The Psalms of David

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Something to do

1.         Read other psalms that are about Sennacherib. They are 46, 47, 48 and 76.

2.         Think about the word that Jesus used to stop the wind blowing in Mark 4:39. It is a word that we use to tell our animals to be quiet. In England, we tell our *dogs "Down boy!" when they jump on us! Jesus was showing the wind and sea that he was more powerful than they were. He owned them. He was telling them, "Down boy!" Now look at Psalm 46:10. Here God tells Sennacherib, "Down boy!" God was more powerful than Sennacherib.

3.         Read Isaiah 36 and 37. The same story is in 2 Kings 18 and 19.

4.         Learn to say Psalm 75:9 by heart. (This means without looking at the words.)

5.         Read about Asaph at the end of Psalm 73 in this set of psalms.

Word List

The notes explain earthquakes, horn, wine and spice.

Sing A Song Of Zion


The *Lion’s *Den

Psalm 76

They got up and took Jesus out of the city. They led him to the side of a hill, where men had built their city. They wanted to throw him down. But Jesus just walked away from them, and went on his own way. (Luke 4:29-30)

Psalm 76

     (This is) for the music leader.
(He must use) *stringed instruments.
(It is) a Psalm of *Asaph (and) a Song.

v1      God is famous in Judah.
     His name is great in Israel.

v2      His house is in Salem and his home is in Zion.

v3      There he broke (the enemy’s):
       ·     bow (shooting) fire
       ·     *shield
       ·     and *sword
       ·     and war (*weapons)       *SELAH

v4      You (God) are the Shining One!
     (You are) the King from the mountains,
       where you robbed your enemy!

v5      (You) took from the brave (enemy) soldiers all (the *weapons) that they had.
     Now they are sleeping and will never wake up.
     None of the soldiers can use their hands.

v6      When you were angry, God of *Jacob,
     both the horses and the men that rode on them fell down dead.

v7      You ... everyone is afraid of you!
     Who can remain standing in front of you when you are angry?

v8      From the *heavens you said that you would *judge (the people).
     All the earth was afraid of you and became quiet.

v9      (This happened), God, when you came to *judge
       and to save the *oppressed people in the land.        *SELAH

v10    So the *anger of men will *praise you.
     What remains of their *anger you will wear (as *praise).

v11    Make a promise to the *LORD your God and do (what you promise).
     Let everyone that lives near bring a gift to the God that people are afraid of.

v12    He breaks the *spirit of rulers.
     All the kings of the world are afraid of him.

The Story of Psalm 76

Sennacherib was the King of Assyria. Assyria was a very strong country to the north and east of Judah. About 700 years before Jesus came to the earth, Sennacherib attacked Judah. But God fought for Judah. Sennacherib did not win the war. Many of his soldiers died. The story is in Isaiah chapters 36 and 37; and also in 2 Kings 18 and 19.

Psalm 76 (like 46, 47, 48 and 75) is about what happened in this war. It tells us that God did not let the enemy destroy Jerusalem. In the psalm, there are two other names for Jerusalem: Salem and Zion, verse 2. "Salem" means "*peace" (or no war); Zion is the name of the hill where the *Israelites built their *temple. The *temple was the place where they met to *praise God.

The name "A Song of Zion" was one that the *Israelites used for this psalm. We have also called it "The *Lion’s *Den". Why? Because the words "house" and "home" in verse 2 in *Hebrew are the words for a *lion’s home. We translate them as "*den". Also, in verse 4, the words "you robbed your enemy" are "you caught your *prey". "*Prey" is a word we use for what an animal catches to eat. The *lion is a big animal. It catches and eats many smaller animals. It will even eat people! So, the psalm makes God *like a *lion. His *den (or home) is Jerusalem. He goes out to the mountains to catch his *prey. But the *prey are the soldiers of Sennacherib.

What Psalm 76 means

Verse 1: When King Solomon died, his country became two countries. One was Judah and the other was Israel. They had a king each. But Assyria destroyed Israel in 721 BC. BC means "years Before Christ came to the earth". So, when Sennacherib attacked Judah, there was no country of Israel. That means that in this psalm, Judah and Israel are both names for God’s people. They do not mean two different countries.

Verse 3: Breaking the enemy’s *weapons (bow, *shield and *sword) is another way to say that God destroyed the enemy.

Verse 5: "sleeping" is a Bible way to describe death. Because the soldiers are dead, they cannot use their hands to fight.

Verse 9: We have said that "to *judge" means "to say who is right and who is wrong". But it really means more than that in many places in the Bible. This is one of those places. God *judged the Assyrians to be wrong: the result of this was that they died. God *judged the poor people to be right: the result of this was that they became free. They were not *oppressed any more. This means that the enemy did not hurt them, or take their food, money, animals and children.

Verse 10: Bible students do not really know what this verse means. This translation says what the *Hebrew words say. Maybe it means that when people like Sennacherib are angry with people like the *Israelites then people will *praise what God does.

Verse 12: "Breaks the *spirit" means "stops them wanting to fight".

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