When Judah lost its way
Getting even with Edom1
Who is this warrior from Bozrah in Edom?
He wears a rich uniform stained in blood.
And he walks like he owns this land.
“It’s me, and I’m here to tell you
Our side won. I came to save you.”
You look like you stepped out of a winepress.
3I trampled some grapes, alright.
And I did it myself.
No one came to help me.
I stomped those grapes.
I did it with anger.
They splattered me in their blood
And painted my clothing red.
4I was there to settle the score
And complete my rescue mission.
5I looked for allies but found no one.
I was alone, with no help at all.
6Reeling in anger I trampled on people.
I crushed them with punishing blows.
I took their lives, drained their blood,
And poured it into the dirt.
Why did you let us leave you?7
I’m going to tell you how great God is
And of what the LORD has done.
He has shown Israel incredible kindness.
The depth of his persistent love
Is a measure of his mercy.
Surely, my children won’t lie to my face.”
So, he came to their rescue.
9He came when they needed him most.
The LORD sent his messenger to the rescue.
God’s love and mercy saved them,
And kept them safe for many years.
But the people turned their backs on God.
It made God sad,
And it made him their enemy.
So, he went to war against them.
A heritage they had lost.
Where is the One who parted the sea
For our leaders and those who followed?
Where is the One who gave them his Spirit?
12Where is the One who walked with Moses
And displayed his awesome power,
Parting the water and earning a name
That will never be forgotten?
13Where is the One
Who led them through water,
Like horses in the desert,
Steady and never stumbling?
14Like cattle walking into the valley,
Led by God’s Spirit, to rest?
This is how you led your people
And earned your glorious name.
LORD, help us15
Look down from heaven and see us.
Where did your passion and power go?
What happened to your mercy and pity?
Is none of it left for us?
Israel might turn us away.
But you, LORD, are our Father.
And from ancient times to now,
You have always been our Savior.
17Why, LORD, did you let us leave you,
And harden our hearts
Till we no longer feared you?
Turn us around for our own sake.
For we are your own people.
18Your people came to this land long ago
And held it for a little while.
But enemies took it away from us,
Destroying the Temple we built for you.
19Now we have become like other people
Who don’t belong to you,
And don’t know your name.
“Warrior” is a common guess among scholars. The writer doesn’t identify him. One guess is that he represents the Persian Empire guarding Jerusalem and the Jews who are resettling and rebuilding their homeland after their 50-year exile into Babylon (now Iraq). Some scholars say the heroic warrior is God. But at this point in the story, as Bible writers tell it, the Persians are doing God’s work of helping the Jews. So, they represent God. The Jews need the help because locals who had settled in the land while the Jews were exiled are not happy that the Jews have come back. They fear that as the Jews grow in numbers and strength, they’ll take all their land back. Neighboring nations like Edom weren’t happy about it, either.
Bozrah was a town in Edom, in what is now the country of Jordan. The name means “sheep pen.” The area was a place for grazing livestock. Ancient ruins lie in the modern town of Busaira.
God apparently sends an army, possibly the Persians, on a mission to conquer Edom, Israel’s neighbor southeast of the Dead Sea. Edom had pillaged the nation of Judah when Babylonian invaders destroyed Jerusalem and cities throughout Judah in 586 BC. They even turned Jewish refugees over to the Babylonians for execution or exile. For this, the Bible writers said God punished Edom (Obadiah 1:1-21).
This is a separate poem, a psalm of complaint or lament. The writer is praying to God and asking why he let his people turn their backs on him.
The Hebrew is unclear. Some scholars translate this to say the LORD didn’t send an angel or messenger but came himself. Others say the LORD sent an angel. The Hebrew word for “angel” and human “messenger” are the same.
This suggests the psalm refers to a time before Jews rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple in 516 BC.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.