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.