Psalm 74:17
You have set all the borders of the earth: you have made summer and winter.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) All the borders of the earthi.e., earth in all directions, and to its utmost bounds; as we say, “from pole to pole.”

Psalm 74:17. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth — Thou hast fixed the bounds, both of the habitable world in general, so that the seas, though they do encompass and assault them, yet are not, and never shall be, able to remove them, and of all the countries and people upon earth, whom thou hast confined within such bounds as thou hast seen fit. Thou hast made summer and winter — As the former clause of the verse shows God’s power and government over all places, so this displays his dominion over all times and seasons. And both together are fitly alleged as a motive to God, that he would, at this time, take care of his poor people, and restore them to their ancient land and borders, in which he had been pleased to set them.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.Thou hast set all the borders of the earth - Thou hast established all the boundaries of the world; that is, the boundaries of the earth itself; or the natural bonndaries of nations and people, made by seas, mountains, rivers, and deserts. The language in regard to the first of these - the earth itself - would be derived from the prevalent mode of speaking, as if the earth were a plane, and had limits - a common mode of expression in the Scriptures, as it is in all ancient writings, and in the common language of men, even of philosophers. In regard to the latter idea, the language would imply that God had fixed, by his own power and will, all the natural boundaries of nations, or that his dominion is over all the earth. There are natural boundaries, or arrangements in nature, which tend to break up the one great family of man into separate nations, and which seem to have been designed for that. Compare Acts 17:26. Over all these God presides, and he has his own great plans to accomplish by the arrangement.

Thou hast made summer and winter - literally, as in the margin, "Summer and winter, thou hast made them." That is, he has so made the earth that these various seasons will occur. The fact that there are different seasons of the year, or that the year is divided into seasons, is to be traced to the agency of God. He has so made the world that these changes will take place. Nothing is the result of chance; all things in the arrangements of nature are by his design.

16, 17. The fixed orders of nature and bounds of earth are of God. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast fixed the bounds, both of the habitable world in general; so as the seas, though they do encompass and assault them, yet they shall never be able to remove them; and of all the countries and people upon earth, whom thou hast confined to such bounds as thou seest fit. And as this clause of the verse showeth God’s power and government over all places, so the next clause displays his dominion over all times and seasons; and both together are, fitly alleged as a motive to God, that he would at this time take care of his poor people, and restore them to their ancient land and borders, in which he had been pleased to set them. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth,.... Of the whole world, and each of the nations, as of the land of Canaan, so of others, Deuteronomy 32:8, and even has fixed and settled the bounds of every man's habitation, Acts 17:26,

thou hast made summer and winter; see Genesis 8:22, which, taken literally, are great benefits to the world; and, figuratively understood, may represent the two dispensations of the law and Gospel; see Sol 2:11, and the different frames of God's people when under temptations, and clouds, and darkness, and when they enjoy peace and comfort; and the different state of the church, when affected with affliction, persecution, false doctrine, deadness, and formality, which is now greatly the case; but there is a summer coming, when it will be otherwise; see Luke 21:30.

Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. the borders of the earth] The divisions of land and sea (Psalm 104:9; Job 38:8 ff.; Jeremiah 5:22), and the apportionment of the land among the nations (Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26).Verse 17. - Thou hast set all the borders of the earth. The "borders of the earth" are the boundaries of land and sea, which are ascribed to God in Genesis 1:9 (comp. Job 26:10; Job 38:8; Psalm 33:7; Proverbs 8:29; Jeremiah 5:22). Thou hast made summer and winter; literally, summer and winter thou didst form them; i.e. they are the result of thy arrangement of creation. 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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