The Treasury of David

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Psalm 80
Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
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TITLE. To the Chief Musician upon Shoshannim Eduth. For the fourth time, we have a song upon Shoshannim or the lilies; the former ones being Psalms 45, 60, and 69. Why this title is given would be difficult to say in every case, but the delightfully poetic form of the present Psalm may well justify the charming title. Eduth signifies testimony. The Psalm is a testimony of the church as a “lily among thorns.” Some interpreters understand the present title to refer to an instrument of six strings, and Schleusner translates the two words, “the hexachord of testimony.” It may be that further research will open up to us these “dark sayings upon a harp.” We shall be content to accept them as evidence that sacred song was not lightly esteemed in the days of old—a Psalm of Asaph. A latter Asaph we should suppose, who had the unhappiness to live, like the “last minstrel, “in evil times. If by the Asaph of David’s day, this Psalm was written in the spirit of prophecy, for it sings of times unknown to David.

DIVISION. The Psalm divides itself naturally at the refrain which occurs three times: “Turn us again, O God, “etc. Ps 80:1-3 is an opening address to the Lord God of Israel; from Ps 80:4-7 is a lamentation over the national woe, and from Ps 80:8-19 the same complaint is repeated, the nation being represented in a beautiful allegory as a vine. It is a mournful Psalm, and its lilies are lilies of the valley.

Verse 18. So will not we go back from thee. Under the leadership of one whom God had chosen the nation would be kept faithful, grace would work gratitude, and so cement them to their allegiance. It is in Christ that we abide faithful; because he lives we live also. There is no hope of our perseverance apart from him. Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. If the Lord gives life out of death, his praise is sure to follow. The Lord Jesus is such a leader, that in him is life, and the life is the light of men. He is our life. When he visits our souls anew we shall be revived, and our praise shall ascend unto the name of the Triune God.


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