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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Writings

Psalms 105

Verses 1-45

PSALM 105

The faithfulness of Jehovah to the covenant made with the fathers, set forth in His care for His people Israel, and His judgment upon their enemies, throughout their history.

(vv. 1-7) The psalm opens with a call to Israel to give thanks to the Lord; to call upon His name, and to make known His deeds among the peoples. Thus restored Israel are to be a praising people, a dependent people and a witnessing people.

They are called to praise the Lord for what He has done and for what He is in the glory of His Person. He has done wondrous works, and His name sets forth what He is - He is holy.

They are to call upon Him, or “seek the Lord,” because they are weak and “strength” is with Him. This dependence must be constant: they must “seek his face continually” (cp. Joh_15:5 ).

To be witnesses among the peoples they must remember His marvelous works that He has done; the judgments of His mouth, and the judgments He has executed in all the earth.

(vv. 8-15) The history of Israel is reviewed to prove the faithfulness of God to His covenant made with Abraham and Isaac, and confirmed to Jacob. The promise of the land to Israel was made at a time when, in the sight of nature, it would appear impossible of fulfillment; for those to whom the promise was made were few in number and strangers in the land. Nevertheless they were under the constant care of the Lord. They went from one nation to another and from kingdom to kingdom, but none were allowed to wrong them without coming under the reproof of God.

(vv. 16-22) The psalmist recalls different periods in the history of the nation in order to show God's care for them in the midst of trial. In the time of the patriarchs God called for the famine, but sent Joseph to save them in the trial. The one, however, through whom salvation comes must himself be a sufferer before he is a saviour and having suffered is exalted to a place of glory. Thus Joseph becomes a striking type of the One whom the Father sent to be the Saviour of the world.

(vv. 23-36) The history of Israel in Egypt is next brought before us, to show, not only God's care for His people, but His judgment upon all that oppose and oppress them. Reference is made to eight of the plagues that fell upon Egypt. The plagues are grouped together, not in historical order, but in a way that brings into prominence the devastating character of these judgments.

The first two plagues that are mentioned - the darkness and the water turned to blood - touched the two main sources of Egypt's existence and prosperity. The sun was eclipsed and the water of the river turned into blood. This, if continued, would have brought the country to speedy ruin.

The next three plagues - the frogs, the flies and the lice (or 'gnats') - touched the persons of the Egyptians, humbling their pride and making life unbearable.

The following two plagues - the hail and the locusts - were destructive to their possessions, reducing them to destitution.

The last plague fell upon their offspring, and if continued would have led to the extermination of the race.

(vv. 37-38) The people of Egypt suffered the destruction of their land, but the people of God are delivered, and, in spite of the oppression they had endured, are brought forth with gold and silver. Not one feeble person is found among their tribes.

(vv. 39-41) In three short verses the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness is brought before us to show God's care for His people. They were sheltered from the heat by day; light was given to them in the night. They were fed with bread from heaven, and water was given to them from the rock.

(vv. 42-43) In all these dealings with His people - in the days of the patriarchs, in the days of Israel's bondage, or in their wilderness journey - there is no mention of their sins, their murmurings and their rebellions. All is recounted to call to remembrance Jehovah's wonderful works, and His faithfulness to His covenant. With this leading thought the review of Israel's history is opened, as we read in verse 8, “He hath remembered his covenant for ever.” With this thought the history closes, for again we read, “He remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.”

(vv. 44-45) Thus it comes to pass that, the promise made to Abraham - “Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan” (v. 11) - is at last fulfilled; for now we read, He “gave them the lands of the heathen; and they inherited the labour of the people.” Thus the psalm looks on to the time when the long centuries of the exile of God's earthly people will be over, and the oppression of the Gentiles will end in Israel possessing the lands of the nations and inheriting the labour of the races. Little do the nations think that in the end the despised Jew will possess the land of the Gentiles and inherit the fruit of their toil. But thus will it be in the ways of God, and the fulfillment of the everlasting covenant made with Abraham. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Moreover, when Israel is blessed in the land, the Lord will have secured an earthly people who will do His will and be for His praise.

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 105". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-105.html. 1832.