Tehillim / Psalms 74, Part 2, Regarding Time as Moving in Circles

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 74:1-23, the psalm opens saying, א מַשְֹכִּיל לְאָסָף לָמָה אֱלֹהִים זָנַחְתָּ לָנֶצַח יֶעְשַׁן אַפְּךָ בְּצֹאן מַרְעִיתֶךָ: A Maskil of Asaph. 74:1 O God, why have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? (NASB) Why does Asaph think the Lord is angry? He continues saying, ב זְכֹר עֲדָתְךָ | קָנִיתָ קֶּדֶם גָּאַלְתָּ שֵׁבֶט נַחֲלָתֶךָ הַר-צִיּוֹן זֶה | שָׁכַנְתָּ בּוֹ: ג הָרִימָה פְעָמֶיךָ לְמַשֻּׁאוֹת נֶצַח כָּל-הֵרַע אוֹיֵב בַּקֹּדֶשׁ: 74:2 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, Which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; And this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt. 74:3 Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; The enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. (NASB) The perpetual ruins provides a picture of constant war. He continues providing examples of war saying, 74:4 Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place; They have set up their own standards for signs. 74:5 It seems as if one had lifted up His axe in a forest of trees. 74:6 And now all its carved work They smash with hatchet and hammers. 74:7 They have burned Your sanctuary to the ground; They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name. 74:8 They said in their heart, ‘Let us completely subdue them.’ They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land. 74:9 We do not see our signs; There is no longer any prophet, Nor is there any among us who knows how long. 74:10 How long, O God, will the adversary revile, And the enemy spurn Your name forever? (NASB) These things happening are a sign to Asaph that the Lord has removed his hand (74:11). However, he believes saying, 74:12 Yet God is my king from of old, Who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth. (NASB) calling upon the Torah in remembrance, of the dividing of the sea (74:13), subduing the great creatures of the sea (74:14), and the great world wide flood (74:15). He proclaims the Lord is in control of all things (74:16), all of these things are drawn into contrast to the enemy who is small compared to these things (74:17-18). He asks the Lord not to deliver the helpless to the beast (74:19) and to consider the covenant (74:20) and do not let the oppressed be dishonored (74:21). Asaph concludes saying, כב קוּמָה אֱלֹהִים רִיבָה רִיבֶךָ זְכֹר חֶרְפָּתְךָ מִנִּי-נָבָל כָּל-הַיּוֹם: כג אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח קוֹל צֹרְרֶיךָ שְׁאוֹן קָמֶיךָ עֹלֶה תָמִיד: 74:22 Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause; Remember how the foolish man reproaches You all day long. 74:23 Do not forget the voice of Your adversaries, The uproar of those who rise against You which ascends continually. (NASB) Asaph asks for the Lord to plead His own cause. Does this statement suggest that Asaph is bringing the Lord God to court to hear His case against him that has caused all of these troubles?

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק עד

א מַשְֹכִּיל לְאָסָף לָמָה אֱלֹהִים זָנַחְתָּ לָנֶצַח יֶעְשַׁן אַפְּךָ בְּצֹאן מַרְעִיתֶךָ: ב זְכֹר עֲדָתְךָ | קָנִיתָ קֶּדֶם גָּאַלְתָּ שֵׁבֶט נַחֲלָתֶךָ הַר-צִיּוֹן זֶה | שָׁכַנְתָּ בּוֹ: ג הָרִימָה פְעָמֶיךָ לְמַשֻּׁאוֹת נֶצַח כָּל-הֵרַע אוֹיֵב בַּקֹּדֶשׁ: ד שָׁאֲגוּ צֹרְרֶיךָ בְּקֶרֶב מוֹעֲדֶךָ שָֹמוּ אוֹתֹתָם אֹתוֹת:

סםר טוביה פרק עד

א שיכלא טבא על ידוי דאסף למה אלהא רחיקתא לעלמין יתקף רוגזך בעאן רעייתך׃ ב אדכר כנישתך דקנית מלקדמין פרקת ממצרים שבטי אחסנתך טור ציון דנן די שריתא שכינתך ביה׃ ג ארים הרם אסתורך למשווח אומיא לעלמין דבכל חיליה אבאיש בעיל דבבא בקודשא׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 74

74:1 συνέσεως τῷ Ασαφ ἵνα τί ἀπώσω ὁ θεός εἰς τέλος ὠργίσθη ὁ θυμός σου ἐπὶ πρόβατα νομῆς σου 74:2 μνήσθητι τῆς συναγωγῆς σου ἧς ἐκτήσω ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς ἐλυτρώσω ῥάβδον κληρονομίας σου ὄρος Σιων τοῦτο ὃ κατεσκήνωσας ἐν αὐτῷ 74:3 ἔπαρον τὰς χεῖράς σου ἐπὶ τὰς ὑπερηφανίας αὐτῶν εἰς τέλος ὅσα ἐπονηρεύσατο ὁ ἐχθρὸς ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις σου

ה יִוָּדַע כְּמֵבִיא לְמָעְלָה בִּסֲבָךְ-עֵץ קַרְדֻּמּוֹת: ו וְעַתָּ [וְעַתָּה] פִּתּוּחֶיהָ יָּחַד בְּכַשִּׁיל וְכֵילַפֹּת יַהֲלֹמוּן: ז שִׁלְחוּ בָאֵשׁ מִקְדָּשֶׁךָ לָאָרֶץ חִלְּלוּ מִשְׁכַּן-שְׁמֶךָ: ח אָמְרוּ בְלִבָּם נִינָם יָחַד שָֹרְפוּ כָל-מוֹעֲדֵי-אֵל בָּאָרֶץ: ט אֹתוֹתֵינוּ לֹא-רָאִינוּ אֵין-עוֹד נָבִיא וְלֹא-אִתָּנוּ יֹדֵעַ עַד-מָה: י עַד-מָתַי אֱלֹהִים יְחָרֶף צָר יְנָאֵץ אוֹיֵב שִׁמְךָ לָנֶצַח: יא לָמָּה תָשִׁיב יָדְךָ וִימִינֶךָ מִקֶּרֶב חֵוקְךָ [חֵיקְךָ] כַלֵּה: יב וֵאלֹהִים מַלְכִּי מִקֶּדֶם פֹּעֵל יְשׁוּעוֹת בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ: יג אַתָּה פוֹרַרְתָּ בְעָזְּךָ יָם שִׁבַּרְתָּ רָאשֵׁי תַנִּינִים עַל-הַמָּיִם: יד אַתָּה רִצַּצְתָּ רָאשֵׁי לִוְיָתָן תִּתְּנֶנּוּ מַאֲכָל לְעַם לְצִיִּים: טו אַתָּה בָקַעְתָּ מַעְיָן וָנָחַל אַתָּה הוֹבַשְׁתָּ נַהֲרוֹת אֵיתָן: טז לְךָ יוֹם אַף-לְךָ לָיְלָה אַתָּה הֲכִינוֹתָ מָאוֹר וָשָׁמֶשׁ: יז אַתָּה הִצַּבְתָּ כָּל-גְּבוּלוֹת אָרֶץ קַיִץ וָחֹרֶף אַתָּה יְצַרְתָּם: יח זְכָר-זֹאת אוֹיֵב חֵרֵף | יְהֹוָה וְעַם-נָבָל נִאֲצוּ שְׁמֶךָ: יט אַל-תִּתֵּן לְחַיַּת נֶפֶשׁ תּוֹרֶךָ חַיַּת עֲנִיֶּיךָ אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח לָנֶצַח: כ הַבֵּט-לַבְּרִית כִּי-מָלְאוּ מַחֲשַׁכֵּי-אֶרֶץ נְאוֹת חָמָס: כא אַל-יָשֹׁב דַּךְ נִכְלָם עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן יְהַלְלוּ שְׁמֶךָ: כב קוּמָה אֱלֹהִים רִיבָה רִיבֶךָ זְכֹר חֶרְפָּתְךָ מִנִּי-נָבָל כָּל-הַיּוֹם: כג אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח קוֹל צֹרְרֶיךָ שְׁאוֹן קָמֶיךָ עֹלֶה תָמִיד:

ד אכלין מעיקך במצע זמנייך שוון אתוותהון אתיא׃ ה יצליף בקורנסא היך גבר דמרים ידיה בסביך קיסיא למקטע בכולביא׃ ו וכדין גליפייהא גררין גדרין כחדא בקופיץ ומיפסלת דיוסטר מחיין כבמרזופין׃ ז אדליקו בנורא בית מקדשא לארעא אפיסו משכן דאתקרי ביה שמך׃ ח אמרו בלבהון בניהון כחדא אוקידו אבהתהון כל מערעיא דאלהא בארעא׃ ט אתוונא דיהבו לנא נבייא לא חמיננא חזינא לית תוב נבייא ולית עימנא גבנא דידע עד אימתי׃ י עד אימתי אלהא יחסד מעיקא ירחיק בעיל דבבא שמך לעלמא׃ יא למה תתיב ידך וימינך למפרוק מן גו עטפך עובך אפיק ושצי עקתא׃ יב ואלהא מלכא דשכינת קודשיה מלקדמין עביד פורקנא בגו ארעא׃ יג אנת את גזרתה בעושנך מוי דימא אנת את תברתא רישי תניניא ושניקתא מצראי על ימא׃ יד אנת את תרעתא רישי גיברי פרעה יהבתינון לגמרא לעם בית ישראל וגושמיהון לירורי׃ טו אנת את בזעתא מעיינא מן כיפא והוי לנחלא אנת יבישתא מגיזת נחלי ארנונא ומגיזת יובקא ויורדנא דהון תקיפין׃ טז דילך יממא לחוד דילך ליליא את אתקינתא סיהרא ושמשא׃ יז את אקימתא כל תחומא תהומיא דארעא קיטא וסיתוא אנת ברתנון׃ יח אדכר דא בעיל דבבא מגדף יהוה ועמא טפשא דרחיקו שמך׃ יט לא תמסור לעמיא לעממיא דמתילין לחיות ברא נפשת מאלפי אוריתך חייהון דענייך לא תיתנשי תינשי לעלמין׃ כ אסתכל לקיימא דגזרתא לאבהתן ארום איתמליאו בניהון חשוכא פריס על ארעא ואונא ויתא ואונסא וחטופין׃ כא לא יתוב מסכן מכסיף עניא וחשוכא ישבחון שמך׃ כב קום אלהא נצי מצותך אידכר קלנא דעמך מן מלכא טפשא כל יומא׃ כג לא תתנשי תינשי קל מעיקייך איתרגושת דקיימין לקיבלך דסלקא תדירא׃

74:4 καὶ ἐνεκαυχήσαντο οἱ μισοῦντές σε ἐν μέσῳ τῆς ἑορτῆς σου ἔθεντο τὰ σημεῖα αὐτῶν σημεῖα καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν 74:5 ὡς εἰς τὴν εἴσοδον ὑπεράνω 74:6 ὡς ἐν δρυμῷ ξύλων ἀξίναις ἐξέκοψαν τὰς θύρας αὐτῆς ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ἐν πελέκει καὶ λαξευτηρίῳ κατέρραξαν αὐτήν 74:7 ἐνεπύρισαν ἐν πυρὶ τὸ ἁγιαστήριόν σου εἰς τὴν γῆν ἐβεβήλωσαν τὸ σκήνωμα τοῦ ὀνόματός σου 74:8 εἶπαν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῶν ἡ συγγένεια αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό δεῦτε καὶ κατακαύσωμεν πάσας τὰς ἑορτὰς τοῦ θεοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς 74:9 τὰ σημεῖα ἡμῶν οὐκ εἴδομεν οὐκ ἔστιν ἔτι προφήτης καὶ ἡμᾶς οὐ γνώσεται ἔτι 74:10 ἕως πότε ὁ θεός ὀνειδιεῖ ὁ ἐχθρός παροξυνεῖ ὁ ὑπεναντίος τὸ ὄνομά σου εἰς τέλος 74:11 ἵνα τί ἀποστρέφεις τὴν χεῖρά σου καὶ τὴν δεξιάν σου ἐκ μέσου τοῦ κόλπου σου εἰς τέλος 74:12 ὁ δὲ θεὸς βασιλεὺς ἡμῶν πρὸ αἰῶνος εἰργάσατο σωτηρίαν ἐν μέσῳ τῆς γῆς 74:13 σὺ ἐκραταίωσας ἐν τῇ δυνάμει σου τὴν θάλασσαν σὺ συνέτριψας τὰς κεφαλὰς τῶν δρακόντων ἐπὶ τοῦ ὕδατος 74:14 σὺ συνέθλασας τὰς κεφαλὰς τοῦ δράκοντος ἔδωκας αὐτὸν βρῶμα λαοῖς τοῖς Αἰθίοψιν 74:15 σὺ διέρρηξας πηγὰς καὶ χειμάρρους σὺ ἐξήρανας ποταμοὺς Ηθαμ 74:16 σή ἐστιν ἡ ἡμέρα καὶ σή ἐστιν ἡ νύξ σὺ κατηρτίσω φαῦσιν καὶ ἥλιον 74:17 σὺ ἐποίησας πάντα τὰ ὅρια τῆς γῆς θέρος καὶ ἔαρ σὺ ἔπλασας αὐτά 74:18 μνήσθητι ταύτης ἐχθρὸς ὠνείδισεν τὸν κύριον καὶ λαὸς ἄφρων παρώξυνεν τὸ ὄνομά σου 74:19 μὴ παραδῷς τοῖς θηρίοις ψυχὴν ἐξομολογουμένην σοι τῶν ψυχῶν τῶν πενήτων σου μὴ ἐπιλάθῃ εἰς τέλος 74:20 ἐπίβλεψον εἰς τὴν διαθήκην σου ὅτι ἐπληρώθησαν οἱ ἐσκοτισμένοι τῆς γῆς οἴκων ἀνομιῶν 74:21 μὴ ἀποστραφήτω τεταπεινωμένος κατῃσχυμμένος πτωχὸς καὶ πένης αἰνέσουσιν τὸ ὄνομά σου 74:22 άστα ὁ θεός δίκασον τὴν δίκην σου μνήσθητι τῶν ὀνειδισμῶν σου τῶν ὑπὸ ἄφρονος ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν 74:23 μὴ ἐπιλάθῃ τῆς φωνῆς τῶν ἱκετῶν σου ἡ ὑπερηφανία τῶν μισούντων σε ἀνέβη διὰ παντὸς πρὸς σέ

Tehillim / Psalms 74

A Maskil of Asaph. 74:1 O God, why have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? 74:2 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, Which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; And this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt. 74:3 Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; The enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. 74:4 Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place; They have set up their own standards for signs. 74:5 It seems as if one had lifted up His axe in a forest of trees. 74:6 And now all its carved work They smash with hatchet and hammers. 74:7 They have burned Your sanctuary to the ground; They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name. 74:8 They said in their heart, ‘Let us completely subdue them.’ They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land. 74:9 We do not see our signs; There is no longer any prophet, Nor is there any among us who knows how long. 74:10 How long, O God, will the adversary revile, And the enemy spurn Your name forever? 74:11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? From within Your bosom, destroy them! 74:12 Yet God is my king from of old, Who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 74

74:1 A good lesson, composed by Asaph. Why, O God, have you moved far off forever? [Why] will your anger be fierce against the flock of your pasture? 74:2 Remember your congregation that you acquired of old; you redeemed from Egypt the tribes of your inheritance, this same Mount Zion on which you made your presence to abide. 74:3 Lift up your footsteps to dissolve the nations forever, for the enemy with all his strength has done harm in the holy place. 74:4 Your oppressors cry out in the midst of your assemblies; they have set up their standards as signs. 74:5 He will strike with a hammer like a man who lifts up his hand against a wood thicket to cut it with axes. 74:6 But now they pull down its carvings together; they pound with the hatchet and the two-edged chisel as if with mallets. 74:7 They have burned the sanctuary to the ground with fire; they have defiled the tabernacle in which your name is uttered. 74:8 Their children spoke in their hearts together; their fathers burned all the assemblies of God in the land. 74:9 We have not seen our signs that the prophets gave us; there are no longer any prophets and we have none with us who knows how long. 74:10 How long, O God, will the oppressor show disdain? Will the enemy reject your name forever? 74:11 Why will you withdraw your hand, even your right hand, from redeeming? Take it out of your bosom and do away with oppression. 74:12 But God is the king, whose holy presence is from of old, one who carries out redemption in the midst of the land. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 74

A Psalm of instruction for Asaph. 74:1 Wherefore hast thou rejected us, O God, for ever? wherefore is thy wrath kindled against the sheep of thy pasture? 74:2 Remember thy congregation which thou hast purchased from the beginning; thou didst ransom the rod of thine inheritance; this mount Sion wherein thou hast dwelt. 74:3 Lift up thine hands against their pride continually; because of all that the enemy has done wickedly in thy holy places. 74:4 And they that hate thee have boasted in the midst of thy feast; they have set up their standards for signs, 74:5 ignorantly as it were in the entrance above; 74:6 they cut down its doors at once with axes as in a wood of trees; they have broken it down with hatchet and stone cutter. 74:7 They have burnt thy sanctuary with fire to the ground; they have profaned the habitation of thy name. 74:8 They have said in their heart, even all their kindred together, Come, let us abolish the feasts of the Lord from the earth. 74:9 We have not seen our signs; there is no longer a prophet; and God will not know us any more. 74:10 How long, O God, shall the enemy reproach? shall the enemy provoke thy name forever? 74:11 Wherefore turnest thou away thine hand, and thy right hand from the midst of thy bosom for ever? 74:12 But God is our King of old; he has wrought salvation in the midst of the earth. (LXX)

Tehillim / Psalms 74

74:13 You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters. 74:14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; You gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. 74:15 You broke open springs and torrents; You dried up ever-flowing streams. 74:16 Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun. 74:17 You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter. 74:18 Remember this, O Lord, that the enemy has reviled, And a foolish people has spurned Your name. 74:19 Do not deliver the soul of Your turtledove to the wild beast; Do not forget the life of Your afflicted forever. 74:20 Consider the covenant; For the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence. 74:21 Let not the oppressed return dishonored; Let the afflicted and needy praise Your name. 74:22 Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause; Remember how the foolish man reproaches You all day long. 74:23 Do not forget the voice of Your adversaries, The uproar of those who rise against You which ascends continually. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 74

74:13 You cut off the waters of the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the sea serpents, and drowned the Egyptians at the sea. 74:14 You shattered the heads of Pharaoh’s warriors; you handed them over for destruction to the people of the house of Israel, and their corpses to jackals. 74:15 You split the spring from the rock and it became a stream; you dried up the ford of the streams of the Arnon and the ford of the Jabbok and the Jordan, which were so powerful. 74:16 Yours is the day-time, yours, too, is the night; you have made firm the moon and sun. 74:17 You set up all the boundaries of the earth; summer and winter, you created them. 74:18 Remember this, the enemy, slanderer of the Lord, and the foolish people who have rejected your name. 74:19 Do not deliver the souls of those who teach your Torah to the Gentiles, who are likened to beasts of the field; do not forget the lives of your poor forever. 74:20 Look at the covenant that you made with our fathers, for their children are finished off; darkness is spread over the land, and fraud, and violence. 74:21 The pauper will not return ashamed; the poor and lowly will praise your name. 74:22 Arise, O God; argue your case; call to mind the disgrace of your people because of foolish counsel all the day. 74:23 Do not forget the voice of your oppressors, the turmoil, always mounting, of those who stand against you. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 74

74:13 Thou didst establish the sea, in thy might, thou didst break to pieces the heads of the dragons in the water. 74:14 Thou didst break to pieces the heads of the dragon; thou didst give him for meat to the Ethiopian nations. 74:15 Thou didst cleave fountains and torrents; thou driedst up mighty rivers. 74:16 The day is thine, and the night is thine; thou hast prepared the sun and the moon. 74:17 Thou hast made all the borders of the earth; thou hast made summer and spring. 74:18 Remember this thy creation: an enemy has reproached the Lord, and a foolish people has provoked thy name. 74:19 Deliver not to the wild beasts a soul that gives praise to thee: forget not for ever the souls of thy poor. 74:20 Look upon thy covenant: for the dark places of the earth are filled with the habitations of iniquity. 74:21 let not the afflicted and shamed one be rejected: the poor and needy shall praise thy name. 74:22 Arise, O God, plead thy cause: remember thy reproaches that come from the foolish one all the day. 74:23 Forget not the voice of thy suppliants: let the pride of them that hate thee continually ascend before thee. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 74:1-23, the psalm opens saying, א מַשְֹכִּיל לְאָסָף לָמָה אֱלֹהִים זָנַחְתָּ לָנֶצַח יֶעְשַׁן אַפְּךָ בְּצֹאן מַרְעִיתֶךָ: A Maskil of Asaph. 74:1 O God, why have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? (NASB) According to Asaph, he asks the Lord why (לָמָה) does he forsake (זָנַחְתָּ) forever (לָנֶצַח) using the word לָנֶצַח meaning “eternity, infinity, perpetuity,” from the root word זָנַח meaning “to push aside, cast off, to reject, to emit a smell.” It is interesting that Asaph uses the word לָנֶצַח rather than the word לעולם meaning “eternally or forever.” What is the significance in the use of this word (לָנֶצַח) as opposed to לעולם? According to the MT, the imagery that we receive for the word לעולם is within the context of the eternality of the Lord God in heaven, His mercy and grace, his forgiveness (Shemot / Exodus 34), His love, etc. The reason Asaph may have used this word (לָנֶצַח) as opposed to לעולם may be by reason of the Lord’s mercy and grace. The word לָנֶצַח suggests a temporal aspect of the Lord rejecting or forsaking which is related to sin in one’s life. On the other hand, the Aramaic Targum states, א שיכלא טבא על ידוי דאסף למה אלהא רחיקתא לעלמין יתקף רוגזך בעאן רעייתך׃ 4:1 A good lesson, composed by Asaph. Why, O God, have you moved far off forever? [Why] will your anger be fierce against the flock of your pasture? (EMC) The rabbis uses the words רחיקתא לעלמין saying that the Lord has moved far away forever using the word לעולם meaning “eternally or forever.” The reason for the substitute of words might be as a reference to the unrighteous man, his life will end before he either repents and seeks the Lord’s forgiveness for his sins, and that after having performed Teshuvah and receiving forgiveness, one still must wait until the Lord’s deliverance comes and for some this may be beyond the length of their lives. So for those who are living, the deliverance will not come forever (לעולם), but may come in the life of one’s children and therefore illustrating he importance of Teshuvah and walking in righteousness and holiness before the Lord.

Asaph continues saying, יֶעְשַׁן אַפְּךָ בְּצֹאן מַרְעִיתֶךָ Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture (NASB). This parallels what is written in Devarim / Deuteronomy 29:24 saying, כג וְאָמְרוּ כָּל-הַגּוֹיִם עַל-מֶה עָשָֹה יְהוָֹה כָּכָה לָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת מֶה חֳרִי הָאַף הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה: 29:24 ‘All the nations will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’ (NASB) Here Moshe speaks prophetically regarding the anger of the Lord where the nations observe what has happened to Israel and ask the question of the Lord being angry. According to Parashat Nitzavim, this anger is explained.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 29:19-29

29:19 ‘It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry.’ 29:20 ‘The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. 29:21 ‘Then the Lord will single him out for adversity from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant which are written in this book of the law. 29:22 ‘Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it, will say, 29:23 ‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.’ 29:24 ‘All the nations will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’ 29:25 ‘Then men will say, ‘Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. 29:26 ‘They went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they have not known and whom He had not allotted to them. 29:27 ‘Therefore, the anger of the Lord burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book; 29:28 and the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’ 29:29 ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. (NASB)

Notice how in Parashat Nitzavim, Moshe speaks of one who is arrogant, who boasts that their peace and security is by their own hand and making. Note how for such a man there is no forgiveness, because he walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, he does not perform Teshuvah, and chooses to live in sin before God. This is a consistent perspective that is taken from the Apostolic Writings as well. We need to be willing to acknowledge our sins before God, to repent, and turn from them, and walk in the covenant. Note how the anger of the Lord is connected to the covenant, both a blessing and a curse come by reason of the covenant based upon one living for the Lord and obey His covenant, as opposed to living for one’s self, and disobeying the covenant. Asaph is speaking of the anger of the Lord that has fallen upon the “sheep of the pasture” which is a reference to the children of Israel.

Asaph continues saying,ב זְכֹר עֲדָתְךָ | קָנִיתָ קֶּדֶם גָּאַלְתָּ שֵׁבֶט נַחֲלָתֶךָ הַר-צִיּוֹן זֶה | שָׁכַנְתָּ בּוֹ: 74:2 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, Which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; And this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, ב אדכר כנישתך דקנית מלקדמין פרקת ממצרים שבטי אחסנתך טור ציון דנן די שריתא שכינתך ביה׃ 74:2 Remember your congregation that you acquired of old; you redeemed from Egypt the tribes of your inheritance, this same Mount Zion on which you made your presence to abide. (EMC) And the Septuagint states, 74:2 μνήσθητι τῆς συναγωγῆς σου ἧς ἐκτήσω ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς ἐλυτρώσω ῥάβδον κληρονομίας σου ὄρος Σιων τοῦτο ὃ κατεσκήνωσας ἐν αὐτῷ 74:2 Remember thy congregation which thou hast purchased from the beginning; thou didst ransom the rod of thine inheritance; this mount Sion wherein thou hast dwelt. (LXX) According to the MT and the Aramaic and Greek translations, Asaph is calling upon the Torah account of the Lord in heaven who delivered Israel from bondage. The Septuagint states that the Lord had purchased the congregation from since the beginning, which draws with it the idea of being chosen from before the creation, or at least the choosing of the people was within God’s plan to do within its proper time. The way Asaph calls upon the Torah context for his plea with the Lord, he is acknowledging the present trouble that Israel is going through, but refuses to accept the present trouble as the final destination and the anger of the Lord as final. Asaph is recognizing the sovereignty of God and the Lord’s capability to turn over the results of the sins of the nation. The MT says הַר-צִיּוֹן (mountain of Zion) which places the Psalm following the choice of location for the Temple upon the Temple mount in Jerusalem by David. Asaph says, ג הָרִימָה פְעָמֶיךָ לְמַשֻּׁאוֹת נֶצַח כָּל-הֵרַע אוֹיֵב בַּקֹּדֶשׁ: 74:3 Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; The enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. (NASB) This statement appears to place the psalm following the destruction of Solomon’s Temple. The idea of the perpetual ruins provides a picture of constant war, or this may be a reference of the neglect of the Temple and its services following King Solomon, Rehoboam, and the subsequent kings of Israel. Rehoboam was initially king of the united people of Israel and under whose reign the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled in 932/931 BCE to form the independent Kingdom of Israel. The question is whether this psalm may be written in the Spirit of Prophecy? If the psalm is written in the Spirit of Prophecy, Asaph may be speaking of a future time, and the dating of this psalm would place it within the time frame of David. On the other hand, the psalm may have been written in the light of the neglect of the Temple in Jerusalem under the reign of Rehoboam and subsequent kings which would still place the psalm within the time frame of David and Solomon. Modern scholars however place this psalm following much later to the time of the destruction of the Temple and subsequent exile of Israel to Babylon.

The Aramaic Targum states, ג ארים הרם אסתורך למשווח אומיא לעלמין דבכל חיליה אבאיש בעיל דבבא בקודשא׃ 74:3 Lift up your footsteps to dissolve the nations forever, for the enemy with all his strength has done harm in the holy place. (EMC) It is interesting how the rabbis do not translate “perpetual ruins” but say instead to lift the foot to dissolve the nations forever. This illustrates for us how the rabbis have a general tendency to smooth out any perceived difficulties in the MT text and to present the translation in a more positive light. The idea of “perpetual ruins” may draw with it accusations against the Lord for allowing the place (הַמָּקוֹם) where His name is to be made known to remain in ruins. A close examination of the rabbinic literature reveals the creativity and freedom in which the rabbis approach the various narratives throughout the Tanach in their Targum (translation). The general conclusion we can make regarding the Aramaic Targum here is the rabbis write the psalm with an optimistic note, asking the Lord in heaven to dissolve the nations forever and the enemy who has harmed the holy place. The point may be that the rabbis are trying to engender hope to encourage the readers to be confident that in the end the Lord God is working for Israel’s benefit and that the Lord’s salvation is at hand, don’t stop waiting, seeking, and asking Him for deliverance. In a similar manner, The Septuagint states, 74:3 ἔπαρον τὰς χεῖράς σου ἐπὶ τὰς ὑπερηφανίας αὐτῶν εἰς τέλος ὅσα ἐπονηρεύσατο ὁ ἐχθρὸς ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις σου 74:3 Lift up thine hands against their pride continually; because of all that the enemy has done wickedly in thy holy places. (LXX) In a very similar manner, the Greek translation (Septuagint) has Asaph asking the Lord to lift His hands against the pride of the enemy. The concept here in the verse, 74:3 Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; The enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. (NASB) has Asaph asking the Lord to turn back to the holy place (הַמָּקוֹם) which shows the signs of the enemy oppression and destruction. The pride of the enemy is in their ability to destroy the things of God, and their boasting against both Israel and God over their conquest. The point is the wicked nations do not recognize, the Lord who is sovereign over all, He has orchestrated their actions against Israel because of her sins. Their pride prevents them from giving credit where the credit is due, to the Lord God in heaven. The Lord returning the people to the Land is the way He dissolves the power of the nations and destroys the pride of the wicked. Similarly today, the unrighteous man gloats over the poverty and illnesses of others. The Lord God in heaven however causes those who are His to be happy and joyful regardless of the circumstances of one’s life. This is the meaning of Paul’s words to the Romans when he said in Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB) and the author of Hebrews when he wrote to the believers saying in Hebrews 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” (NASB)

The Psalm continues saying the following:

Masoretic Text

Tehillim / Psalms 74:4-11

74:4 Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place; They have set up their own standards for signs. 74:5 It seems as if one had lifted up His axe in a forest of trees. 74:6 And now all its carved work They smash with hatchet and hammers. 74:7 They have burned Your sanctuary to the ground; They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name. 74:8 They said in their heart, ‘Let us completely subdue them.’ They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land. 74:9 We do not see our signs; There is no longer any prophet, Nor is there any among us who knows how long. 74:10 How long, O God, will the adversary revile, And the enemy spurn Your name forever? 74:11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? From within Your bosom, destroy them! (NASB)

ד שָׁאֲגוּ צֹרְרֶיךָ בְּקֶרֶב מוֹעֲדֶךָ שָֹמוּ אוֹתֹתָם אֹתוֹת: ה יִוָּדַע כְּמֵבִיא לְמָעְלָה בִּסֲבָךְ-עֵץ קַרְדֻּמּוֹת: ו וְעַתָּ [וְעַתָּה] פִּתּוּחֶיהָ יָּחַד בְּכַשִּׁיל וְכֵילַפֹּת יַהֲלֹמוּן: ז שִׁלְחוּ בָאֵשׁ מִקְדָּשֶׁךָ לָאָרֶץ חִלְּלוּ מִשְׁכַּן-שְׁמֶךָ: ח אָמְרוּ בְלִבָּם נִינָם יָחַד שָֹרְפוּ כָל-מוֹעֲדֵי-אֵל בָּאָרֶץ: ט אֹתוֹתֵינוּ לֹא-רָאִינוּ אֵין-עוֹד נָבִיא וְלֹא-אִתָּנוּ יֹדֵעַ עַד-מָה: י עַד-מָתַי אֱלֹהִים יְחָרֶף צָר יְנָאֵץ אוֹיֵב שִׁמְךָ לָנֶצַח: יא לָמָּה תָשִׁיב יָדְךָ וִימִינֶךָ מִקֶּרֶב חֵוקְךָ [חֵיקְךָ] כַלֵּה:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 74:4-11

74:4 Your oppressors cry out in the midst of your assemblies; they have set up their standards as signs. 74:5 He will strike with a hammer like a man who lifts up his hand against a wood thicket to cut it with axes. 74:6 But now they pull down its carvings together; they pound with the hatchet and the two-edged chisel as if with mallets. 74:7 They have burned the sanctuary to the ground with fire; they have defiled the tabernacle in which your name is uttered. 74:8 Their children spoke in their hearts together; their fathers burned all the assemblies of God in the land. 74:9 We have not seen our signs that the prophets gave us; there are no longer any prophets and we have none with us who knows how long. 74:10 How long, O God, will the oppressor show disdain? Will the enemy reject your name forever? 74:11 Why will you withdraw your hand, even your right hand, from redeeming? Take it out of your bosom and do away with oppression. (EMC)

ד אכלין מעיקך במצע זמנייך שוון אתוותהון אתיא׃ ה יצליף בקורנסא היך גבר דמרים ידיה בסביך קיסיא למקטע בכולביא׃ ו וכדין גליפייהא גררין גדרין כחדא בקופיץ ומיפסלת דיוסטר מחיין כבמרזופין׃ ז אדליקו בנורא בית מקדשא לארעא אפיסו משכן דאתקרי ביה שמך׃ ח אמרו בלבהון בניהון כחדא אוקידו אבהתהון כל מערעיא דאלהא בארעא׃ ט אתוונא דיהבו לנא נבייא לא חמיננא חזינא לית תוב נבייא ולית עימנא גבנא דידע עד אימתי׃ י עד אימתי אלהא יחסד מעיקא ירחיק בעיל דבבא שמך לעלמא׃ יא למה תתיב ידך וימינך למפרוק מן גו עטפך עובך אפיק ושצי עקתא׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 74:4-11

74:4 And they that hate thee have boasted in the midst of thy feast; they have set up their standards for signs, 74:5 ignorantly as it were in the entrance above; 74:6 they cut down its doors at once with axes as in a wood of trees; they have broken it down with hatchet and stone cutter. 74:7 They have burnt thy sanctuary with fire to the ground; they have profaned the habitation of thy name. 74:8 They have said in their heart, even all their kindred together, Come, let us abolish the feasts of the Lord from the earth. 74:9 We have not seen our signs; there is no longer a prophet; and God will not know us any more. 74:10 How long, O God, shall the enemy reproach? shall the enemy provoke thy name forever? 74:11 Wherefore turnest thou away thine hand, and thy right hand from the midst of thy bosom for ever? (LXX)

74:4 καὶ ἐνεκαυχήσαντο οἱ μισοῦντές σε ἐν μέσῳ τῆς ἑορτῆς σου ἔθεντο τὰ σημεῖα αὐτῶν σημεῖα καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν 74:5 ὡς εἰς τὴν εἴσοδον ὑπεράνω 74:6 ὡς ἐν δρυμῷ ξύλων ἀξίναις ἐξέκοψαν τὰς θύρας αὐτῆς ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ἐν πελέκει καὶ λαξευτηρίῳ κατέρραξαν αὐτήν 74:7 ἐνεπύρισαν ἐν πυρὶ τὸ ἁγιαστήριόν σου εἰς τὴν γῆν ἐβεβήλωσαν τὸ σκήνωμα τοῦ ὀνόματός σου 74:8 εἶπαν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῶν ἡ συγγένεια αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό δεῦτε καὶ κατακαύσωμεν πάσας τὰς ἑορτὰς τοῦ θεοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς 74:9 τὰ σημεῖα ἡμῶν οὐκ εἴδομεν οὐκ ἔστιν ἔτι προφήτης καὶ ἡμᾶς οὐ γνώσεται ἔτι 74:10 ἕως πότε ὁ θεός ὀνειδιεῖ ὁ ἐχθρός παροξυνεῖ ὁ ὑπεναντίος τὸ ὄνομά σου εἰς τέλος 74:11 ἵνα τί ἀποστρέφεις τὴν χεῖρά σου καὶ τὴν δεξιάν σου ἐκ μέσου τοῦ κόλπου σου εἰς τέλος

Asaph continues giving examples of the destructive nature of the enemy. He says the enemy shouts in the midst of God’s sanctuary (74:4), the Septuagint states they boast in the midst of the times of the Moedim. The time of the Moedim (מוֹעֲדִים) consist of eight appointed times:

  1. The Shabbat – is the weekly observance of Sabbath that commemorates the Lord God as the Creator of the world. According to the sages, Shabbat is the most important of the appointed times, even more important than Yom Kippur and the Ten Days of Awe. There are 54 weekly Sabbaths in a “leap year” and 50 for regular years.
  2. Pesach (Nisan 15), also known as Passover.
  3. Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15-22); note that the Counting of the Omer is first mentioned in this section of Torah (Vayikra / Leviticus 23:9-16).
  4. Firstfruits (Nisan 17), also called Reishit Katzir.
  5. Shavuot (Sivan 6), also known as the feast of weeks, was the moment in Time in Israel’s history when first receiving the Torah. This time is also called Pentecost in the Apostolic Writings.
  6. Yom Teru’ah (Tishri 1), also called Rosh Hashanah (note that this is first mentioned in the Torah at Parashat Emor).
  7. Yom Kippur (Tishri 10) also known as the Day of Atonement, and is the time when the High Priest enters the holy of holies to make atonement for the nation of Israel as a whole.
  8. Sukkot (Tishri 15-22) also called Tabernacles (note also that this is the first time we read the commandments to dwell in a Sukkah and to wave the arba minim (the four species) in the Torah).

These are supposed to be times of memorial, of joy, and of remembering the mighty deliverance of God. The Septuagint states that the enemy boasts in the midst of the Moedim (Feasts) for the purpose of lifting themselves up to take credit for their oppression of Israel. The erecting of a standard for signs provides for us an illustration of conquering and establishing their name in the holy place as opposed to establishing the name of the Lord in the holy place.

Asaph continues saying that they cut, smash, destroy, and burn what is the Lords (74:5-7), and they determine in their hearts to completely subdue the people of God. Asaph continues stating, 74:9 We do not see our signs; There is no longer any prophet, Nor is there any among us who knows how long. (NASB) and then asking the Lord, 74:10 How long, O God, will the adversary revile, And the enemy spurn Your name forever? (NASB) These things happening appear to be a sign to Asaph that the Lord has removed his hand that holds back the enemy from doing these things (74:11). An interesting point about the rabbis is in their understanding of time and the deliverance that God sends for His people. The rabbinic understanding of time is not as a linear sequence of events meaning that time is measured linearly, progressively, etc as we understand time. The Jewish thinking tends to regard time as circular in the sense that moving forward requires the hand of the Lord to overcome sin, its consequences, and the enemy, which then brings God’s deliverance and salvation. This is a recurring theme, in a circular sense, throughout the weeks, months, and years of one’s life. This understanding of time is taken from the Hebrew language itself. Some of the sages note that the Hebrew word for “years (a long period of time)” shanah (שָׁנָה) shares the same root as both the words for “to study, to repeat, to review” (שָׁנָה) and “to be changed, to be altered, to be switched” (שֻׁנָּה). As a result, the idea of the “Jewish year” implies an ongoing “repetition” (Mishnah, מִשְׁנָה) or a continuing “review” of the key prophetic events of God’s redeeming history as the people are reliving in their present experiences. This concept comes out from the events of the Patriarchal fathers saying that the lives of the fathers function as parables that may be applied to us as expressed in the phrase מַעֲשֵׂה אֲבוֹת סִימָן לַבָּנִים (ma’aseh avot siman labanim): “The deeds of the fathers are signs for the children.” The idea then is that the Jewish year repeats itself thematically, but it also changes from year to year as we progress closer to the coming Day of Redemption. Therefore there is a tension that is formed in the understanding of the time-line of history. A sort of dualism that follows through in our understanding of the Messiah. For example, in Yeshua’s first coming, he came as our “Suffering Servant” and lived “proverbially” the Moedim which foreshadowed his reason and purpose for coming, to make atonement for our sins in his blood. In His second coming, he will come as the conquering King. As a result of these things, the Moedim offer us both a remembering of the past, and a hopeful future expectation of the redemption of God. For example, in the Pesach meal, the Seder, we express the reality of Yeshua as the world’s “Lamb of God,” just as we commemorate (remember) the fall holidays in expectation of His rule and reign as our King. The idea of the “cycles” of time, are the “timeless patterns of time and history” which suggests that one day we are going to be with the Lord, a time which was foreknown and interpreted as the Garden of Eden, the glory of heaven.

Asaph, as well as all of us, have the hope of the circular nature of history and the Lord returning to His people, saying, יב וֵאלֹהִים מַלְכִּי מִקֶּדֶם פֹּעֵל יְשׁוּעוֹת בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ: 74:12 Yet God is my king from of old, Who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth. (NASB) Note how Asaph says the Lord God his King is from “ancient times” (מִקֶּדֶם), He is everlasting and He “works salvations” (poel yeshuot, פֹּעֵל יְשׁוּעוֹת) in the midst of the earth (בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ). Asaph says “salvations” (יְשׁוּעוֹת) writing in the plural form suggesting the Lord’s salvations are many. The Lord is continually working in the lives of His people for a present day salvation which leads to the hopeful expectation of salvation at a future time, hence Asaph’s declaration of his faith in the Lord who is the miracle worker. He is continually protecting his people, saving them from their enemies, delivering them out of their afflictions, and from their temptations to sin. Asaph changes his mode of writing to be an encouragement for the people of God as he continues in the psalm saying the following:

Masoretic Text

Tehillim / Psalms 74:13-21

74:13 You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters. 74:14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; You gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. 74:15 You broke open springs and torrents; You dried up ever-flowing streams. 74:16 Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun. 74:17 You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter. 74:18 Remember this, O Lord, that the enemy has reviled, And a foolish people has spurned Your name. 74:19 Do not deliver the soul of Your turtledove to the wild beast; Do not forget the life of Your afflicted forever. 74:20 Consider the covenant; For the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence. 74:21 Let not the oppressed return dishonored; Let the afflicted and needy praise Your name. (NASB)

יג אַתָּה פוֹרַרְתָּ בְעָזְּךָ יָם שִׁבַּרְתָּ רָאשֵׁי תַנִּינִים עַל-הַמָּיִם: יד אַתָּה רִצַּצְתָּ רָאשֵׁי לִוְיָתָן תִּתְּנֶנּוּ מַאֲכָל לְעַם לְצִיִּים: טו אַתָּה בָקַעְתָּ מַעְיָן וָנָחַל אַתָּה הוֹבַשְׁתָּ נַהֲרוֹת אֵיתָן: טז לְךָ יוֹם אַף-לְךָ לָיְלָה אַתָּה הֲכִינוֹתָ מָאוֹר וָשָׁמֶשׁ: יז אַתָּה הִצַּבְתָּ כָּל-גְּבוּלוֹת אָרֶץ קַיִץ וָחֹרֶף אַתָּה יְצַרְתָּם: יח זְכָר-זֹאת אוֹיֵב חֵרֵף | יְהֹוָה וְעַם-נָבָל נִאֲצוּ שְׁמֶךָ: יט אַל-תִּתֵּן לְחַיַּת נֶפֶשׁ תּוֹרֶךָ חַיַּת עֲנִיֶּיךָ אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח לָנֶצַח: כ הַבֵּט-לַבְּרִית כִּי-מָלְאוּ מַחֲשַׁכֵּי-אֶרֶץ נְאוֹת חָמָס: כא אַל-יָשֹׁב דַּךְ נִכְלָם עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן יְהַלְלוּ שְׁמֶךָ:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 74:13-21

74:13 You cut off the waters of the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the sea serpents, and drowned the Egyptians at the sea. 74:14 You shattered the heads of Pharaoh’s warriors; you handed them over for destruction to the people of the house of Israel, and their corpses to jackals. 74:15 You split the spring from the rock and it became a stream; you dried up the ford of the streams of the Arnon and the ford of the Jabbok and the Jordan, which were so powerful. 74:16 Yours is the day-time, yours, too, is the night; you have made firm the moon and sun. 74:17 You set up all the boundaries of the earth; summer and winter, you created them. 74:18 Remember this, the enemy, slanderer of the Lord, and the foolish people who have rejected your name. 74:19 Do not deliver the souls of those who teach your Torah to the Gentiles, who are likened to beasts of the field; do not forget the lives of your poor forever. 74:20 Look at the covenant that you made with our fathers, for their children are finished off; darkness is spread over the land, and fraud, and violence. 74:21 The pauper will not return ashamed; the poor and lowly will praise your name. (EMC)

יג אנת את גזרתה בעושנך מוי דימא אנת את תברתא רישי תניניא ושניקתא מצראי על ימא׃ יד אנת את תרעתא רישי גיברי פרעה יהבתינון לגמרא לעם בית ישראל וגושמיהון לירורי׃ טו אנת את בזעתא מעיינא מן כיפא והוי לנחלא אנת יבישתא מגיזת נחלי ארנונא ומגיזת יובקא ויורדנא דהון תקיפין׃ טז דילך יממא לחוד דילך ליליא את אתקינתא סיהרא ושמשא׃ יז את אקימתא כל תחומא תהומיא דארעא קיטא וסיתוא אנת ברתנון׃ יח אדכר דא בעיל דבבא מגדף יהוה ועמא טפשא דרחיקו שמך׃ יט לא תמסור לעמיא לעממיא דמתילין לחיות ברא נפשת מאלפי אוריתך חייהון דענייך לא תיתנשי תינשי לעלמין׃ כ אסתכל לקיימא דגזרתא לאבהתן ארום איתמליאו בניהון חשוכא פריס על ארעא ואונא ויתא ואונסא וחטופין׃ כא לא יתוב מסכן מכסיף עניא וחשוכא ישבחון שמך׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 74:13-21

74:13 Thou didst establish the sea, in thy might, thou didst break to pieces the heads of the dragons in the water. 74:14 Thou didst break to pieces the heads of the dragon; thou didst give him for meat to the Ethiopian nations. 74:15 Thou didst cleave fountains and torrents; thou driedst up mighty rivers. 74:16 The day is thine, and the night is thine; thou hast prepared the sun and the moon. 74:17 Thou hast made all the borders of the earth; thou hast made summer and spring. 74:18 Remember this thy creation: an enemy has reproached the Lord, and a foolish people has provoked thy name. 74:19 Deliver not to the wild beasts a soul that gives praise to thee: forget not for ever the souls of thy poor. 74:20 Look upon thy covenant: for the dark places of the earth are filled with the habitations of iniquity. 74:21 let not the afflicted and shamed one be rejected: the poor and needy shall praise thy name. (LXX)

74:13 σὺ ἐκραταίωσας ἐν τῇ δυνάμει σου τὴν θάλασσαν σὺ συνέτριψας τὰς κεφαλὰς τῶν δρακόντων ἐπὶ τοῦ ὕδατος 74:14 σὺ συνέθλασας τὰς κεφαλὰς τοῦ δράκοντος ἔδωκας αὐτὸν βρῶμα λαοῖς τοῖς Αἰθίοψιν 74:15 σὺ διέρρηξας πηγὰς καὶ χειμάρρους σὺ ἐξήρανας ποταμοὺς Ηθαμ 74:16 σή ἐστιν ἡ ἡμέρα καὶ σή ἐστιν ἡ νύξ σὺ κατηρτίσω φαῦσιν καὶ ἥλιον 74:17 σὺ ἐποίησας πάντα τὰ ὅρια τῆς γῆς θέρος καὶ ἔαρ σὺ ἔπλασας αὐτά 74:18 μνήσθητι ταύτης ἐχθρὸς ὠνείδισεν τὸν κύριον καὶ λαὸς ἄφρων παρώξυνεν τὸ ὄνομά σου 74:19 μὴ παραδῷς τοῖς θηρίοις ψυχὴν ἐξομολογουμένην σοι τῶν ψυχῶν τῶν πενήτων σου μὴ ἐπιλάθῃ εἰς τέλος 74:20 ἐπίβλεψον εἰς τὴν διαθήκην σου ὅτι ἐπληρώθησαν οἱ ἐσκοτισμένοι τῆς γῆς οἴκων ἀνομιῶν 74:21 μὴ ἀποστραφήτω τεταπεινωμένος κατῃσχυμμένος πτωχὸς καὶ πένης αἰνέσουσιν τὸ ὄνομά σου

Asaph remembers the power of God to deliver His people by calling upon the Torah in remembrance. One of the most important reasons to study the Torah and the rest of the Tanach is to remember how the Lord has worked in the past to save His people, and He will work in the same way for us today and in times to come. The Tanach is not simply a history book as some would suggest. From Genesis to Revelation, all of Scripture has application for our lives today, not only in how we live our lives but also in the act of remembering as David and Asaph have done throughout the Psalms. Asaph remembers the dividing of the sea (74:13), subduing the great creatures of the sea (74:14), and the great world wide flood (74:15), and describes the power of God to establish the day and the night, the sun and the moon, he proclaims the Lord is in control of all things (74:16), all of these things are drawn into contrast to the enemy who is small compared to these things (74:17-18). The Rabbis translate the MT in the Aramaic Targum to say that the Lord delivered the enemy, the heads of the Egyptians to the people of Israel. He asks the Lord not to deliver the helpless to the beast (74:19) and to consider the covenant (74:20) and do not let the oppressed be dishonored (74:21). The rabbis translate his words in Tehillim / Psalms 74:19-20 to say, 74:19 Do not deliver the souls of those who teach your Torah to the Gentiles, who are likened to beasts of the field; do not forget the lives of your poor forever. 74:20 Look at the covenant that you made with our fathers, for their children are finished off; darkness is spread over the land, and fraud, and violence. (EMC) It is interesting to note how the MT is translated to not forget the life of the afflicted, and add “those who teach the Torah to the Gentiles.” Did the rabbis teach the Torah to the Gentiles? It is interesting to note a story in the Talmud Bavli Shabbat 31a-b which suggests the Gentiles were also actively participating in the study of Torah. The Talmud Bavli Shabbat 31a-b states the following:

Talmud Bavli Shabbat 31a-b

(1) Our Rabbis taught: A certain Gentile once came before Shammai and asked him, “How many Torahs do you have?”’ “Two,” he replied: “the Written Torah and the Oral Torah.” I believe you with respect to the Written, but not with respect to the Oral Torah; make me a convert on condition that you teach me the Written Torah [only]. [But] he scolded and repulsed him in anger. When he went before Hillel, he accepted him as a convert. On the first day, he taught him, Alef, beth, gimmel, daleth; the following day he reversed [the letters] for him. “But yesterday you did not teach them to me thus,” he protested. “Must you then not rely upon me? Then rely upon me with respect to the Oral [Torah] too.”

(2) On another occasion it happened that a certain Gentile came before Shammai and said to him, “Make me a convert, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.” Thereupon he repulsed him with the builder’s cubit which was in his hand. When he went before Hillel, he said to him, “What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is its commentary; go and learn it.”

(3) On another occasion it happened that a certain Gentile was passing behind a house of study, when he heard the voice of a teacher reciting, “And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod.” Said he, “For whom are these?” “For the High Priest,” he was told. Then said that Gentile to himself, “I will go and become a convert, that I may be appointed a High Priest.” So he went before Shammai and said to him, “Make me a convert on condition that you appoint me a High Priest.” But he repulsed him with the builder’s cubit which was in his hand. He then went before Hillel, who made him a convert. He said to him, “Can any man be made a king but he who knows the arts of government? Go and study the arts of government!” He went and read. When he came to, “and the stranger that approaches [the Tabernacle, where the High Priest served] shall be put to death,” he asked him, “To whom does this verse apply?” “Even to David, King of Israel,” was the answer. Thereupon that convert reasoned within himself from the lesser to the greater: If of Israel, who are called sons of the Omnipresent—and who in His love for them He designated them, “Israel is my son, my firstborn”—it is written, “and the stranger that approaches shall be put to death,” how much more so a mere convert, who comes with his staff and wallet! Then he went before Shammai and said to him. “Am I then eligible to be a High Priest; is it not written in the Torah, “and the stranger that approaches shall be put to death?” He went before Hillel and said to him, “O gentle Hillel; blessings rest on your head for bringing me under the wings of the Divine Presence!”

Sometime later the three met in one place. They said, Shammai’s impatience sought to drive us from the world, but Hillel’s gentleness brought us under the wings of the Divine Presence.

According to the Talmud, Gentiles were coming to the Sages to study and to learn. Some rabbis turned them away, while others accepted the responsibility to teach them the Torah and Mishnah, however, the Gentile would only accept the written Torah and not the Oral Torah. It is interesting today the Gentiles are doing the same but adding to their condition by also rejecting the written Torah as well. In the three examples given in the Talmud, Hillel wins over the Gentile by his kindness and gentle words. Hillel was willing to help instruct the Gentile to understand the Torah so that he then in turn could understand the questions he had and come to the answer and conclusions for himself. In a similar manner, we should go with gentleness of spirit, and present the Gospel message with gentleness, which includes the Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim (Tanach) because the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings speak of Yeshua the Messiah! (see Paul’s introductory words in Romans 1)

Asaph concludes saying, כב קוּמָה אֱלֹהִים רִיבָה רִיבֶךָ זְכֹר חֶרְפָּתְךָ מִנִּי-נָבָל כָּל-הַיּוֹם: כג אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח קוֹל צֹרְרֶיךָ שְׁאוֹן קָמֶיךָ עֹלֶה תָמִיד: 74:22 Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause; Remember how the foolish man reproaches You all day long. 74:23 Do not forget the voice of Your adversaries, The uproar of those who rise against You which ascends continually. (NASB) Asaph asks for the Lord to plead His own cause. Does this statement suggest that Asaph is bringing the Lord God to court to hear His case against him that has caused all of these troubles? The Aramaic Targum and the Septuagint translate Asaph’s words to say the following:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 74:22-23

74:22 Arise, O God; argue your case; call to mind the disgrace of your people because of foolish counsel all the day. 74:23 Do not forget the voice of your oppressors, the turmoil, always mounting, of those who stand against you. (EMC)

כב קום אלהא נצי מצותך אידכר קלנא דעמך מן מלכא טפשא כל יומא׃ כג לא תתנשי תינשי קל מעיקייך איתרגושת דקיימין לקיבלך דסלקא תדירא׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 74:22-23

74:22 Arise, O God, plead thy cause: remember thy reproaches that come from the foolish one all the day. 74:23 Forget not the voice of thy suppliants: let the pride of them that hate thee continually ascend before thee. (LXX)

74:22 άστα ὁ θεός δίκασον τὴν δίκην σου μνήσθητι τῶν ὀνειδισμῶν σου τῶν ὑπὸ ἄφρονος ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν 74:23 μὴ ἐπιλάθῃ τῆς φωνῆς τῶν ἱκετῶν σου ἡ ὑπερηφανία τῶν μισούντων σε ἀνέβη διὰ παντὸς πρὸς σέ

The Rabbis speak of arguing one’s case before a counsel and to remember the disgrace of the people because of the foolish counsel they received all day long. Asaph asks the Lord to not forget the voice of the adversaries in the MT, not to forget the voice of the oppressors in the Targum, and not to forget the voice of thy suppliants (supplicant, petitioner, one who earnestly requests) in the Septuagint. The Septuagint switches from the voice of the oppressor or adversary, to the one who is seeking the help of the Lord to deliver him from his enemies. In the MT, Asaph says Remember how the foolish man reproaches You all day long. (74:22, NASB) He appears to be speaking of the oppressor or adversary actually praying to the Lord. Here we see the Lord actually does hear the prayer of the unrighteous person, but He will not act upon the prayer in a positive manner, but rather in a manner in which to save the people he is oppressing. The idea is that the unrighteous person seeks the Lord in prayer based upon his foolishness, if he is not seeking the Lord for help to turn from his sinful ways and turn to the way of the Lord, walking in righteousness, justice, and truth. David in Tehillim / Psalms 1 spoke of walking, standing, and sitting in the counsel of the wicked. The unrighteous man is restless, always seeking wealth, and has the desire for controlling others, and has ungoverned passions, all of which influence the man’s prayer life. Rather than praying for others, one prays only for himself, and as Asaph states, the foolish reproach the Lord continually. Another interpretation may be that the actions of the unrighteous man go up, “ascend to heaven” (74:23, Septuagint), the Lord is always aware of our actions. Like in the case of Cain and Abel, He said, י וַיֹּאמֶר מֶה עָשִֹיתָ קוֹל דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ צֹעֲקִים אֵלַי מִן-הָאֲדָמָה: 4:10 “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. (NASB) Here we find the concept of the creation crying out (Luke 19:28-40 and Romans 8:19-27) as is mentioned in the Apostolic Writings. The point is to seek the Lord God our Father in heaven in prayer with pure intentions. It is then that He will hear our prayers meaning that He will answer them according to our desire. The circular-ism of time is a reference to our repetitive actions, falling into sin, repenting, turning from sin, and seeking the Lord God in heaven and His Messiah Yeshua for forgiveness of sins. All in all, the Lord answers prayer based upon this pattern as we have seen through history according to the Scriptures. The Lord answers prayer according to righteousness, justice, and truth, and so we should keep in mind the importance of these things, to seek the Lord with a repentant heart, humble, and with pure intentions, and only then will we have our prayers answered! Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 74 has 3 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, and 3. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 74, Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 74, Part 1, 2, and 3

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “Maschil of Asaph. O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the flock of Your pasture? Remember Your congregation which You made Your own of old (Tehillim / Psalms 74:1-2).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, Remember me, and think of me, and avenge me of my persecutors; do not take me away in Your long suffering (Jeremiah 15:15).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon Asaph’s words of the smoke of the Lord by contrasting the Lord who is long suffering for His people.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying that the Lord is long suffering, however at this present time they see the Lord smoking angry with Israel.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “What does the phrase of old prove? That before he world was created, Holy One blessed be He, had made the children of Israel His own, as is said Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world (Tehillim / Psalms 90:1-2).”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “Restore Your times which have long been desolate, ever since the enemy wrought destruction in the sanctuary (Tehillim / Psalms 74:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Restore Your times, the times of those pilgrimages which You commanded us, saying, Three times in a year will all your males appear before the Lord your God in the place which He will choose (Devarim / Deuteronomy 16:16).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon Asaph’s words and suggest to the Lord based upon the commands, and how He seeks for Israel to make the three pilgrimage trips to Jerusalem, the desolation of the people, the land, and Jerusalem make His word unable to be fulfilled.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal with examples of the sins and the abominations the people practiced before the Lord and the reason for the present desolation.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “ And so the generation of confusion set a precedent for them. And mark what they did. As the Psalm says, Now they break down the carved work thereof with hatchet and hammers (Tehillim / Psalms 74:6). They sought to break a way to heaven and could not; therefore, they made war against You or earth.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “They have cast fire into Your sanctuary, they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name on earth (Tehillim / Psalms 74:7).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Your dwelling place is in heaven, and Your dwelling place is also on earth.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon Asaph’s words to say that the reason for the desolation is because the enemy could not attack the Lord God in heaven, so they attached His people on earth.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying the remembrance of the Torah command would have prevented all of this.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Hence, if You will not act for our sake, act for the sake of Your great name which is reproached and blasphemed in the world, as it is said, O God, how long will the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever? (Tehillim / Psalms 74:10).”

Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “A Maschil of Asaph. O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the flock of Your pasture? Remember Your congregation which You made Your own of old (Tehillim / Psalms 74:1-2).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, Remember me, and think of me, and avenge me of my persecutors; do not take me away in Your long suffering (Jeremiah 15:15). The rabbis open on Tehillim / Psalms 74:1 and compare Asaph’s words to Jeremiah the prophet. The prophet Jeremiah lived during the most crucial period of Judah’s existence as a kingdom just prior to the Babylonian exile. He saw the destruction of Jerusalem and the holy Temple, after he had consistently warned his people to repent (perform Teshuvah) of their ways before it was too late. And when the catastrophe finally overwhelmed his people, he lamented Israel’s terrible fate. Remembering Israel’s earliest history as a nation, the people, full of faith, had followed Moshe into the desert. Jeremiah pictures Israel’s loyalty to the Lord God as that of a newly-wedded bride to her husband, and wonders what has happened to his people that they have turned away from the Lord. Jeremiah says the following in Jeremiah 15:10-16.

Jeremiah 15:10-16

15:10 Woe to me, my mother, that you have borne me As a man of strife and a man of contention to all the land! I have not lent, nor have men lent money to me, Yet everyone curses me. 15:11 The Lord said, ‘Surely I will set you free for purposes of good; Surely I will cause the enemy to make supplication to you In a time of disaster and a time of distress. 15:12 ‘Can anyone smash iron, Iron from the north, or bronze? 15:13 ‘Your wealth and your treasures I will give for booty without cost, Even for all your sins And within all your borders. 15:14 ‘Then I will cause your enemies to bring it Into a land you do not know; For a fire has been kindled in My anger, It will burn upon you.’ 15:15 You who know, O Lord, Remember me, take notice of me, And take vengeance for me on my persecutors. Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away; Know that for Your sake I endure reproach. 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts. (NASB)

Jeremiah laments the day of his birth, and comments that everyone curses him though he does not owe anyone any debt. He speaks of the people’s sins and of a fire kindled in the north (Babylon) by reason of their sins. The rabbis quote from Jeremiah 15:15 You who know, O Lord, Remember me, take notice of me, And take vengeance for me on my persecutors. Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away; Know that for Your sake I endure reproach. (NASB) The prophet speaks of the Lord’s anger burning because of their sins. The question is, does the Lord’s anger burn because of our sins today? What about those who are in the Messiah Yeshua? Does the Lord’s anger burn against those who are in the Messiah? A comparison of the Tanach with the Apostolic Writings provides us with the following list of Scriptures and certain characteristics of the Messiah.

Characteristics of the Messiah

The Messiah would be the messenger of the new covenant.

Malachi 3:1

Luke 4:43

The Messiah would be the new covenant.

Isaiah 42:6

Matthew 26:28

The Messiah would be the new covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31

Matthew 26:28

The Messiah would come to make an end to sins.

Daniel 9:24

Galatians 1:3-5

The Messiah would provide freedom from the bondage of sin and death.

Isaiah 61:1-2

John 8:31-32

The Messiah would proclaim peace and good tidings to the poor.

Isaiah 61:1-2

John 5:24

The Messiah would die for the sins of the world.

Isaiah 53:8

1 John 2:2

The Messiah would die for the sins of the world.

Daniel 9:26

Hebrews 2:9

The Messiah would give up his life to save mankind.

Isaiah 53:12

Luke 23:46

The Messiah would be as a sacrificial lamb.

Isaiah 53:7

John 1:29

The Messiah would be an offering for sin.

Isaiah 53:10

Matthew 20:28

The Messiah’s offering of himself is modeled after the sacrifices.

Psalm 40:6-8

Hebrews 10:10-13

The Messiah’s blood would be shed to make atonement.

Isaiah 52:15

Revelation 1:5

The Messiah would be the sin-bearer based upon the priesthood.

Isaiah 53:6

Galatians 1:4

The Messiah would be our sin-bearer.

Isaiah 53:11

Hebrews 9:28

The Messiah would be the sin-bearer for the purpose of atonement.

Isaiah 53:12

2 Corinthians 5:21

The Messiah would bear and carry upon himself the sins of the world.

Isaiah 53:4

1 Peter 2:24

The Messiah would bear the penalty for man’s transgressions.

Isaiah 53:5

Luke 23:33

The Messiah’s sacrifice would provide peace between man and God.

Isaiah 53:5

Colossians 1:20

The righteousness of the Messiah would be placed upon man.

Isaiah 53:11

Romans 5:8-9

The Messiah would be the intercessor between man and God like Moshe.

Isaiah 59:15-16

Matthew 10:32-33

The Messiah would intercede before God like Moshe.

Isaiah 53:12

Luke 23:34

The Messiah’s atonement would enable believers to be his brethren.

Psalm 22:22

Hebrews 2:10-12

The Messiah would come to provide salvation in both this present age and in the world to come.

Isaiah 59:15-16

John 6:40

The Messiah would bring God’s salvation with him.

Zechariah 9:9

Luke 19:10

The Messiah would have a ministry to the “poor,” the believing remnant.

Zechariah 11:7

Matthew 9:35-36

The Messiah would offer salvation to all mankind (all nations).

Joel 2:32

Romans 10:12-13

The Messiah would come to bring Israel back to God.

Isaiah 49:5

Matthew 15:24

The Messiah would come to Zion as their Redeemer.

Isaiah 59:20

Luke 2:38

Those who refused to listen to the Messiah would be judged and condemned.

Deuteronomy 18:15-19

John 12:48-50

The Messiah would reject those who did not believe in him.

Psalm 2:12

John 3:36

As we have been studying in Tehillim / Psalms 68-73, the King Messiah would come as the one who brings with him the righteousness of God, along with His justice, and judgments, and would be the one who would guide and lead the people to the Lord our Father in heaven. The topic of Asaph in the midrash saying, “O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the flock of Your pasture? Remember Your congregation which You made Your own of old (Tehillim / Psalms 74:1-2)” and the rabbis stating, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, Remember me, and think of me, and avenge me of my persecutors; do not take me away in Your long suffering (Jeremiah 15:15), causes us to ask the question of the Lord’s anger burning against us today in the Messiah? This question is not related to what the Messiah has done for us with regard to this list of Scriptures, His providing Salvation for man in his blood, etc. This question is about us, and the one who remains in sin while thinking he is remaining in the Messiah. The author of the book of Hebrews states,

Hebrews 10:26-29

10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 10:27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 10:28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 10:29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (NASB)

The point is to continually seek the Lord God in the Messiah Yeshua to overcome sin, and to draw near to our Father in heaven. The author of Hebrews says “Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moshe dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” Have you set aside the Law of Moses under the idea that it has passed away? The rabbis say in Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 1 the following:

You are long suffering, as is said, You, O Lord are long suffering (Tehillim / Psalms 86:15), while we that are born of woman are short of patience, as is said, Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of anger (Job 14:1). But if You let us suffer too long, nothing will be left of us, and we will die. So too, Asaph said, O God, why have You cast us off forever? And he continued, Why does the smoke of Your anger rise up even now about Your presence? Why does Your angel burn against the flock of Your pasture? That is, Why do You hide Your face from me like a man that hides his face from the smoke? And again Asaph asked, How long will You burn against the prayer of Your people (Tehillim / Psalms 80:5), Your people, that is, the sheep of Your pasture whom You have forgotten? Remember Your congregation, which You made Your own of old (Tehillim / Psalms 74:2). (Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 1)

The rabbis reiterate the word of the Lord that proclaimed the Lord to be long suffering and faithful to His people. In the statements from the Psalms, the rabbis interpret Asaph’s words to say that the Lord is long suffering and according to the midrash he is also long suffering in the sense of Israel’s suffering. Man who is born has short patience and is full of anger. To suffering for a long time will cause one to loose hope and die, thus the point may be to not loose hope because the Lord is suffering with His people too.

The midrash returns to Asaph’s words asking the Lord to not cast us off forever and states, “Remember Your congregation, which You made Your own of old (Tehillim / Psalms 74:2).” Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 1 concludes saying, “What does the phrase of old prove? That before he world was created, Holy One blessed be He, had made the children of Israel His own, as is said Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world (Tehillim / Psalms 90:1-2).” The statement “You have made Your own of old” has the meaning that the Lord had created the world, and made the children of Israel his own and suggesting that the Lord had decided this even before the creation. This is consistent with Midrash Rabbah Bereshit 1, Part 4 on the creation account in the Torah, which states the following:

Midrash Rabbah Bereshit 1, Part 4

“In the beginning of God’s creating…” – Six things preceded the creation of the world; some of them were created and some of them were decided to be created. The Torah and the Throne of Glory were created. How do we know the Torah was? As it says (Proverbs 8:22): “God made me at the beginning of his way.” How do we know the Throne of Glory was? As it says (Psalms 93:2): “Your throne is established as of old etc.” The Patriarchs, Israel, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah were decided to be created. How do we know the Patriarchs were? As it says (Hosea 9:10): “Like grapes in the wilderness etc.” How do we know Israel was? As it says (Psalms 74:2): “Remember your congregation, whom you purchased from old.” How do we know the Temple was? As it says (Jeremiah 17:12): “Your throne of glory, on high from the beginning etc.” How do we know the name of the Messiah was? As it says (Psalms 72:17): “May his name exist forever etc. [his name shall be Yinnon as long as the sun].” Rabbi Ahavah said in the name of Rabbi Ze’ira: Even repentance was, as it says (Psalms 90:2): “Before the mountains were birthed,” and at the same time (Psalms 90:3), “You turned man to contrition etc.” However, I do not know which was first–if the Torah preceded the Throne of Glory or the Throne of Glory preceded the Torah. Rabbi Abba Bar Cahana said: The Torah preceded the Throne of Glory, as it says (Proverbs 8:22): “God made me at the beginning of his way, the first of his works of old.” This is before that of which it is written (Psalms 93:2): “Your throne is established as of old.” Rabbi Hunna and Rabbi Yirmiyah in the name of Rabbi Shmuel the son of Rabbi Yitzchak said: The thought of Israel was before everything. This is like a king who was married to a woman and did not have a son. One time the king was in the market and said: “Take this ink and pen for my son.” They said: “He does not have a son.” He replied: “Take them; the king must expect a son, because otherwise he would not command that the ink and pen be taken.” Similarly, if there was no expectation of Israel receiving it after 26 generations, God would not have written in the Torah: “Command the children of Israel” or “Speak to the children of Israel.” Rabbi Bannai said: The world and its contents were only created in the merit of the Torah, as it says (Proverbs 3:19): “God founded the world with wisdom etc.” Rabbi Berachiyah said: In the merit of Moses, as it says (Deuteronomy 33:21): “He saw a first part for himself.” Rabbi Hunna said in the name of Rabbi Matanah: The world was created in the merit of three things–challah, tithes, and first fruits. The verse “In the beginning God created” refers to challah, as it says (Numbers 15:20): “The beginning of your doughs.” It also refers to tithes, as it says (Deuteronomy 18:4): “The beginning of your grains.” It also refers to first fruits, as it says (Exodus 23:19): “The beginning of the fruits of the land.” בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים” ששה דברים קדמו לבריאת העולם יש מהן שנבראו ויש מהן שעלו במחשבה להבראות. התורה והכסא הכבוד נבראו תורה מנין שנאמר (משלי ח, כב): “ה’ קנני ראשית דרכו” כסא הכבוד מנין דכתיב (תהלים צג, ב): “נכון כסאך מאז וגו’”. האבות וישראל ובית המקדש ושמו של משיח, עלו במחשבה להבראות האבות מנין שנאמר (הושע ט, י): “כענבים במדבר וגו’” ישראל מנין שנאמר (תהלים עד, ב): “זכור עדתך קנית קדם” בית המקדש מנין שנאמר (ירמיה יז, יב): “כסא כבוד מרום מראשון וגו’” שמו של משיח מנין שנאמר (תהלים עב, יז): “יהי שמו לעולם וגו’ [לפני שמש ינון שמו]” רבי אהבה ברבי זעירא אמר אף התשובה שנאמר (שם צ, ב) “בטרם הרים יולדו” ואותה השעה (שם, ג) “תשב אנוש עד דכא וגו’” אבל איני יודע איזה מהם קודם אם התורה קדמה לכסא הכבוד ואם כסא הכבוד קודם לתורה א”ר אבא בר כהנא התורה קדמה לכסא הכבוד שנאמר “ה’ קנני ראשית דרכו [קדם מפעלו מאז]” קודם לאותו שכתוב בו “נכון כסאך “מאז””. ר’ הונא ור’ ירמיה בשם רבי שמואל בר ר’ יצחק אמרו מחשבתן של ישראל קדמה לכל דבר משל למלך שהיה נשוי למטרונה אחת ולא היה לו ממנה בן פעם אחת נמצא המלך עובר בשוק אמר טלו מילנין וקלמין זו לבני והיו הכל אומרין בן אין לו והוא אומר טלו מילנין וקלמין זו לבני והיו הכל אומרין בן אין לו והוא אומר טלו אלולי שצפה המלך שהוא עתיד להעמיד ממנה בן לא היה אומר טלו מילנין וקלמין לבני כך אילולי שצפה הקב”ה שאחר כ”ו דורות ישראל עתידין לקבל את התורה לא היה כותב בתורה צו את בני ישראל דבר אל בני ישראל א”ר בנאי העולם ומלואו לא נברא אלא בזכות התורה שנאמר (משלי ג, יט): “ה’ בחכמה יסד ארץ וגו’” רבי ברכיה אמר בזכות משה שנאמר (דברים לג,כא): “וירא ראשית לו”. ר’ הונא בשם ר’ מתנה אמר בזכות ג’ דברים נברא העולם בזכות חלה ובזכות מעשרות ובזכות בכורים ומה טעם “בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים” ואין ראשית אלא חלה שנאמר (במדבר טו, כ): “רֵאשִׁית עֲרִסֹתֵכֶם” ואין ראשית אלא מעשרות היך דאת אמר (דברים יח, ד): “ראשית דגנך” ואין ראשית אלא בכורים שנאמר (שמות כג, יט): “ראשית בכורי אדמתך וגו’”:

The rabbis believe that there were 6 things that preceded the creation, (i) the Torah, (ii) the throne of glory, (iii) the Patriarchs, (iv) Israel, (v) the Temple, and (vi) the name of the Messiah. The idea is that Israel was decided upon is by reason of the Scriptures from Tehillim / Psalms 74:2 which states, “Remember your congregation, whom you purchased from old.” A parable is given to describe the choosing of Israel saying that a king took a pen and ink for his son, though he did not have a son, he had an expectation of a future son. In a similar manner, “if there was no expectation of Israel receiving it after 26 generations, God would not have written in the Torah: “Command the children of Israel” or “Speak to the children of Israel.” So the concepts here that are being presented from Midrash Tehillim and Midrash Rabbah Bereshit, is the Lord has a plan for our lives, and He had decided this plan even from the beginning, from before the creation, He had decided who you were going to be and how He was going to work in your life for His glory. Know that as you live for our Father in heaven, and believing in the name of the Messiah Yeshua, and in Yeshua himself, all of these things have been determined from before the creation. This is not an argument for Calvinism (predestination). Take Solomon as an example, he ended very poorly, marrying to many wives who led him astray into idolatry, building idol gods, and worshiping at the foot of idols. The point is that we have the assurance that the Lord God has determined the manner in which we are to live, which is to live according to His Torah, by faith, love, mercy, peace, gentleness, humbleness, and truth. He has called us and drawn us near. The Law was given for the purpose of our living by God’s Word for His glory. And it is only by the power of God (the power of His Spirit) in our lives that enable us to live for Him.

Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “Restore Your times which have long been desolate, ever since the enemy wrought destruction in the sanctuary (Tehillim / Psalms 74:3).” The פתיחתא (Petihta), the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Restore Your times, the times of those pilgrimages which You commanded us, saying, Three times in a year will all your males appear before the Lord your God in the place which He will choose (Devarim / Deuteronomy 16:16). It is interesting that Tehillim / Psalms 74:3 actually states the following, ג הָרִימָה פְעָמֶיךָ לְמַשֻּׁאוֹת נֶצַח כָּל-הֵרַע אוֹיֵב בַּקֹּדֶשׁ: 74:3 Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; The enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, ג ארים הרם אסתורך למשווח אומיא לעלמין דבכל חיליה אבאיש בעיל דבבא בקודשא׃ 74:3 Lift up your footsteps to dissolve the nations forever, for the enemy with all his strength has done harm in the holy place. (EMC) However, the midrash translate this in another way to say, “Restore Your times which have long been desolate, ever since the enemy wrought destruction in the sanctuary.” The restoration of the Temple, is paralleled to the restoration of the covenant, and the restoration of the appointed times, the Moedim (מוֹעֲדִים) which were given to be a reminder of the greatness of God, His deliverance and salvation for His people. The moedim are times of memorial, of joy, and of remembering the mighty deliverance and salvation of God.

Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 2 continues saying the following:

Behold now how Your three times have been made desolate. Your adversaries made a roaring noise in the midst of Your Temple (Tehillim / Psalms 74:4). Rabbi Joshua son of Levi quoted, A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the Temple (Isaiah 66:6) that is, the destroyed Temple lifted its voice in menace of Your adversaries. And what was its menace? Hear the voice of the Lord that renders recompense to His enemies. They read the signs of their divinations (Tehillim / Psalms 74:4) and declared, on such and such a day, we will conquer Jerusalem. They read signs in the flight of arrows, for when they shot an arrow to the north, it flow to the south (Towards Jerusalem), as is said, For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, to use divination, he shot his arrows, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver (Ezekiel 21:26). And every divination they tried augured that they would prosper. Hence, it is said, They read the signs of their divinations. Nevertheless, the enemies felt no gratitude toward God, for they said, Our high hand, and not the Lord, has done all this (Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:27). Indeed, could they have broken into the heavens and risen against God on high, they would have done so. As the Psalm says, It seemed as if they were wielding axes at the top of the thickest of trees (Tehillim / Psalms 74:5) that is, as though they were breaking a way to the very top of heaven. (Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 2)

The rabbis interpret Asaph’s words to be calling upon the Lord to restore the Moedim, where the ceasing of the Moedim is synonymous to the enemy roaring (shouting) in praise of themselves and their abilities to conquer Israel and destroy the Temple, which gives them the pride to even come against the Lord God in heaven. The midrash states that even the Temple cries out to the Lord to threaten the adversaries. The enemy is involved in divination, and by their divination they proclaim a time when they will conquer Jerusalem. The wicked nation uses divination reading the signs of arrows being shot and their direction to determine what they should do. In Parashat Ekev, we are told not to do as the nations do, practicing their divinations. Because of their divinations, they seek to know the future without having to rely upon the Lord God in heaven. And because of their divinations, they trust in themselves rather than in the Lord, and they do not give the credit to the Lord, the One who allowed them to conquer Israel because of her sins. The midrash states that their arrogance was so great that if they were able to break into heaven and attack the Lord they would have. The idea is that in the Temple, in the holy place and the holy of holies, the presence of God dwells. Their breaking in and destroying the Temple is synonymous to their showing their desire to destroy even God if they had the opportunity to do so. The interpretation of Tehillim / Psalms 74:5 It seems as if one had lifted up His axe in a forest of trees. (NASB) is taken to mean that they climbed to the top of the trees and swung their axes raising their hand and weapons of war against heaven.

The midrash continues saying the following:

Indeed, this was not the end of it. For they acted in just the way their ancestors had acted, who said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name (Bereshit / Genesis 11:4) that is, make us an idol. Name has this same sense in And make no mention of the name of other gods (Shemot / Exodus 23:13), and also in Then began men to call themselves by the name of the Lord (Bereshit / Genesis 4:26). Thus act the wicked who imagine a mischievous device which they are not able to perform (Tehillim / Psalms 21:12). (Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 2)

The ancestors of the enemy had acted in the same manner. In Parashat Shelach Lecha, Moshe Prays (Bamidbar / Numbers 14:17-20) saying the following:

Bamidbar / Numbers 14:17-20

14:17 ‘But now, I pray, let the power of the Lord be great, just as You have declared, 14:18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations. 14:19 ‘Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.’ 14:20 So the Lord said, ‘I have pardoned them according to your word; (NASB)

Note how the Torah states that the iniquity of the fathers will be passed on to the children to the third and fourth generations. This is what the midrash is saying concerning the wicked nations, that their ancestors had acted in the same manner. The ancestors that is being referenced is from Migdal Bavel (Bereshit / Genesis 11:4) to the tower and to the making of idols. The midrash then references Parashat Mishpatim to not make mention of the name of other Gods (Shemot / Exodus 23:13) and then that the people began to call upon the name of the Lord in Parashat Bereshit (Bereshit / Genesis 4:26). The flow of the midrash seems strange going from the wicked nation that seeks even to destroy the Lord God in heaven by reference to their destruction of His Temple in Jerusalem, to Migdal Bavel, and idolatry, to the commandment to not mention the name of other gods, and the people calling themselves by the name of the Lord and then saying “Thus act the wicked who imagine a mischievous device which they are not able to perform (Tehillim / Psalms 21:12).” The midrash may be suggesting the futility of the nations, and the power of God to change even the most wicked of men, even those who defiled and destroyed His Temple in Jerusalem. In Parashat Shelach Lecha, Moshe states “let the power of the Lord be great” and then calls upon the mercy and grace of God to forgive the iniquity of the people. The context of the Torah Portion is of the men who gave an evil report and attempted to discourage the people to cause them to disobey the command to enter and possess the Land. This resulted in sin and the Lord desired to destroy all of the people for their sins. Moshe sought the Lord in prayer to forgive their sins and the Lord forgave their sins according to Bamidbar / Numbers 14:20. This reveals to us the power of God to forgive if we seek Him for forgiveness in the name of the Messiah Yeshua.

Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 2 concludes saying, “ And so the generation of confusion set a precedent for them. And mark what they did. As the Psalm says, Now they break down the carved work thereof with hatchet and hammers (Tehillim / Psalms 74:6). They sought to break a way to heaven and could not; therefore, they made war against You or earth.” The destruction of the Temple is paralleled to the wicked desiring to break into heaven. The midrash speaks of the generation of confusion, because this generation does not know the Lord or the riches of knowing Him, His mercy, forgiveness, and grace. I believe there are small parallels to the “generation of confusion” in the believers who are members of the body of the Messiah today because of the lack of studying God’s Word and thus not knowing the riches of God’s mercy and grace. God’s mercy and grace is not coupled to lawlessness and anti-Torah theologies. The mercy and grace of God is found within the covenant relationship, and many do not understand the very covenant they say they have with our Father in heaven in the Messiah Yeshua.

Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “They have cast fire into Your sanctuary, they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name on earth (Tehillim / Psalms 74:7).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Your dwelling place is in heaven, and Your dwelling place is also on earth. The psalm of Asaph speaks of fire being cast into the sanctuary and the defiling of the holy place, the dwelling place of God. According to history, Antiochus set fire to the gates of the second temple, (1 Maccabees 4:28) and then afterward the Romans tore it down to the foundation, and left not one stone upon another. The temple of Solomon was burnt by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:9, 2 Chronicles 36:19). The Babylonian king destroyed the first temple, he desired to destroy both the temple and the people. We are told in Jeremiah, Babylon carried some away captive, and left others to cultivate the ground. In other instances in history, we read of the enemy burning up synagogues, and all the public places the Jews would meet together to worship God on every shabbat, as is mentioned Acts 13:27.

It is interesting how the rabbis say, “Your dwelling place is in heaven, and Your dwelling place is also on earth. Does the Lord have a place to dwell on earth? King Solomon said in 1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built! (NASB) Or what Isaiah says in Isaiah 66:1 This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? (NASB) The apostolic Writings reiterates these states from the Tanach in the following way:

Acts 7:49

Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? (NASB)

Acts 17:24

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. (NASB)

According to the Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3:16 he states, 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (NASB) Paul says that the Spirit of the Lord dwells in our hearts and in our bodies. The midrash continues saying, But because the enemies could not use their power against Your dwelling place in heaven, they used it against Your dwelling place on earth.” This indicates that because the Lord dwells in us, we will also be sought after to be destroyed by the enemy because the enemy seeks to destroy the Lord in heaven, and not being able to enter heaven, they choose to destroy His dwelling place on earth.

The rabbis continue in the midrash saying the following:

In their descendants all together, said (Tehillim / Psalms 74:8), whose descendants are meant? The descendants of the generation of confusion, all of whom together were following the design of their ancestors. And what did they say? The said, Come, and let us cut them from being a nation that the name of Israel may go no more in remembrance (Tehillim / Psalms 83:5). How is their God called? Is He not called the God of Israel? Therefore, if we root up Israel, the name of the God of Israel will be no more in remembrance. They have burned up all the meeting places of God on earth (Tehillim / Psalms 74:8), that is, burned up the places where God met the children of Israel for prayer that they might hallow His name and proclaim Him Sovereign over them. (Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 3)

The rabbis speak of those who are involved in the destruction of the Temple of God as being the descendants of the “generation of confusion” who following in the design of their ancestors. What does that mean to following in the design of their ancestors, and what is the meaning of the generation of confusion? The Talmud Bavli Berekhot 17a sheds some light upon this question. The Talmud says “Mar b. Kabina used to add at the conclusion of his prayer” the following:

Talmud Bavli Berakhot 17a

O my God, before I was formed I was nothing worth, and now that I have been formed I am but as though I had not been formed. Dust am I in my life ; how much more so in my death. Behold I am before Thee like a vessel filled with shame and confusion. O may it be Thy will, O Lord my God, that I may sin no more; and as to the sins I have committed, purge them away in Thine abounding compassion though not by means of affliction and sore diseases. אלהי עד שלא נוצרתי איני כדאי ועכשיו שנוצרתי כאלו לא נוצרתי עפר אני בחיי ק”ו במיתתי הרי אני לפניך ככלי מלא בושה וכלימה יהי רצון מלפניך ה’ אלהי שלא אחטא עוד ומה שחטאתי לפניך מרק ברחמיך הרבים אבל לא ע”י יסורין וחלאים רעים

The Talmud states that Mar b. Kabina says that he is ככלי מלא בושה וכלימה “like a vessel full of shame and shamefacedness, disgrace.” The Shamefulness and disgrace, is translated as “confusion.” As we had studied previously in the psalms, shame is equated to sin. Here Mar b. Kabina states in his prayer that he is full of sin, and asks the Lord to help him to not sin any longer, to purge him of his sins according to the Lord’s compassion and not by the means of affliction and sore diseases. The point is that the “generation of confusion” is the generation of “shamefacedness and disgrace,” those who follow in the design of their ancestors are doing according to what they had learned from their parents. The midrash states that the nations asked the name of God, and said that God is known by phrase, “the God of Israel” and the conclusion is to destroy Israel is to destroy the name of God and to cause men to not bring to remembrance the name or the Lord in heaven. The idea is if they uproot Israel, they will also uproot the Lord God in heaven by reason that they have burned all of the meeting places of God on earth. This is a similar context to Parashat Ekev which instructs Israel to tare down the places of idol worship in the Promised Land and to not even inquire how the nations served their gods. The synagogues and holy places of the Lord were the locations where men would hallow and sanctify the Name (HaShem) and proclaim His glory, and honor, and praise. This is a good reminder and explanation on Yeshua’s words to his disciples in John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. (NASB) The reason they hate us is by the reason they persecute us, it is because they persecuted Yeshua, and because these evil men ultimately desire to destroy the name of the Lord our Father in heaven. The attitude of the world does not change even after thousands of years. In John 15:20, Yeshua is reminding us of something he had spoken earlier, (see Matthew 10:24 and John 13:16), the servant is not greater than his lord. In John 13:16 is the idea that we are to maintain a spirit of humility and mutual service. We are not to expect better treatment from the world than what Yeshua had received.

Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 3 continues saying the following:

In We see not our signs; there is no more any prophet (Tehillim / Psalms 74:9), the reference is to that sign which You have promised in the verse, Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the uttermost parts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travails with child together (Jeremiah 31:7), and the reference is also to that sign of which it is written, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings that says unto Zion, Your God reigns. (Isaiah 52:7). The sense of There is no more any prophet (Tehillim / Psalms 74:9) is like the sense of The days are prolonged, and every vision fails (Ezekiel 12:22). Neither is there among us any that knows how long (Tehillim / Psalms 74:9); this has the same sense as For these things I weep the comforter is far from me (Lamentations 1:16), we have no prophet who knows anything at all that can restore our spirits for everything is shut up before us, as is said, Shut up the words, and seal the book (Daniel 12:4). Hence, if You will not act for our sake, act for the sake of Your great name which is reproached and blasphemed in the world, as it is said, O God, how long will the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever? (Tehillim / Psalms 74:10).

The midrash reiterates the psalm speaking of not seeing signs or a prophet in Israel to deliver the people from the enemy. Midrash Tehillim 74, Part 3 concludes saying, “Hence, if You will not act for our sake, act for the sake of Your great name which is reproached and blasphemed in the world, as it is said, O God, how long will the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever? (Tehillim / Psalms 74:10).” The point is to not let our lives be the reason for the enemy blaspheming the name of the Lord. The book of Hebrews (6:4-8) states the following, Hebrews 6:4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 6:5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6:6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 6:7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 6:8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. (NASB) Do your actions put Christ to open shame? Does your life produce good fruit, or thorns and thistles? Let our actions be for the glory of God, and lets Pray asking the Lord to help us to live according to His Word! Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 74-Part1-and-2

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!