Psalms 74 Commentary

Psalm 74 Israel in captivity

This psalm belongs to the time that followed the destruction of the nation Israel. Assyria conquered the northern kingdom in 722 BC, and Babylon the southern kingdom during the years 605-587 BC. The people were taken captive into foreign lands and the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed (2 Kings 25:8- 12). Now, with the centre of their religious life gone, the people feel cut off from God. Worse than that, the bitter years in captivity lead them to doubt God’s faithfulness.

Has God forgotten his covenant with Israel? The people invite him to go and inspect the ruins of the city and the temple. Perhaps it will rouse him to remember his covenant and bring them back to their homeland (1-3). They describe the scene of defilement and destruction in the temple: heathen victory symbols set up in the Holy Place (4); the beautiful woodwork broken, smashed and burnt (5-8); not a messenger of God to be found anywhere in the land (9).

Surely such a sight will rouse God from his inaction and cause him to act for them (10-11). Certainly, he is not lacking in power, for he has worked for them in the past. He directed the world of nature in such a way as to save Israel (12-17). Will he not therefore silence those who dishonour him? Will he not save his helpless people according to the covenant he made with them (18-20)? By acting against the oppressors, God can defend his cause and rescue his people (21-23).

Privacy Policy