Sing A Song Of Zion


The *Lionís *Den

Psalm 76

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 76

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.


They got up and took Jesus out of the city. They led him to the side of a hill, where men had built their city. They wanted to throw him down. But Jesus just walked away from them, and went on his own way. (Luke 4:29-30)

Psalm 76

  (This is) for the music leader.
(He must use) *stringed instruments.
(It is) a Psalm of *Asaph (and) a Song.

v1   God is famous in Judah.
  His name is great in Israel.

v2   His house is in Salem and his home is in Zion.

v3   There he broke (the enemyís):
    bow (shooting) fire
    and *sword
    and war (*weapons)  *SELAH

v4   You (God) are the Shining One!
  (You are) the King from the mountains,
  where you robbed your enemy!

v5   (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.

v6   When you were angry, God of *Jacob,
  both the horses and the men that rode on them fell down dead.

v7   You ... everyone is afraid of you!
  Who can remain standing in front of you when you are angry?

v8   From the *heavens you said that you would *judge (the people).
  All the earth was afraid of you and became quiet.

v9   (This happened), God, when you came to *judge
  and to save the *oppressed people in the land.   *SELAH

v10   So the *anger of men will *praise you.
  What remains of their *anger you will wear (as *praise).

v11   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.

v12   He breaks the *spirit of rulers.
  All the kings of the world are afraid of him.

The Story of Psalm 76

Sennacherib 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 *Lionís *Den". Why? Because the words "house" and "home" in verse 2 in *Hebrew are the words for a *lionís 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.

What Psalm 76 means

Verse 1: When 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 Godís people. They do not mean two different countries.

Verse 3: Breaking the enemyís *weapons (bow, *shield and *sword) is another way to say that God destroyed the enemy.

Verse 5: "sleeping" is a Bible way to describe death. Because the soldiers are dead, they cannot use their hands to fight.

Verse 9: We 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.

Verse 10: Bible 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.

Verse 12: "Breaks the *spirit" means "stops them wanting to fight".

Something to do

*Poetry is a special way to use words. In the psalms, we find one special way that the *psalmists used. The *psalmists were the people that wrote the psalms. The special way that they used was this: they said the same thing twice using different words. How many verses can you find in Psalm 76 that use words like this?

Word List

Adonai ~ *Lord or master; (or better, my *Lord or my master) in *Hebrew.

anger ~ what you feel when you are angry.

Asaph ~ look in the Introduction to the Psalms of David Book 3.

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the covenant.

den ~ the home of a wild animal.

harp ~ you can make music with it.

heavens ~ the skies or the home of God.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke when they wrote the Psalms of David.

Israelite ~ a *Jewish person (see Jew).

Jacob ~ another name for Israel, both the people and the land. (Jacob was Abrahamís grandson).

Jehovah ~ how some languages say *Yahweh, one of the names of God in *Hebrew.

Jew ~ someone who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.

judge ~ say who is right and who is wrong; or, the person that says who is right and who is wrong.

like ~ another word for "as".

lion ~ a dangerous animal.

Lord ~ a name for God; it means he has authority, or "master"; *Adonai in *Hebrew. Look also at *LORD below.

LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the names of God.

lyre ~ you can make music with it.

musical instrument ~ something that makes music when you hit it (cymbals, drum), blow in it (flute, trumpet, horn, shofar) or touch it in a quiet way (harp, lyre). Many of these are in Psalm 150 in Book 5 of The Psalms of David.

oppressed ~ people that the enemy have hurt.

peace ~ when there is no war and everybody is happy.

poetry ~ using words in a special (often very beautiful) way.

praise ~ say how great somebody is; or, words that say how great someone is.

prey ~ what an animal catches to eat.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

SELAH ~ a place to pray or think or make music.

shield ~ what a soldier holds over himself to stop things hitting him.

spirit ~ the part of us that lives when our body dies.

stringed instruments ~ See *musical instruments. Stringed instruments include the *harp and the *lyre.

sword ~ a long, sharp knife that soldiers use to fight people with.

temple ~ a place where people meet to *worship God.

weapon ~ something to fight people with, like a *sword or a gun.

worship ~ tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.

Yahweh ~ the *covenant name for God. Most Bibles translate it *LORD with 4 capital letters. It means something *like "I am" or "always alive".


© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

January 2002

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