Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Psalms
Book: Psalms
Chapter: 80

The psalmist complains of the miseries of the Church. (1-7)
Its former prosperity and present Desolation. (8-16) A Prayer
for Mercy. (17-19)

1-7 He that dwelleth upon the Mercy-seat, is the good Shepherd
of his people. But we can neither expect the comfort of his
Love, nor the protection of his Arm, unless we partake of his
converting Grace. If he is really angry at the prayers of his
people, it is because, although they pray, their ends are not
right, or there is some secret Sin indulged in them, or he will
try their patience and perseverance in Prayer. When God is
displeased with his people, we must expect to see them in tears,
and their enemies in triumph. There is No Salvation but from
God's favour; there is No Conversion to God but By his own

8-16 The Church is represented as a Vine and a vineyard. The
root of this Vine is Christ, the branches are believers. The
Church is like a Vine, needing support, but spreading and
fruitful. If a Vine do not bring forth Fruit, No tree is So
worthless. And are not we planted as in a Well-cultivated
garden, with every means of being fruitful in Works of
Righteousness? But the useless leaves of profession, and the
empty boughs of notions and forms, abound far more than real
Piety. It was wasted and ruined. There was a good reason for
this change in God's way toward them. And it is Well or ill with
us, according as we are under God's smiles or frowns. When we
consider the state of the purest part of the visible Church, we
cannot wonder that it is visited with sharp corrections. They
request that God would help the Vine. Lord, it is formed By
thyself, and for thyself, therefore it may, with humble
confidence, be committed to thyself.

17-19 The Messiah, the Protector and Saviour of the Church, is
the Man of God's right Hand; he is the Arm of the Lord, for all
power is given to him. In him is our strength, By which we are
enabled to persevere to the End. The Vine, therefore, cannot be
ruined, nor can any fruitful Branch perish; but the unfruitful
will be cut off and cast into the Fire. The End of our
Redemption is, that we should serve Him who hath redeemed us,
and not go back to our old sins.