The Psalms

Psalm 74

The prophet complains of the desolation of the sanctuary, 1-9. He moves God to help in consideration of his power, 10-17; of his reproachful enemies, of his children, and of his covenant, 18-23.

1 [Maschil of Asaph.]

O God, why have you cast us off forever?/
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?

Remember your congregation which you have purchased of old,/
the rod of your inheritance which you have redeemed,/
this mount Zion in which you have dwelt.

Lift up your feet to the perpetual desolations,/
even all that the enemy has done wickedly in the sanctuary.

Your enemies roar in the midst of your congregations./
They set up their ensigns for signs.

A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes/
upon the thick trees.

But now they break down its carved work/
at once with axes and hammers.

They have cast fire into your sanctuary./
They have defiled by casting down/
the dwelling-place of your name to the ground.

They said in their hearts, "Let us destroy them together."/
They have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.

We do not see our signs./
There is no longer any prophet,/
neither is there among us any who knows how long.

10 O God, how long shall the adversary reproach?/
Shall the enemy blaspheme your name forever?

11 Why do you withdraw your hand,/
even your right hand? Pluck it out of your bosom.

12 For God is my King of old,/
working salvation in the midst of the earth.

13 You divided the sea by your strength./
You broke the heads of the sea-monsters in the waters.

14 You broke the head of leviathan in pieces/
and gave him to be food for the people inhabiting the wilderness.

15 You cleaved the fountain and the flood./
You dried up mighty rivers.

16 The day is yours, the night also is yours./
You have prepared the light and the sun.

17 You have set all the borders of the earth./
You have made summer and winter.

18 Remember this: the enemy has reproached, O LORD,/
and the foolish people have blasphemed your name.

19 O do not deliver the soul of your turtle-dove to the multitude of the wicked./
Do not forget the congregation of your poor forever.

20 Have respect to the covenant,/
for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.

21 O do not let the oppressed return ashamed./
Let the poor and needy praise your name.

22 Arise, O God, plead your own cause./
Remember how the foolish man reproaches you daily.

23 Do not forget the voice of your enemies./
The tumult of those who rise against you increases continually.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Psalms, Chapter 74[➚]


John Calvin's Chapter Summary:

The people of God in this psalm bewail the desolate condition of the Church, which was such that the very name of Israel was almost annihilated. It appears from their humble supplications that they impute to their own sins all the calamities which they endured; but at the same time they lay before God his own covenant by which he adopted the race of Abraham as his peculiar people. Afterwards they call to remembrance how mightily and gloriously he had in the days of old displayed his power in delivering his Church. Encouraging themselves from this consideration, they beseech Him that he would at length come to their aid, and remedy a state of matters so deplorable and desperate.