A psalm of Asaph.
they have polluted your holy temple
and turned Jerusalem 4 into a heap of ruins.
79:2 They have given the corpses of your servants
to the birds of the sky; 5
the flesh of your loyal followers
to the beasts of the earth.
79:3 They have made their blood flow like water
all around Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury them. 6
79:4 We have become an object of disdain to our neighbors;
those who live on our borders taunt and insult us. 7
Will you stay angry forever?
How long will your rage 9 burn like fire?
on the kingdoms that do not pray to you! 11
79:7 For they have devoured Jacob
and destroyed his home.
Quickly send your compassion our way, 13
for we are in serious trouble! 14
79:9 Help us, O God, our deliverer!
For the sake of your glorious reputation, 15 rescue us!
Forgive our sins for the sake of your reputation! 16
79:10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Before our very eyes may the shed blood of your servants
be avenged among the nations! 17
Use your great strength to set free those condemned to die! 19
May they be insulted the same way they insulted you, O Lord! 21
79:13 Then we, your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will continually thank you. 22
We will tell coming generations of your praiseworthy acts. 23
[79:1] 1 sn Psalm 79. The author laments how the invading nations have destroyed the temple and city of Jerusalem. He asks God to forgive his people and to pour out his vengeance on those who have mistreated them.
[79:8] 12 tn Heb “do not remember against us sins, former.” Some understand “former” as an attributive adjective modifying sins, “former [i.e., chronologically prior] sins” (see BDB 911 s.v. רִאשׁוֹן). The present translation assumes that ראשׁנים (“former”) here refers to those who lived formerly, that is, the people’s ancestors (see Lam 5:7). The word is used in this way in Lev 26:45; Deut 19:14 and Eccl 1:11.
[79:11] 19 tn Heb “according to the greatness of your arm leave the sons of death.” God’s “arm” here symbolizes his strength to deliver. The verbal form הוֹתֵר (hoter) is a Hiphil imperative from יָתַר (yatar, “to remain; to be left over”). Here it must mean “to leave over; to preserve.” However, it is preferable to emend the form to הַתֵּר (hatter), a Hiphil imperative from נָתַר (natar, “be free”). The Hiphil form is used in Ps 105:20 of Pharaoh freeing Joseph from prison. The phrase “sons of death” (see also Ps 102:21) is idiomatic for those condemned to die.
[79:12] 20 tn Heb “Return to our neighbors sevenfold into their lap.” The number seven is used rhetorically to express the thorough nature of the action. For other rhetorical/figurative uses of the Hebrew phrase שִׁבְעָתַיִם (shiv’atayim, “seven times”) see Gen 4:15, 24; Ps 12:6; Prov 6:31; Isa 30:26.