Psalm 74:7
They have cast fire into your sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of your 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). The poet begins with the earnest prayer that God would again have compassion upon His church, upon which His judgment of anger has fallen, and would again set up the ruins of Zion. Why for ever (Psalm 74:10, Psalm 79:5; Psalm 89:47, cf. Psalm 13:2)? is equivalent to, why so continually and, as it seems, without end? The preterite denotes the act of casting off, the future, Psalm 74:1, that lasting condition of this casting off. למה, when the initial of the following word is a guttural, and particularly if it has a merely half-vowel (although in other instances also, Genesis 12:19; Genesis 27:45; Sol 1:7), is deprived of its Dagesh and accented on the ultima, in order (as Mose ha-Nakdan expressly observes) to guard against the swallowing up of the ah; cf. on Psalm 10:1. Concerning the smoking of anger, vid., Psalm 18:9. The characteristically Asaphic expression צאן מרעיתו is not less Jeremianic, Jeremiah 23:1. In Psalm 74:2 God is reminded of what He has once done for the congregation of His people. קדם, as in Psalm 44:2, points back into the Mosaic time of old, to the redemption out of Egypt, which is represented in קנה (Exodus 15:17) as a purchasing, and in גאל (Psalm 77:15; Psalm 78:35, Exodus 15:13) as a ransoming (redemptio). שׁבט נחלתך is a factitive object; שׁבט is the name given to the whole nation in its distinctness of race from other peoples, as in Jeremiah 10:16; Jeremiah 51:19, cf. Isaiah 63:17. זה (Psalm 74:2) is rightly separated from הר־ציון (Mugrash); it stands directly for אשׁר, as in Psalm 104:8, Psalm 104:26; Proverbs 23:22; Job 15:17 (Ges. 122, 2). The congregation of the people and its central abode are, as though forgotten of God, in a condition which sadly contrasts with their election. משּׁאות נצח are ruins (vid., Psalm 73:18) in a state of such total destruction, that all hope of their restoration vanishes before it; נצח here looks forward, just as עולם (חרבות), Isaiah 63:12; Psalm 61:4, looks backwards. May God then lift His feet up high (פּעמים poetical for רגלים, cf. Psalm 58:11 with Psalm 68:24), i.e., with long hurried steps, without stopping, move towards His dwelling - lace that now lies in ruins, that by virtue of His interposition it may rise again. Hath the enemy made merciless havoc - he hath ill-treated (הרע, as in Psalm 44:3) everything (כּל, as in Psalm 8:7, Zephaniah 1:2, for חכּל or את־כּל) in the sanctuary - how is it possible that this sacrilegious vandalism should remain unpunished!
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