Psalm Chapter 80 (KJV)

Psalm Chapter 80 (KJV)

(Unless otherwise stated all Scriptures in this devotional are from the King James Version of the Bible.)

psalms 80 1 to 4


The psalmist focuses his concerns for the nation of Israel, also known as The Northern Kingdom. It appears that the psalmist is referring to the fall of Samaria, the capital, in 722 B.C. The psalmist submits a prayer that implores the Lord to restore His people. The mention of “Joseph” in verse 1 and “Ephraim” and “Manasseh” (in verse 2, clarifies that Israel is being discussed and not than Judah. “Benjamin” is mentioned in verse 2, because this tribe is usually linked with the 10 northern tribes. However, at other times, it is associated with Judah. The psalm is a prayer for the restoration of a fallen kingdom.


  • The opening (verses 1-3), and
  • the closing (1verse 19), are petitions.
  • During the second rounds of the lament they are mentioned again(verses 4-6, 12-13),
  • Petition (verses 7, 14-17), and
  • Motivation (verse 8-11, 18) all allude to this fact. The motivation cited for God’s intervention in the prayer is reminding him that He has acted on their behalf in the past (verse 8-11) and because the people now promise the undying loyalty to YHWH in the future (verse 18). 
  • Note the change in God’s name. This denotes a sense of urgency and the need for God’s immediate intervention: “O God” (verse 3), “O God of Hosts” (verse 7), “O Lord God of hosts” (verse 19). The words “hosts” are a military term meaning “armies” and refer to God’s sovereignty over all powers, earthly and heavenly, in that God has an army that fights for Him. The psalmist is petitioning the “God of hosts” to deal with the armies of those who oppose his people. 
    • 2 Kings 15:29 “In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria” Also,
    • 2 Kings 17:3-4  “Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria, and Hoshea became his servant and gave him presents. And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison.” However, theologians are not certain of the historical context of this psalm.

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims shine forth. [ The people know that God’s presence is with them. The Ark of the Covenant reminds them of that each time that the priest enters the sanctuary. The images of two cherubim sat on top of the Ark, facing each other is something that the psalmist is familiar with.  That image has been described to the people throughtout their entire history. (compare Exodus 37:1-9].Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.

God is the shepherd who is leading the northern tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin. Scriptures that describe God as a Shepherd include Psalm 23;1; 78:52; 121:4; Gen. 48:15; 49:24 as well as Isa. 40:11; 49:9– 10; Jer. 31:10; Ezek. 34:11– 16; Hos. 13:5– 6; Mic. 7:14 , therefore, it is not asking too much to ask YHWH to deliver his people with his strong army, now. The Psalmist is implying that if his name didn’t mean much to God, then maybe, just maybe, using the names of the patriarchs would get God’s attention. Christians know that the way to get the Good, Good, Father to hear our prayers is to ask in the name of Jesus. The psalmist is asking for the guiding light of God to guide his people then as he did in the past, Deut. 33:2; Ps. 50:2 

Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

The priestly blessings described in Num. 6:25; also Psalms 31:16; 67:1; 119:135 indicates that God will shine his face upon his people. The psalmist wants God to shine his penetrating light into the people’s hearts and minds. He wants YHWH to awaken and guide their path with his light. The psalmist knows that the only possible hope for anyone is God.

How long, oh, God?

Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? Once again we see the reiteration of the “how long” phrase as a plea for YHWH now to wait any longer (Psalms 4:2; 6:3; 13:1– 2; 35:17; 62:3; 74:10; 79:5; 89:46; 90:13; 94:3; 119:84).  Thou feedest them with the bread of tears, and givest them tears to drink in great measure. The people of God have been praying to the closed ears of God. The psalmist is telling God it is his fault that they are suffering. Their food has become the bread of tears, and they are drinking bowls filled with tears, “tears to drink in great measure.” Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbors: and our enemies laugh among themselves. The psalmist appeals to God to preserve his name in the face of their enemies. His punishment of his people is causing their enemies to laugh at them. When have we prayed a similar prayer? The reality is that we are experiencing the end result of our thoughts, words, and actions.  God never causes his people to sin, thus reaping the consequences of our sins. Once again, the psalmists ask for God’s light to shine on them. Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Fruitful Vine

Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it. Thou preparest room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. 10 The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. 

Israel is being described as a vine. Joseph was compared with a fruitful vine.

Gen 49:22  Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: 11 She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.

Generally, vines are not described as places of shelter nor protection.  But in these verses, Joseph’s children did just that. They took up “deep roots’ in the land of that God prepared for them. They spread out, and their families grew until they were the only inhabitants of the area. They planted trees and produced fruit. The term “like the goodly cedars” denotes their strength and immovability.  

Now the immovable vineyard (Israel)  is ravaged

12 Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? 13 The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. 14 Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; 15 And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.

The walls that protected the vineyard are now broken down.  The vineyard is no longer protected. So that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?” Now any army can pluck the fruit of the vine; this verse denotes the plunder of the Israelites by their enemies, when “Lord God of hosts,” left them. When Israel began on its journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, God was the hedge around them and helped them against their enemies. He was with them in battle, and the enemy had to run away, knowing that Israel was protected by their God. According to the psalmist, the protection of God is gone. Now that Israel’s God is no longer protecting her, all of the people around her are ravaging the vineyard. However, the psalmist knows that God promised that David’s children would not cease to exist and that his son would remain on his throne forever.  Of course, this refers to Jesus Christ and not an earthly son (see 2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 2:7). The writer pleads for God to return to his people.

Revive us, Oh Lord

16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance. 17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. [ Here “the Son of man”: is primarily a reference to Israel. However, it may extend to the Messiah who is a descendant of David. 18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.

The psalmist makes it clear to everyone that he knows who is responsible for the nation of Israel’s current plight. Now he wants the degradation to end. He wants YHWH to remove his hand of oppression from his people. The reader of the psalms sees the destruction of God’s people. They also understand that unless God removes his “right hand’ from them, they cannot demonstrate that they have changed. They cannot show him that they will not go back to being the disobedient people that they were before their punishment began. They also know that unless God looks down from heaven and has mercy on them, they are gone. “quicken us, and we will call upon your name”  refers to bringing the people back from the dead.  Sometimes the people of God appear dead and lifeless in their walk with God, in the exercise of grace and discharge of their duty for him. During these periods, they need the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit. They also need the grace of God to change the course of their lives and the strengthening of their spirit.

New Testament scriptures remind us that all we have to do is call upon the Lord to be saved from the eternal punishment of death and separation from God.

Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

Jesus Christ, their Messiah, is the quickening spirit that all of humanity needs to help it. It is only in Him is that we enjoy Life, and Life is the essence of the Light of men.

19 Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

For the third and last time, the writer calls upon God to shine His face on his people. The emphasis is indicative of a dire need for strength, deliverance, protection, and grace. When that happens, the psalmist knows that the people will be saved. The hope of  O Lord God of hosts rising up within them. Today, Christians know that\ Man is his own worst enemy. Humanity cannot save itself. God had to send a Savior [Jesus or Messiah] to save us from sin and death, but also to save us from our own stupid mistakes. So, we must follow God’s commands.

god commanded us to




Millard, A. R. The Eponyms of the Assyrian Empire 910-612 BC (State Archives of Assyria Studies 2; Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 1994) 45-46, 59.

Longman, Tremper, III. Psalms : An Introduction and Commentary, InterVarsity Press, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central,
Created from liberty on 2020-02-12 08:57:29.

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