Psalms 70 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
This short prayer for speedy help and the discomfiture of malicious enemies is a repetition of Psa 40:13-17 with some slight variations. Jehovah has been changed to God in Psa 70:1 a, 4 c, and Lord to God in 5 b, according to the usual practice of the editor of the Elohistic collection; but Jehovah has been retained in Psa 70:1 b and substituted for my God in Psa 70:5 d for the sake of variety, where God occurs in the same verse. In other respects Psalms 40 appears to present a more original text. On the relation of these verses to the rest of Psalms 40, see Introd. to that Psalm. Probably, as the title suggests, they were detached from Psalms 40 for liturgical purposes.
The title to bring to remembrance, prefixed also to Psalms 38, has commonly been explained to refer to the contents of the Psalm, either as a record of suffering, or as a prayer intended to bring the suppliant to God’s remembrance. But more probably it should be rendered, to make memorial (R.V. marg.), or, for making the memorial (LXX εἰς ἀνάμνησιν as in Lev 24:7; cp. Num 10:10), and explained as a note of the liturgical use of the Psalm either in connexion with the offering of incense, or at the offering of the Azkârâ. (1) The phrase to make a memorial of incense occurs in Isa 66:3; and for the connexion of prayer with offering of incense see Num 16:46 ff.; Luk 1:9-10. The Targum suggests this reference in its double rendering, To remember concerning the use of incense, (2) The Askârâ or Memorial was a technical term in the Levitical ritual ( a) for the portion of the ‘meal-offering’ mixed with oil and burnt with incense on the altar (Lev 2:2); ( b) for the incense placed on the shewbread and afterwards burnt (Lev 24:7). Though probably the term originally meant only ‘a fragrant offering’ (see Dillmann on Lev 2:2), it was interpreted to mean ‘a memorial’ (LXX μνημόσυνον , Vulg. memoriale) as bringing the offerer to God’s remembrance. There may be an allusion to the use of Psalms in connexion with the Askârâ in 1Ch 16:4, where to celebrate (R.V.) is the same word as that used here.
The liturgical use of the Psalm must have arisen in days of national distress and persecution, and implies the application of the Psalm to the nation. A hint of this national application is given in the Targum of Psa 70:1 a, “O God make haste to deliver us.”
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".