The relation of this psalm to Psalms 74 is so close, notwithstanding some points of difference, that commentators are almost unanimous in assigning them to the same period, if not the same author. Psalm 79:1, indeed, by itself seems to point to a profanation of the Temple, such as that by Antiochus, and not a destruction like Nebuchadnezzar’s. To one of these events the psalm must refer. Great importance is attached to the similarity of Psalm 79:6-7, with Jeremiah 10:25, and it certainly looks as if the latter were an adaptation and expansion of the psalmist. Again, Psalm 79:3 (see Note) appears to be quoted in 1 Maccabees 7:17. On the other hand, every one allows that the best commentary on the psalm is the 1st chapter of 1 Maccabees. A Maccabæan editor may have taken a song of the Captivity period and slightly altered it to suit the events before his eyes. The psalter affords other instances of such adaptation. (See, e.g., Psalms 60) The verse flows smoothly, now in triplets, now in couplets.
Title.—See Title, Psalms 1.
Heaps—i.e., ruins. (Comp. Micah 3:12; Jeremiah 26:18; and in singular, Micah 1:6.)
Saints.—Heb., chasîdîm. (See Note, Psalm 16:10.) Here with definite allusion to the Assdœans of 1 Maccabees 7.
None to bury.—For this aggravation of the evil comp. Jeremiah 14:16; Jeremiah 22:18-19.
The scenes still witnessed by travellers at the Jews’ wailing-place offer a striking illustration of the foregoing verses, showing, as they do, how deep-seated is the love of an ancient place in the Oriental mind. (See a striking description in Porter’s Giant Cities of Bashan.)
Former iniquities.—Better, iniquities of former ones, i.e., of ancestors. (Comp. Leviticus 26:45, “covenant of their ancestors,” and for the thought Exodus 20:5; Leviticus 26:39.)
Prevent.—Better, come to meet. Daniel 9:16 seems to combine the language of this verse and Psalm 79:4.
Our sins.—How is this to be taken in connection with Psalm 79:8? Does the psalmist admit guilt in his own generation, as well as in those of former times? Or is he thinking only of the inherited guilt and punishment? The general tone of post-exile psalms inclines towards the latter view.
Let him be known.—Better, Let it be known, i.e., where God is. Let the answer to the question be given in vengeance, and let us see it.
Sevenfold.—As in Genesis 4:15. We naturally contrast the law of Christian forgiveness.
Into their bosom.—The deep folds of the Eastern dress were used as a pocket. (Comp. Ruth 3:15; Isaiah 65:7; Jeremiah 32:18; Luke 6:38, &c)