Psalm 74:16
The day is yours, the night also is yours: you have prepared the light and the sun.
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(16-18) An appeal from the God of history to the God of nature. Not only did He work wonders, but even the universe is the work of His hand.

(16) The light and the sun.—Evidently from Genesis 1:14; Genesis 1:16, where the same word occurs for the heavenly luminary generally, and then for the sun as chief.

Psalm 74:16. The day is thine, the night also is thine — It is not strange that thou hast done these great and wonderful works, for thou hast made the heavenly bodies, and appointed the vicissitudes of day and night, depending upon them, which is a far greater work. Thou hast prepared — Hebrew, הכינות, hachinota, thou hast established, that is, not only created, but settled in a constant and orderly course, the light and the sun — That primitive light mentioned Genesis 1:3, and the sun, in which it was afterward condensed and gathered: or the luminaries in general, with their chief the sun. Thus, “from the miraculous interpositions of God in behalf of his people, the psalmist passes to those ordinary and standing evidences of his goodness toward us, the sweet vicissitudes of light and darkness, and the grateful succession of times and seasons; by which man is taught, in the most sorrowful night, to look for a joyful morning; and, during the severest winter, to expect a reviving spring. Thus is the revolving year our constant instructer and monitor; incessantly inculcating the duties of faith and hope, as well as those of adoration, gratitude, and praise.” — Horne.74:12-17 The church silences her own complaints. What God had done for his people, as their King of old, encouraged them to depend on him. It was the Lord's doing, none besides could do it. This providence was food to faith and hope, to support and encourage in difficulties. The God of Israel is the God of nature. He that is faithful to his covenant about the day and the night, will never cast off those whom he has chosen. We have as much reason to expect affliction, as to expect night and winter. But we have no more reason to despair of the return of comfort, than to despair of day and summer. And in the world above we shall have no more changes.The day is thine, the night also is thine - Thou hast universal dominion. All things are under thy control. Thou hast power, therefore, to grant what we desire of thee.

Thou hast prepared the light and the sun - He who has made the sun - that greatest and noblest object of creation to the view of man - must have almighty power, and must be able to give what we need.

16, 17. The fixed orders of nature and bounds of earth are of God. It is not strange nor incredible that thou hast done these great and wonderful works, for thou hast made the heavenly bodies, and the vicissitudes of day and night, depending upon them, which is a far greater work.

Prepared; or rather, established, as this word oft signifies; not only created, but settled in a constant and orderly course.

The light; either,

1. That primitive light, Genesis 1:3, which afterwards was condensed and gathered into the sun. Or rather,

2. The moon, as divers, both ancient and modern, interpreters understand it, called here the light, to wit, the lesser luminary or light; wherein there is either a synecdoche of the general for the particular, or an ellipsis of the adjective, both which figures are very usual. And that the lesser light is here meant, may seem probable, both because it is opposed to the greater light, the sun here following; and because this is to rule the night, as the sun is to rule the day, Genesis 1:16; and so this clause answereth to and explains the former, wherein both day and night are mentioned. The day is thine, and the night also is thine,.... He made the one and the other, and divided the one from the other; and can make them longer or shorter, clear or cloudy, as he pleases: and the day of prosperity and night of adversity are at his disposal; all the times of his people and of his church are in his hands; sometimes it is a night of darkness, deadness, sleepiness, and security, as it now is; ere long there will be no more night, but bright day; the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven fold as the light of seven days; and this is to be expected from him whose is the day and the night also, Revelation 21:25. Jarchi interprets the day, of the redemption of Israel; and the night, of distresses and afflictions:

thou hast prepared the light and the sun; first the light, and then the sun; for the light was before the sun; or the luminary, even the sun. Aben Ezra interprets the "light" of the moon, and so the Targum; and Kimchi, both of the moon and of the stars; Jarchi takes the light figuratively to be meant of the light of the law; but it is much better to understand it of the light of the Gospel, which God has prepared, and will send forth more largely in the latter day, whereby the whole earth shall be lightened; and when Christ the "sun" of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings, and who gives both the light of grace and glory to his people.

The {m} day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun.

(m) Seeing that God by his providence governs and disposes all things, he gathers that he will take care chiefly for his children.

16. The day &c.] Thine is the day and the night is thine.

the light and the sun] Possibly equivalent to ‘the moon and the sun’ (Psalm 104:19); but more probably ‘the luminaries and especially the sun.’ Cp. Genesis 1:14; Genesis 1:16.

16, 17. All the fixed laws and ordinances of the natural world were established and are maintained by God.Verse 16. - The day is thine, the night also is thine; thou hast prepared the light and the sun (see Genesis 1:5, 15, 16); rather, thou hast prepared him light and sun. "Luminary" (מָאור) is probably a class name for the heavenly lights generally. The sun is then particularized, as so much the most important of the luminaries. But the result is "an imperfect parallelism" (Cheyne). The worst thing the poet has to complain of is that God has not acknowledged His people during this time of suffering as at other times. "Our signs" is the direct antithesis to "their sings" (Psalm 74:4), hence they are not to be understood, after Psalm 86:17, as signs which God works. The suffix demands, besides, something of a perpetual character; they are the instituted ordinances of divine worship by means of which God is pleased to stand in fellowship with His people, and which are now no longer to be seen because the enemies have set them aside. The complaint "there is not prophet any more" would seem strange in the period immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem, for Jeremiah's term of active service lasted beyond this. Moreover, a year before (in the tenth year of Zedekiah's reign) he had predicted that the Babylonian domination, and relatively the Exile, would last seventy years; besides, six years before the destruction Ezekiel appeared, who was in communication with those who remained behind in the land. The reference to Lamentations 2:9 (cf. Ezekiel 7:26) does not satisfy one; for there it is assumed that there were prophets, a fact which is here denied. Only perhaps as a voice coming out of the Exile, the middle of which (cf. Hosea 3:4; 2 Chronicles 15:3, and besides Canticum trium puerorum, Psalm 74:14 : καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ ἄρχων καὶ προφήτης καὶ ἡγούμενος) was truly thus devoid of signs or miracles, and devoid of the prophetic word of consolation, can Psalm 74:9 be comprehended. The seventy years of Jeremiah were then still a riddle without any generally known solution (Daniel 9). If, however, synagogues are meant in Psalm 74:8, Psalm 74:9 now too accords with the like-sounding lament in the calamitous times of Antiochus (1 Macc. 4:46; 9:27; 14:41). In Psalm 74:10 the poet turns to God Himself with the question "How long?" how long is this (apparently) endless blaspheming of the enemy to last? Why dost Thou draw back (viz., ממּנוּ, from us, not עלינוּ, Psalm 81:15) Thy hand and Thy right hand? The conjunction of synonyms "Thy hand and Thy right hand" is, as in Psalm 44:4, Sirach 33:7, a fuller expression for God's omnipotent energy. This is now at rest; Psalm 74:11 calls upon it to give help by an act of judgment. "Out of the midst of Thy bosom, destroy," is a pregnant expression for, "drawing forth out of Thy bosom the hand that rests inactive there, do Thou destroy." The Chethb חוקך has perhaps the same meaning; for חוק, Arab. ḥawq, signifies, like חיק, Arab. ḥayq, the act of encompassing, then that which encompasses. Instead of מחיקך (Exodus 4:7) the expression is מקּרב חיקך, because there, within the realm of the bosom, the punitive justice of God for a time as it were slumbers. On the כלּה, which outwardly is without any object, cf. Psalm 59:14.
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