Psalms 74
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  Maschil of Asaf. Why, O God, hast Thou cast us off for ever? Why doth Thine anger smoke against the flock of Thy pasture?

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

א  מַשְׂכִּיל לְאָסָף לָמָה אֱלֹהִים זָנַחְתָּ לָנֶצַח יֶעְשַׁן אַפְּךָ בְּצֹאן מַרְעִיתֶךָ.

74:1 Why, O God, hast Thou cast us off for ever?

Amos Hakham, a preeminent biblical scholar and author of the Daat Mikra commentary on Psalms, sees this psalm as an elegy on the destruction of the first Temple. The language is reminiscent of Jeremiah’s Lamentations (see for example Lamentations 5:20), and verse 2 calls on the Lord to remember “Mount Zion, wherein Thou hast dwelt.” 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 God, hast Thou cast us off (seemingly) for ever?” The picture of Jerusalem in ruins was too much for the Israelites to behold, especially after having witnessed it with all the splendor of King Solomon’s Temple.

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2  Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast gotten of old, which Thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of Thine inheritance; and mount Tzion, wherein Thou hast dwelt.

ב  זְכֹר עֲדָתְךָ קָנִיתָ קֶּדֶם גָּאַלְתָּ שֵׁבֶט נַחֲלָתֶךָ הַר צִיּוֹן זֶה שָׁכַנְתָּ בּוֹ.

3  Lift up Thy steps because of the perpetual ruins, even all the evil that the enemy hath done in the sanctuary.

ג  הָרִימָה פְעָמֶיךָ לְמַשֻּׁאוֹת נֶצַח כָּל הֵרַע אוֹיֵב בַּקֹּדֶשׁ.

4  Thine adversaries have roared in the midst of Thy meeting-place; they have set up their own signs for signs.

ד  שָׁאֲגוּ צֹרְרֶיךָ בְּקֶרֶב מוֹעֲדֶךָ שָׂמוּ אוֹתֹתָם אֹתוֹת.

5  It seemed as when men wield upwards axes in a thicket of trees.

ה  יִוָּדַע כְּמֵבִיא לְמָעְלָה בִּסְבָךְ עֵץ קַרְדֻּמּוֹת.

6  And now all the carved work thereof together they strike down with hatchet and hammers.

ו  ועת (וְעַתָּה) פִּתּוּחֶיהָ יָּחַד בְּכַשִּׁיל וְכֵילַפּוֹת יַהֲלֹמוּן.

7  They have set Thy sanctuary on fire; they have profaned the dwelling-place of Thy name even to the ground.

ז  שִׁלְחוּ בָאֵשׁ מִקְדָּשֶׁךָ לָאָרֶץ חִלְּלוּ מִשְׁכַּן שְׁמֶךָ.

8  They said in their heart: ‘Let us make havoc of them altogether’; they have burned up all the meeting-places of God in the land.

ח  אָמְרוּ בְלִבָּם נִינָם יָחַד שָׂרְפוּ כָל מוֹעֲדֵי אֵל בָּאָרֶץ.

9  We see not our signs; there is no more any Navi; neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.

ט  אוֹתֹתֵינוּ לֹא רָאִינוּ אֵין עוֹד נָבִיא וְלֹא אִתָּנוּ יֹדֵעַ עַד מָה.

10  How long, O God, shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme Thy name for ever?

י  עַד מָתַי אֱלֹהִים יְחָרֶף צָר יְנָאֵץ אוֹיֵב שִׁמְךָ לָנֶצַח.

11  Why withdrawest Thou Thy hand, even Thy right hand? Draw it out of Thy bosom and consume them.

יא  לָמָּה תָשִׁיב יָדְךָ וִימִינֶךָ מִקֶּרֶב חוקך (חֵיקְךָ) כַלֵּה.

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

יב  וֵאלֹהִים מַלְכִּי מִקֶּדֶם פֹּעֵל יְשׁוּעוֹת בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ.

13  Thou didst break the sea in pieces by Thy strength; Thou didst shatter the heads of the sea-monsters in the waters.

יג  אַתָּה פוֹרַרְתָּ בְעָזְּךָ יָם שִׁבַּרְתָּ רָאשֵׁי תַנִּינִים עַל הַמָּיִם.

14  Thou didst crush the heads of leviathan, Thou gavest him to be food to the folk inhabiting the wilderness.

יד  אַתָּה רִצַּצְתָּ רָאשֵׁי לִוְיָתָן תִּתְּנֶנּוּ מַאֲכָל לְעָם לְצִיִּים.

15  Thou didst cleave fountain and brook; Thou driedst up ever-flowing rivers.

טו  אַתָּה בָקַעְתָּ מַעְיָן וָנָחַל אַתָּה הוֹבַשְׁתָּ נַהֲרוֹת אֵיתָן.

16  Thine is the day, Thine also the night; Thou hast established luminary and sun.

טז  לְךָ יוֹם אַף לְךָ לָיְלָה אַתָּה הֲכִינוֹתָ מָאוֹר וָשָׁמֶשׁ.

17  Thou hast set all the borders of the earth; Thou hast made summer and winter.

יז  אַתָּה הִצַּבְתָּ כָּל גְּבוּלוֹת אָרֶץ קַיִץ וָחֹרֶף אַתָּה יְצַרְתָּם.

18  Remember this, how the enemy hath reproached Hashem, and how a base people have blasphemed Thy name.

יח  זְכָר זֹאת אוֹיֵב חֵרֵף יְהוָה וְעַם נָבָל נִאֲצוּ שְׁמֶךָ.

19  O deliver not the soul of Thy turtle-dove unto the wild beast; forget not the life of Thy poor for ever.

יט  אַל תִּתֵּן לְחַיַּת נֶפֶשׁ תּוֹרֶךָ חַיַּת עֲנִיֶּיךָ אַל תִּשְׁכַּח לָנֶצַח.

20  Look upon the covenant; for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.

כ  הַבֵּט לַבְּרִית כִּי מָלְאוּ מַחֲשַׁכֵּי אֶרֶץ נְאוֹת חָמָס.

21  O let not the oppressed turn back in confusion; let the poor and needy praise Thy name.

כא  אַל יָשֹׁב דַּךְ נִכְלָם עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן יְהַלְלוּ שְׁמֶךָ.

22  Arise, O God, plead Thine own cause; remember Thy reproach all the day at the hand of the base man.

כב  קוּמָה אֱלֹהִים רִיבָה רִיבֶךָ זְכֹר חֶרְפָּתְךָ מִנִּי נָבָל כָּל הַיּוֹם.

23  Forget not the voice of Thine adversaries, the tumult of those that rise up against Thee which ascendeth continually.

כג  אַל תִּשְׁכַּח קוֹל צֹרְרֶיךָ שְׁאוֹן קָמֶיךָ עֹלֶה תָמִיד.

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Psalms 73
Psalms 75

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Psalms 74