Psalm 74:5
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees.

New Living Translation
They swung their axes like woodcutters in a forest.

English Standard Version
They were like those who swing axes in a forest of trees.

New American Standard Bible
It seems as if one had lifted up His axe in a forest of trees.

King James Bible
A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
It was like men in a thicket of trees, wielding axes,

International Standard Version
As one blazes a trail through a forest with an ax,

NET Bible
They invade like lumberjacks swinging their axes in a thick forest.

New Heart English Bible
They behaved like men wielding axes, cutting through a thicket of trees.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And you know as The Exalted One above.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Starting from its entrance, they hacked away like a woodcutter in a forest.

JPS Tanakh 1917
It seemed as when men wield upwards Axes in a thicket of trees.

New American Standard 1977
It seems as if one had lifted up
            His axe in a forest of trees.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Renowned, as one on the way to heaven, he who lifted up axes upon the thick trees for the work of the sanctuary.

King James 2000 Bible
A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.

American King James Version
A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes on the thick trees.

American Standard Version
They seemed as men that lifted up Axes upon a thicket of trees.

Douay-Rheims Bible
and they knew not both in the going out and on the highest top. As with axes in a wood of trees,

Darby Bible Translation
[A man] was known as he could lift up axes in the thicket of trees;

English Revised Version
They seemed as men that lifted up axes upon a thicket of trees.

Webster's Bible Translation
A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.

World English Bible
They behaved like men wielding axes, cutting through a thicket of trees.

Young's Literal Translation
He is known as one bringing in on high Against a thicket of wood -- axes.
Study Bible
Why have You Rejected Us?
4Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place; They have set up their own standards for signs. 5It seems as if one had lifted up His axe in a forest of trees. 6And now all its carved work They smash with hatchet and hammers.…
Cross References
Isaiah 64:11
Our holy and beautiful house, Where our fathers praised You, Has been burned by fire; And all our precious things have become a ruin.

Jeremiah 46:22
"Its sound moves along like a serpent; For they move on like an army And come to her as woodcutters with axes.
Treasury of Scripture

A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes on the thick trees.

1 Kings 5:6 Now therefore command you that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; …

2 Chronicles 2:14 The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a …

Jeremiah 46:22,23 The voice thereof shall go like a serpent; for they shall march with …

(5) The Authorised Version, with the ancient versions, has entirely mistaken the meaning of this verse, though, unlike the LXX. and Vulgate, it has the merit of being intelligible. Literally the words run, he (or it) is known like one causing to come in on high against the thicket of trees axes, which is generally understood, it seems as if men were lifting up axes against a thicket of trees. The ruthless destroyers go to work like woodcutters in a forest--the carved pillars are no more than so many trees to fell. But though this is intelligible, it does not read like Hebrew, and the contrast apparently intended between the signs of the heathen and the signs of Israel in Psalm 74:9 is not preserved. If, with the LXX., we read the verb in the plural, are known instead of is known, and supply the subject from the last clause, we get this contrast clearly brought out:

"They have set up their idols as signs,

They (these signs) are known in the lifting up on high."

"These visible idols are easily seen and recognised as soon as set up, but (Psalm 74:9) we see not our signs."

According as . . .--We have now, as so frequently, to supply the sign of comparison, and this clause with the next verse runs plainly enough--

"As in a thicket of trees with axes,

So now they break down all the carved work thereof with

axes and hammers."

The "carved work" of Solomon's Temple represented palm-trees and flowers (1Kings 6:29), and possibly these were imitated in the second Temple; if so, the image is very appropriate.

Verse 5. - A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees; rather, they seemed as men that plied aloft hatchets in a thicket of trees (so Kay, Canon Cook, Professor Cheyne, and the Revised Version); i.e. they plied their hatchets with as little reverence as if they had been hewing timber in a copse of wood. A man was famous,.... Or, "it was", or "is known" (m); the desolations the enemy made, the wickedness they committed, the terror they spread, and the signs they set in the sanctuary of the Lord:

according as he had lifted up, or "as one that lifts up"

axes upon the thick trees (n); that is, the above things were as visible, and as well known, being as easy to be seen as such an action is, a man being obliged to lift his axe above his head, to cut down a thick tree: or rather the sense is, formerly a man was famous for, and it gave him some credit and esteem, to be an hewer of wood in the forest of Lebanon, where he lifted up his axe, and cut down the thick trees for the building of the temple, as the servants of Hiram king of Tyre did; and such an action was esteemed as if a man brought an offering to God; agreeably to which is Kimchi's note,

"when the temple was built, he who lifted up his axe upon a thick tree, to cut it down for the building, was known, as if he lifted it up above in heaven before the throne of glory; all so rejoiced and gloried in the building:''

and Aben Ezra interprets it of acclamations made above on that account. The words, according to the accents, should be rendered thus, "he" or "it was known, as he that lifteth up on high; even as he that lifteth up on high, axes upon the thick tree".

(m) "cognitus erat", Munster; "noscitur", Cocceius; "cognoscitur, innotescit", Gejerus. (n) "velut adducens", Montanus, Gejerus; "tanquam sursum tollens et desuper inducens", Michaelis. 5, 6. Though some terms and clauses here are very obscure, the general sense is that the spoilers destroyed the beauties of the temple with the violence of woodmen.

was famous—literally, "was known."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.
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