Bible Commentaries

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole BibleMorgan's Exposition

Psalms 106

Verses 1-48

The previous psalm called the people to talk of the “marvellous works” of Jehovah. This one calls to praise, and the reason is that “His mercy endureth for ever.” This fact is then illustrated by a declaration of how the people of God have persistently sinned against Him, and how He has patiently borne with them, restoring them constantly to Himself.

The first section (vv. Psa 106:1-31 ) deals with the history of the people from Egypt, and in the wilderness. The description of what happened immediately after the crossing of the Red Sea is graphic:

“Then believed they His words; They sang His praise.

They soon forgot His works;

They waited not for His counsel.”

That is the explanation of all the story. In the hour of deliverance faith aided by sight is strong, and it is easy to sing. But directly strain and stress return, the past of God’s might is forgotten, and His counsel is not sought. And so the story runs on through Dathan and Abiram, by way of Horeb and to Baal Peor. Over against all the unutterable folly of the people, the faithfulness and matchless patience of Jehovah is seen.

Continuing the same sad story, the psalmist then turned to the unfaithfulness of the people in the land (vv. Psa 106:32-48 ). This he begins by referring to Moses’ exclusion. This reference seems to be a remarkable recognition of the strength of the man. The fair deduction from the setting of the story seems to be that if he had entered with them, some of the things might have been different.

The story of their failure in the land is tragic, but there is evident a recognition on the part of the singer of a poetic justice in their calamity. Moses was excluded because of his failure to represent God to His people, but that failure was provoked by their sin; and they, passing into the land without him, were from the beginning in greater or less degree corrupted. Their initial sin was that of disobedience, either on the ground of pity, or for purpose of compromise. The result was that they descended to all the abominations of which the peoples were guilty. Very beautiful is the revelation of God which occurs in the statement. “He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.” While their persistent and terrible sin made His wrath burn and His judgement inevitable, yet the love of His heart never ceased toward the people of His choice.

Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Psalms 106". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.