Psalm 79:10

Hebrew Bible

8 Do not hold us accountable for the sins of earlier generations. Quickly send your compassion our way, for we are in serious trouble. 9 Help us, O God, our deliverer! For the sake of your glorious reputation, rescue us. Forgive our sins for the sake of your reputation. 10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Before our very eyes may the shed blood of your servants be avenged among the nations. 11 Listen to the painful cries of the prisoners. Use your great strength to set free those condemned to die. 12 Pay back our neighbors in full. May they be insulted the same way they insulted you, O Lord.

Psalm 115:2

Hebrew Bible

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name bring honor, for the sake of your loyal love and faithfulness. 2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in heaven. He does whatever he pleases. 4 Their idols are made of silver and gold—they are man-made.

 Notes and References

"... A new section of the psalm begins with a “why-question” typical of prayers for help: Why, O LORD, do you stand at a distance? (compare Psalm 22:1; 88:14, etc.). The poet continues the spatial poetic theme introduced in 9:13-14, in which the psalmist espoused trust that she would praise in the gates of daughter Zion, by means of a spatial metaphor, complaining that God is standing far away. This spatial metaphor paints a picture of the psalmist as isolated — literally — from God. Inasmuch as the complaint also recalls the taunt that the wicked often level at those who suffer, “Where is your God?” (compare Psalm 115:2; 79:10), the metaphor effectively ups the emotional ante of the complaint. In the second colon, the poet continues with the spatial metaphor, but amplifies it by adding a temporal quality to the complaint: Why do you hide at times of trouble? The psalmist’s sense of isolation is thus augmented by adding the note that God is staying distant at a particularly inopportune moment. That moment is defined by the psalmist as a moment in which the wicked have acted against the afflicted in arrogance; arrogance is the state of mind in which people imagine that they will not be held accountable for their actions, and therefore that they are free to oppress and act wickedly (compare 10:4; Isaiah 9:8-9). The psalmist speaks for those who have no recourse against such earthly oppression and begs God to act ..."

DeClaissé-Walford, Nancy L. The Book of Psalms (p. 170) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014

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