A Maskil of Asaph.
What is A Maskil?
There are 13 Psalms that are designated a maskil. They are 32, 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89 and 142.
The Hebrew word maskil means instruction and is either:
- A psalm with something special to teach, like 32 and 78, or
- A psalm that the Psalmist wrote in a very clever way.
Who was Asaph?
There are three different men with the name of Asaph.[Neh. 2:8; 1Chr. 6:39; Is. 36:3] The Asaph identified with twelve Psalms; 50, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, is said to be the son of Berechiah who is said to be the pro-generator of the Asaphites. [1 Chronicles 6:39 ; 2 Chronicles 5:12]
FYI: When ever one runs into something in the Bible that makes little sense at first reading, it is important to look at all the passages that cover the same subject. As the theologians say “the Bible is its own best commentary.” So there is a list of other verses for your comparison at the end of the post of all Leviathans, sea monsters, and dragon passages that come to mind.
Now let us examine our clever psalm. It is a psalm of both typology and symbolism. The Psalmist asks Why?
A Maskil of Asaph.
1 O God, why dost thou cast us off for ever? Why does thy anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?
2 Remember thy congregation, which thou hast gotten of old, which thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of thy heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where thou hast dwelt.
3 Direct thy steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!
The psalmist predicts a time of judgment by God on the sheep of Thy pasture. This is the first indication of symbology, as the people are called sheep. A time is coming when the sanctuary shall be in perpetual ruins. This is both about the (type) Babylonian Captivity of the Jews and the (antitype) Babylonian Corruption of the Church.
4 Thy foes have roared in the midst of thy holy place; they set up their own signs for signs.
5 At the upper entrance they hacked the wooden trellis with axes.
6 And then all its carved wood they broke down with hatchets and hammers.
7 They set thy sanctuary on fire; to the ground they desecrated the dwelling place of thy name.
8 They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
9 We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, and there is none among us who knows how long.
Loudness in the holy place is always a sign that something is amiss. It is one thing for a preacher to be loud enough to be heard at the back of the crowd, it is another for the noice to be riotous and unruly.
The sanctuary is where one meets the Lord with humility and reverence. These fellows revel in their supposed victory over the true believers. They think that they are now the masters the King’s sanctuary.
Signs for signs is hard to get the meaning of. In Hebrew something double stated is a negative. As in Captivity captive, which means to be released. Signs for signs would mean no signs or false signs.
Verses five and six are completely inaccurate in translation. They merely state that the wood of the temple was cut down with axes and burned. There is no entrance or wooden trellis mentioned in the Hebrew. In life the temple had a wooden roof and door.
10 How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile thy name for ever?
11 Why dost thou hold back thy hand, why dost thou keep thy right hand in thy bosom?
The lament that there is no one who knows how long the captivity would last. This is not because the information was not given but because the people did not heed Jeremiah. Nor does the church seek out the numbers in Daniel and the Revelation, as to how long the corruption of the church is to last. Instead of reading the passages for what they said, they always sought the Second Coming. Turning their eyes from seeing their own judgment.
The great question of both Lamentations and the church of the Dark Ages. How long? The suffering went on and on, even though the Roman church was claiming victory as the true church suffered for over 400 years of the INQUISITION.
12 Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13 Thou didst divide the sea by thy might; thou didst break the heads of the dragons on the waters.
14 Thou didst crush the heads of Leviathan, thou didst give him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
15 Thou didst cleave open springs and brooks; thou didst dry up ever-flowing streams.
16 Thine is the day, thine also the night; thou hast established the luminaries and the sun.
17 Thou hast fixed all the bounds of the earth; thou hast made summer and winter.
Job and the 104th Psalm refer to leviathan as a real sea creature. However here it is multi-headed. This cannot be a real animal. This animal is symbolic just like God calling His people, sheep.
Isaiah called him the twisting serpent of the sea. [Is. 27:1] And later names it Rahab which in Hebrew means to be defiant, arrogant, boisterous or stormy. [Is. 51:9]
However we don’t get a real description of it until Revelation 13, where it is called the beast from the sea. It is described as having ten horns and seven heads and is made up of all the beasts from the sea in Daniel 7. It represents all the imperial powers that have ruled the Western World from the time of Babylon. It gets its authority from Satan [Rev. 13:4]
Now Satan is the ruler of this world, and he has ruled through these imperial powers for 2520 years. [John 12:; 14:30; 16:11; Eph. 6:12]
We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one. 1John 5:19
Satan is now out of time. Soon his heads will be crushed, and the imperial powers will blow away like chaff according to Daniel 2, on the day of our deliverance.
18 Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy scoffs, and an impious people reviles thy name.
19 Do not deliver the soul of thy dove to the wild beasts; do not forget the life of thy poor for ever.
20 Have regard for thy covenant; for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
21 Let not the downtrodden be put to shame; let the poor and needy praise thy name.
22 Arise, O God, plead thy cause; remember how the impious scoff at thee all the day!
23 Do not forget the clamor of thy foes, the uproar of thy adversaries which goes up continually!
This is our prayer and our hope. Let Leviathan be no more. No king but Jesus/Yeshua.
Let those curse it who curse the day, who are skilled to rouse up Leviathan. Job 3:8
“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook, or press down his tongue with a cord? Job 41:1
There go the ships, and Leviathan which thou didst form to sport in it. Psa. 104:26
In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea. Is. 27:1
2 Daniel said, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. Dan 7:2-3
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads. 2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bears, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. Rev. 13:1
And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bears, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. Rev. 13:2
The sea or waters
And he said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the harlot is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. Rev. 17:15
And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. Rev. 19:20