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Ut quid, Deus. A prayer of the church under grievous persecutions.

[1] Understanding for Asaph. O God, why hast thou cast us off unto the end: why is thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of thy pasture? [2] Remember thy congregation, which thou hast possessed from the beginning. The sceptre of thy inheritance which thou hast redeemed: mount Sion in which thou hast dwelt. [3] Lift up thy hands against their pride unto the end; see what things the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. [4] And they that hate thee have made their boasts, in the midst of thy solemnity. They have set up their ensigns for signs, [5] And they knew not both in the going out and on the highest top. As with axes in a wood of trees,

[4] Their ensigns: They have fixed their colours for signs and trophies, both on the gates, and on the highest top of the temple: and they knew not, that is, they regarded not the sanctity of the place. This psalm manifestly foretells the time of the Machabees, and the profanation of the temple by Antiochus.

[6] They have cut down at once the gates thereof, with axe and hatchet they have brought it down. [7] They have set fire to thy sanctuary: they have defiled the dwelling place of thy name on the earth. [8] They said in their heart, the whole kindred of them together: Let us abolish all the festival days of God from the land. [9] Our signs we have not seen, there is now no prophet: and he will know us no more. [10] How long, O God, shall the enemy reproach: is the adversary to provoke thy name for ever?

[11] Why dost thou turn away thy hand: and thy right hand out of the midst of thy bosom for ever? [12] But God is our king before ages: he hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth. [13] Thou by thy strength didst make the sea firm: thou didst crush the heads of the dragons in the waters. [14] Thou hast broken the heads of the dragon: thou hast given him to be meat for the people of the Ethiopians. [15] Thou hast broken up the fountains and the torrents: thou hast dried up the Ethan rivers.

[13] The sea firm: By making the waters of the Red Sea stand like firm walls, whilst Israel passed through: and destroying the Egyptians called here dragons from their cruelty, in the same waters, with their king: casting up their bodies on the shore to be stripped by the Ethiopians inhabiting in those days the coast of Arabia.

[15] Ethan rivers: That is, rivers which run with strong streams. This was verified in Jordan, Jos. 3, and in Arnon, Num. 21. 14.

[16] Thine is the day, and thine is the night: thou hast made the morning light and the sun. [17] Thou hast made all the borders of the earth: the summer and the spring were formed by thee. [18] Remember this, the enemy hath reproached the Lord: and a foolish people hath provoked thy name. [19] Deliver not up to beasts the souls that confess to thee: and forget not to the end the souls of thy poor. [20] Have regard to thy covenant: for they that are the obscure of the earth have been filled with dwellings of iniquity.

[20] The obscure of the earth: Mean and ignoble wretches have been filled, that is, enriched, with houses of iniquity, that is, with our estates and possessions, which they have unjustly acquired.

[21] Let not the humble be turned away with confusion: the poor and needy shall praise thy name. [22] Arise, O God, judge thy own cause: remember thy reproaches with which the foolish man hath reproached thee all the day. [23] Forget not the voices of thy enemies: the pride of them that hate thee ascendeth continually.

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