Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 79:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The sighing of the prisoner - The poor captive Israelites in Babylon, who sigh and cry because of their bondage.

Those that are appointed to die - תמותה בני beney themuthah, "sons of death." Either those who were condemned to death because of their crimes, or condemned to be destroyed by their oppressors. Both these senses apply to the Israelites: they were sons of death, i.e., worthy of death because of their sins against God; they were condemned to death or utter destruction, by their Babylonish enemies.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee - The sighing of him who is bound. The allusion here is, doubtless, to those among the Hebrews who had been taken captives, and who “sighed” not only on account of the sufferings which they endured in their bondage, but because they had been taken from their country and home. The meaning is, “Hear those sighs, and come for the deliverance of those who are thus held in captivity.”

According to the greatness of thy power - Margin, as in Hebrew, thine arm. The arm is the symbol of power. It is implied here that great power was needful to deliver those who were held in captivity, power such as God only could exert - power which could be wielded only by an Omnipotent Being. It was the power of God only which could rescue them, as it is only by the power of God that sinners can be saved.

Preserve thou those that are appointed to die - Margin, Reserve the children of death. The literal meaning is, “Let remain the sons of death;” that is, Preserve those who are in such circumstances that death is impending, and who may be called the sons of death. This might apply to those who were condemned to death; or, to those who were sick and in danger of death; or to those who were prisoners and captives, and who were, by their sufferings, exposed to death. The prayer is that such might be suffered to remain on the earth; that is, that they might be kept alive.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Those who persist in ignorance of God, and neglect of prayer, are the ungodly. How unrighteous soever men were, the Lord was righteous in permitting them to do what they did. Deliverances from trouble are mercies indeed, when grounded upon the pardon of sin; we should therefore be more earnest in prayer for the removal of our sins than for the removal of afflictions. They had no hopes but from God's mercies, his tender mercies. They plead no merit, they pretend to none, but, Help us for the glory of thy name; pardon us for thy name's sake. The Christian forgets not that he is often bound in the chain of his sins. The world to him is a prison; sentence of death is passed upon him, and he knows not how soon it may be executed. How fervently should he at all times pray, O let the sighing of a prisoner come before thee, according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die! How glorious will the day be, when, triumphant over sin and sorrow, the church beholds the adversary disarmed for ever! while that church shall, from age to age, sing the praises of her great Shepherd and Bishop, her King and her God.