Author: Asaph, or one of his descendants. Perhaps written after the northern kingdom of Israel was defeated and it’s people deported to Assyria.
Verse 1 – Give ear, O shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!
Verse 2 – Before Ephraim, Benjamin, Manasseh, stir up Your strength, and come and save us!
Verse 3 – Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!
Before restoration can take place for Israel, repentance had to come and then they would receive forgiveness and restoration. Israel needed to admit their sin, turn from it, and turn their thinking and ways back to God’s way. This would involve humbling themselves as an individual and a nation.
Verse 4 – O Lord God of hosts, how long will You be angry against the prayer of Your people?
Verse 5 – You have fed them the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in great measure.
Verse 6 – You have made us a strife to our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves.
Tears as food or drink, denotes God’s not intervening on their behalf.
Verse 7 – Restore us, O God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!
Verse 8 – You have brought a vine out of Egypt; You have cast out the nations, and planted it.
Verse 9 – You prepared room for it, and caused it to take deep root, and it filled the land.
Verse 10 – The hills were covered with its shadow, and the mighty cedars with its boughs.
Verse 11 – She sent out her boughs to the Sea, and her branches to the River.
The expansion of the vine denotes the spread of territorial and political influence. David’s empire eventually extended from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River.
Verse 12 – Why have You broken down her hedges, so that all who pass by shall pluck her fruit?
The vineyard, representing Israel, belonged to the Lord of Hosts, and the plants corresponded to the people. God permitted the break in their wall of protection and it gave foreigners access to Israel (fruit).
Verse 13 – The boar out of the woods uproots it, and the wild beast of the field devours it.
Verse 14 – Return, we beseech You, O God of host; look down from heaven and see, and visit the vine.
Verse 15 – And the vineyard which Your right hand has planted, and the branch that You made strong for Yourself.
Verse 16 – It is burned with fire, it is cut down; they parish at the rebuke of Your countenance.
Verse 17 – Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.
The man at Your right hand is usually used in the Old Testament to refer to the king (Isaiah 45:1) who received divine appointment and approval. In the New Testament, Christ is seated at the right hand of God, in authority, power, and holiness.
Verse 18 – Then we will not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
Verse 19 – Restore us, O Lord God of host; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!
Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, and attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times. Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world.
This psalm and the one before were probable written following the siege of 597 B.C., the Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar who appointed Zedekiah as King over Judah.
During the time from 597-586 B.C., Israel continued its worship of idolatry in 722 B.C. when the Northern Kingdom fell to the Assyrians.