1 In Thy heritage the heathen
Now, O God, triumphant stand;
They defile Thy holy temple,
They destroy Thy chosen land;
Ruthless, they have slain Thy servants,
They have caused Thy saints to mourn,
In the sight of all about us
We endure reproach and scorn.
2 O how long against Thy people
Shall Thy anger burn, O Lord?
On Thy enemies, the heathen,
Be Thy indignation poured;
Smite the kingdoms that defy Thee,
Calling not upon Thy Name.
They have long devoured Thy people
And have swept Thy land with flame.
3 O remember not against us
Evil by our fathers wrought;
Haste to help us in Thy mercy,
Near to ruin we are brought;
Help us, God of our salvation,
For the glory of Thy Name;
For Thy Name's sake come and save us,
Take away our sin and shame.
4 Let Thy foes no longer scorn Thee,
Now avenge Thy servants slain;
Loose the prisoner, save the dying,
All Thy enemies restrain;
Then Thy flock, Thy chosen people,
Unto Thee Thy thanks shall raise,
And to every generation,
We will sing Thy glorious praise.
The Psalter: with responsive readings, 1912
A prayer for God's forgiveness and restoration and for his judgment on world powers that have defied and scorned him.
st. 1 = vv. 1-4
st. 2 = vv. 5-7
st. 3 = vv. 8-9
st. 4 = vv. 10-13
Like Psalms 74 and 137, this song comes from the exile period. It is a community lament in which Israel pleads with God to turn his anger from Israel to the kingdoms that have treated her cruelly and shown utter contempt for the LORD (st. 1-2). Those nations have devastated God's kingdom ("heritage," st. 1), and God's people now beg for forgiveness and for deliverance that will return glory to God's name (st. 3). In sympathy with the psalmist we sing, "Show the nations that you avenge the blood of your people, O God; save us, and we will praise you forever" (st. 4). The versification (altered) is from the 1912 Psalter. Another segment of Psalm 79 is at 254.
Worship services focusing on the Jewish exile or on solidarity with Christians who suffer persecution or are refugees.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook