Psalms 80 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Psalm begins with a prayer to the Shepherd of Israel once more to manifest His power and lead His people to victory (Psa 80:1-3).
How long, pleads the Psalmist, will God continue to be angry with His people and abandon them to the mockery of their enemies (Psa 80:4-7)?
He reminds God of the care which He had once bestowed upon the vine of Israel, and of its former luxuriant growth: why then has He now withdrawn His protection and abandoned it to the ravages of its foes (Psa 80:8-13)?
Once more he prays that God will visit and restore His people, and bind them to Himself by a new bond of allegiance (Psa 80:14-19).
The refrains (Psa 80:3; Psa 80:7; Psa 80:19) mark a strophical arrangement, and Psa 80:8-19 naturally fall into two divisions, Psa 80:8-19. But there are indications of some dislocation of the text of Psa 80:14 ff., and it is possible that the strophical arrangement was originally more complete.
This Psalm throws into the form of a prayer those hopes for the restoration of the Northern tribes and the reunion of all Israel, which are found in the prophets from the time of Amos onward, and are expressed in the fullest detail by Jeremiah (Jer 3:11-15; Jer 31:1-21), and Ezekiel (Eze 37:15-28), and, probably at a still later date, after the first Return from the Exile, in Zechariah 9-11.  It must have been written after the fall of the Northern Kingdom, when political rivalry between Israel and Judah was at an end; and it may have been written either before the Exile or after the Return from Babylon, for the language of Psa 80:3 ; Psa 80:7 ; Psa 80:19 does not necessarily imply that the whole nation was in exile. But more probably it was written during the Babylonian exile; for (1) Psa 80:3 ; Psa 80:7 ; Psa 80:19 are most naturally interpreted as a prayer for the termination of the exile: (2) Psa 80:12 ff. seem to describe the land as wholly overrun by enemies and the national existence as for the time at an end: and (3) the resemblances of language to Psalms 74, 79 are in favour of referring it to the same period  .
 For a discussion of the date of Zechariah 9-11 the writer would refer to his Doctrine of the Prophets, pp. 445 ff.
On the whole then, though the Psalm may be a prayer of the post-exile congregation for the fuller restoration of Israel, and doubtless was so used by them, it seems best to regard it as originally the prayer of Israel in exile for a complete national restoration. The special interest shewn in the tribes of the Northern Kingdom ( Psa 80:2) may have been due to the connexion of the author with one of those tribes: but it is sufficiently accounted for by the prominence given to Israel’s restoration in Jeremiah and Ezekiel. “The brotherly love of Judah for Israel (cp. Psa 77:15; Psa 81:5) is a reflection (if we may expand the thought of the Asaphite Psalmists in accordance with Jer 31:9; Jer 31:20) of the fatherly love of Jehovah for His ‘first-born.’ Man’s self-will (Hos 5:11) cannot permanently make void the divine idea of all-Israel.” (Cheyne.)
According to the Massoretic accentuation the title runs, For the chief Musician, set to Shoshannim ( lilies): a testimony of Asaph, a Psalm: but the analogy of the title of Psalms 60 suggests the connexion of the words Shoshannim Eduth, i.e. ( Like) lilies is the testimony, pure and beautiful. These would be the opening words of some well-known song in praise of the Law, to the melody of which the Psalm was to be sung. Cp. the titles of Psalms 45, 69; and see Introd. p. xxvi. The LXX adds to the title, A Psalm concerning the Assyrian, as in Psalms 76.
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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".