Psalm 74:11
Why withdraw you your hand, even your right hand? pluck it out of your bosom.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Why withdrawest thou.—Literally, returnest, i.e., into the ample folds of the Eastern robe. The poet is thinking of Exodus 4:7.

Pluck it out of thy bosom.—Literally, out of the midst of thy bosom consume. For the same absolute use of this verb comp. Psalm 59:13. The clause is an instance of pregnant construction (comp. Psalm 74:7), and is plainly equivalent to, Why dost thou not pluck out thy right hand to consume?

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.Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? - Why dost thou not stretch forth thy hand for our deliverance? The hand, especially the right hand, is the instrument by which we wield a sword, or strike a blow; and the expression here is equivalent to asking why God did not interfere and save them.

Pluck it out of thy bosom - As if God had hidden his hand beneath the folds of his garment, or had wrapped his robe tightly around him. It "seemed" as if he had done this, as if he looked calmly on, and saw the temple fired, the synagogues burned up, the land laid waste, and the people slaughtered, without an attempt to interpose. How often are we constrained to use similar language - to ask a similar question - when iniquity abounds, when crime prevails, when sinners are perishing, when the church mourns - for God seems to have withdrawn his hand, and to be looking on with unconcern! No one can tell why this is so; and, without irreverence, or a spirit of complaining, but deeply affected with the mystery of the fact, we may ask "Why" this is so.

11. Why cease to help us? (Compare Ps 3:7; 7:6; 60:5). Why withdrawest thou thy hand? why dost thou suspend or forbear the exercise of that power, which thou hast so oft put forth on the behalf of thy people?

Pluck it out of thy bosom, in which thou now seemest to hide it, as idle persons use to do, Proverbs 19:24 26:15. Bestir thyself on the behalf of thy people. Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even that right hand?.... By which is meant the power of God; by which he made the heavens and the earth, and all things therein, and supports them in their beings; by which the work of his grace is wrought in the hearts of his people, and they are upheld; and by which he conquers their enemies, and saves them: this may be said to be withdrawn when he denies his people the help and succour they have had from him; when he seems to have forsaken the work of his hands; when there is not that success in the ministry of the word there formerly was, his arm being not revealed and made bare; and when the enemies of religion prosper and get ground; and when the Lord seems to be altogether inactive and unconcerned, like a man that folds up his arms under his arm holes, or hides his hands in his bosom, see Psalm 44:23 wherefore it follows:

pluck it out of thy bosom; as he will one day, and strike with a home blow, antichrist and his followers, and destroy them with his rod of iron, with which he will break them in shivers as a potter's vessel; and all his enemies shall feel the lighting down of his arm with the indignation of his anger; and then this request will be fulfilled: the word used signifies to "consume" (a); and Kimchi interprets it, consume the enemy out of thy bosom, which is the house of the sanctuary; his secret place, as the bosom is to man; but both senses of the word maybe retained, and the meaning be, pluck it out of thy bosom to consume them (b): also it signifies to restrain (c); and the sense may be, as the above writer observes, restrain it, that it may not return to thy bosom, till thou hast executed judgment on the wicked.

(a) "consume", Montanus, Gejerus. (b) So some in Vatablus. (c) "Cohibe", Junius & Tremellius.

Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? {g} pluck it out of thy bosom.

(g) They join their deliverance with God's glory and power, knowing that the punishment of the enemy would be their deliverance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Why drawest thou back thy hand, even thy right hand?

(Pluck it) out of thy bosom (and) consume (them).

The right hand which in days of old was stretched out to annihilate the Egyptians (Exodus 15:12), is now as it were thrust idly into the folded garment. Cp. Lamentations 2:3.Verse 11. - Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? Why dost thou keep back the right hand of thy power, hiding it in thy besom? Why not show forth thy power, and consume them, as it were, in a moment? (See the next clause.) Pluck it out of thy bosom; rather, out with it frown thy bosom, and consume them. The psalmist sees no reason why the Babylonians should not be consumed, and Israel delivered, at once. He has an insufficient sense of the greatness of Israel's sin. The poet now more minutely describes how the enemy has gone on. Since קדשׁ in 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 [4]) 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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