76:0Sennacherib was the King of Assyria. Assyria was a very strong country to the north and east of Judah. About 700 years before Jesus came to the earth, Sennacherib attacked Judah. But God fought for Judah. Sennacherib did not win the war. Many of his soldiers died. The story is in Isaiah chapters 36 and 37; and also in 2 Kings 18 and 19.
Psalm 76 (like 46, 47, 48 and 75) is about what happened in this war. It tells us that God did not let the enemy destroy Jerusalem. In the psalm, there are two other names for Jerusalem: Salem and Zion, verse 2. ‘Salem’ means ‘peace’ (or no fighting); Zion is the name of the hill where the Israelites built their temple. The temple was the place where they met to praise God.
The name ‘A Song of Zion’ was one that the Israelites used for this psalm. We have also called it ‘The Lion's Den.’ Why? Because the words ‘house’ and ‘home’ in verse 2 in Hebrew are the words for a lion's home. We translate them as ‘den.’ Also, in verse 4, the words ‘you robbed your enemy’ are ‘you caught your prey.’ ‘Prey’ is a word we use for what an animal catches to eat. The lion is a big animal. It catches and eats many smaller animals. It will even eat people! So, the psalm makes God like a lion. His den (or home) is Jerusalem. He goes out to the mountains to catch his prey. But the prey are the soldiers of Sennacherib.
Sing A Song Of Zion (or The Lion's Den)
This is for the music leader.
He must use stringed instruments.
It is a Psalm of Asaph and a Song.
1 God is famous in Judah.
His name is great in Israel.
76:1When King Solomon died, his country became two countries. One was Judah and the other was Israel. They had a king each. But Assyria destroyed Israel in 721 BC. BC means ‘years Before Christ came to the earth.’ So, when Sennacherib attacked Judah, there was no country of Israel. That means that in this psalm, Judah and Israel are both names for God's people. They do not mean two different countries.
2 His house is in Salem and his home is in Zion.
3 There he broke the enemy's:
· bow shooting fire
· and sword
· and war weapons
76:3Breaking the enemy's weapons (bow, shield and sword) is another way to say that God destroyed the enemy.
4 You God are the Shining One!
You are the King from the mountains,
where you robbed your enemy!
5 You took from the brave enemy soldiers all the weapons that they had.
Now they are sleeping and will never wake up.
None of the soldiers can use their hands.
76:5‘sleeping’ is a Bible way to describe death. Because the soldiers are dead, they cannot use their hands to fight.
6 When you were angry, God of Jacob,
both the horses and the men that rode on them fell down dead.
7 You – everyone is afraid of you!
Who can remain standing in front of you when you are angry?
8 From heaven you said that you would punish the people.
All the earth was afraid of you and became quiet.
9 This happened, God, when you came to judge
and to save the poor people in the land.
76:9We have said that ‘to judge’ means ‘to say who is right and who is wrong.’ But it really means more than that in many places in the Bible. This is one of those places. God judged the Assyrians to be wrong: the result of this was that they died. God judged the poor people to be right: the result of this was that they became free. They were not oppressed any more. This means that the enemy did not hurt them, or take their food, money, animals and children.
10 So the anger of men will praise you.
What remains of their anger you will wear as praise.
76:10Bible students do not really know what this verse means. This translation says what the Hebrew words say. Maybe it means that when people like Sennacherib are angry with people like the Israelites then people will praise what God does.
11 Make a promise to the Lord your God and do what you promise.
Let everyone that lives near bring a gift to the God that people are afraid of.
12 He breaks the spirit of rulers.
All the kings of the world are afraid of him.
76:12Verse 12: ‘Breaks the spirit’ means ‘stops them wanting to fight.’