Psalms 74
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  A 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

א  מַשְׂכִּיל 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.2 comments

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

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

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

ג  הָרִימָה פְעָמֶיךָ לְמַשֻּׁאוֹת נֶצַח כָּל־הֵרַע אוֹיֵב בַּקֹּדֶשׁ׃

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

ד  שָׁאֲגוּ צֹרְרֶיךָ בְּקֶרֶב מוֹעֲדֶךָ שָׂמוּ אוֹתֹתָם אֹתוֹת׃

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

ה  יִוָּדַע כְּמֵבִיא לְמָעְלָה בִּסֲבָךְ־עֵץ קַרְדֻּמּוֹת׃

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

ו  ועת [וְעַתָּה] פִּתּוּחֶיהָ יָּחַד בְּכַשִּׁיל וְכֵילַפֹּת יַהֲלֹמוּן׃

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

ז  שִׁלְחוּ בָאֵשׁ מִקְדָּשֶׁךָ לָאָרֶץ חִלְּלוּ מִשְׁכַּן־שְׁמֶךָ׃

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

ח  אָמְרוּ בְלִבָּם נִינָם יָחַד שָׂרְפוּ כָל־מוֹעֲדֵי־אֵל בָּאָרֶץ׃

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

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

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

י  עַד־מָתַי אֱלֹהִים יְחָרֶף צָר יְנָאֵץ אוֹיֵב שִׁמְךָ לָנֶצַח׃

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

יא  לָמָּה תָשִׁיב יָדְךָ וִימִינֶךָ מִקֶּרֶב חוקך [חֵיקְךָ] כַלֵּה׃

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

יב  וֵאלֹהִים מַלְכִּי מִקֶּדֶם פֹּעֵל יְשׁוּעוֹת בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ׃

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

יג  אַתָּה פוֹרַרְתָּ בְעָזְּךָ יָם שִׁבַּרְתָּ רָאשֵׁי תַנִּינִים עַל־הַמָּיִם׃

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

יד  אַתָּה רִצַּצְתָּ רָאשֵׁי לִוְיָתָן תִּתְּנֶנּוּ מַאֲכָל לְעָם לְצִיִּים׃

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

טו  אַתָּה בָקַעְתָּ מַעְיָן וָנָחַל אַתָּה הוֹבַשְׁתָּ נַהֲרוֹת אֵיתָן׃

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

טז  לְךָ יוֹם אַף־לְךָ לָיְלָה אַתָּה הֲכִינוֹתָ מָאוֹר וָשָׁמֶשׁ׃

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

יז  אַתָּה הִצַּבְתָּ כָּל־גְּבוּלוֹת אָרֶץ קַיִץ וָחֹרֶף אַתָּה יְצַרְתָּם׃

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

יח  זְכָר־זֹאת אוֹיֵב חֵרֵף יְהוָה וְעַם נָבָל נִאֲצוּ שְׁמֶךָ׃

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

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

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

כ  הַבֵּט לַבְּרִית כִּי מָלְאוּ מַחֲשַׁכֵּי־אֶרֶץ נְאוֹת חָמָס׃

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

כא  אַל־יָשֹׁב דַּךְ נִכְלָם עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן יְהַלְלוּ שְׁמֶךָ׃

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

כב  קוּמָה אֱלֹהִים רִיבָה רִיבֶךָ זְכֹר חֶרְפָּתְךָ מִנִּי־נָבָל כָּל־הַיּוֹם׃

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

 

כג  אַל־תִּשְׁכַּח קוֹל צֹרְרֶיךָ שְׁאוֹן קָמֶיךָ עֹלֶה תָמִיד׃

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Psalms 73
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Psalms 74

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