A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of Asaph.
1 O GOD, why do You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger burn and smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
2 [Earnestly] remember Your congregation which You have acquired of old, which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your heritage; remember Mount Zion, where You have dwelt.
3 Direct Your feet [quickly] to the perpetual ruins and desolations; the foe has devastated and desecrated everything in the sanctuary.
4 In the midst of Your Holy Place Your enemies have roared [with their battle cry]; they set up their own [idol] emblems for signs [of victory].
5 They seemed like men who lifted up axes upon a thicket of trees to make themselves a record.
6 And then all the carved wood of the Holy Place they broke down with hatchets and hammers.
7 They have set Your sanctuary on fire; they have profaned the dwelling place of Your Name by casting it to the ground.
8 They said in their hearts, Let us make havoc [of such places] altogether. They have burned up all God's meetinghouses in the land.
9 We do not see our symbols; there is no longer any prophet, neither does any among us know for how long.
10 O God, how long is the adversary to scoff and reproach? Is the enemy to blaspheme and revile Your name forever?
11 Why do You hold back Your hand, even Your right hand? Draw it out of Your bosom and consume them [make an end of them]!
12 Yet God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13 You did divide the [Red] Sea by Your might; You broke the heads of the [Egyptian] dragons in the waters. [Exod. 14:21.]
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan (Egypt); You did give him as food for the creatures inhabiting the wilderness.
15 You did cleave open [the rock bringing forth] fountains and streams; You dried up mighty, ever-flowing rivers (the Jordan). [Exod. 17:6; Num. 20:11; Josh. 3:13.]
16 The day is Yours, the night also is Yours; You have established the [starry] light and the sun.
17 You have fixed all the borders of the earth [the divisions of land and sea and of the nations]; You have made summer and winter. [Acts17:26.]
18 [Earnestly] remember how the enemy has scoffed, O Lord, and reproached You, and how a foolish and impious people has blasphemed Your name.
19 Oh, do not deliver the life of your turtledove to the wild beast (to the greedy multitude); forget not the life [of the multitude] of Your poor forever.
20 Have regard for the covenant [You made with Abraham], for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
21 Oh, let not the downtrodden return in shame; let the oppressed and needy praise Your name.
22 Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; remember [earnestly] how the foolish and impious man scoffs and reproaches You day after day and all day long.
23 Do not forget the [clamoring] voices of Your adversaries, the tumult of those who rise up against You, which ascends continually.