A well-written song 2 by Asaph.
Why does your anger burn 4 against the sheep of your pasture?
as well as Mount Zion, where you dwell!
1 sn Psalm 74. The psalmist, who has just experienced the devastation of the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem in 586
2 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. The word is derived from a verb meaning “to be prudent; to be wise.” Various options are: “a contemplative song,” “a song imparting moral wisdom,” or “a skillful [i.e., well-written] song.” The term occurs in the superscriptions of Pss 32, 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142, as well as in Ps 47:7.
3 sn The psalmist does not really believe God has permanently rejected his people or he would not pray as he does in this psalm. But this initial question reflects his emotional response to what he sees and is overstated for the sake of emphasis. The severity of divine judgment gives the appearance that God has permanently abandoned his people.
4 tn Heb “smoke.” The picture is that of a fire that continues to smolder.
5 tn Heb “your assembly,” which pictures God’s people as an assembled community.