Psalm 74:22
Arise, O God, plead your own cause: remember how the foolish man reproaches you daily.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22, 23) These verses show that the psalm was actually composed amidst the dark days it describes. It ends in expostulatory prayer, with as yet no brighter gleam of hope than prayer itself implies—and that when seemingly directed to deaf ears.

74:18-23 The psalmist begs that God would appear for the church against their enemies. The folly of such as revile his gospel and his servants will be plain to all. Let us call upon our God to enlighten the dark nations of the earth; and to rescue his people, that the poor and needy may praise his name. Blessed Saviour, thou art the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Make thy people more than conquerors. Be thou, Lord, all in all to them in every situation and circumstances; for then thy poor and needy people will praise thy name.Arise, O God - As if God were now insensible to the wrongs and sufferings of his people; as if he were inattentive and indisposed to come to their help. See the notes at Psalm 3:7.

Plead thine own cause - literally, "Contend thine own contention." That is, Maintain a cause which is really thine own. Thine own honor is concerned; thine own law and authority are assailed; the war is really made on "thee." This is always the true idea in the prayers which are offered for the conversion of sinners, for the establishment of truth, and for the spread of the Gospel in the world. It is not originally the cause of the church; it is the cause of God. Everything in regard to truth, to justice, to humanity, to temperance, to liberty, to religion, is the cause of God. All the assaults made on these, are assaults made on God.

Remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily - Constantly. He does not cease. The word "foolish" refers to the wicked. The idea is, that the wicked constantly reproach God - either by their language or their conduct; and this is a reason for calling on him to interpose. No better reason for asking his interposition can be given, than that such conduct is a real reproach to God, and reflects on his honor in the world.

22, 23. (Compare Ps 3:7; 7:6). God hears the wicked to their own ruin (Ge 4:10; 18:20). Plead thine own cause; maintain thy honour, and worship, and service against those that reproach thee, as it here follows, and was noted before, Psalm 74:10,18. As we are reviled and persecuted for thy sake, so thou art injured in all our wrongs. Arise, O God, plead thine own cause,.... The church's cause being the cause of God; and therefore she desires that he would arise and exert himself, and take vengeance on his and her enemies: this is an interesting argument, and a forcible one:

remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily; this being so frequently repeated, as in Psalm 74:10, shows how much the name and glory of God lay near her heart; the Targum is,

"remember the reproach of thy people by a foolish king all the day;''

perhaps the man of sin is meant, the king of the locusts, and angel of the bottomless pit.

Arise, O God, plead thine {p} own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily.

(p) He shows that God cannot permit his Church to be oppressed unless he looses his own right.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22, 23. A final appeal. Elsewhere the Psalmist prays ‘plead my cause’ (Psalm 43:1), but Israel’s cause is God’s cause: His honour is at stake.

the foolish man] The fool, the members of ‘the foolish people,’ Psalm 74:18. The Targ. paraphrases, “the reproach of thy people from the foolish king,” but there is nothing to shew that this meant Antiochus rather than Nebuchadnezzar. daily] All the day (R.V.).Verse 22. - Arise, O God, plead thine own cause; i.e. assert thyself, show forth thy power, avenge thyself on thine enemies. Remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily (comp. ver. 18, and see the comment ad loc.). In the ancient world the conquest of a people was always regarded as a triumph over the people's god or gods. Naturally, insults to the god found a place in the victor's songs of triumph (see 2 Kings 19:10-13; Isaiah 10:8-11). With this prayer for the destruction of the enemies by God's interposition closes the first half of the Psalm, which has for its subject-matter the crying contradiction between the present state of things and God's relationship to Israel. The poet now draws comfort by looking back into the time when God as Israel's King unfolded the rich fulness of His salvation everywhere upon the earth, where Israel's existence was imperilled. בּקרב הארץ, not only within the circumference of the Holy Land, but, e.g., also within that of Egypt (Exodus 8:18-22). The poet has Egypt directly in his mind, for there now follows first of all a glance at the historical (Psalm 74:13-15), and then at the natural displays of God's power (Psalm 74:16, Psalm 74:17). Hengstenberg is of opinion that Psalm 74:13-15 also are to be understood in the latter sense, and appeals to Job 26:11-13. But just as Isaiah (Isaiah 51:9, cf. Psalm 27:1) transfers these emblems of the omnipotence of God in the natural world to His proofs of power in connection with the history of redemption which were exhibited in the case of a worldly power, so does the poet here also in Psalm 74:13-15. The תּנּיּן (the extended saurian) is in Isaiah, as in Ezekiel (התּנּים, Psalm 29:3; Psalm 32:2), an emblem of Pharaoh and of his kingdom; in like manner here the leviathan is the proper natural wonder of Egypt. As a water-snake or a crocodile, when it comes up with its head above the water, is killed by a powerful stroke, did God break the heads of the Egyptians, so that the sea cast up their dead bodies (Exodus 14:30). The ציּים, the dwellers in the steppe, to whom these became food, are not the Aethiopians (lxx, Jerome), or rather the Ichthyophagi (Bocahrt, Hengstenberg), who according to Agatharcides fed ἐκ τῶν ἐκριπτομένων εἰς τὴν χέρσον κητῶν, but were no cannibals, but the wild beasts of the desert, which are called עם, as in Proverbs 30:25. the ants and the rock-badgers. לציים is a permutative of the notion לעם, which was not completed: to a (singular) people, viz., to the wild animals of the steppe. Psalm 74:15 also still refers not to miracles of creation, but to miracles wrought in the course of the history of redemption; Psalm 74:15 refers to the giving of water out of the rock (Psalm 78:15), and Psalm 74:15 to the passage through the Jordan, which was miraculously dried up (הובשׁתּ, as in Joshua 2:10; Joshua 4:23; Joshua 5:1). The object מעין ונחל is intended as referring to the result: so that the water flowed out of the cleft after the manner of a fountain and a brook. נהרות are the several streams of the one Jordan; the attributive genitive איתן describe them as streams having an abundance that does not dry up, streams of perennial fulness. The God of Israel who has thus marvellously made Himself known in history is, however, the Creator and Lord of all created things. Day and night and the stars alike are His creatures. In close connection with the night, which is mentioned second, the moon, the מאור of the night, precedes the sun; cf. Psalm 8:4, where כּונן is the same as הכין in this passage. It is an error to render thus: bodies of light, and more particularly the sun; which would have made one expect מאורות before the specializing Waw. גּבוּלות are not merely the bounds of the land towards the sea, Jeremiah 5:22, but, according to Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26, even the boundaries of the land in themselves, that is to say, the natural boundaries of the inland country. קיץ וחרף are the two halves of the year: summer including spring (אביב), which begins in Nisan, the spring-month, about the time of the vernal equinox, and autumn including winter (צתו), after the termination of which the strictly spring vegetation begins (Sol 2:11). The seasons are personified, and are called God's formations or works, as it were the angels of summer and of winter.
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