Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 14 — Psalm 74

Lament on the destruction of the Temple

Poem of Asaph.

God, have You finally rejected us,
raging at the flock You used to pasture?
Remember the people You long since made Your own,
Your hereditary people whom You redeemed,
and this Mount Zion where You came to live.

Pick Your steps over these endless ruins:
the enemy have sacked everything in the sanctuary.
They roared where Your Assemblies used to take place,
they stuck their enemy emblems over the entrance,
emblems we had never seen before.

Axes deep in the wood, hacking at the panels,
they battered them down with mallet and hatchet;
then, God, setting fire to Your sanctuary,
they profanely razed the house of Your name to the ground.

Determined to destroy us once and for all,
they burned down every shrine of God in the country.
Deprived of signs, with no prophets left,
who can say how long this will last?

How much longer, God, is the oppressor to blaspheme,
is the enemy to insult Your name for ever?
Why hold back Your hand,
why keep Your right hand hidden?

Yet, God, my king from the first,
author of saving acts throughout the earth,
by Your power You split the sea in two,
and smashed the heads of monsters on the waters.

You crushed Leviathan's heads,
leaving him for wild animals to eat,
You opened the spring, the torrent,
You dried up inexhaustible rivers.

You are master of day and night,
You instituted light and sun,
You fixed the boundaries of the world,
You created summer and winter.

Now, Yahweh, remember the enemy's blasphemy,
how frenzied people dare to insult Your name.
Do not betray Your turtledove to the beast,
do not forget Your wretched people for good.

Respect the covenant! We can bear no more—
every cave in the country is the scene of violence!
Do not let the hard-pressed retreat in confusion,
give the poor and needy cause to praise Your name.

Rise, God, say something on Your own behalf,
do not forget the madman's daylong blaspheming,
remember the shouting of Your enemies,
this ever-rising clamor of Your adversaries.

Next… Day 15 — Psalm 75

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