The Psalms of David in Metre

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Psalm 74

This psalm relates to the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, or to some similar disaster. In it we have, (1.) The church’s bitter complaints of God’s displeasure; of the outrage of her enemies; and of the apparent hopelessness of her case, ver. 1-11. (2.) Strong and heart-encouraging pleadings with God, upon the account of his relation to his people, and of the great things he had done for them, and that he was at once their God and the God of nature; that therefore he would remember to execute just vengeance upon his sworn enemies, and grant help and relief to his covenant people, ver. 12-23.

While I sing this, let me admire the sovereignty and holiness of God, in so severely correcting his own people. And let the broken, the deserted condition of the church, in this land, deeply affect my heart, and excite my earnest prayers for her restoration.

Maschil of Asaph.

1 O God, why hast thou cast us off?
is it for evermore?
Against thy pasture-sheep why doth
thine anger smoke so sore?

2 O call to thy rememberance
thy congregation,
Which thou hast purchased of old;
still think the same upon:

The rod of thine inheritance,
which thou redeemed hast,
This Zion hill, wherein thou hadst
thy dwelling in times past.

3 To these long desolations
thy feet lift, do not tarry;
For all the ills thy foes have done
within thy sanctuary.

4 Amidst thy congregations
thine enemies do roar:
Their ensigns they set up for signs
of triumph thee before.

5 A man was famous, and was had
in estimation,
According as he lifted up
his axe thick trees upon.

6 But all at once with axes now
and hammers they go to,
And down the carved work thereof
they break, and quite undo.

7 They fired have thy sanctuary,
and have defiled the same,
By casting down unto the ground
the place where dwelt thy name.

8 Thus said they in their hearts, Let us
destroy them out of hand:
They burnt up all the synagogues
of God within the land.

9 Our signs we do not now behold;
there is not us among
A prophet more, nor any one
that knows the time how long.

10 How long, Lord, shall the enemy
thus in reproach exclaim?
And shall the adversary thus
always blaspheme thy name?

11 Thy hand, ev’n thy right hand of might,
why dost thou thus draw back?
O from thy bosom pluck it out
for our deliv’rance sake.

12 For certainly God is my King,
ev’n from the times of old,
Working in midst of all the earth
salvation manifold.

13 The sea, by thy great pow’r, to part
asunder thou didst make;
And thou the dragons’ heads, O Lord,
within the waters brake.

14 The leviathan’s head thou brak’st
in pieces, and didst give
Him to be meat unto the folk
in wilderness that live.

15 Thou clav’st the fountain and the flood,
which did with streams abound:
Thou dry’dst the mighty waters up
unto the very ground.

16 Thine only is the day, O Lord,
thine also is the night;
And thou alone prepared hast
the sun and shining light.

17 By thee the borders of the earth
were settled ev’ry where:
The summer and the winter both
by thee created were.

18 That th’ enemy reproached hath,
O keep it in record;
And that the foolish people have
blasphemed thy name, O Lord.

19 Unto the multitude do not
thy turtle’s soul deliver:
The congregation of thy poor
do not forget for ever.

20 Unto thy cov’nant have respect;
for earth’s dark places be
Full of the habitations
of horrid cruelty.

21 O let not those that be oppressed
return again with shame:
Let those that poor and needy are
give praise unto thy name.

22 Do thou, O God, arise and plead
the cause that is thine own:
Remember how thou art reproached
still by the foolish one.

23 Do not forget the voice of those
that are thine enemies:
Of those the tumult ever grows
that do against thee rise.