|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
74:1-11 This psalm appears to describe the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Chaldeans. The deplorable case of the people of God, at the time, is spread before the Lord, and left with him. They plead the great things God had done for them. If the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt was encouragement to hope that he would not cast them off, much more reason have we to believe, that God will not cast off any whom Christ has redeemed with his own blood. Infidels and persecutors may silence faithful ministers, and shut up places of worship, and say they will destroy the people of God and their religion together. For a long time they may prosper in these attempts, and God's oppressed servants may see no prospect of deliverance; but there is a remnant of believers, the seed of a future harvest, and the despised church has survived those who once triumphed over her. When the power of enemies is most threatening, it is comfortable to flee to the power of God by earnest prayer.
Verse 4. - Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; or, have roared; i.e. have created disturbances, or raised tumults. The temple did not pass into the enemy's hands without fighting and bloodshed; the battlecry of the assailants and their shouts of triumph when victorious resounded through it (comp. Lamentations 2:7) They set up their ensigns for signs. Probably for tokens of victory and dominion. Scarcely as objects of worship, since their intention was to destroy the temple and leave Jerusalem desolate.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations,.... Particular churches, gathered out of the world in Gospel order, and which meet together at particular times and places; in the midst of these, and against them their enemies, and who are the Lord's enemies, roar like lions, as Satan, and bloody persecutors, and particularly antichrist, whose mouth is the mouth of a lion, which is opened in blasphemy against God and his people, Revelation 13:2,
they set up their ensigns for signs; or "signs", "signs", false ones for true ones; meaning either military signs, as the Roman eagle, set as signs and trophies of victory; or idolatrous statues and images, such an one as Antiochus brought into the temple; or false miracles and antichristian marks, in the room of true miracles, and the true mark of Christ's followers; see 2 Thessalonians 2:9. The Jewish writers generally interpret it of the divinations and superstitions rites used by the king of Babylon, when he was coming up against Jerusalem, Ezekiel 21:21.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. roar—with bestial fury.
congregations—literally, "worshipping assemblies."
ensigns—literally, "signs"—substituted their idolatrous objects, or tokens of authority, for those articles of the temple which denoted God's presence.
Psalm 74:4 Parallel Commentaries
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