Chapter 74

1A maskil of Asaf. Why, O Hashem, do You forever reject us, do You fume in anger at the flock that You tend?

mas-KEEL l'-a-SAF LA-mah e-lo-HEEM za-NAKH-ta la-NE-tzakh ye-SHAN a-p'-KHA b'-TZON mar-ee-TE-kha

אמַשְׂכִּיל לְאָסָף לָמָה אֱלֹהִים זָנַחְתָּ לָנֶצַח יֶעְשַׁן אַפְּךָ בְּצֹאן מַרְעִיתֶךָ׃

 74:1   Why, O Hashem, do You forever reject us

Amos Hakham, a modern Israeli Bible scholar and author of the contemporary Daat Mikra commentary on Sefer Tehillim, sees this chapter as an elegy over the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash. The language is reminiscent of Yirmiyahu’s Megillat Eicha (see Lamentations 5:20), and verse 2 calls on Hashem to remember “Mount Tzion, where you dwell.” This implies that something disastrous happened there, possibly referring to the rampage of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE. Furthermore, verses 3 and 7 refer to evil done in the sanctuary as well as the sanctuary being set on fire. The psalmist calls out to God in pain, “Why, O Hashem, do You forever reject us?” The picture of Yerushalayim in ruins was too much for the Israelites to behold, especially after having witnessed the splendor of King Shlomo’s Beit Hamikdash.

2Remember the community You made Yours long ago, Your very own tribe that You redeemed, Mount Tzion, where You dwell.

בזְכֹר עֲדָתְךָ קָנִיתָ קֶּדֶם גָּאַלְתָּ שֵׁבֶט נַחֲלָתֶךָ הַר־צִיּוֹן זֶה שָׁכַנְתָּ בּוֹ׃

3Bestir Yourself because of the perpetual tumult, all the outrages of the enemy in the sanctuary.

גהָרִימָה פְעָמֶיךָ לְמַשֻּׁאוֹת נֶצַח כָּל־הֵרַע אוֹיֵב בַּקֹּדֶשׁ׃

4Your foes roar inside Your meeting-place; they take their signs for true signs.

דשָׁאֲגוּ צֹרְרֶיךָ בְּקֶרֶב מוֹעֲדֶךָ שָׂמוּ אוֹתֹתָם אֹתוֹת׃

5It is like men wielding axes against a gnarled tree;

היִוָּדַע כְּמֵבִיא לְמָעְלָה בִּסֲבָךְ־עֵץ קַרְדֻּמּוֹת׃

6with hatchet and pike they hacked away at its carved work.

וועת [וְעַתָּה] פִּתּוּחֶיהָ יָּחַד בְּכַשִּׁיל וְכֵילַפֹּת יַהֲלֹמוּן׃

7They made Your sanctuary go up in flames; they brought low in dishonor the dwelling-place of Your presence.

זשִׁלְחוּ בָאֵשׁ מִקְדָּשֶׁךָ לָאָרֶץ חִלְּלוּ מִשְׁכַּן־שְׁמֶךָ׃

8They resolved, “Let us destroy them altogether!” They burned all Hashem's Mishkans in the land.

חאָמְרוּ בְלִבָּם נִינָם יָחַד שָׂרְפוּ כָל־מוֹעֲדֵי־אֵל בָּאָרֶץ׃

9No signs appear for us; there is no longer any Navi; no one among us knows for how long.

טאוֹתֹתֵינוּ לֹא רָאִינוּ אֵין־עוֹד נָבִיא וְלֹא־אִתָּנוּ יֹדֵעַ עַד־מָה׃

10Till when, O Hashem, will the foe blaspheme, will the enemy forever revile Your name?

יעַד־מָתַי אֱלֹהִים יְחָרֶף צָר יְנָאֵץ אוֹיֵב שִׁמְךָ לָנֶצַח׃

11Why do You hold back Your hand, Your right hand? Draw it out of Your bosom!

יאלָמָּה תָשִׁיב יָדְךָ וִימִינֶךָ מִקֶּרֶב חוקך [חֵיקְךָ] כַלֵּה׃

12O Hashem, my King from of old, who brings deliverance throughout the land;

יבוֵאלֹהִים מַלְכִּי מִקֶּדֶם פֹּעֵל יְשׁוּעוֹת בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ׃

13it was You who drove back the sea with Your might, who smashed the heads of the monsters in the waters;

יגאַתָּה פוֹרַרְתָּ בְעָזְּךָ יָם שִׁבַּרְתָּ רָאשֵׁי תַנִּינִים עַל־הַמָּיִם׃

14it was You who crushed the heads of Leviathan, who left him as food for the denizens of the desert;

ידאַתָּה רִצַּצְתָּ רָאשֵׁי לִוְיָתָן תִּתְּנֶנּוּ מַאֲכָל לְעָם לְצִיִּים׃

15it was You who released springs and torrents, who made mighty rivers run dry;

טואַתָּה בָקַעְתָּ מַעְיָן וָנָחַל אַתָּה הוֹבַשְׁתָּ נַהֲרוֹת אֵיתָן׃

16the day is Yours, the night also; it was You who set in place the orb of the sun;

טזלְךָ יוֹם אַף־לְךָ לָיְלָה אַתָּה הֲכִינוֹתָ מָאוֹר וָשָׁמֶשׁ׃

17You fixed all the boundaries of the earth; summer and winter—You made them.

יזאַתָּה הִצַּבְתָּ כָּל־גְּבוּלוֹת אָרֶץ קַיִץ וָחֹרֶף אַתָּה יְצַרְתָּם׃

18Be mindful of how the enemy blasphemes Hashem, how base people revile Your name.

יחזְכָר־זֹאת אוֹיֵב חֵרֵף יְהֹוָה וְעַם נָבָל נִאֲצוּ שְׁמֶךָ׃

19Do not deliver Your dove to the wild beast; do not ignore forever the band of Your lowly ones.

יטאַל־תִּתֵּן לְחַיַּת נֶפֶשׁ תּוֹרֶךָ חַיַּת עֲנִיֶּיךָ אַל־תִּשְׁכַּח לָנֶצַח׃

20Look to the covenant! For the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of lawlessness.

כהַבֵּט לַבְּרִית כִּי מָלְאוּ מַחֲשַׁכֵּי־אֶרֶץ נְאוֹת חָמָס׃

21Let not the downtrodden turn away disappointed; let the poor and needy praise Your name.

כאאַל־יָשֹׁב דַּךְ נִכְלָם עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן יְהַלְלוּ שְׁמֶךָ׃

22Rise, O Hashem, Champion Your cause; be mindful that You are blasphemed by base men all day long.

כבקוּמָה אֱלֹהִים רִיבָה רִיבֶךָ זְכֹר חֶרְפָּתְךָ מִנִּי־נָבָל כָּל־הַיּוֹם׃

23Do not ignore the shouts of Your foes, the din of Your adversaries that ascends all the time.

כגאַל־תִּשְׁכַּח קוֹל צֹרְרֶיךָ שְׁאוֹן קָמֶיךָ עֹלֶה תָמִיד׃