These two psalms are community laments. It is hard to judge which one sounds the most desperate. Psalm 123 seems to be written at a time when the shame of God’s people before others is at a height, which may indicate a time long into the period of captivity. The pleas for mercy from God are mixed with the picture of a servant to to his master for comfort.
Psalm 79 has the air of having been written just following a great defeat of the magnitude of Jerusalem’s destruction before captivity. There is still some incredulity at the wanton destruction and the defilement of house of the Lord, not to mention the bloody massacre of friends and family members. The cries from God’s people are not just for mercy for the “sheep of His pasture,” but for vengeance:
“Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants
be known among the nations before our eyes!
Let the groans of the prisoners come before you;
according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die!
Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors
the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!”
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.