Psalm 80:1
(1) The reference to the shepherd, so characteristic of the Asaphic psalms, is, no doubt, here chosen especially in recollection of Genesis 48:15; Genesis 49:24. "Shepherd" and "Rock" were Jacob's especial names for God, as the "Fear" was that of Isaac, and the "Mighty" that of Abraham; but in the blessing of Joseph the patriarch seems to have made more than usually solemn pronunciation of it. It is, therefore, very doubtful whether we must press the selection of Joseph here as a distinct and intended reference to the northern tribes or kingdom, in distinction to Judah or the southern kingdom.

Dwellest.--Rather, sittest (enthroned). (Comp. Psalm 99:1.) That this is not a merely poetical idea drawn from clouds (as possibly in Psalm 18:10), but is derived from the throne, upheld by the wings of the sculptured cherubim in the Temple, is proved by Exodus 25:22. (Comp. Numbers 7:89. Comp. also "chariot of the cherubim," 1Chronicles 28:18; Ecclesiasticus 49:8; also Isaiah 6:1; Isaiah 37:16; Ezekiel 1:26.)

Verse 1. - Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel. The title, "Shepherd of Israel," is a new one; but it follows naturally from the metaphor, so often employed (Psalm 74:1; Psalm 77:20; Psalm 78:52; Psalm 79:13), of Israel being God's "flock." Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock. "Thou that leddest" (Cheyne). The mention of "Joseph" shows at once that the thoughts of the psalmist are fixed on the northern kingdom. Thou that dwellest between the cherubims. The two cherubim that overshadowed the mercy seat seem to be meant. Shine forth; i.e. "show thyself - manifest thy might" (comp. Psalm 50:2).

80:1-7 He that dwelleth upon the mercy-seat, is the good Shepherd of his people. But we can neither expect the comfort of his love, nor the protection of his arm, unless we partake of his converting grace. If he is really angry at the prayers of his people, it is because, although they pray, their ends are not right, or there is some secret sin indulged in them, or he will try their patience and perseverance in prayer. When God is displeased with his people, we must expect to see them in tears, and their enemies in triumph. There is no salvation but from God's favour; there is no conversion to God but by his own grace.Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,.... The title of a shepherd for the most part belongs to the Messiah, and who is expressly called the Shepherd and stone of Israel, as distinct from the God of Jacob, Genesis 49:24 and may be so called because he was to be, and was of Israel, according to the flesh, and sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and appointed by his Father as a Shepherd over them; and it is on the mountains of Israel he provides a good fold, and pasture for his sheep, Romans 9:4 and it is for the spiritual Israel, his sheep, his elect, both among Jews and Gentiles, for whom he laid down his life; by which it appears that he is the good Shepherd, as he also is the great, the chief, the only one; though this character also may be given, and agrees unto God the Father, who rules, and governs, and feeds his people, his spiritual Israel, as a shepherd his flock; and who is addressed by his people, and is desired to "give ear" to their cries and prayers in their affliction and distress: God has an ear to hear his people's prayers, though sometimes they think he does not hear them; but he not only hears, but answers sooner or later, and in his own way; and the consideration of his character as a shepherd may be an encouragement to their faith, that he will hear, and will not withhold any good thing from them, Psalm 23:1.

thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; the posterity of Joseph, the same with Israel, the spiritual Israel, who are like a flock of sheep, a separate people, distinguished by the grace of God, and purchased by the blood of Christ; and as there is but one Shepherd, so one fold, and one flock, and that but a little one neither; and which is sometimes called a flock of slaughter, because exposed to the rage and fury of men; yet a beautiful one in the eye of Christ, which he undertook to feed: and this he leads on gently and softly, gradually, and proportionate to their strength, or as they are able to bear; he leads in and out, and they find pasture; he leads them out of their former state and condition, in which he finds them, out of the pastures of sin and self-righteousness into the green pastures of his love, grace, word, and ordinances:

thou that dwellest between the cherubim; which were over the mercy seat, and were either emblems of angels, among whom Jehovah dwells, and is surrounded by them; by whom Christ was ministered to on earth, and now in heaven, and among whom he was when he ascended thither, and where they are subject to him: or of the two Testaments, which look to Christ, the mercy seat, and agree with each other in their testimony of him, and in other things; and where these are truly opened and explained, there the Lord dwells: or rather of the saints of both dispensations, who look to Christ alone for salvation, and expect to be saved by his grace; are both partakers of it, as they will be of the same glory; and among these the Lord dwells as in his temple; though it seems best of all to consider them as emblems of Gospel ministers, since Ezekiel's four living creatures are the "cherubim", Ezekiel 10:20, and these the same with John's four beasts, or living creatures, who were certainly men, being redeemed by the blood of Christ; and were ministers, being distinguished from the four and twenty elders, Revelation 4:6 and among these the Lord dwells, and with them he has promised his presence shall be unto the end of the world:

shine forth; either God the Father, who dwelt between the cherubim, over the mercy seat, who sits upon a throne of grace, from whence he communes with his people and communicates to them; and then the request is, that he would shine forth in the perfections of his nature, as he has done in his Son, the brightness of his glory, and in redemption and salvation by him, where they are all illustriously displayed; and particularly in his lovingkindness through him, which has appeared and shone forth in the mission of Christ, and in giving him up for us all; and by granting his gracious presence unto his people in Zion, in his house and ordinances; see Psalm 1:2, or the Messiah, the Shepherd of Israel, and the Leader of his flock, and under whom the living creatures and cherubim are, Ezekiel 1:26, that he would shine forth in human nature; that this bright morning star would appear; that the dayspring from on high would visit men, and that the sun of righteousness would arise with healing in his wings; and that the glorious light of his Gospel would break forth, and the grace of God, the doctrine of it, appear and shine out unto all men, Jews and Gentiles.

Psalm 79:13
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