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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
Psalms 107

 

 

Introduction

Psa 107:
THE FIFTH, OR DEUTERONOMY BOOK*.

GOD""S WORD THE ONLY GOOD.

"He sent His Word, and healed them. And delivered them from all their destructions"
(
Psalms 107:20; Psalms 147:15, Psalms 147:18.)

107 DELIVERANCE BY THE HEALING WORD.
108-110 THE TRUE DAVID""S HUMILIATION, DELIVERANCE, AND
EXALTATION (
Psalms 108:6).
111-113 PRAISE. THREE HALLELUJAH PSALMS. THE FIRST TWO BEGINNING, AND THE THIRD, BOTH BEGINNING AND ENDING, WITH "HALLELUJAH"(Ps. 111 Being Praise For Jehovah""s WORKS 112, For His WAYS And 113, For HIMSELF.)
114-115 DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT, AND EGYPT""S IDOLS.
116-118 PRAISE. THREE PSALMS. THE FIRST TWO ENDING WITH "HALLELUJAH", AND THE THIRD BEGINNING AND ENDING WITH "O GIVE THANKS".
119 QUICKENING AND SUSTAINING || BY THE REVEALING WORD.
120-134 DELIVERANCE FROM SENNACHERIB. TYPICAL OF ISRAEL""S FUTURE DELIVERANCE. Fifteen Psalms Arranged in Five Triads. (See Appdx-67.)
135-136 PRAISE. TWO PSALMS LINKED TOGETHER BY ONE COMBINED STRUCTURE.
137 DELIVERANCE OF CAPTIVES. SENNACHERIB""S CAPTIVES. (See notes)
138 PRAISE.
139 DELIVERANCE FROM AN EVIL HEART (Compare
Ezekiel 36:26. Jeremiah 31:33.)
140-144 PRAYER AND PRAISE.
145 THE TRUE DAVID LEADING THE PRAISES OF HIS PEOPLE (
Psalms 144:9).
146-150 PRAISE. FIVE HALLELUJAH PSALMS, EACH BEGINNING AND ENDING WITH "HALLELUJAH".

* DEUTERONOMY is man""s name for this book. It comes from the Greek Septuagint, and means "the second Law". It was given because Deuteronomy was a repetition of the Law, with variations, to suit the needs of the new generation in the Land. The title in the Hebrew Canon is, ""elleh haddebarim, "THESE ARE THE WORDS". It is the book which contains the words of God; and consists almost wholly of the testimonies, statutes, judgments, &c, of Jehovah. It was from this book that the Saviour made His three quotations, when He met the tempter with the threefold "It is written". It follows the Book of the Wilderness; and gives the reason for all the trials of the pilgrimage:"The LORD thy God led thee these forty years. .. that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that pro-ceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live" (
Deuteronomy 8:2, Deuteronomy 8:3). The natural life, the giving of which is recorded in Genesis, is nothing worth if man be not begotten by the Word, and if the new nature thus given be not nourished by the Word. For only thus can man be truly said to "live ".

Hence, in this Deuteronomy-Book of the Psalms we have the same leading subject. Its teaching, like that of the other books, is Dispensational; and it is grouped around the WORD. All blessing for Man (Book I), all blessing for Israel (Book II), all blessing for Zion (Book III), all blessing for the Earth and its Nations (Book IV), is bound up in the Word and Law of God. The breaking of that Law had been the source of Man""s sorrow, Israel""s dispersion, the Temple""s ruin, and the Earth""s misery. It will yet be seen that all blessing for Man, the gathering of Israel, the building of Zion, and restoration for the earth, is bound up with the Word of God, and with His Law written by His Spirit on the fleshy tables of the heart (
Jeremiah 31:31-34. Ezekiel 36:24-38).

What a wonderful thing for one to be brought to say "O how I love Thy Law !" (
Psalms 119:97), when the breaking of that Law had brought in all the suffering! But it will be noted that this is said only after (in Psalm 118) the Resurrection of the Righteous Magnifier of that Law has been celebrated.

This is the theme of the Deuteronomy-Book of the Psalms. It consists of forty-four Psalms, in which the title Jehovah occurs 293 times; and Jah, 13; while Elohim occurs only 41 times (4 of which are with Jehovah); El, 10 times; Eloha, twice. While the structure of the other books consists of two or three sections, this book is, like the Law of God itself, a perfect whole. It is the only book which has an even number of Psalms. Its first Psalm (107), as is the case with the first Psalms of the other books, is at once its key-note and epitome.

Heb. Shehith = graves, or pits (from Shahath = to destroy), occurs only here and in
Lamentations 4:20. The two passages, taken together, tell us that it is not merely the written Word which delivers from deep afflictions, but that the Living and Divine WORD,Who was "taken in their pits", is the alone Deliverer of His People from their graves.

It will be noted that Ps. 119 is characteristic of the DEUTERONOMY Book of the Psalms; while Ps. 84 is characteristic of the LEVITICUS Book, and Ps. 90 of the NUMBERS Book. We cannot imagine these as being appropriate to any other Books. || The Quickening and Sustaining Word. This is characteristic of Ps. 119. Cp. vv.
Psalms 107:25, Psalms 107:37, Psalms 107:40, Psalms 107:50, Psalms 107:88, Psalms 107:93, Psalms 107:107, Psalms 107:149, Psalms 107:154, Psalms 107:156; Psalms 107:159 (eleven occurrences). Moreover, the verb hayah (= to breathe, to live, to continue to live) is used sixteen times in this Psalm, always in the sense of keeping alive, or continuing in life. See KAL (Future), vv. Psalms 107:17, Psalms 107:77, Psalms 107:116, Psalms 107:144, Psalms 107:175. PIEL (Pret.), vv. Psalms 119:50; Psalms 119:93. PIEL (Imperative), vv. Psalms 119:25; Psalms 119:37; Psalms 119:40; Psalms 119:88; Psalms 119:107; Psalms 119:149; Psalms 119:154; Psalms 119:156; Psalms 119:159.

In this connection, how suitable to Hezekiah. See Appdx-67, and note the Distress, which is the subject of the first Psalm of each of the five groups of "the songs of the Degrees"; and Hezekiah""s earnest prayer. Appdx-67 (iv and xiv).

The Songs of THE Degrees are 15 in number (120 134, above). They correspond in number with the 15 years added to Hezekiah""s life. Ten are by Hezekiah (corresponding with the number of "the Degrees" by which the shadow of the sun went backward on the sundial of Ahaz,
2 Kings 20:8-11). Five are by others (4 by David and 1 by Solomon). Solomon""s Psalm occupies the centre (127); and, of the 7 on either side, 2 in each 7 are by David; and 10 (5 in each 7) by Hezekiah.

In each 7 the name of JEHOVAH occurs 24 times, and JAH once in the third Psalm of each 7. In the central Psalm Jehovah occurs 3 times.

The fifteen Psalms are arranged in five groups of 3 each. In each group, the subject of the first is Distress; the second is Trust in Jehovah; while the third speaks of Blessing and Peace in Zion.

They are here in fulfilment of Hezekiah""s promise recorded in
Isaiah 38:20. (For farther information see Appdx-73, and Dr. J. W. Thirtle""s Old Testament Problems. London, Henry Frowde.)

The last five Hallelujah Psalms (146 150, p. 826) are an echo and reminiscence of the whole of the five books of the Psalter:

146. GENESIS. Compare
Psalms 107:4 with Genesis 2:7; Psalms 107:5 with Gen. 28; v. Psalms 146:6 with Gen 1.
147. EXODUS. Compare v.
Psalms 147:4 ("names") with Exodus 1:1-2; Exodus 1:20 with the building up of the nation (Exodus 1:7-20); and vv. Exodus 1:15; Exodus 1:19 with Ex. 20.
148. LEVITICUS. Compare v.
Psalms 148:14 ("a People near unto Him") with Leviticus 10:3.
149. NUMBERS. Compare vv.
Psalms 149:5-9 with Numbers 14:21; Numbers 24:17-24. The nations ruled and blessed I by the Saints.
150. DEUTERONOMY. Compare v.
Psalms 150:2 with Deuteronomy 3:24.


Verse 1

The first Psalm of Book V. This book contains fifteen by David, one by Solomon (Psalm 127), and the rest anonymous (probably by Hezekiah, see App-67), certainly not later than his day. See notes on passages supposed to prove a later date.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

mercy = lovingkindness, or grace; as in Psalms 107:43.


Verse 2

redeemed. Hebrew. ga"al, to redeem by purchase. See notes on Exodus 6:6, and compare Exodus 13:13.

hand. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6, for the power exercised by it.

enemy = adversary, or straitnesses.


Verse 3

gathered. This is the subject of this last book. Gathered by His Word; and according to His Word. See the Structure, p. 826, and note, p. 827.

the lands, &c. Figure of speech Topographia (App-6), for emphasis. The Psalm looks forward to the final ingathering of Israel.

south = sea: i.e. the Red Sea.


Verse 4

a solitary way = a trackless waste.

city to dwell in = city of habitation, as in Psalms 107:7.


Verse 5

soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

trouble = strait.


Verse 7

He led them forth. When this is the case, the way is always "right".

the right way. Because it is His way: not the shortest, or most direct, or most pleasant; but it is the way of Grace and Favour. It is the way of Trial (Deuteronomy 8:2-4); the way of Safety; the way of Divine Provision and Miraculous Supplies; and it ends "right".


Verse 8

goodness = lovingkindness, or grace; same word as "mercy" in Psalms 107:1.

children = sons.

men. Hebrew. "adam, App-14.


Verse 9

filleth the hungry soul. Quoted in Luke 1:53.


Verse 10

affliction = oppression.


Verse 11

rebelled. This marks the subject of 4-9.

words = sayings, utterances.

GOD. Hebrew El. App-4.

contemned = despised.

the MOST HIGH. Hebrew. "Elyon. App-4.


Verse 12

none to help = no sign of a helper.


Verse 17

Fools = the Perverse, depending on their own wisdom, which is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 1:20-25). Compare Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 14:3, Proverbs 14:9; Proverbs 15:5; Proverbs 27:22.

transgression. Hebrew. pasha". App-44.

iniquities. Hebrew. "avah. App-44. Not the same word as in Psalms 107:42.

are afflicted = bring affliction on themselves.


Verse 20

He sent His Word = He sendeth. This is the key-note to the whole book. All blessing is bound up in this. Note the prophetic reference to Christ, the Living Word (John 1:1, John 1:2, John 1:14 and contrast with the written Word (Psalm 119). See the Structure, p. 826.

sent =sendeth.

healed = healeth.

delivered =delivereth.

destructions = graves. Hebrew shahath. Occurs only here andLam . The Divine Deliverer was "taken in their pits", and He alone can deliver from the grave.


Verse 23

They that go down, &c. In the Heb, text, verses: Psalms 107:23-28 are marked by "inverted Nuns" (i.e. the letter Nun (N), inverted). There are nine altogether. There are two in Numbers 10:35, Numbers 10:36 (see note there), and seven in this Psalm. Psalms 107:23-28 each have one; also Psalms 107:40. These inverted letters are used as our "brackets" are, to indicate that, in the opinion of the Sopherim, the verses so marked should be transposed. But this is only an opinion, arrived at from not seeing the Structure of the Psalm, which, when examined, leaves nothing "inexplicable", as the transition from Psalms 107:38 to Psalms 107:39 is said to be.


Verse 24

works. Some codices, with two early printed editions, read "work" (singular)


Verse 25

wind. Hebrew. ruach. App-9.


Verse 27

man. Hebrew "ish. App-14.

are at their wit"s end. Hebrew all their wisdom swallows itself.


Verse 30

bringeth = guideth: or, will gently guide.


Verse 32

congregation = assembly, or convocation.

assembly = session, or seated company.


Verse 34

wickedness. Hebrew. ra"a". App-44.


Verse 35

And. Note the Figure of speech Polysyndeton (App-6) in verses: Psalms 107:35-38, emphasizing each item which goes to make up the fulness of blessing.


Verse 38

suffereth not, &c. Figure of speech Tapeinosis (App-6) = will abundantly multiply.


Verse 39

Again, &c. So far from the transition from Psalms 107:38-39 being "inexplicable", or Psalms 107:40 being an "interpolation", the perfection of the repetition of the subject ("judgment") is shown by the Structure above.


Verse 40

in the wilderness, where there is no way = a pathless waste.

wilderness. Hebrew. tohu. Rendered "without form" in Genesis 1:2, describing what "the world that then was" had become by the disruption.


Verse 41

the poor = a needy one. Hebrew. "ebyon. See note on Proverbs 6:11.

from = after.


Verse 42

iniquity. Hebrew. "aval. App-44. Not the same word as in Psalms 107:17.


Verse 43

lovingkindness = lovingkindnesses (plural) Same word as "mercy", in Psalms 107:1.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 107:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-107.html. 1909-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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