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A Lament in Time of National Defeat

A maskil of Asaph.[a]

74 Why, O God, have you rejected us forever?
Why does your anger smoke
against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation that you bought long ago,
when you redeemed the tribe of your inheritance.
Remember Mount Zion[b] where you have dwelt.
Lift your steps to the perpetual ruins,
to all that the enemy has ruined in the sanctuary.
Your enemies have roared in the midst of your meeting place;
they have set up their signs for signs.
They are[c] known to be like those who wield[d]
axes in a thicket of trees.
And now[e] its[f] carved works altogether
they have smashed with axe and hammer.
They have set fire to your sanctuary.
They have defiled to the ground,
the dwelling place for your name.
They have said in their heart,
“We will completely[g] oppress them.”
They burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
We do not see our signs,
and there is no longer a prophet.
No one with us knows how long.
10 How long, O God, will the adversary taunt?
Will the enemy treat your name with contempt forever?
11 Why do you draw back your hand, even your right hand?
Take it from your bosom;[h] destroy them!
12 But God has been my king from long ago,
working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13 You split open the sea by your strength;
You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food to the desert dwelling creatures.
15 You split open spring and wadi.[i]
You dried up ever-flowing rivers.
16 Yours is the day, yours is the night also.
You established light and the sun.
17 You defined[j] all the boundaries of the earth;
Summer and winter—you formed them.
18 O Yahweh, remember this: the enemy taunts,
and foolish people treat your name with contempt.
19 Do not give to beasts the life of your dove;
do not ever forget the life of your afflicted ones.
20 Have regard for the covenant,
because the dark places of the land are full of
the haunts of violence.
21 Do not let the oppressed turn back humiliated;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, plead your cause;
remember the reproaching of you by the foolish all day long.[k]
23 Do not forget the sound of your adversaries,
the roar of those rising up against you ascending continually.


  1. Psalm 74:1 The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm
  2. Psalm 74:2 Literally “the mountain of Zion”
  3. Psalm 74:5 Hebrew “He is”
  4. Psalm 74:5 Literally “lift up”
  5. Psalm 74:6 According to the reading tradition (Qere)
  6. Psalm 74:6 That is, the temple’s
  7. Psalm 74:8 Hebrew “altogether”
  8. Psalm 74:11 According to the reading tradition (Qere)
  9. Psalm 74:15 A seasonal stream that is often dry
  10. Psalm 74:17 Or “set”
  11. Psalm 74:22 Literally “all the day”