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Against All Odds

Jul 18, 2023

Israeli soldier praying in the Western Wall (

נוֹדָ֣ע בִּיהוּדָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֑ים בְּ֝יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל גָּד֥וֹל שְׁמֽוֹ׃

Hashem has made Himself known in Yehuda, His name is great in Yisrael;

no-DA bee-hu-DAH e-lo-HEEM b'-yis-ra-AYL ga-DOL sh'-MO

Psalms 76:2

Picture this: a battle’s dust still hangs heavy in the air as one nation emerges victorious, seemingly against all odds. This is the imagery evoked in Psalm 76, a thrilling tale of divine intervention and profound faith.

In this Psalm, God makes a powerful appearance, choosing Judah as his home and Zion as his dwelling place. His mighty presence brings the violent clash of war to a sudden halt. Shining brightly on the mountains, He stuns the bravest warriors, leaving the chariots and horses frozen in awe. But what battle is this Psalm describing?

Some medieval commentators, like Radak, suggest that this Psalm prophesies the end-of-days war of Gog and Magog. But others, like Rashi, argue that it mirrors the divine victory over the formidable Sennacherib, as depicted in II Kings 19.

Regardless of its historical context, one thing is clear: it demonstrates how the small Jewish people have historically overcome their mighty foes – through faith in God’s protective grace. This theme echoes throughout Jewish history, from the Maccabees’ victory over Syrian-Greek oppressors to modern Israel’s triumphs against their Arab neighbors.

While evil powers might seem to have temporary successes, they seldom thrive in the long run. And while Israel does sometimes suffer defeats, their victories transcend nature. This is because, unlike other nations, the Jewish people are directly linked to God. God personally stepped into history to liberate the Jews from Egypt, solidifying their unique relationship with Him, and He continues to intervene on behalf of the Jewish people.

So, any enemy trying to obliterate the Jewish nation faces an insurmountable challenge. Time and again, the Jews have not just survived but have pulled off astonishing victories that defy the laws of nature.

The fiercest of men shall acknowledge You, when You gird on the last bit of fury…He curbs the spirit of princes, inspires awe in the kings of the earth. Psalm 76:11-13

Rabbi David Altschuler (1687-1769), a biblical scholar from Prague, explained that when evil is punished, the Jews acknowledge God. Moreover, when other nations witness God’s power through the Jews, they are inspired to praise Him.

In a nutshell, Psalm 76 serves as a testament to the invincible spirit of the Jewish people and their enduring faith. God’s divine intervention not only ensures their survival but also bears witness to His might, inspiring awe and reverence among all nations.

Related Names and Places:

Relate Bible Verses: Chapter 76

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