dominion. God, as we have seen in Psalm 78:67, did not choose the tribe of Ephraim. on the contrary, the scepter, by his immutable decree, was given to the house of Judah, as is plainly taught in the prophecy of Jacob, (Genesis 49:10.) It was therefore a base and wicked dismembering of the body, when the majority of the people revolted from the house of David, and submitted themselves to Jeroboam as their king. Such being the ease, why then, it may be said, is the king of Israel prayed for in this manner? For removing this difficulty, let it be observed, that although that kingdom had an untoward commencement, and God, as is stated in Hosea 13:11, gave them a king in his anger, yet he was afterwards pleased to tolerate its continuance; and the anointing of Jeroboam testified that he had ratified what had been unadvisedly and wickedly done by the tumult and rebellion of the people. The nation of Israel might therefore say that their king was created and established by God, who, with the view of remedying the rupture which had been made, added him as a sharer in the royal dignity to the children of David. By that rent the state of the people was greatly impaired; but, to prevent an entire overthrow, the erection of the ten tribes into a separate kingdom, under the sovereignty of Jeroboam, was, as it were, a pillar put under it by the secret counsel of God to uphold it.

I have, however, no hesitation in considering the whole body of the Church as comprehended under the expressions, the Man of God’s right hand, and the Son of man The similar number is very properly made use of, it having been the Divine will that the chosen people should be as one man. For the same reason, the Apostle Paul also, in Galatians 3:16, lays great stress upon the words, one seed; for Ishmael, Esau, and others, were separated and scattered when God redeemed arm gathered together the seed of Abraham. Thus, by the Son of man is to be understood the people whom God had adopted to himself, that they might be as one man. 400400     Muis, Walford, and others, in like manner, suppose these titles, The Man of thy right hand, and The Son of man, to belong to the people of Israel. Walford translates the 15th and 17th verses thus: —
   “The scion, which thy right hand planted;
Even the branch, which thou madest strong for thyself.

   Let thy support be extended to the Man of thy right hand;
To the Son of man, whom thou madest strong for thyself.”

   And he observes on the 17th verse, “The Psalmist here quits the figurative representation, and speaks literally of the people of Israel, whom God had chosen, and so greatly favored.” “From comparing 2 Chronicles 36:22, 23; Isaiah 44:26-28; 45:1-11, and Jeremiah 25:12, 13,” says Dimock, “with this verse, might not Jeremiah, or whoever was the author of this psalm, mean Cyrus, by these titles, who was prophesied of as the restorer of Israel, by name, above a hundred years before his birth?” It has been thought by others, and it is highly probable, that the phraseology here employed contains a mystic allusion to the Messiah. The pious Israelites were accustomed, in times of great calamity, to look forward with longing desire to the days of Him who should reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of whose kingdom there should be no end. These striking expressions, The Man of thy right hand, and The Son of man, apply in the fullest and most perfect sense to Christ. If the Man of Gods right hand be the man placed there, to whom can the title apply but to him? for, “to which of the angels said God at any time, Sit on my right hand?” (Hebrews 1:3;) and much less has he said this of any Jewish king. As to the other appellation, The Son of man, it is one of Christ’s most definite titles, being given to him in Scripture no less than seventy-one times; in sixty-seven instances by himself; once by Daniel; once by the martyr Stephen; and twice by the Apostle John in the Revelation. He it is, too, whom the Father has made strong for the salvation of his Church, and who will yet turn away iniquity from the chosen people, and restore them to a place in the Church, so that henceforth they “will not go back from God.”
But as this oneness depended upon the head, I readily admit that the phrase has a particular reference to the king, who preserved the greater part of the people from being involved in utter destruction. Here again the Prophet, in seeking to obtain the Divine favor, founds his argument and hope only upon the benefits which God had formerly conferred upon them. “Lord,” as if he had said, “since it belongs to thee to perfect that which thou hast begun, preserve the king whom thou hast given us!”


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