Lift up your feet to the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy has done wickedly in the sanctuary.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Lift up thy feet.—Better, Lift thy steps. A poetical expression. God is invoked to hasten to view the desolation of the Temple. A somewhat similar expression will be found in Genesis 29:1 (margin).
Perpetual desolations.—The word rendered “desolations” occurs also in Psalm 73:18, where it is rendered “destruction.” Here, perhaps, we should render ruins which must be ever ruins, or complete ruins, or possibly, taking the first meaning of netsach, ruins of splendour. Isaiah 11:4 does not offer a parallel, since the Hebrew is different, and plainly refers to the long time the places have been in ruins.
Even all . . .—Better, the enemy hath devastated all in the holy place. 1 Maccabees 1:38-40; 1 Maccabees 3:45 (“Now Jerusalem lay void as a wilderness”) give the best explanation of the verse, descriptive, as it is, of the condition of the whole of Zion.Psalm 74:3. Lift up thy feet — This is spoken after the manner of men, and means, Come speedily to our rescue, and do not delay, as men do when they sit or stand still; unto — Or rather, because of, the perpetual desolations — Namely, those ruins of the city and country, which had lasted so very long, and which, if God did not come to their help, he intimates, would be perpetual and irrecoverable. Even all that the enemy hath done wickedly, &c. — God had deserted his sanctuary, and the shechinah, or cloud of glory, emblematical of the divine presence, had gone up from between the cherubim: see Ezekiel 10:4. In consequence of which the heathen people had invaded that holy place, and laid it waste. And the psalmist here supplicates and urges God’s return to them, as that which alone could restore their temple, city, and country to their former happy state.
Unto the perpetual desolations - Hebrew, "the ruins of perpetuity," or eternity; that is, such as have been long continued, and threaten to continue forever. The ruin had not suddenly come, and it did not seem likely soon to pass away, but appeared to be entire and permanent. The destruction of the city seemed to be complete and final.
Even all that the enemy hath done wickedly - That is, with wicked intent and purpose. The reference seems to be to the Chaldeans, and to the ruin which they had brought upon the temple and city.Lift up thy feet, i.e. come speedily for our rescue, and do not sit or stand still, as hitherto thou seemest to do.
Unto the perpetual desolations; or rather, because of (as this prefix oft signifies) the perpetual desolations. So it is a powerful motive to God, to come to their help, because otherwise our destruction is everlasting and irrecoverable.
In the sanctuary; or, against thy sanctuary; of which see Psalm 74:7. Genesis 29:1. Some take these words in a different sense, as a prayer for the destruction of the church's enemies; so the Targum,
"lift up thy feet or goings, to make desolate the nations for ever;''
and Kimchi makes but one sentence of this and the following clause, and reads it thus,
"lift up thy feet, to make desolate for ever every enemy that does wickedly in the sanctuary:''
but the accent "athnach", which divides propositions, and is upon the word forbids such a reading. The former sense is best, and most agreeable to the context;
even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary; by profaning and destroying the temple, as did Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus, and Titus; or by antichrist sitting in the temple and church of God, setting up idolatrous worship in it, and blaspheming the tabernacle of God, and those that dwell therein, 2 Thessalonians 2:4.Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. Lift up thy feet] Bestir Thyself: come in might and majesty to visit and deliver. the perpetual desolations] R.V. the perpetual ruins: a word found elsewhere only in Psalm 73:18. Cp. the threat, Jeremiah 25:9, and the promises, Isaiah 58:12; Isaiah 61:4.
even all &c.] Better as R.V., All the evil that the enemy hath done in the sanctuary; or R.V. marg., The enemy hath wrought all evil.Verse 3. - Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; or, the perpetual ruins. God is asked to visit and protect, or else to visit and inspect, the desolate ruins with which the Babylonians have covered Mount Zion. Even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. The Babylonians had plundered the temple of all its treasures, breaking the precious Phoenician bronze work into pieces, and carrying off everything of value that was portable (2 Kings 25:13-17). They had also "burnt the house of the Lord "(ver. 9), and "broken down the walls of Jerusalem" (ver. 10) and the walls of the temple to a large extent (see below, ver. 7). It is quite certain that neither Shishak nor the Syrians under Antiochus Epiphanes created any such devastation. Psalm 73:2), he clings all the more firmly to Him, and will not suffer his perpetual fellowship with Him to be again broken through by such seizures which estrange him from God. confidently does he yield up himself to the divine guidance, though he may not see through the mystery of the plan (עצה) of this guidance. He knows that afterwards (אחר with Mugrash: adverb as in Psalm 68:26), i.e., after this dark way of faith, God will כבוד receive him, i.e., take him to Himself, and take him from all suffering (לקח as in Psalm 49:16, and of Enoch, Genesis 5:24). The comparison of Zechariah 2:12  is misleading; there אחר is rightly accented as a preposition: after glory hath He sent me forth (vid., Kצhler), and here as an adverb; for although the adverbial sense of אחר would more readily lead one to look for the arrangement of the words ואחר תקחני כבוד, still "to receive after glory" (cf. the reverse Isaiah 58:8) is an awkward thought. כבוד, which as an adjective "glorious" (Hofmann) is alien to the language, is either accusative of the goal (Hupfeld), or, which yields a form of expression that is more like the style of the Old Testament, accusative of the manner (Luther, "with honour"). In אחר the poet comprehends in one summary view what he looks for at the goal of the present divine guidance. The future is dark to him, but lighted up by the one hope that the end of his earthly existence will be a glorious solution of the riddle. Here, as elsewhere, it is faith which breaks through not only the darkness of this present life, but also the night of Hades. At that time there was as yet no divine utterance concerning any heavenly triumph of the church, militant in the present world, but to faith the Jahve-Name had already a transparent depth which penetrated beyond Hades into an eternal life. The heaven of blessedness and glory also is nothing without God; but he who can in love call God his, possesses heaven upon earth, and he who cannot in love call God his, would possess not heaven, but hell, in the midst of heaven. In this sense the poet says in Psalm 73:25 : whom have I in heaven? i.e., who there without Thee would be the object of my desire, the stilling of my longing? without Thee heaven with all its glory is a vast waste and void, which makes me indifferent to everything, and with Thee, i.e., possessing Thee, I have no delight in the earth, because to call Thee mine infinitely surpasses every possession and every desire of earth. If we take בּארץ still more exactly as parallel to בּשּׁמים, without making it dependent upon חפצתּי: and possessing Thee I have no desire upon the earth, then the sense remains essentially the same; but if we allow בארץ to be governed by חפצתי in accordance with the general usage of the language, we arrive at this meaning by the most natural way. Heaven and earth, together with angels and men, afford him no satisfaction - his only friend, his sole desire and love, is God. The love for God which David expresses in Psalm 16:2 in the brief utterance, "Thou art my Lord, Thou art my highest good," is here expanded with incomparable mystical profoundness and beauty. Luther's version shows his master-hand. The church follows it in its "Herzlich lieb hab' ich dich" when it sings -
"The whole wide world delights me not,
For heaven and earth, Lord, care Inot,
If I may but have Thee;"
and following it, goes on in perfect harmony with the text of our Psalm -
"Yea, though my heart be like to break,
Thou art my trust that nought can shake;"
(Note: Miss Winkworth's translation.)
or with Paul Gerhard, [in his Passion-hymn "Ein Lmmlein geht und trgt die Schuld der Welt und ihrer Kinder,"
"Light of my heart, that shalt Thou be;
And when my heart in pieces breaks,
Thou shalt my heart remain."
For the hypothetical perfect כּלה expresses something in spite of which he upon whom it may come calls God his God: licet defecerit. Though his outward and inward man perish, nevertheless God remains ever the rock of his heart as the firm ground upon which he, with his ego, remains standing when everything else totters; He remains his portion, i.e., the possession that cannot be taken from him, if he loses all, even his spirit-life pertaining to the body, - and God remains to him this portion לעולם, he survives with the life which he has in God the death of the old life. The poet supposes an extreme case, - one, that is, it is true, impossible, but yet conceivable, - that his outward and inward being should sink away; even then with the merus actus of his ego he will continue to cling to God. In the midst of the natural life of perishableness and of sin, a new, individual life which is resigned to God has begun within him, and in this he has the pledge that he cannot perish, so truly as God, with whom it is closely united, cannot perish. It is just this that is also the nerve of the proof of the resurrection of the dead which Jesus advances in opposition to the Sadducees (Matthew 22:32).
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