Psalm 74:7
They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground.
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(7) They have cast fire into.—Literally, They have cast into fire thy sanctuary. Probably a hyperbolic expression, and purporting to express the vastness of the conflagration. Others compare with the English “set on fire,” and French mettre à feu.

We learn from 1 Maccabees 4:38, and Josephus, Antt. xii., 7:6, that Judas Maccabæus, in coming to restore the Temple, found that the gates had been burnt.

Psalm 74:7-8. They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, &c. — The Chaldeans first polluted, and then set fire to Solomon’s temple, and burned that stately and costly fabric down to the ground. And Antiochus set fire to the gates of the second temple, (1Ma 4:28,) and afterward the Romans razed it from the foundation, and left not one stone upon another. They said, Let us destroy them together — Root and branch, one as well as another, or all at once. So they desired, and so, it seems, many of them intended, although afterward they changed their counsel, and carried some away captive, and left others to cultivate the ground. They have burned up all the synagogues — All the public places wherein the Jews used to meet together to worship God every sabbath day, as is mentioned Acts 13:27, and upon other occasions. That the Jews had such synagogues is manifest, both from these and other places of Scripture, and from the testimony of the Hebrew doctors, and other ancient and learned writers, who affirm it, and particularly of Jerusalem, in which they say there were above four hundred; and from the necessity of such places: for seeing it is undeniable that they did worship God publicly on every sabbath, and at other holy times, even when they could not go up to Jerusalem, both conscience and prudence must needs have directed them to appoint convenient places for that purpose.

74:1-11 This psalm appears to describe the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Chaldeans. The deplorable case of the people of God, at the time, is spread before the Lord, and left with him. They plead the great things God had done for them. If the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt was encouragement to hope that he would not cast them off, much more reason have we to believe, that God will not cast off any whom Christ has redeemed with his own blood. Infidels and persecutors may silence faithful ministers, and shut up places of worship, and say they will destroy the people of God and their religion together. For a long time they may prosper in these attempts, and God's oppressed servants may see no prospect of deliverance; but there is a remnant of believers, the seed of a future harvest, and the despised church has survived those who once triumphed over her. When the power of enemies is most threatening, it is comfortable to flee to the power of God by earnest prayer.They have cast fire into thy sanctuary - Into the temple to destroy it. Literally, "They have cast thy sanctuary into the fire." The meaning is, that they had burned it down. This was actually done by the Chaldeans, 2 Kings 25:9; 2 Chronicles 36:19.

They have defiled by casting down the dwelling-place of thy name to the ground - The place where thy name dwelt or was recorded Exodus 20:24; that is, the place where God's name was known, or where he was worshipped. The literal meaning is, "To the earth they have defiled the dwelling of thy name?" The idea is, that they had defiled or polluted the temple by throwing it to the ground; by making it a heap of ruins; by making it undistinguishable from common earth.

7. defiled—or, "profaned," as in Ps 89:39. First they polluted it, and then they burnt it, and broke it in pieces.

They have cast fire into thy sanctuary,.... Or, "thy sanctuary into the fire" (o); which denotes the utter destruction of it by fire, which was done both by the Chaldean and Roman armies; see 2 Kings 25:9,

they have defiled, by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground, or "to the earth they have defiled the habitation of thy name" (p); that is, to the last and lowest degree; this Antiochus did when he set up an idol in the temple, and Titus when he laid it level with the ground, not leaving one stone upon another, as our Lord predicted, Matthew 24:1 the aggravation of which was, that it was the place where the Lord had put his name, where his name was called upon, and where was the symbol of his presence.

(o) "in ignem sanctuaria tua", Pagninus, Vatablus; so Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis. (p) "ad terram usque prophanarunt tabernaculum, vel habitationem nominis tui", Musculus, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Cocceius.

They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground.
7. They have set thy sanctuary on fire;

They have profaned the dwelling place of thy name even to the ground. (R.V.)

The verse appears to speak of a complete destruction of the Temple by fire. This was done by Nebuzaradan (2 Kings 25:9-10) but not by the emissaries of Antiochus, for Judas found the main building standing, though the gates had been burned and the priests’ chambers pulled down (1Ma 4:38). Comp. the stress which Ezekiel lays on the desecration of the sanctuary (Ezekiel 7:21-22; Ezekiel 7:24). See also Lamentations 2:2.

For the dwelling place of thy name cp. Deuteronomy 12:11; Deuteronomy 16:2; Deuteronomy 16:6; Deuteronomy 16:11, &c.; Jeremiah 7:12; Psalm 26:8.

Verse 7. - They have cast tire into thy sanctuary; or, they have set thy sanctuary fire (Revised Version). The temple of Solomon was burnt by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:9; 2 Chronicles 36:19). That of Zerubbabel was never burnt, but was entirely rebuilt, and on a much larger scale, by Herod the Great. That of Herod the Great was burnt in the siege by Titus. They have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy Name to the ground (comp. Lamentations 2:6; Lamentations 4:1). The very foundations of the second temple had to be laid by Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:6, 12). Psalm 74:7The poet now more minutely describes how the enemy has gone on. Since קדשׁ in Psalm 74:3 is the Temple, מועדיך in Psalm 74:4 ought likewise to mean the Temple with reference to the several courts; but the plural would here (cf. Psalm 74:8) be misleading, and is, too, only a various reading. Baer has rightly decided in favour of מועדך;

(Note: The reading מעודיך is received, e.g., by Elias Hutter and Nissel; the Targum translates it, Kimchi follows it in his interpretation, and Abraham of Zante follows it in his paraphrase; it is tolerably widely known, but, according to the lxx and Syriac versions and MSS, it is to be rejected.)

מועד, as in Lamentations 2:6., is the instituted (Numbers 17:1-13 :19 [4]) place of God's intercourse with His congregation (cf. Arab. mı̂‛âd, a rendezvous). What Jeremiah says in Lamentations 2:7 (cf. שׁאג, Jeremiah 2:15) is here more briefly expressed. By אותתם (Psalm 74:4) we must not understand military insignia; the scene of the Temple and the supplanting of the Israelitish national insignia to be found there, by the substitution of other insignia, requires that the word should have the religious reference in which it is used of circumcision and of the Sabbath (Exodus 31:13); such heathen אתות, which were thrust upon the Temple and the congregation of Jahve as henceforth the lawful ones, were those which are set forth in 1 Macc. 1:45-49, and more particularly the so-called abomination of desolation mentioned in v. 54 of the same chapter. With יוּדע (Psalm 74:5) the terrible scene which was at that time taking place before their eyes (Psalm 79:10) is introduced. כּמביא is the subject; it became visible, tangible, noticeable, i.e., it looked, and one experienced it, as if a man caused the axe to enter into the thicket of the wood, i.e., struck into or at it right and left. The plural קדּמּות forces itself into the simile because it is the many heathen warriors who are, as in Jeremiah 46:22., likened to these hewers of wood. Norzi calls the Kametz of בסבך־עץ Kametz chatuph; the combining form would then be a contraction of סבך (Ewald, Olshausen), for the long ā of סבך does not admit of any contraction. According to another view it is to be read bi-sbāch-etz, as in Esther 4:8 kethāb-hadāth with counter-tone Metheg beside the long vowel, as e.g., עץ־הגּן, Genesis 2:16). The poet follows the work of destruction up to the destroying stroke, which is introduced by the ועת (perhaps ועת, Ker ועתּה), which arrests one's attention. In Psalm 74:5 the usual, unbroken quiet is depicted, as is the heavy Cyclopean labour in the Virgilian illi inter sese, etc.; in jahalomûn, Psalm 74:6 (now and then pointed jahlomûn), we hear the stroke of the uplifted axes, which break in pieces the costly carved work of the Temple. The suffix of פּתּוּחיה (the carved works thereof) refers, according to the sense, to מועדך. The lxx, favouring the Maccabaean interpretation, renders: ἐξέκοψαν τάς θύρας αὐτῆς (פּתחיה). This shattering of the panelling is followed in Psalm 74:7 by the burning, first of all, as we may suppose, of this panelling itself so far as it consists of wood. The guaranteed reading here is מקדשׁך, not מקדשׁיך. שׁלּח בּאשׁ signifies to set on fire, immittere igni, differing from שׁלּח אשׁ בּ, to set fire to, immittere ignem. On לארץ חלּלוּ, cf. Lamentations 2:2; Jeremiah 19:13. Hitzig, following the lxx, Targum, and Jerome, derives the exclamation of the enemies נינם from נין: their whole generation (viz., we will root out)! But נין is posterity, descendants; why therefore only the young and not the aged? And why is it an expression of the object and not rather of the action, the object of which would be self-evident? נינם is fut. Kal of ינה, here equals Hiph. הונה, to force, oppress, tyrannize over, and like אנס, to compel by violence, in later Hebrew. נינם (from יינה, like ייפה) is changed in pause into נינם; cf. the future forms in Numbers 21:30; Exodus 34:19, and also in Psalm 118:10-12. Now, after mention has been made of the burning of the Temple framework, מועדי־אל cannot denote the place of the divine manifestation after its divisions (Hengstenberg), still less the festive assemblies (Bttcher), which the enemy could only have burnt up by setting fire to the Temple over their heads, and כל does not at all suit this. The expression apparently has reference to synagogues (and this ought not to be disputed), as Aquila and Symmachus render the word. For there is no room for thinking of the separate services conducted by the prophets in the northern kingdom (2 Kings 4:23), because this kingdom no longer existed at the time this Psalm was written; nor of the בּמות, the burning down of which no pious Israelite would have bewailed; nor of the sacred places memorable from the early history of Israel, which are nowhere called מועדים, and after the founding of the central sanctuary appear only as the seats of false religious rites. The expression points (like בּית ועד, Sota ix. 15) to places of assembly for religious purposes, to houses for prayer and teaching, that is to say, to synagogues - a weighty instance in favour of the Maccabaean origin of the Psalm.

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