Do not forget us (Ps 74:1-74:3)

A Maskil of Asaph

“O God!

Why do you cast us off forever?

Why does your anger smoke

Against the sheep of your pasture?

Remember your congregation!

You acquired it long ago.

You redeemed it.

It was to be the tribe of your heritage.

Remember Mount Zion!

There you came to dwell.

Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins!

The enemy has destroyed everything

In the sanctuary.”

Like the preceding psalm, Psalm 74 is a Maskil or psalm of Asaph, the Temple singer, part of the series that begins book 3 of the psalms. This appears to be a national lamentation, post-exilic, after the destruction of the Temple. This starts out as a cry for help. Asaph wants to know why God has cast them off forever. Why was God angry at his own sheep? God should remember his congregation that he acquired long ago. He had redeemed this tribe at Mount Zion to be his heritage as he dwelt there. Somehow the idea that God lived in the Temple was a common theme. However, here was the problem. The Temple was in ruins, destroyed by the enemy. Everything in the sanctuary had been destroyed. What is the exact reference? Was this the Babylonian captivity?

God is good to the righteous (Ps 73:1-73:2)

A psalm of Asaph

“Truly God is good to the upright.

He is good to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me,

My feet had almost stumbled.

My steps had nearly slipped.”

The 3rd book of psalms begins with Psalm 73 from Asaph. In fact, there are 12 psalms attributed to Asaph, Psalm 50, and the next 11 psalms at the beginning of this 3rd book of psalms. Asaph was a transcriber or author of psalms at the time of David and Solomon. This may also refer to the group named after him who were musicians at the Temple. This Asaph is described in 1 Chronicles, chapter 6, as one who could trace his ancestors directly back to Levi. In 2 Chronicles, chapter 5, he is listed as a Temple singer at the time of Solomon during the transport of the Ark of the Covenant. This psalm seems to be a consideration of justice and why did the evildoers prosper much like in the book of Job. There is the common statement that God is good to the upright and the pure of heart. However, this Asaph has almost stumbled. He has almost slipped.