The Psalms of David

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What verses 65 - 72 mean

Now there is a big change. God leads his people so that they beat their enemy, the Philistines. He did three other things:

   ·   He made Judah the leader of the *tribes, not Ephraim, verses 67-68. Until then, Ephraim was leader, but not a good leader, verse 9.

   ·   He made his home on earth in *Mount Zion in Jerusalem, verses 68-69.

   ·   He chose David to be king, verses 70-72. David led his people *like a *shepherd leads his sheep.

Jacob had 12 sons. Each had a large family or *tribe. As the *tribe of Levi worked in Jerusalem, that left 11 *tribes. Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. They both took the place of Joseph, so there were still 12 *tribes!

Something to do

1.   Read the story of the *plagues in Egypt, if you have a Bible. You can find where they are after verse 55 of Psalm 78.

2.   Make sure that you tell your children the story of Jesus and his love for them.

Word List

grandfathers ~ (in the psalm) people that lived long ago.

the law / laws ~ (in this psalm) rules in the first 5 books of the Bible.

For the *Glory of Your Name

Psalm 79

For the *kingdom is always yours and the power is always yours and the *glory is always yours (Matthew 6:13). (The end of a special *prayer that Jesus taught us; a *kingdom is where a king rules; here, God is the King.)

Psalm 79

(This is) a psalm of *Asaph.

v1      God, countries that do not love you have attacked us.
     They have taken away your land.
     They have done bad things to your *holy *temple
       so that we cannot *worship you in it.
     They have destroyed Jerusalem.

v2      They have given the dead bodies of your people
       to the birds (that fly) in the air for food.
     They have given the bodies of your servants
       for wild animals to eat.

v3      They have poured out the blood (of your servants)
       *like water all round Jerusalem.
     There was nobody to bury your people.

v4      Our *neighbours just laugh at us.
     The people that live near us *scorn us.

v5      How long will this continue?
     (God), will you always be angry?
     Will your *jealousy burn *like a fire for ever?

v6      Be very angry with the countries that do not love you
       and the *nations that do not pray to you.

v7      Because they have beaten *Jacob
       and destroyed the land where he lived.

v8      Do not be angry with us
       because of the wrong things that our fathers did.
     Have *mercy on us soon.
     We have lost all our hope.

v9      God, give us help! (You are the God) that can save us.
     For the *glory of your name, save us.
     So that your name will always be famous, *forgive our *sins.

v10    Why should the countries that do not love God say,
     "Where is their God?"
     We want to see you become angry with these countries,
       because they poured out the blood of your servants.

v11    Listen to the *prisoners that are crying!
     By the power of your arm, save those that are going to die.

v12    *Lord, make the countries that do not love you
       have seven times as much trouble as we have had!
     Because they said bad things to you.

v13    Then we, your people (who are as) sheep in your field,
       will always thank you.
     So will our children and grandchildren.

The Story of Psalm 79

Something bad had happened to the *Jews. They had not obeyed God, so he let their enemies beat them. Bible students think that this happened 600 years before Jesus came to the earth. A country called Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and took many people away as *prisoners. Maybe this psalm is by one of the *prisoners. He asks God to do to the Babylonians what they had done to the *Jews, only worse. We call psalms like this "Psalms of Imprecation". You can read about them at the end of Psalm 69 in this series of psalms. Psalm 69 is in Book 2 of The Psalms of David.

The reason that he gives is this. If God does nothing, people will think that God is weak, or even that there is no God! That is why he says in verse 9 "For the *glory of your name, save us. So that your name will always be famous, *forgive us our *sins". And in verse 10 "Where is their God?"

"The countries that do not love God" in verses 1, 6, 10, 12 translates just one *Hebrew word, "countries" or "*nations". Here it means just Babylon, but it could mean any country that hurts God’s people.

What Psalm 79 means

Verse 1: The "bad things" include foreign soldiers going into the *temple. This meant that they had defiled it (made it dirty). That meant that *Jews could not use it. Also, the soldiers knocked the *temple down, so it could not be used anyway!

Verses 2 – 3: One of the worst things that you could do to your enemy was not to bury him when he was dead. That is what happened here. Instead, wild animals and birds ate the bodies.

Verse 4: The *neighbours are the countries near Judah. They included Edom. The book in the Bible, "Obadiah" tells us that the Edomites were very happy when Babylon destroyed Judah. Also, they took things that belonged to the *Jews, and did not let some of them run away from the Babylonians to a safe place.

Verse 5: *Jealousy is a special *anger. It is when you are angry because someone you love stops loving you and loves someone else. Or, when someone hurts someone that you love. Here it maybe means both. God is angry with the *Jews for not obeying him and with Babylon for hurting the *Jews.

Verse 7: *Jacob is another name for Judah or Israel. So "he lived" means "where the *Jews lived".

Verse 8: The *Jews had done wrong things for many years. Their fathers and their grandfathers (or their "*ancestors") had all done wrong things. They had not obeyed God. So God *punished them. This means he let the Babylonians hurt them, even kill many of them. So the *psalmist asks for *mercy. He asks God to be kind to them again. They had done wrong things but he still wants God to be kind to them.

Verse 9: The *psalmist asks God to save them and *forgive them. To Christians this means give our *sins to Jesus and take us to *heaven when we die. To the *psalmist it did not mean this. It meant "Give us back our land".

Verse 10: "Poured out the blood" means "killed".

Verse 11: The Babylonians took *prisoners to kill some of them. "The power of your arm" means God is showing his power on earth.

Verse 12: "seven times as much" means "a lot".

Verse 13: The *psalmist sees God’s people as a group ("*flock") of animals together in a field. The *Hebrew Bible says "*flock", not "sheep", but we have translated it "sheep" because Jesus said that he was "the good *Shepherd". A *shepherd keeps sheep.

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