Psalm 79 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Psalm 79 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.

2 The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth.

3 Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.

4 We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us.

5 How long, LORD? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire?

(79:5-6) The psalmist asks God to pour out his wrath on somebody else for a change. Why not torment some "heathens that have not known thee?"
The author of the SAB says the psalmist asks God to pour out his wroth on someone else for a change. But that is not at all what the psalmists ask. The author of the SAB quotes only the parts that suit him, but the psalmist actually asks (verse 6-7): “Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen ... for they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.” The psalmist asks God for help because his country is in the hand of the enemy. He recognizes that this is what they deserve because of their sins (verse 8), but he prays that God will be merciful, forgive them their sins and restore Israel to its former state.
To recapitulate: God's wrath was deserved, and the psalmist doesn't ask God to turn his wrath because it is someone else's time, but because God was merciful. And he doesn't ask God to pour out his wrath upon some heathen, but upon the invaders of his country.

6 Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.

7 For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.

8 O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.

9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.

10 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed.

11 Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die;

12 And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord.

13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.