This is translated by S.R. Hirsch as,
<<TO HIM WHO GRANTS VICTORY. FOR THE ROSES; A TESTIMONY, A PSALM OF ASAPH.>>
SHOSHANIM-EDUTH: Literally, "The Roses of Testimony" or "the Roses, a testimony".
"Shoshanim" in Hebrew means "roses". It was also according to the Commentators a type of musical instrument.
At all events there is something symbolic in the use of the term at the head of this Psalm 80 which deals amongst other things with the exile of the Ten Tribes.
The Ten Tribes were destined to be represented by the Tudor Rose of England as explained at length in our work "Ephraim" and in summarized form on our web-site:
Extract from "The Hirsch Psalms", by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888).
<<V. 1. 3 AL HASHOSHANIM, FOR THE ROSES: namely, for the generations of Israel in exile. Even as roses have been provided with thorns to fend off any attack, so Israel has been prepared from the time of its establishment for the attacks with which it would be threatened and supplied with armor to repel these (see Psalms 60, 69) . This entire Psalm is dedicated to the generations which, enmeshed in the sufferings of exile, call upon God to return. These sufferings are depicted in three degrees of intensity. There is a three -fold cry of mounting intensity (Verses 4, 8, 20) calling upon return to Israel. These degrees of urgency are expressed in a corresponding increase in the designations employed for the Name of God; first God; then 'God of Hosts' and finally 'LORD God of Hosts'. It is obvious that Asaph is referring to three separate eras of exile; first, the exile of the 'Lost Ten Tribes, then the Babylonian exile and finally the third exile which was brought about by Roman tyranny and in which we still find ourselves today.
The Ten Tribes, for the most part, were estranged from Jewish from the spirit of Judaism even while they still constituted an independent kingdom. When they were driven into exile, in which they disappeared into oblivion, this alienation from things Jewish may have gone to extremes. But they remained human beings nevertheless, and there-call to God addressing Him as 'GOD' , as "Judge". This denotes a relationship which God has with every human being, and to which any man who has been the victim of abuse has the right to appeal.
Those who were exiled to Babylonia, however, had gone into banishment as Jews, and even in an alien land and in the midst of the worst excesses of idolatry, the collapse of their independence soon cured them partial lapse into paganism. Hence they had the right to think of themselves once again as the HOSTS OF THE ALMIGHTY among all other HOSTS, as a special GROUP among all the other groups of creatures at God's command
The Babylonian exile, from the first, had been intended to last for only a limited period of time. The third exile, however, begun under triumph of Rome's destructive might, destroyed every vestige of Israel's national independence and caused it to be dispersed to all the ends of the earth. This exile was to be of indeterminate duration. Therefore, this last and longest exile of them all could indeed easily be interpreted as a sign of the utter disappearance of the phenomenon of Israel in history. However, Israel's total annihilation would indicate an utter abandonment of all the goals that originally had been set for the future of all mankind and that are intimately bound up with the election of Israel its mission in world history. The future universal redemption, which hand in hand with the future of Israel, stands guaranty that this third exile, too, one day will come to an end. Therefore, appeal is now made to the significance of Israel's role for the eventual salvation of all of man When Israel cries out to God for deliverance from this third, "Roman" exile, it therefore beseeches God to help because HE is THE LORD GOD OF HOSTS (ve 20). (The Tetragrammaton denotes the rule of God as He trains and disciplines man for his own eventual redemption.)>>
Explanation: Rabbi Hirsch says the Ten Tribes lost consciousness of their Israelite uniqueness but nevertheless maintain a relationship with the Almighty by relating to HIM as God the Creator and Ruler of creation.
The Jews in the Babylonian Exile could regard themselves as a special group chosen out of all the other groups God rules over.
The Final Redemption which we now seek strives for the complete deliverance of Israel meaning the ability to realize our destined spiritual and physical potential as prophesied to us, see our new book,
"Role to Rule. The task of Joseph".
[Psalms 80:1] GIVE EAR, O SHEPHERD OF ISRAEL, THOU THAT LEADEST JOSEPH LIKE A FLOCK; THOU THAT DWELLEST BETWEEN THE CHERUBIMS, SHINE FORTH.
God is the Shepherd of Israel. He is the ONE who guides us.
This is an important point.
God is the ALMIGHTY LORD of all creation.
All of mankind can and should pray to HIM and be directed saved by him.
Even so, for HIS own reasons HE chose to reveal HIMSELF through HIS people.
This is hoiw we may reach out to HIM, through identifying with the peoples of Israel.
[Psalms 80:2] BEFORE EPHRAIM AND BENJAMIN AND MANASSEH STIR UP THY STRENGTH, AND COME AND SAVE US.
We ask God to come and save us.
We are not pretending to be more than what we are.
We are asking God because of what we are or are supposed to be that HE help us.
S.R. Hirsch: V. 2. BEFORE EPHRAIM. It is clear that the names of Ephraim and Menasseh are intended to represent the shattered kingdom of the Ten Tribes. For Ephraim in particular was the leading tribe, and prophetic literature generally employs the designation of "Ephraim" with reference to this kingdom. The connection of Ephraim with Benjamin, however, is somewhat obscure. Benjamin was the only tribe to adhere to Judah and to share its fate. It was only in the grouping of the tribes in the camp around the Tent of the Law during the journey through the wilderness that Benjamin, together with Manasseh, was assigned to the banner of Ephraim. The reason for the mention of Benjamin here is not quite clear. Perhaps the intent is to state that Ephraim and Manasseh long to be reunited with Benjamin so that, together once again under one banner and near the Sanctuary of God, they may follow the guidance of Divine Omnipotence.
S.R. Hirsch: STIR UP: ?This is quite in keeping with the plight of the Ten Tribes from whose soul this cry for God's return goes forth. They are aware of their utter unworthiness, and dare turn to God with this call only "for His own sake," in view of His grace, His promises and the intentions of His rule, etc.
HaMairi: << SHEPHERD OF ISRAELthe name of the nation [of Israel] is addressed to as "EPHRAIM AND BENJAMIN AND MANASSEH" (80:2) since all of Israel may be referred to as Joseph according to the blessing of Jacob, LET MY NAME BE NAMED ON THEM, AND THE NAME OF MY FATHERS ABRAHAM AND ISAAC (Genesis 48:16) meaning that the entire national entity could be called by their name as it is called by my name, i.e. "Israel" and "Jacob". Even though Benjamin is not included in this, Joseph and Benjamin were the sons of one mother [Rachel] who was the foundation of the entire family [Jacob was induced to take his other wives due to his initial love for Rachel]. For this reason all [the tribes] in relation to this matter were referred to as Israel. After the Division of the Kingdom, the Realm of Israel [of the Ten Tribes] could be denoted as "Joseph" or "Ephraim" since the first king of the [separate] Realm of Israel was Jeroboam the Ephrathite-Noble.>>
[Psalms 80:3] TURN US AGAIN, O GOD, AND CAUSE THY FACE TO SHINE; AND WE SHALL BE SAVED.
If God will turn HIS face to us, as we are, we shall be faced.
We ask God to take consideration of what we are and make HIS face shine on us so that our individuality be enhanced in the right way for us to do better for our own sakes and that of others.
[Psalms 80:4] O LORD GOD OF HOSTS, HOW LONG WILT THOU BE ANGRY AGAINST THE PRAYER OF THY PEOPLE?
[Psalms 80:5] THOU FEEDEST THEM WITH THE BREAD OF TEARS; AND GIVEST THEM TEARS TO DRINK IN GREAT MEASURE.
[Psalms 80:6] THOU MAKEST US A STRIFE UNTO OUR NEIGHBOURS: AND OUR ENEMIES LAUGH AMONG THEMSELVES.
The Israelites are a cause of contention amongst their neighbors.
They are mocked at because they are soft and sometimes self-deprecating, lacking in self-respect, and not animalistic or ruthless enough.
[Psalms 80:7] TURN US AGAIN, O GOD OF HOSTS, AND CAUSE THY FACE TO SHINE; AND WE SHALL BE SAVED.
We cannot really compete with the others. We are not like them. It is not worth our while to even try to become like them. We will only debase ourselves. Through the enlightenment of the Almighty however we may realize our inner potential and be led through what we must do.
We are asking God to arouse us. So too in the verses directed to the Ten Tribes the emphasis is on the Almighty to arouse HIS might and shine HIS face on us so that we may be aroused and return to the right path.
[Psalms 80:8] THOU HAST BROUGHT A VINE OUT OF EGYPT: THOU HAST CAST OUT THE HEATHEN, AND PLANTED IT.
The Israelites came out of Egypt. The wife of Joseph and mother of Ephraim and Manasseh was an Egyptian woman.
Early 20th century books on British Archaeology claimed that the earliest inhabitants of the British Isles had skeletons identical to those of the earliest Ancient Egyptians. In our book "Lost Israelite Identity" as well as elsewhere we have noted contacts between Egypt (or Israelites bearing Egyptian culture) and the west.
Jeroboam the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel had been in Egypt before returning to rule over the Ten Tribes. The northern Kingdom according to archaeological findings was permeated by Egyptian influence.
Just as God intervened to physically extract Israel from Egypt in Ancient Times so too can HE do it again. It does not necessarily have to happen quite so literally as it did in the past but the miracles that are needed in their own way are just as great. We pray for the intervention of God in our national and private affairs.
Ancient Egypt and Britain:
A Few Sources [with much more of the same in "Lost Israelite Identity"]
The religious practices of the Celtic Druids reveal an admixture of Middle Eastern and Hebraic tradition and since the Lost Ten Tribes were exiled due to idolatry the Druids were running true to form. Frank McGaugh claimed that the Druids were actually only a small sub-section of a large organisation which he calls "The Bardic System"*. He finds parallells between the Bardic System and ancient Babylon both of which used the Zodiac and worshipped Baal. McGaugh states, "These mysterious bardic organisers may also have spent some time in Egypt, or have had contact with the Egyptians, as many Gaelic words and Egyptian words are similar in sound and meaning". The Israelites had sojourned in Egypt for four hundred years and been subjected by the Egyptians before entering the land of Canaan. Later, the northern kingdom of Israel prior to the Assyrian Exile had become permeated with Egyptian culture. Ivory and other decorations produced in Israelite Samaria frequently depict Egyptian motifs. The Egyptians had had connections with both India and early Europe. Between Egypt and India there were ethnic links, cultural exchanges, and religious influences. Students of early Irish Mythology sometimes claim to see parallels with that of India. These may be due to influences upon the Celts from Europe or the phenomenon may actually be Egytian in origin and not Indian.
At least 151 small rings, with coppercores, and once used as money have been uncovered in Scotland. Similar finds have been found in England and Ireland. They date from around 700 b.c.e. (or after) and the only known parallels outside of the British Isles were found in Egypt3.
The Pict symbols included a mirror and comb and the sun appearing overhead of a sailing ship36. Similar symbols have been reported from Scandinavia and are known from studies of ancient Egypt.
Donald A. MacKenzie (1935) made an interesting study of the Picts. He said that they were (or included) an elite of pirates who took their wives from Ireland (according to Bede) and had a kind of matriarchal society similar to that which had prevailed in ancient Egypt.
The Celts of Britain wore trousers reaching to the knee and then tucked up. This manner of dress had been the fashion of Homeric Greece and ancient Egypt24. Excavations in Samaria, the capital of the northern ten tribed kingdom before the exile, revealed a highly developed Phoenician type of culture heavily permeated with Egyptian themes*24.
In southwest Gaul (Aquitaine) the Egyptian goddess Isis was worshipped in the Dordogne River Valley from pre-Roman times29.
The frequent conjunction of a ship with the solar disc on rock sculptures is found in Sweden, Ireland, and Brittany. This is an Egyptian symbol31. It is also found in the Pict region of Scotland32.
Druidism practised human sacrifice. They believed in transmigration (reincarnation) of the soul after death as did the ancient Egyptians. It was possible amongst the Celts to give a promissory note on debt, payable in the next world; this custom is considered to be an Egyptian one34.
.. The Irish funeral ceremonies recall those of ancient Greece and Egypt36.
[Psalms 80:9] THOU PREPAREDST ROOM BEFORE IT, AND DIDST CAUSE IT TO TAKE DEEP ROOT, AND IT FILLED THE LAND.
The Almighty visited the Land of Canaan with natural disasters and internecine warfare before the Israelites entered it. The Hebrew came into a land with well built-up cities, prepared fields and orchards, water-works, etc alongside a diminished weakened population that they had to overcome.
Cf. God send a "tsirah" (translated as "wasp" but actually connoting "sickness") before them,
Exodus 23:28 Deuteronomy 7:20,
AND IT SHALL BE, WHEN THE LORD THY GOD SHALL HAVE BROUGHT THEE INTO THE LAND WHICH HE SWARE UNTO THY FATHERS, TO ABRAHAM, TO ISAAC, AND TO JACOB, TO GIVE THEE GREAT AND GOODLY CITIES, WHICH THOU BUILDEDST NOT, [Deuteronomy 6:10]
AND HOUSES FULL OF ALL GOOD THINGS, WHICH THOU FILLEDST NOT, AND WELLS DIGGED, WHICH THOU DIGGEDST NOT, VINEYARDS AND OLIVE TREES, WHICH THOU PLANTEDST NOT; WHEN THOU SHALT HAVE EATEN AND BE FULL [Deuteronomy 6:11].
[Psalms 80:10] THE HILLS WERE COVERED WITH THE SHADOW OF IT, AND THE BOUGHS
THEREOF WERE LIKE THE GOODLY CEDARS.
[Psalms 80:10] THE HILLS WERE COVERED WITH THE SHADOW OF IT, AND THE BOUGHS
THEREOF WERE LIKE THE GOODLY CEDARS.