And render to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, with which they have reproached you, O Lord.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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."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. 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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. 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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