Bible Commentaries
Psalms 106

Smith's WritingsSmith's Writings

Verses 1-48


The unfailing goodness, and enduring mercy, of the Lord to His earthly people, in spite of their failure.

The psalm prophetically looks on to the time when Israel's long captivity among the nations is reaching its close, and God is about to regather the nation under the reign of Christ. In that day the godly will recognize that all the blessing of the nation depends on the enduring mercy of the Lord. In the light of the goodness and mercy of the Lord the psalmist confesses the sin of God's people: (v. 6), owning every stage of their failure (vv. 7-46), and finally appeals to God to save and regather the nation for His own praise (vv. 47-48).

(vv. 1-5) The introductory verses present the theme of the psalm - the goodness and mercy of the Lord which endures for ever, and is beyond the power of man to express or praise.

Blessed then to be of the number who are morally suited to Jehovah, by keeping judgment and doing righteousness at all times. The psalmist desires to be remembered, and saved from present distresses, to see the good, and enter into the gladness of God's people in the day when they enter upon God's inheritance.

(v. 6) In the light of this mercy this representative of the godly remnant identifies himself with the nation in the confession of the sin, iniquity, and wickedness that has marked it throughout its course from the time of the fathers.

(vv. 7-12) After this general confession of sin, the history of Israel's failure is traced in detail from the bondage in Egypt to the captivity in Babylon. In the outset of the nation's history they neither understood God's wonders against the Egyptians, nor His mercies to themselves. At the Red Sea they rebelled and would have turned back to Egypt and its bondage. Nevertheless God “led them through the depths,” saved them, redeemed them, and judged their enemies. Then they believed and sang His praise.

(v. 13) Faced with the difficulties of the wilderness, “they soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel.” Forgetting God's ability to save, they neglected to seek counsel from God.

(vv. 14-15) Neglecting God's counsel they were delivered to do their own will which, while it gave a brief gratification to their lust, sent leanness into their soul.

(vv. 16-18) Having neglected to seek counsel of God they envied and ignored the servants of God, only to bring upon themselves the chastening of the Lord.

(vv. 19-23) From dishonouring the servants of God they proceed to the yet greater sin of assailing the honour of God, Himself, by setting up a false god - a sin that would have brought swift destruction upon them but for the intercession of Moses.

(vv. 24-27) Indifference to the honour of God leads them to despise the land of God. This unbelief led to their overthrow in the wilderness. This again leads to their seed being lost among the nations and scattered in other lands.

(vv. 28-31) Mingling with the nations they failed to maintain holiness. They were defiled by their associations, bringing upon them the swift judgment of the Lord, that was only stayed by the firm action of one man whose act God has stamped for approval for all time.

(vv. 32-33) Further, the sin of the people, leads to the failure of the leader of the people. Provoked by the perversity of the people, Moses spake unadvisedly with his lips, and has to suffer for his hastiness.

(vv. 34-39) Having traced Israel's failure in the wilderness, the psalmist further confesses their sins in the land. There they mingled with the nations of the world. In result the nations did not learn the ways of God, but God's people fell into the ways of the world. Having learned their ways, Israel followed their evil practices; with the result that their children suffered, and innocent blood was shed.

(vv. 40-43) For all these sins the chastening hand of the Lord came upon His people. Thus the land became desolate, and God's people passed into captivity. They came into subjection, and under the oppression of the Gentiles, and were “brought low” for their iniquity.

(vv. 44-46) Nevertheless, in judgment God remembered mercy. He “regarded” the affliction of His people “when he heard their cry.” He remembered His covenant to Abraham. He showed mercy to His people, and caused those who had taken them captive to show pity.

(vv. 47-48) Having thus confessed the sins of the people, the psalmist appeals to Jehovah to save His people and gather them from the heathen, and make them a praising people. Anticipating the answer to his prayer, all the people are summoned to praise the Lord God who is blessed from everlasting to everlasting.

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 106". "Smith's Writings". 1832.