Psalm 74:22
Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily.
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(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.

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). Psalm 74:22The poet, after he has thus consoled himself by the contemplation of the power of God which He has displayed for His people's good as their Redeemer, and for the good of the whole of mankind as the Creator, rises anew to prayer, but all the more cheerfully and boldly. Since ever present facts of creation have been referred to just now, and the historical mighty deeds of God only further back, זאת refers rather forwards to the blaspheming of the enemies which He suffers now to go on unpunished, as though He took no cognizance of it. חרף has Pasek after it in order to separate the word, which signifies reviling, from the most holy Name. The epithet עם־נבל reminds one of Deuteronomy 32:21. In Psalm 74:19 according to the accents חיּת is the absolute state (the primary form of חיּה, vid., on Psalm 61:1): give not over, abandon not to the wild beast (beasts), the soul of Thy turtle-dove. This is probably correct, since לחיּת נפשׁ, "to the eager wild beast," this inversion of the well-known expression נפשׁ חיּה, which on the contrary yields the sense of vita animae, is an improbable and exampleless expression. If נפשׁ were intended to be thus understood, the poet might have written אל־תתן לנפשׁ חיּה תורך, "give not Thy turtle-dove over to the desire of the wild beast." Hupfeld thinks that the "old, stupid reading" may be set right at one stroke, inasmuch as he reads אל תתן לנפש חית תורך, and renders it "give not to rage the life Thy turtle-dove;" but where is any support to be found for this לנפשׁ, "to rage," or rather (Psychology, S. 202; tr. p. 239) "to eager desire?" The word cannot signify this in such an isolated position. Israel, which is also compared to a dove in Psalm 68:14, is called a turtle-dove (תּור). In Psalm 74:19 חיּת has the same signification as in Psalm 74:19, and the same sense as Psalm 68:11 (cf. Psalm 69:37): the creatures of Thy miserable ones, i.e., Thy poor, miserable creatures - a figurative designation of the ecclesia pressa. The church, which it is the custom of the Asaphic Psalms to designate with emblematical names taken from the animal world, finds itself now like sheep among wolves, and seems to itself as if it were forgotten by God. The cry of prayer הבּט לבּרית comes forth out of circumstances such as were those of the Maccabaean age. בּרית is the covenant of circumcision (Genesis 17); the persecution of the age of the Seleucidae put faith to the severe test, that circumcision, this sign which was the pledge to Israel of God's gracious protection, became just the sign by which the Syrians knew their victims. In the Book of Daniel, Daniel 11:28, Daniel 11:30, cf. Psalm 22:32, ברית is used directly of the religion of Israel and its band of confessors. The confirmatory clause Psalm 74:20 also corresponds to the Maccabaean age, when the persecuted confessors hid themselves far away in the mountains (1 Macc. 2:26ff., 2 Macc. 6:11), but were tracked by the enemy and slain, - at that time the hiding-places (κρύφοι, 1 Macc. 1:53) of the land were in reality full of the habitations of violence. The combination נאות חמס is like נאות השׁלום, Jeremiah 25:37, cf. Genesis 6:11. From this point the Psalm draws to a close in more familiar Psalm - strains. אל־ישׁב, Psalm 74:21, viz., from drawing near to Thee with their supplications. "The reproach of the foolish all the day" is that which incessantly goes forth from them. עלה תּמיד, "going up (1 Samuel 5:12, not: increasing, 1 Kings 22:35) perpetually," although without the article, is not a predicate, but attributive (vid., on Psalm 57:3). The tone of the prayer is throughout temperate; this the ground upon which it bases itself is therefore all the more forcible.
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