Psalm 79:12
And render to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, with which they have reproached you, O Lord.
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(12) Neighbours.—The sharpest pang of the suffering came from the taunts of “neighbours. (See Psalm 79:4.)

Sevenfold.—As in Genesis 4:15. We naturally contrast the law of Christian forgiveness.

Into their bosom.—The deep folds of the Eastern dress were used as a pocket. (Comp. Ruth 3:15; Isaiah 65:7; Jeremiah 32:18; Luke 6:38, &c)

79:6-13 Those who persist in ignorance of God, and neglect of prayer, are the ungodly. How unrighteous soever men were, the Lord was righteous in permitting them to do what they did. Deliverances from trouble are mercies indeed, when grounded upon the pardon of sin; we should therefore be more earnest in prayer for the removal of our sins than for the removal of afflictions. They had no hopes but from God's mercies, his tender mercies. They plead no merit, they pretend to none, but, Help us for the glory of thy name; pardon us for thy name's sake. The Christian forgets not that he is often bound in the chain of his sins. The world to him is a prison; sentence of death is passed upon him, and he knows not how soon it may be executed. How fervently should he at all times pray, O let the sighing of a prisoner come before thee, according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die! How glorious will the day be, when, triumphant over sin and sorrow, the church beholds the adversary disarmed for ever! while that church shall, from age to age, sing the praises of her great Shepherd and Bishop, her King and her God.And render unto our neighbors - That is, the neighbors who had reproached them; the surrounding people who had seen these calamities come upon them, and who had regarded these calamities as proof that their God was unable to protect them, or that they were suffering under his displeasure. See the notes at Psalm 79:4. "Sevenfold." Seven times the amount of reproach which they have heaped upon us. The word seven is often used to denote many, as seven was one of the perfect numbers. The idea is that of complete or full vengeance. Compare Genesis 4:15, Genesis 4:24; Proverbs 6:31; Isaiah 30:26; Matthew 18:21-22; Luke 17:4.

Into their bosom ... - Perhaps the allusion here is to the custom of carrying things in the bosom of the flowing dress as it was girded around the loins. "Let them be made to carry with them seven times the amount of reproach which they have endeavored to heap on us."

12. into their bosom—The lap or folds of the dress is used by Eastern people for receiving articles. The figure denotes retaliation (compare Isa 65:6, 7). They reproached God as well as His people. Sevenfold, i.e. either,

1. Abundantly, as this phrase notes, Isaiah 65:6,7 Jer 32:18 Luke 6:38. Or,

2. Sensibly, so as it may come home to them, and fall heavily upon them in their own persons. Reproached thee, as impotent, or unfaithful, or unmerciful to his own people. So they intimate that this desire did not proceed from a revengeful mind, but from a due sense of God’s favour. And render unto our neighbours seven fold into their bosom, Not seven fold for one, as the Targum paraphrases it, or a seven fold punishment for one sin; but that he would recompense their sins, or punish for them, and take vengeance on them, largely, abundantly, though not beyond measure, or exceeding the rules of justice; see Genesis 4:15,

the reproach with which they have reproached thee, O Lord; by denying his being, or calling in question his perfections of power, truth, and goodness, to help his people; speaking ill of his providence, despising his word and ordinances, and even reproaching his people in reproaching him, Psalm 89:50, and this is what a righteous recompence is desired for; see Lamentations 3:64.

And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord.
12. our neighbours] Cp. Psalm 79:4 : the nations around, such as the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites, which instead of sympathising rejoiced at Israel’s calamity. Cp. Ezekiel 25.

sevenfold] Cp. Genesis 4:15; and contrast Christ’s law of forgiveness, Matthew 18:22.

into their bosom] A metaphor from the practice of carrying articles in the folds of the dress. It further suggests the idea of full and intimate recompence. Cp. Isaiah 65:6; Jeremiah 32:18; Luke 6:38.Verse 12. - And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord. (For the "reproach" intended, see ver. 10.) The whole passage means, "Punish them seven times as much as thou hast punished us." Then their reproach will be seven times as great. Out of the plaintive question how long? and whether endlessly God would be angry and cause His jealousy to continue to burn like a fire (Deuteronomy 32:22), grows up the prayer (Psalm 79:6) that He would turn His anger against the heathen who are estranged from the hostile towards Him, and of whom He is now making use as a rod of anger against His people. The taking over of Psalm 79:6-7 from Jeremiah 10:25 is not betrayed by the looseness of the connection of thought; but in themselves these four lines sound much more original in Jeremiah, and the style is exactly that of this prophet, cf. Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 2:3, and frequently, Psalm 49:20. The אל, instead of על, which follows שׁפך is incorrect; the singular אכל gathers all up as in one mass, as in Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 17:13. The fact that such power over Israel is given to the heathen world has its ground in the sins of Israel. From Psalm 79:8 it may be inferred that the apostasy which raged earlier is now checked. ראשׁנים is not an adjective (Job 31:28; Isaiah 59:2), which would have been expressed by עונותינו חראשׁנים, but a genitive: the iniquities of the forefathers (Leviticus 26:14, cf. Psalm 39:1-13). On Psalm 79:8 of Judges 6:6. As is evident from Psalm 79:9, the poet does not mean that the present generation, itself guiltless, has to expiate the guilt of the fathers (on the contrary, Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6; Ezekiel 18:20); he prays as one of those who have turned away from the sins of the fathers, and who can now no longer consider themselves as placed under wrath, but under sin-pardoning and redeeming grace.
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