December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- A psalm of Asaph. 1 O God, the nations have invaded your heritage; they have defiled your holy temple, have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
- They have left the corpses of your servants as food for the birds of the heavens, the flesh of your faithful for the beasts of the earth.
- They have spilled their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and no one is left to bury them.
- We have become the reproach of our neighbors, the scorn and derision of those around us.
- How long, LORD? Will you be angry forever? Will your rage keep burning like fire?
- Pour out your wrath on nations that reject you, on kingdoms that do not call on your name,
- For they have devoured Jacob, laid waste his home.
- Do not hold past iniquities against us; may your compassion come quickly, for we have been brought very low.
- Help us, God our savior, for the glory of your name. Deliver us, pardon our sins for your name's sake.
- Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Before our eyes make clear to the nations that you avenge the blood of your servants.
- Let the groans of prisoners come before you; by your great power free those doomed to death.
- Lord, inflict on our neighbors seven fold the disgrace they inflicted on you.
- Then we, your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; through all ages we will declare your praise.
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1 [Psalm 79] A communal lament complaining that the nations have defiled the temple and murdered the holy people, leaving their corpses unburied (Psalm 79:1-4). The occasion is probably the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army in 587 B.C. The people ask how long the withdrawal of divine favor will last (Psalm 79:5), pray for action now (Psalm 79:6-7), and admit that their own sins have brought about the catastrophe (Psalm 79:8-9). They seek to persuade God to act for reasons of honor: the nations who do not call upon the Name are running amok (Psalm 79:6); the divine honor is compromised (Psalm 79:1, 10, 12); God's own servants suffer (Psalm 79:2-4, 11).
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