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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 107

 

 

Verses 1-6


Book 5

This book, which seems originally to have been joined with Book 4, contains forty-four Pss., the vast majority of which are of late date. The contents of these Pss. are a surer guide to the period to which they belong than is the case in the other books, as many of them give either direct references or unmistakable hints regarding experiences of the exile or the return. Thus Psalms 107:10-16 refers to the years of captivity, as does also Psalms 137. Other Pss., such as 126, refer to the joy of the return, and others still, e.g. 132, are prompted by the rebuilding of the Temple.

The feature of this book which is most marked is its liturgical character. Many (though not all) of the Pss. contained in it are not individualistic but congregational, and bear traces of having been composed for use in public worship. Psalms 115:9-18; Psalms 116:12-19; Psalms 118, 135, 136 may be cited as good illustrations. Many smaller groups have been incorporated in this book, and can be easily recognised. The principal are the Hallel Psalms (113-118), the Songs of Ascents or Pilgrim Psalms (120-134), and the Hallelujah group (145-150). Psalms 108 is composed of Psalms 57:7-11 and Psalms 60:5-12, and was obviously compiled for liturgical purposes. Psalms 136 is a chant with responses for choir or congregation after each verse.

Fifteen of the Pss. of this book bear the title 'Of David,' indicating that they were taken by the final editor from the earliest or Davidic psalter. One of these (Psalms 142) has a historical note, which describes it as 'a prayer when he was in the cave'; but there is nothing in the Ps. to justify the reference. The book is Jehovistic in its choice of the divine name, Jehovah occurring 236 times and Elohim only 7 times.


Verses 1-43

The Psalmist sings the lovingkindness of the Lord, giving examples from (a) Israel in the wilderness (Psalms 107:4-9), (b) people in captivity (Psalms 107:10-16), (c) people in sickness (Psalms 107:17-22), (d) vicissitudes of sea-going men (Psalms 107:23-32), (e) and a rescue from drought (33-42). The Ps. has a refrain at intervals (Psalms 107:8, Psalms 107:15, Psalms 107:21, Psalms 107:31).

1. For his mercy endureth for ever] evidently a well-known refrain: cp. Psalms 136. Mercy] better, 'lovingkindness.'

2. Redeemed] perhaps from exile.

3. Lands] i.e. foreign lands.

4. The v. might refer to wanderings on the way from Egypt, but the reference to 'a city of habitation' (Psalms 107:7) points rather to return from Babylon to Jerusalem.

10. Sit] RV 'sat.' Iron] perhaps metaphorically: cp. Psalms 105:18. The reference is evidently to captivity, i.e. slavery.

11. The words of God] as declared by His prophets.

14. Bands] i.e. their state of subjection: cp. Psalms 2:3.

16. Cp. Isaiah 45:2.

17. A new illustration. Read, probably, 'Sick men, because of the way of their transgression,' etc.

20. Sent] RV 'sendeth.' The phrase is noteworthy as heralding, unconsciously perhaps, the Word (John 1:14).

23-30. A striking description of mariners in a storm.

27. Are at their wit's end] RM 'all their wisdom is swallowed up.'

30. Their desired haven] RM 'the haven of their desire.' The word rendered 'haven' is an Assyrian loan-word, and properly means an 'emporium' or 'mart.' It is found here only.

33. General instances of God's kindness in various districts. Some suggest that this is a later addition to the Ps. It has great likenesses to Job and Isaiah 40-66.

34. Barrenness] better, RV 'a salt desert'—perhaps thinking of Sodom: cp. Job 39:6.

35. Cp. Isaiah 41:18.

39. Again] better, 'and when'; but the v. is abrupt and the connexion obscure.

40. Quoted from Job 12:21, Job 12:24. It interrupts the connexion, and by some is omitted.

41. Cp. Job 21:11 : 'He set the needy on high from (above) affliction, and established (for him) families as a flock.'

43. Cp. Hosea 14:9, a closing admonition.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 107:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/psalms-107.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, September 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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