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 19. Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts. Here we have another advance in the title and the incommunicable name of Jehovah, the I AM is introduced. Faith’s day grows brighter as the hours roll on, and her prayers grow more full and mighty. Cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved. Even we who were so destroyed. No extremity is too great for the power of God. He can save at the last point, and that too by simply turning his smiling face upon his afflicted. Men can do little with their arms, but God can do all things with a glance. Oh, to live forever in the light of Jehovah’s countenance.

Singing Psalms 80

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