English Basic Explanation - Chapter 79
In Psalm 79 the poet Assaf laments the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem at the hands of Israel's foes, focusing his attention on the sheer cruelty and viciousness exhibited by the barbaric marauders. Not only did the enemies desecrate the Temple and reduce the city of Jerusalem to rubble, they mercilessly and indiscriminately murdered the city's inhabitants without even allowing for their burial (verses 1-3). Assaf wonders when the pain and anguish will end, and appeals to God to "cast His wrath" (verse 6) against the enemy nations that reject His rule and torture His people.
In verses 8-9, Assaf acknowledges the sins of Am Yisrael on account of which God had abandoned them, but nevertheless insists that God pardon their wrongs and bring them redemption. He invokes a number of arguments in presenting this plea. First, he observes that "Dalonu Me'od" (verse 8) – Am Yisrael has reached the lowest depths of helplessness and destitution, which should arouse divine compassion regardless of their past misdeeds. Secondly, Assaf appeals for mercy "for Your Name's sake" (verse 9), noting that the suffering of Israel causes their enemies to deny the existence of God (verse 10). In this Psalm's final verse Assaf invokes yet another basis for his appeal, namely, that Am Yisrael is, after all, "Your people and the sheep You shepherd." Even if we have strayed, we nevertheless retain our identity as God's nation, and for this reason alone we are entitled to pray that God assist and redeem us.
Assaf concludes this prayer by promising that once our nation is redeemed we will forever give praise and thanksgiving to God for His kindness. As opposed to the enemy nations, who used their success as a cause for arrogant denial of God, Am Yisrael promises to respond to their ultimate triumph with humble and sincere recognition of God and His great kindness to His people.