Schalk Treurnicht


Psalm 80 uses a wide variety of metaphors to describe the way Israel saw God in their present context. This context is before the fall of Samaria to the Assyrians. It was a time of uncertainty, with many questions on God’s role in Israel’s future and God’s role in their present suffering. They may have asked, are they suffering because God has forgotten or abandoned them? Due to the uncertainty the psalm, which is a communal lament, asks God not to forget them and to return to them. This is done by referring to God’s past relationship with Israel, reminding God of the good parent-child relationship they once had.

In Psalm 80 different metaphors work together to create this model of parent and child, with God portrayed not as a good parent, but rather a wicked one. But all is not lost, and Israel knows their lives can be saved by God choosing to return to them and to become, once again, the good parent, who keeps them safe. In this exegetical discussion on Psalm 80, I want to use these metaphors to help develop this model of Israel as an abandoned child and to conclude with the image that this portrays. The metaphor of Israel as child does not appear in Psalm 80, thus, the different metaphors that do appear, each say something about the relational experience Israel had with God. These experiences will be used to flesh out/ add depth to this understanding of Israel as an abandoned child.


Psalm; Metaphor; Model; Child; Abandoned; Lament

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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