Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
psa 74:2Thy congregation - Thy people. Thine inheritance - The tribe of Judah, which thou hast in a special manner chosen for thine inheritance, and for the birth of the Messiah. Nor is it strange that he mentions this tribe particularly, because the calamity here remembered, did principally befal this tribe, and Benjamin, which was united with it.
psa 74:3Lift up - Come speedily to our rescue. Because - Because otherwise our destruction is irrecoverable.
psa 74:4Roar - In a way of triumph. Midst, &c. - In the places where thy people used to assemble for thy worship. Set up - Monuments of their victory.
psa 74:5Famous - The temple was so noble a structure, that it was a great honour to any man to be employed in the meanest part of the work, though it were but in cutting down the trees of Lebanon.
psa 74:6Axes and hammers - These words are not Hebrew, but Chaldee or Syriack, to point out the time when this was done, even when the Chaldeans brought in their language, together with their arms, among the Israelites.
psa 74:8Destroy them - All at once. So they intended, although afterwards they changed their council, and carried some away captive. Burnt up - All the public places wherein the Jews used to meet together to worship God every sabbath - day.
psa 74:9Signs - Those tokens of God's gracious presence, which we used to enjoy. The temple and ark, and sacrifices, and solemn feasts, were signs between God and his people. Prophet - Who can foretell things to come. Probably Ezekiel and Jeremiah were dead when this psalm was composed; and David was involved in civil affairs, and did not teach the people as a prophet. Knoweth - How long their captivity should continue.
psa 74:11Why - Why dost thou forebear the exercise of thy power? Bosom - In which thou now seemest to hide it.
psa 74:12King - It belongs therefore to thy office to protect and save me. Midst - In the view of the world.
psa 74:13Dragons - He means Pharaoh and his mighty men.
psa 74:14Leviathan - Pharaoh. The people - To the ravenous birds and beasts of the desert. These creatures are significantly called the people of the wilderness, because they are the only people that inhabit it.
psa 74:15The flood - Thou didst by cleaving the rock, make a fountain and a stream to flow from it, for the refreshment of thy people in those dry deserts. Driedst - Jordan and the Red Sea; for the sea itself; yea, a greater sea than that, is called a river, Jon 2:3, where the Hebrew word is the same which is here used. And the same title is expressly given to the sea, by Homer, and other ancient writers.
psa 74:16The light - The moon, the lesser light.
psa 74:17Set - Thou hast fixed the bounds of the habitable world in general, and of all the countries and people upon the earth. And as this clause shews God's power over all places, so the next displays his dominion over all times and seasons.
psa 74:18Remember - Though we deserve to be forgotten, yet do not suffer our enemies to reproach the name of the great and glorious God.
psa 74:19Soul - The life. Turtle - dove - Of thy church, which is fitly compared to a turtle - dove, because simple and harmless, and meek, and faithful.
psa 74:20The covenant - Made with Abraham, whereby thou didst give the land of Canaan to him, and to his seed for ever. Dark places - This dark and dismal land in which we live.
psa 74:21Return - From the throne of thy grace, to which they make their resort.