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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 105

Verses 1-6

1. Praise for God’s greatness 105:1-6

The unknown psalmist called on Israel (Psalms 105:6) to give thanks to the Lord in prayer, and to broadcast His deeds publicly. The people should sing His praises and take pride and joy in His character. They should also draw near to Him in prayer, seeking His help constantly. They should remember His works that inspire wonder and marvel in the beholder, and in the wise judgments that He has revealed.

Verses 1-45

Psalms 105

This psalm praises God for His faithful dealings with Israel. It reviews Israel’s history from Abraham to the wilderness wanderings (cf. 1 Chronicles 16:9-36), and the Abrahamic Covenant is its centerpiece.

Verses 7-11

God remembered His people (Psalms 105:7, cf. Psalms 105:42), so His people should remember Him (Psalms 105:5). God had been faithful to the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 12:7; Genesis 15:18-21; Genesis 22:15-18; Genesis 28:13-15). He made this covenant with Abraham’s descendants as well as with him personally. A "thousand generations" means innumerable generations (cf. Exodus 20:5-6). Note that the psalmist called this covenant an "everlasting covenant" (Psalms 105:10). That is, it would abide in effect as long at the earth abides. Of the three promises in the covenant, the writer mentioned only the land promise here.

Verses 7-41

2. The record of God’s faithfulness to Israel 105:7-41

Verses 12-41

Psalms 105:12-15 describe God’s care of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (cf. Genesis 12-36). Psalms 105:16-23 summarize God’s preservation of the chosen family through Joseph’s protection (Genesis 37-50). Psalms 105:24 refers to God’s increase of the Israelites during their Egyptian sojourn (Exodus 1). Psalms 105:25-36 review how the Lord prepared His people to depart from Egypt with emphasis on the plagues He sent (Exodus 2-12; cf. Psalms 78:44-51). Psalms 105:37-38 describe the Exodus itself (Exodus 13). The order of the plagues is somewhat different from the order in Exodus, as is also true in Psalms 78, another instance of poetic license. Psalms 105:39-41 recount His faithful care of His chosen people in the wilderness (Exodus 14 -Deuteronomy 34).

"Given the prominent position of the first eleven chapters of Genesis in the Torah and the significant names that occur there, it is rather surprising that only one person from these chapters, Ham, is mentioned by name in the Psalter, and that one only incidentally [Psalms 105:25; Psalms 105:29]." [Note: Bullock, p. 100.]

Verses 42-45

3. Praise for God’s faithfulness 105:42-45

Again the psalmist reminded the reader of God remembering His unique promise to Abraham (cf. Psalms 105:8). The Lord brought Abraham’s descendants into the Promised Land and dispossessed the Canaanite tribes. He even gave them food that the Canaanites had planted and cultivated. He did all this so the Israelites would obey His will for them and experience all the good things He had in store for them. The psalm closes with a final call to praise the Lord ("hallelujah").

A key word in this psalm is "remember" (Psalms 105:5; Psalms 105:8; Psalms 105:42). By remembering how faithful God had been in remembering His promise to their patriarch, the Israelites would remember to praise Him. God’s people benefit from reviewing history because it reminds them of God’s faithfulness. This reminder encourages us who are New Testament believers to trust in His promises given to us. We, too, can see that He has been consistently faithful to His word throughout history.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 105". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.