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PSALM LXXIX.

A Psalm of Asaph.

  1. O god, the nations have come into your inheritance; your holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.
  2. The dead bodies of your servants have they given for meat to the birds of heaven; the flesh of your saints to the wild beasts of the earth.
  3. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there is no one to bury them.
  4. We are become a reproach to them that dwell near us; a scorn and derision to them that are round about us.
  5. How long, O jehovah, will you be angry? For ever? How long shall your jealousy burn like fire?
  6. Pour out your wrath upon the nations that have not known you; and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon your name;
  7. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling-place.
  8. O remember not against us former iniquities! O let your tender mercies speedily come before us, for we are brought very low.
  9. Help us, O god of our salvation, for the glory of your name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for your name's sake.
  10. Wherefore should the nations say, where is their god? May vengeance be known among the nations in our sight, for the blood of your servants which is shed!
  11. May the sighing of the prisoner come before you! according to the greatness of your arm, preserve you the sons of death;
  12. And render to those who dwell near us seven-fold into their bosom their reproaches, with which they have reproached you, O lord.
  13. So we your people, and the sheep of your pasture, will give you thanks for ever; we will show forth your praise to all generations.

The Internal Sense

That falsifications of the Word, and direful evils, had destroyed the church, verses 1 to 4; the cries of the church for succour, lest it be destroyed, and a prayer that they may be removed who have brought destruction on the church, verses 5 to 12; hence the Lord will be worshiped, verse 13.

Exposition

Verses 1, 2. O god, the nations are come into your inheritance; your holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of your servants have they given for meat to the birds of the heaven; the flesh of your saints to the wild beasts of the earth. By nations are not here meant nations, but evils of life and falses of doctrine, for by the inheritance of god is signified the church, in which the lord is all good and truth, because from him; by defiling your temple of holiness, and laying Jerusalem on heaps is signified to profane the worship and pervert the doctrine of the church; the temple of holiness signifies worship, because worship is performed there; and Jerusalem signifies the church as to doctrine, thus also the doctrine of the church; and by giving the dead bodies of your servants for meat to the birds of the heavens, and the flesh of your saints to the wild beasts of the earth, is signified to destroy all truths by falses, and goods by evils; the birds of the heavens here also are the thoughts of what is false; and the wild beasts of the earth denote the affections of evil thence derived. AE 388.

Verses 1, 2. O god, the nations, etc. Inasmuch as the birds of the heavens, and the wild beasts of the earth, signify such things, and since the nations of the land of Canaan signified the evils and falses of the church, therefore it was usual with the Jewish nation to expose the dead bodies of their enemies to the wild beasts and birds, by which they might be devoured: hence it is, that it was considered as horrible and profane, and is likewise so considered at this day, to leave dead men unburied on the face of the earth, even after the combat: this also is signified in the Word by their not being buried, and also by the bones being extracted from their tombs, and being exposed. AE 1100.

Verse 9. Help us, O god of our salvation, for the glory of your name, and deliver us, and purge away our sins for your name's sake. That expiation, or purging away, signifies cleansing from evils, thus the remission of sins is manifest from the passages in the Word, where mention is made of expiation, as in the above. AC 9506.

But in what way sins are forgiven, and evils removed, see Psalm 51:2, Exposition.

Verse 9. For the glory of your name, for your names sake. They who were of the ancient church by name, did not understand name, but all the quality of a thing, see AC 144, 145; thus by the name of god they understood every thing in one complex whereby god is worshiped, consequently every thing belonging to love and faith: but when the internal principle of worship perished, and the external one remained, then by the name of god they began to understand nothing else but name, insomuch that they worshiped the very name itself, without any concern about the principle of love and of faith from which they worshiped: in consequence hereof nations began to distinguish themselves by the names of gods, and the Jews and Israelites preferred themselves before other nations on account of worshiping jehovah, placing the essential of worship in mentioning and invoking a name, when yet the worship of a name only is no worship, being practicable with the worst of people, who thereby do but more profane the name. Inasmuch as by the name of god is signified the all of worship, that is, the all of love and of faith whereby he is worshiped, it is evident hence what is meant by these words in the lord's prayer, "Hallowed be your name" Matt 6:9; and by these words of the lord, "You shall be hated of all for my names sake," Matt 10:22; "If two shall agree in my name on earth, concerning any thing whatever they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my father, who is in the heavens: where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," Matt 18:20. "When the man of the church, as was observed, from internal became external, and began to make worship consist in a name only, then they no longer acknowledged one god, but several gods; for it was customary with the ancients to add somewhat to the name of jehovah, thereby to record some kindness or attribute of his, as in the present case, "He called on the name of the god of eternity;" and in the following chapter, "Abraham called the name of that place, jehovah-jireh, that is, he will see," verse 14; again, "Moses built an altar, and called the name thereof jehovah-nissi, that is, my standard," Exodus 17:15; again, "Gideon built an altar to jehovah, and called it jehovah-shalom, that is, of peace," Judges 6:24; besides other places; hence it came to pass, that they who made worship to consist in a name only, worshiped as many gods as there were names; and that amongst the gentiles, especially in Greece and at Rome, so many gods were acknowledged and worshiped, when yet the ancient church, from which those epithets came, never worshiped any but one god venerated under so many names, inasmuch as by name the men of that church understood quality. AC 2724.

Verse 11. May the sighing of the prisoner come before you! according to the greatness of your arm, preserve you the sons of death. They who are in vastations are called prisoners, not that they are in any bond or chain, but that they are not in liberty, as to their former thoughts and consequent affections; that such are they who are meant in the Word by prisoners, is manifest from the above passage. AC 5036.

Verse 11. According to the greatness of your arm preserve you the sons of death. From this passage it may be manifest, that by arm in the Word, when applied to the lord, is signified superior power. AC 4933.

Verse 12. And render to those who dwell near us sevenfold into their bosom their reproaches, with which they have reproached you, O lord. As the times of the regeneration of man are distinguished into six, before the seventh, or celestial man, so likewise the times of vastation, until nothing celestial remains. Hence the grievousness and increase of punishment were expressed by seven, as in Moses, "If you are not obedient to me, I will chastise you seven-fold for your sins," Lev 26:18, 21, 24, 28; and in David, "Render to our neighbours seven-fold into their bosom." AC 395.

To recompense into their bosom denotes into themselves. AC 6960.

Verse 13. So we your people, and the sheep of your pasture, will give you thanks for ever; we will show forth your praise to all generations. That in this passage there are two expressions of one thing is manifest, which would appear like vain repetition, unless one involved a celestial principle which is good, and the other a spiritual principle, which is truth, thus a divine marriage, the lord's kingdom itself being such a marriage; this arcanum is in the Word throughout, but it cannot in any way be discovered except by the internal sense, and knowledge thence derived respecting the class, celestial or spiritual, to which each expression belongs. AC 3810.

To find pasture denotes to be taught, illustrated, and nourished in divine truths. AR 914.

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