O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme your name for ever?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Exodus 5:22), so this poet carries to the same God the pathos of this later cry, How long? how long? In answer, the deliverances of old rush into his mind. He recalls the right hand once stretched out to save (now thrust in inaction into the bosom), the wonders at the Red Sea, and all the long-continued providential guiding. Surely the same God will do the same wonders now!Psalm 74:10-12. How long shall the adversary reproach — Namely, thy name, (which is expressed in the next clause,) by saying that thou art either unkind to thy people, or unfaithful in thy covenant, or unable to deliver us out of our miseries. Why withdrawest thou thy hand? — Why dost thou suspend or forbear the exercise of that power which thou hast so often exerted in behalf of thy people? Pluck it out of thy bosom — In which thou now seemest to hide it, as idle persons used to do. This is spoken after the manner of men. It means, Why art thou an inactive spectator of our miseries? Why dost thou not put forth thy power and deliver us? For God is my king of old — In a singular manner. It belongs to thine office to protect and save us; working salvation in the midst of the earth — In the view of the world: saving thy people so eminently and gloriously, that all the nations around observed and admired it.
how long … reproach?—us, as deserted of God.
blaspheme thy name—or, "perfections," as power, goodness, &c. (Ps 29:2).Reproach; understand here thy name, which is expressed in the next clause of the verse, by saying that thou art either unkind to thy people, or unfaithful in thy covenant, or unable to deliver thine out of their miseries.
shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever? The "adversary" and "enemy" being in the singular number, may intend some particular one, as antichrist; who is emphatically and eminently "the enemy" of God, he opposing himself to, and exalting himself above, all that is called God; and the adversary of Christ, as his name shows; not only setting himself in his room and stead, but undermining him in all his offices; changing his laws as a King, dishonouring his sacrifice and intercession as a priest, and doing injury to his word and ordinances as a Prophet; and who has a mouth speaking blasphemies against God, his name, and tabernacle, heaven, and they that dwell therein, angels and saints, Revelation 13:5. He reproaches and blasphemes God himself, by showing himself to be God, by suffering himself to be so called, and to be worshipped as if he was God; by taking infallibility to himself, and setting up image worship, and obliging persons to it: he reproaches and blasphemes the Son of God, in whom the name of God is, by pretending to be his vicar on earth, and head of the church; to transubstantiate the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ; and to offer him up again in the blasphemous service of the mass: he reproaches and blasphemes his Gospel, which is his name, Acts 9:15, by introducing doctrines contrary to it, as the doctrines of merit, of works of supererogation, and justification by works; and the Scriptures, which bear the name and authority of God, by making them a nose of wax, taking upon himself to be the infallible interpreter of Scripture, and sole judge of controversies; by setting up his own unwritten traditions upon an equality with them, and forbidding the use of them to the people in their mother tongue: and he reproaches and blasphemes his name and authority by assuming it to himself in civil things, deposing and setting up kings at his pleasure; in religious affairs, dispensing with the laws of God, and teaching for doctrines the commandments of men; yea, in matters of salvation, giving out pardons and indulgences, pretending to open and shut heaven at pleasure. Moreover, these terms may be understood of many enemies and adversaries, even of all the enemies of the grace of God, and person of Christ; such reproach and blaspheme the name of God the Father; by denying some of his perfections, as his sovereignty, omniscience, and punitive justice, and by charging his decrees with injustice, insincerity, and cruelty; they reproach and blaspheme the name of Christ, by denying his deity, eternal sonship, and distinct personality, and by speaking contemptuously of his righteousness, blood, and sacrifice; and they do despight unto the Spirit of grace, and speak evil of his person, and the operations of his grace on the souls of men; and such a day of rebuke and blasphemy is the present one: and these things give good men that observe them a great concern for the name of God, who are ready to fear there will be no end to these reproaches and blasphemies; but there will, the time is coming when the name of the Lord will be excellent in all the earth, and the Lord alone shall be exalted; but it is not known how long it will be to it.O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. How long] Taking up the last words of Psalm 74:9, the Psalmist begins the second division of the Psalm with an appeal parallel to that in Psalm 74:1-3. There he entreats God to have pity on His people’s need, here to have regard to His own honour.
reproach … blaspheme] In act and word. Like the Assyrians, Isaiah 10:7 ff; Isaiah 37:23 ff.; and Syrians, Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:25; Daniel 11:36; 1Ma 2:6.
10, 11. Once more the Psalmist expostulates with God for His inaction.Verse 10. - O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy Name forever? There is no contradiction between these two clauses. The psalmist wishes to ask two things:
1. Is the present distress to continue forever?
2. And if not, how long is it to endure? It is true that he inverts the natural order of the questions; but this is so common a mode of speech, that grammarians have given it a name, and call it ὔστερον(πρότερον. Psalm 74:3 is the Temple, מועדיך in Psalm 74:4 ought likewise to mean the Temple with reference to the several courts; but the plural would here (cf. Psalm 74:8) be misleading, and is, too, only a various reading. Baer has rightly decided in favour of מועדך;
(Note: The reading מעודיך is received, e.g., by Elias Hutter and Nissel; the Targum translates it, Kimchi follows it in his interpretation, and Abraham of Zante follows it in his paraphrase; it is tolerably widely known, but, according to the lxx and Syriac versions and MSS, it is to be rejected.)
מועד, as in Lamentations 2:6., is the instituted (Numbers 17:1-13 :19 ) place of God's intercourse with His congregation (cf. Arab. mı̂‛âd, a rendezvous). What Jeremiah says in Lamentations 2:7 (cf. שׁאג, Jeremiah 2:15) is here more briefly expressed. By אותתם (Psalm 74:4) we must not understand military insignia; the scene of the Temple and the supplanting of the Israelitish national insignia to be found there, by the substitution of other insignia, requires that the word should have the religious reference in which it is used of circumcision and of the Sabbath (Exodus 31:13); such heathen אתות, which were thrust upon the Temple and the congregation of Jahve as henceforth the lawful ones, were those which are set forth in 1 Macc. 1:45-49, and more particularly the so-called abomination of desolation mentioned in v. 54 of the same chapter. With יוּדע (Psalm 74:5) the terrible scene which was at that time taking place before their eyes (Psalm 79:10) is introduced. כּמביא is the subject; it became visible, tangible, noticeable, i.e., it looked, and one experienced it, as if a man caused the axe to enter into the thicket of the wood, i.e., struck into or at it right and left. The plural קדּמּות forces itself into the simile because it is the many heathen warriors who are, as in Jeremiah 46:22., likened to these hewers of wood. Norzi calls the Kametz of בסבך־עץ Kametz chatuph; the combining form would then be a contraction of סבך (Ewald, Olshausen), for the long ā of סבך does not admit of any contraction. According to another view it is to be read bi-sbāch-etz, as in Esther 4:8 kethāb-hadāth with counter-tone Metheg beside the long vowel, as e.g., עץ־הגּן, Genesis 2:16). The poet follows the work of destruction up to the destroying stroke, which is introduced by the ועת (perhaps ועת, Ker ועתּה), which arrests one's attention. In Psalm 74:5 the usual, unbroken quiet is depicted, as is the heavy Cyclopean labour in the Virgilian illi inter sese, etc.; in jahalomûn, Psalm 74:6 (now and then pointed jahlomûn), we hear the stroke of the uplifted axes, which break in pieces the costly carved work of the Temple. The suffix of פּתּוּחיה (the carved works thereof) refers, according to the sense, to מועדך. The lxx, favouring the Maccabaean interpretation, renders: ἐξέκοψαν τάς θύρας αὐτῆς (פּתחיה). This shattering of the panelling is followed in Psalm 74:7 by the burning, first of all, as we may suppose, of this panelling itself so far as it consists of wood. The guaranteed reading here is מקדשׁך, not מקדשׁיך. שׁלּח בּאשׁ signifies to set on fire, immittere igni, differing from שׁלּח אשׁ בּ, to set fire to, immittere ignem. On לארץ חלּלוּ, cf. Lamentations 2:2; Jeremiah 19:13. Hitzig, following the lxx, Targum, and Jerome, derives the exclamation of the enemies נינם from נין: their whole generation (viz., we will root out)! But נין is posterity, descendants; why therefore only the young and not the aged? And why is it an expression of the object and not rather of the action, the object of which would be self-evident? נינם is fut. Kal of ינה, here equals Hiph. הונה, to force, oppress, tyrannize over, and like אנס, to compel by violence, in later Hebrew. נינם (from יינה, like ייפה) is changed in pause into נינם; cf. the future forms in Numbers 21:30; Exodus 34:19, and also in Psalm 118:10-12. Now, after mention has been made of the burning of the Temple framework, מועדי־אל cannot denote the place of the divine manifestation after its divisions (Hengstenberg), still less the festive assemblies (Bttcher), which the enemy could only have burnt up by setting fire to the Temple over their heads, and כל does not at all suit this. The expression apparently has reference to synagogues (and this ought not to be disputed), as Aquila and Symmachus render the word. For there is no room for thinking of the separate services conducted by the prophets in the northern kingdom (2 Kings 4:23), because this kingdom no longer existed at the time this Psalm was written; nor of the בּמות, the burning down of which no pious Israelite would have bewailed; nor of the sacred places memorable from the early history of Israel, which are nowhere called מועדים, and after the founding of the central sanctuary appear only as the seats of false religious rites. The expression points (like בּית ועד, Sota ix. 15) to places of assembly for religious purposes, to houses for prayer and teaching, that is to say, to synagogues - a weighty instance in favour of the Maccabaean origin of the Psalm.
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