Psalm 79:5
How long, LORD? will you be angry for ever? shall your jealousy burn like fire?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) How long, Lord?—The dominant cry of the Maccabæan age. (See Psalm 74:9.)

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.How long, Lord? - See Psalm 74:1, note; Psalm 74:10, note; and Psalm 77:7-9, notes. This is the language, not of impatience, but of anxiety; not of complaining, but of wonder. It is language such as the people of God are often constrained to employ under heavy trials - trials which continue so long that it seems as if they would never end.

Shall thy jealousy, burn like fire? - That is, Shall it continue to burn like fire? Shall it utterly consume us? On the word jealousy, see the notes at Psalm 78:58.

5. How long—(Ps 13:1).

be angry—(Ps 74:1-10).

jealousy burn—(De 29:20).

5 How long, Lord? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire?

6 Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.

7 For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.

8 O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.

9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake.

10 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed.

11 Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die;

12 And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord.

Psalm 79:5

"How long, Lord?" Will there be no end to these chastisements? They are most sharp and overwhelming; wilt thou much longer continue them? "Wilt thou be angry for ever?" Is thy mercy gone so that thou wilt for ever smite? "Shall thy jealousy burn like fire?" There was great cause for the Lord to be jealous, since idols had been set up, and Israel had gone aside from his worship, but the Psalmist begs the Lord not to consume his people utterly as with fire, but to abate their woes.

Psalm 79:6

"Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee." If thou must smite look further afield; spare thy children and strike thy foes. There are lands where thou art in no measure acknowledged; be pleased to visit these first with thy judgments, and let thine erring Israel have a respite. "And upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name." Hear us the prayerful, and avenge thyself upon the prayerless. Sometimes providence appears to deal much more severely with the righteous than with the wicked, and this verse is a bold appeal founded upon such an appearance. It in effect says - Lord, if thou must empty out the vials of thy wrath, begin with those who have no measure of regard for thee, but are openly up in arms against thee; and be pleased to spare thy people, who are thine notwithstanding all their sins.

Psalm 79:7

"For they have devoured Jacob." The oppressor would quite eat up the saints if he could. If these lions do not swallow us, it is because the Lord has sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths. "And laid waste his dwelling place," or his pasture. The invader left no food for man or beast, but devoured all as the locust. The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

continued...

No text from Poole on this verse. How long, Lord, wilt thou be angry? for ever?.... That is, how long wilt thou be angry? shall it be for ever? see Psalm 85:4, for though what was done, or to be done, as before related, was or will be done by the enemies of the Lord's people, yet by his permission, and as a token of his anger and displeasure against them: at least it might be so understood, both by them and by their enemies; and hence this expostulation,

shall thy jealousy burn like fire? so jealousy does; its coals are coals of fire, Sol 8:6, there were, at the times referred to, such among the people, who did evil things, and provoked the Lord to jealousy and wrath: see the Apocrypha:

"And there was very great wrath upon Israel.'' (1 Maccabees 1:64)

"When this was done, and they had made a common supplication, they besought the merciful Lord to be reconciled with his servants for ever.'' (2 Maccabees 8:29)

How long, LORD? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy {e} burn like fire?

(e) Will you completely consume us for our sins, before you take us to mercy?

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. How long, Jehovah, wilt thou be angry for ever?

(How long) shall thy jealousy burn like fire?

As in Psalm 13:1, faith combines two questions into a self-contradictory expression. How long and for ever are characteristic words of Psalms 74 (Psalm 74:1; Psalm 74:10; Psalm 74:19). Cp. Psalm 80:4; Psalm 89:46.

Shall thy jealousy burn like fire] “Jehovah thy God is a devouring fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24). He cannot endure a divided allegiance, and must punish Israel for its sin. Cp. Deuteronomy 29:20; Zephaniah 1:18.

5–8. Prayer that God will cease to be angry with His own people and will punish their destroyers.Verse 5. - How long, Lord? i.e. "How long, O Lord, is this condition of things to endure?" (comp. Psalm 6:5; Psalm 90:13; Revelation 6:10). An ellipse after "how long?" is common. Wilt thou be angry forever? (see Psalm 13:1; Psalm 74:12; Lamentations 5:20). Shall thy jealousy burn like fire? It was their worship of other gods that God especially visited on his people by the Babylonish captivity (see Jeremiah, passim). 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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