Psalm 79:3
Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.
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(3) Their blood.—In 1 Maccabees 7:17, we read “The flesh of thy saints and their blood have they shed round about Jerusalem, and there was none to bury them,” introduced by “according to the word which he wrote.” This is evidently a free quotation from this psalm, and seems to imply a reference to a contemporary.

None to bury.—For this aggravation of the evil comp. Jeremiah 14:16; Jeremiah 22:18-19.

79:1-5 God is complained to: whither should children go but to a Father able and willing to help them? See what a change sin made in the holy city, when the heathen were suffered to pour in upon them. God's own people defiled it by their sins, therefore he suffered their enemies to defile it by their insolence. They desired that God would be reconciled. Those who desire God's favour as better than life, cannot but dread his wrath as worse than death. In every affliction we should first beseech the Lord to cleanse away the guilt of our sins; then he will visit us with his tender mercies.Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem - They have poured it out in such quantities that it seems to flow like water - not an uncommon occurrence in war. There was no event in the history of the Hebrews to which this description would be more applicable than to the Babylonian invasion. The language might indeed be applicable to the desolation of the city by Antiochus Epiphanes, and also to its destruction by the Romans; but, of course, it cannot refer to the latter, and there is no necessity for supposing that it refers to the former. All the conditions of a proper interpretation are fulfilled by supposing that it refers to the time of the Chaldean invasion.

And there was none to bury them - The Chaldeans would not do it, and they would not suffer the Hebrew people to do it.

2, 3. (Compare Jer 15:3; 16:4). Like water; plentifully and contemptuously, valuing it no more than common water.

None to bury them, because their friends, who should have done it, were either slain or fled, or were not permitted, or durst not undertake, to perform that office to them. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem,.... Without any concern of mind, or remorse of conscience; without any fear of God or man; as if it had been so much water only; and this they shed in great abundance: from the Apocrypha:

"And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly.'' (1 Maccabees 1:24)

"And spake peaceable words unto them, but all was deceit: for when they had given him credence, he fell suddenly upon the city, and smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Israel.'' (1 Maccabees 1:30)

"Thus they shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary, and defiled it:'' (1 Maccabees 1:37)

"So they rose up against them in battle on the sabbath, and they slew them, with their wives and children and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people.'' (1 Maccabees 2:38)

in like manner the blood of the saints has been shed by the antichristian beast of Rome, for which he and his followers will be righteously retaliated, Revelation 17:6.

and there was none to bury them: either the number of the slain was so great, that there were not left enough to bury the dead, or they that did remain were not suffered to do it; this will be the case of the two witnesses, when slain, Revelation 11:7.

Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to {c} bury them.

(c) Their friends and relatives did not dare to bury them for fear of the enemies.

3. like water] Freely, and as though it were of little worth. Contrast Psalm 116:15.

none to bury them] Cp. Jeremiah 14:16. This passage is quoted freely in 1Ma 7:17 with reference to the murder of certain Assideans by the high priest Alcimus, “He took of them threescore men and slew them in one day, according to the words which one wrote, The flesh of thy saints and their blood did they shed round about Jerusalem, and they had none to bury them.” Clearly the meaning cannot be that the Psalm was written with reference to that event, for by that time (b.c. 162) the situation of affairs was wholly different from that described in the Psalm. Judas had won many victories, and the Temple had been re-dedicated. Moreover the Psalm implies a much more extensive slaughter of Israelites, and that by heathen, not by a treacherous Israelite. There is probably another reminiscence of Psalm 79:3 in 1Ma 1:37, “They shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary, and defiled it.”Verse 3. - Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem. During the long siege (eighteen months) the number slain in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem would be very large. And there was none to bury them (compare the prophecy of Jeremiah, Jeremiah 14:16). The population being for the most part carried into captivity, and but few left in the land (Jeremiah 52:15, 16), the bodies of the slain lay unburied, the few left not being able to bury them. Compare the preceding verse. The rejection of Shiloh and of the people worshipping there, but later on, when the God of Israel is again overwhelmed by compassion, the election of Judah, and of Mount Zion, and of David, the king after His own heart. In the time of the Judges the Tabernacle was set up in Shiloh (Joshua 18:1); there, consequently, was the central sanctuary of the whole people, - in the time of Eli and Samuel, as follows from 1 Samuel 1:1, it had become a fixed temple building. When this building was destroyed is not known; according to Judges 18:30., cf. Jeremiah 7:12-15, it was probably not until the Assyrian period. The rejection of Shiloh, however, preceded the destruction, and practically took place simultaneously with the removal of the central sanctuary to Zion; and was, moreover, even previously decided by the fact that the Ark of the covenant, when given up again by the Philistines, was not brought back to Shiloh, but set down in Kirjath Jearm (1 Samuel 7:2). The attributive clause שׁכּן בּאדם uses שׁכּן as השׁכּין is used in Joshua 18:1. The pointing is correct, for the words to not suffice to signify "where He dwelleth among men" (Hitzig); consequently שׁכּן is the causative of the Kal, Leviticus 16:16; Joshua 22:19. In Psalm 78:61 the Ark of the covenant is called the might and glory of God (ארון עזּו, Psalm 132:8, cf. כבוד, 1 Samuel 4:21.), as being the place of their presence in Israel and the medium of their revelation. Nevertheless, in the battle with the Philistines between Eben-ezer and Aphek, Jahve gave the Ark, which they had fetched out of Shiloh, into the hands of the foe in order to visit on the high-priesthood of the sons of Ithamar the desecration of His ordinances, and there fell in that battle 30,000 footmen, and among them the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests (1 Samuel 4). The fire in Psalm 78:63 is the fire of war, as in Numbers 21:28, and frequently. The incident mentioned in 1 Samuel 6:19 is reasonably (vid., Keil) left out of consideration. By לא הוּלּלוּ (lxx erroneously, οὐκ ἐπένθησαν equals הוללוּ equals הילילוּ) are meant the marriage-songs (cf. Talmudic הלּוּלא, the nuptial tent, and בּית הלוּלים the marriage-house). "Its widows (of the people, in fact, of the slain) weep not" (word for word as in Job 27:15) is meant of the celebration of the customary ceremony of mourning (Genesis 23:2): they survive their husbands (which, with the exception of such a case as that recorded in 1 Samuel 14:19-22, is presupposed), but without being able to show them the last signs of honour, because the terrors of the war (Jeremiah 15:8) prevent them.

With Psalm 78:65 the song takes a new turn. After the punitive judgment has sifted and purified Israel, God receives His people to Himself afresh, but in such a manner that He transfers the precedence of Ephraim to the tribe of Judah. He awakes as it were from a long sleep (Psalm 44:24, cf. Psalm 73:20); for He seemed to sleep whilst Israel had become a servant to the heathen; He aroused Himself, like a hero exulting by reason of wine, i.e., like a hero whose courage is heightened by the strengthening and exhilarating influence of wine (Hengstenberg). התרונן is not the Hithpal. of רוּן in the Arabic signification, which is alien to the Hebrew, to conquer, a meaning which we do not need here, and which is also not adapted to the reflexive form (Hitzig, without any precedent, renders thus: who allows himself to be conquered by wine), but Hithpo. of רנן: to shout most heartily, after the analogy of the reflexives התאונן, התנודד, התרועע. The most recent defeat of the enemy which the poet has before his mind is that of the Philistines. The form of expression in Psalm 78:66 is moulded after 1 Samuel 5:6. God smote the Philistines most literally in posteriora (lxx, Vulgate, and Luther). Nevertheless Psalm 78:66 embraces all the victories under Samuel, Saul, and David, from 1 Samuel 5:1-12 and onwards. Now, when they were able to bring the Ark, which had been brought down to the battle against the Philistines, to a settled resting-place again, God no longer chose Shiloh of Ephraim, but Judah and the mountain of Zion, which He had loved (Psalm 47:5), of Benjamitish-Judaean (Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:8, Judges 1:21) - but according to the promise (Deuteronomy 33:12) and according to the distribution of the country (vid., on Psalm 68:28) Benjamitish - Jerusalem.

(Note: According to B. Menachoth 53b, Jedidiah (Solomon, 2 Samuel 12:25) built the Temple in the province of Jedidiah (of Benjamin, Deuteronomy 33:12).)

There God built His Temple כּמו־רמים. Hitzig proposes instead of this to read כּמרומים; but if נעימים, Psalm 16:6, signifies amaena, then רמים may signify excelsa (cf. Isaiah 45:2 הדוּרים, Jeremiah 17:6 חררים) and be poetically equivalent to מרומים: lasting as the heights of heaven, firm as the earth, which He hath founded for ever. Since the eternal duration of heaven and of the earth is quite consistent with a radical change in the manner of its duration, and that not less in the sense of the Old Testament than of the New (vid., e.g., Isaiah 65:17), so the לעולם applies not to the stone building, but rather to the place where Jahve reveals Himself, and to the promise that He will have such a dwelling-place in Israel, and in fact in Judah. Regarded spiritually, i.e., essentially, apart from the accidental mode of appearing, the Temple upon Zion is as eternal as the kingship upon Zion with which the Psalm closes. The election of David gives its impress to the history of salvation even on into eternity. It is genuinely Asaphic that it is so designedly portrayed how the shepherd of the flock of Jesse (Isai) became the shepherd of the flock of Jahve, who was not to pasture old and young in Israel with the same care and tenderness as the ewe-lambs after which he went (עלות as in Genesis 33:13, and רעה ב, cf. 1 Samuel 16:11; 1 Samuel 17:34, like משׁל בּ and the like). The poet is also able already to glory that he has fulfilled this vocation with a pure heart and with an intelligent mastery. And with this he closes.

From the decease of David lyric and prophecy are retrospectively and prospectively turned towards David.

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