Rashi, Radak and other commentators explain that this song is the Assaf’s prophesy about the three exiles that Bnei Yisrael will have to endure, and about the three redemptions that will follow the exiles.
In line with this, a common refrain is repeated three times in this chapter:
“… Bring us back… and we will be redeemed”.
A hint to three Redemptions can be seen in the title of this song as well:
- “Shoshanim”: these are Esther and Mordecai; the miracle of Purim during the Babylonian exile,
- “Testimony by Asaph” (“Edut”): “testimony” is the reference to the Hanukkah miracle,
- “Psalm” (“mizmor”): a song that we’ll sing soon, at the time of the Mashiach’s arrival.
Thus, this whole perek is devoted to the history of the people of Israel, and the author uses a metaphor to compare them to a lily, “shoshana”. And it is no coincidence that an instrument with a similar name (“shoshanim”) was chosen to accompany this song.
The Malbim adds that, among other things, in this chapter Asaph foretells the fate of his own descendants. They were among the people who returned to Jerusalem during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.