Earthquakes, Horns and a Cup of Wine!

Psalm 75

(See the Notes)

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 75

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.

Jesus woke up and he was angry with the wind. He said to the sea, "Shut your mouth and stop making a noise!" And the wind stopped blowing and it was very quiet. (Mark 4:39) (The word that Jesus used was one that people used to make their animals quiet.)

Psalm 75

  (This is) for the music leader.
(He must use music called) "Do Not Destroy".
(This is) a Psalm of *Asaph (and) a Song.

v1   God, we thank you.
  We really thank you because you are still near to us.
  This is what the *wonderful things that you have done tell us!

v2   (God said,) "At the time that I will choose, I will be a fair *judge.

v3   When the earth *shakes and everything in it (is afraid),
  I will stop its *foundations moving.  *SELAH

v4   I say to the people that are *boasting, "Do not *boast".
  (I say) to the *godless, "Do not lift up your *horn.

v5   Do not lift your *horn up high.
  (Do not) push your neck up high when you speak".

v6   For nobody
    from the east
    or from the west
    or from the *desert (in the south)
    or from the mountains (in the north)

v7   will be *judge. Only God (will be *judge).
  He puts one person down and he lifts up another person.

v8   Because there is a cup in the *LORDís hand.
  It is full of *wine, mixing with *spice.
  (The *LORD) will pour it out from this (cup).
  All the *godless people in the world will drink it.
  They will drink the last bit of it.

v9   But I will always talk about (what God did).
  I will sing *praise to the God of *Jacob.

v10   (Because he says) "I will cut off all the *horns of the *godless.
  But I will lift up the *horns of the *righteous".

The Story of Psalm 75

The psalm tells us that God has done something good for his people. Many Bible students think that the good thing was this. God saved them from the King of Assyria. His name was Sennacherib. Assyria was a country north and east of Judah. Sennacherib fought against many places near Judah and won. But when he fought against the capital city of Judah, he did not win. The capital city was Jerusalem. The *temple was in Jerusalem. God kept the *temple and his people that lived near it safe. You can read the story in Isaiah chapters 36 and 37. About 100 years later God did not keep the *temple and his people safe. You can read about this in Psalm 74.

There are three pictures in Psalm 75. The *psalmist tells us three things in these pictures. He does this because he thinks that we will remember pictures better than words! The pictures are of earthquakes, *horns and a cup of *wine. What do they mean? You can read the notes to find out what each picture is about. But all three of them say one thing: God is our *judge, not men.

What Psalm 75 means

Verses 1 and 9: All the people thank God for what he has done. Because he has given them help, it tells them that God is with them. The *Hebrew Bible says, "Your name is near to us". This is one way that the *Israelites said "You are near to us". God was where his name was! In verse 9, only the *psalmist speaks. He will always talk about what God has done. The "God of *Jacob" means "God of the *Israelites".

Verses 2, 6 and 7: Only God will be the *judge, and he will be a fair *judge. "At the time", in verse 2, means "when God decides to be *judge". This may be in the lives of people, or at the end when they die. If the psalm is about Sennacherib, then it was while he was alive. Later, when he died, God *judged him again. In verse 6, we could translate "the mountains" as "will lift up". They are the same word in *Hebrew. Both are true. Nobody is a more important *judge than God. It does not matter what direction they come from. And as verse 7 tells us, God "puts one person down and he lifts up another". This means that he says that one person is wrong ("puts down") and another person right ("lifts up").

Verse 3: Earthquakes. An earthquake is when the ground moves. Buildings and trees fall over. Big holes appear in the ground. People and animals become very frightened. When Sennacherib came, the people felt as if they were in an earthquake. They were very much afraid. It was not a *real earthquake, but they were just as frightened. God is speaking in verses 2 - 5 (and also verse 10). God says in verse 3 "In an earthquake I can stop the ground moving". This is a picture that tells us this. In a war, God can stop the fighting. The word *SELAH maybe means "stop and think and pray about it".

Verses 4, 5 and 10: Horns. Many animals have horns on their heads. Cows, goats and deer are examples. The horns are bones that they fight with. The horns make them strong and powerful. So, in this psalm, horns are just a picture. The *godless people (like Sennacherib) did not have horns on their heads! "Do not lift up your horn" in verse 4 means "Do not show how strong you are". Maybe it also means "Do not fight". In verse 10 God says, "I will cut off the horns of the *godless". This means that they will not be strong and powerful again. They will be like animals that have lost their horns. They cannot fight. But Godís people, the *righteous, will be strong and powerful. But they must wait for "the time that God will choose", verse 1. "Push your neck up high" in verse 5 means "Think you are more important".

Verse 8: A cup of wine. Wine is a drink with alcohol in it. This wine has spices in it. They make it taste different. The wine is a picture of God *punishing the *godless. *"Punish" means "hurt someone because they have done wrong things". Drinking the wine, then, means "punishing people". "Drink the last bit" means that God will *punish these people completely. This verse is a picture of God *judging his enemies.

Something to do

1.  Read other psalms that are about Sennacherib. They are 46, 47, 48 and 76.

2.  Think about the word that Jesus used to stop the wind blowing in Mark 4:39. It is a word that we use to tell our animals to be quiet. In England, we tell our *dogs "Down boy!" when they jump on us! Jesus was showing the wind and sea that he was more powerful than they were. He owned them. He was telling them, "Down boy!" Now look at Psalm 46:10. Here God tells Sennacherib, "Down boy!" God was more powerful than Sennacherib.

3.  Read Isaiah 36 and 37. The same story is in 2 Kings 18 and 19.

4.  Learn to say Psalm 75:9 by heart. (This means without looking at the words.)

5.  Read about Asaph at the end of Psalm 73 in this set of psalms.

Word List

The notes explain earthquakes, horn, wine and spice.

Adonai ~ *Lord or master; (or better, my *Lord or my master) in *Hebrew.

Asaph ~ look in the Introduction to The Psalms of David Book 3.

boast ~ say that you are great and important (when maybe you are not).

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the covenant.

desert ~ a dry place with much sand.

dog ~ an animal.

foundations ~ what people build houses on.

godless ~ people that do not obey God, and that fight against him.

grapes ~ the fruit of a plant called the *vine. People use them to make drink that has alcohol in it. The drink is *wine.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke when they wrote the Psalms of David.

horn ~ hard bone on head of animal, showing it is strong; look at the note on Psalm 75:4.

Israelite ~ a *Jewish person (see Jew).

Jacob ~ another name for Israel, both the people and the land. (Jacob was Abrahamís grandson).

Jehovah ~ how some languages say *Yahweh, one of the names of God in *Hebrew.

Jew ~ someone who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.

judge ~ say who is right and who is wrong; or, the person that says who is right and who is wrong.

like ~ another word for "as".

Lord ~ a name for God; it means he has authority, or 'master'; *Adonai in *Hebrew. Look also at *LORD below.

LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the names of God.

praise ~ say how great somebody is; or, words that say how great someone is.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

punish ~ hurt someone because they have not obeyed the rules.

real ~ proper.

righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people that love and obey him are righteous. Sometimes we say that they are "the righteous", meaning "righteous people". Look after Psalm 5 in Book 1 of The Psalms of David for more about the word "righteous".

SELAH ~ a place to pray or think or make music.

shake ~ move from one side to another and back again very fast many times.

spice ~ look in the notes.

temple ~ a place where people meet to *worship God.

vines ~ plants that grow *grapes (to make *wine).

wine ~ a drink with alcohol in it. People make it from *grapes.

wonderful ~ great and surprising.

worship ~ tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.

Yahweh ~ the *covenant name for God. Most Bibles translate it *LORD with 4 capital letters. It means something *like "I am" or "always alive".


© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

January 2002

Visit our website: