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Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 105

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

O give thanks unto the Lord — Some tell us that this and the two following psalms were the great Hallelujah sung at solemn times in their assemblies. But others say better, that the great Hallelujah (as the Hebrews called it) began at Psalms 113:1-9 ., and held on till Psalms 119:1-176 , which they at the passover began to sing after that cup of wine they called Poculum hymni seu laudationis.

Call upon his name — Call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, Psalms 18:3 . See Trapp on " Psalms 18:3 " Our life must be divided between praises and prayers.

Verse 2

Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Sing unto him, sing — Both with mouth and with musical instruments.

Talk ye — Or, meditate ye, let your heart indite a good matter, and your tongue be as the pen of a ready writer, Psalms 45:1 .

Verse 3

Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

Glory ye in his holy name — Of his power and goodness. See 1 Corinthians 1:31 , with Jeremiah 9:23 . Non est gloriosior populus sub coelo quam Iudaicus, saith Alsted; there is not a more vain glorious people under heaven than the Jews; but "we are the circumcision, which worship in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh," Philippians 3:3 .

Let the heart of them rejoice, … — All others are forbidden to rejoice, Hosea 9:1 , and bidden to weep and howl, James 5:1 .

Verse 4

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Seek the Lord, and his strength — That is, his ark, at the remove whereof to Jerusalem this psalm was sung, 1 Chronicles 16:7-36 , … Called it is God’s strength and God’s face here; yea, even God himself, Psalms 132:5 . It is as if he should say, Frequent holy assemblies, as ever you desire to draw nigh to God, and to have your faith in him confirmed.

Verse 5

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

Remember his marvellous works, … — Deeply and diligently ponder both the works and words of God, comparing the one with the other, that ye may the better conceive of both.

Verse 6

O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

O ye seed of Abraham, … — Do thus, or else your pedigree will profit you no more than it did Dives in the flames, that Abraham called him son. An empty title yieldeth but an empty comfort.

Verse 7

He [is] the LORD our God: his judgments [are] in all the earth.

He is the Lord — Jehovah, the essentiator, the promise keeper, therefore praise him. He is also in covenant with us, and will we not do him this right?

His judgments are in all the earth — His executions upon the Egyptians and Philistines are far and near notified and discoursed.

Verse 8

He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word [which] he commanded to a thousand generations.

He hath remembered his covenant1 Chronicles 16:15 it is, "Be ye mindful always of his covenant." God ever remembereth, though we many times forget it, and ourselves.

The word which he commanded — The conditions of the covenant.

Verse 9

Which [covenant] he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;

Which covenant he made with Abraham, … — Whom he found an idolater, Joshua 24:2 . He justified the ungodly, Romans 4:5 .

And his oath — "That by two immutable things," …, Hebrews 6:18

Verse 10

And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, [and] to Israel [for] an everlasting covenant:

And confirmed the same, … — So God sealeth and sweareth to us again and again, in every sacrament, that all doubts of his love may be taken away, and our hearts lifted up (as Jehoshaphat’s, 2 Chronicles 17:6 ) in the way of the Lord.

Verse 11

Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:

Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan — That most pleasant of all lands, Ezekiel 20:6 , a type and pledge of heaven to the faithful.

Verse 12

When they were [but] a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.

When they were but a few men in number — Seventy souls at their going down into Egypt, which yet (say the Hebrews truly) were more worth than the seventy nations of the whole world besides. Howbeit, God chose them not for their worth or number, but loved them merely because he loved them, Deuteronomy 6:7-8 .

Verse 13

When they went from one nation to another, from [one] kingdom to another people;

When they went from one nation to another — There were seven several nations in that land wherein they sojourned, flitting from place to place, and having no settled habitation, αστατουνρες , 1 Corinthians 4:11 .

From one kingdom — Forced by famine, or other necessity. See Genesis 12:10 ; Genesis 20:1-7 Genesis 26:1-5

Verse 14

He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;

He suffered no man, … — So as utterly to oppress them; for otherwise they had their illusages; such as was the taking away of Sarah, casting out of Isaac, the rape of Dinah, … Strangers meet many times with hard measure.

Yea, he reproved kingsGenesis 12:17 ; Genesis 20:3 . Kings and queens must not think themselves too good to nurse God’s little ones, yea, to do them homage, licking up the dust under their feet, Isaiah 49:23 .

Verse 15

[Saying], Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Touch not mine anointed, … — This God speaketh not of kings, but to kings, concerning his people who have an unction from the Father, being sanctified and set apart for his peculiar. To touch these is to touch the apple of God’s eye, Zechariah 2:8 ; they are sacred persons.

And do my prophets no harm — The patriarchs were such, Genesis 20:7 , so are still all godly ministers, whom they who harm by word or deed have not so much knowledge as Pilate’s wife had in a dream. See Psalms 14:4 .

Verse 16

Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.

Moreover he called for a famine — How easy is it with God soon to starve us all by denying us a harvest or two! If he do but call for a famine it is done.

He brake the whole staff of bread — Either by withdrawing bread, that staff of man’s life, or his blessing from it; for man liveth not by bread alone (or at all), but by every word, …, Matthew 4:4 , without which bread can no more nourish us than a clod of clay, In pane conclusus est quasi baculus, qui nos sustineat. See Haggai 1:6 . See Trapp on " Haggai 1:6 "

Verse 17

He sent a man before them, [even] Joseph, [who] was sold for a servant:

He sent a man before them — An eminent and eximious man, Cuius vita fuit coelum quoddam lucidissimis virtutum stellis exornatum, to be their friend in the court, and to provide for their livelihood. No danger befalleth the Church but God beforehand provideth and procureth the means & preservation and deliverance, 2 Peter 2:9 .

Even Joseph, who was sold — God ordereth the disorders of the world to his own glory and his people’s good.

Verse 18

Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

Whose feet they hurt with fetters — God hereby fitting him for that great service; as he did afterwards Moses, by forty years’ banishment in Midian, and David, by Saul’s persecution, till his soul was even as a weaned child, Psalms 131:2 .

He was laid in iron — Heb. His soul came into iron; or, the iron entered into his soul; but sin entered not into his conscience. See a like phrase Luke 2:35 .

Verse 19

Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

Until the time that his word came — The time that God’s purpose and promise of deliverance was fulfilled. This word of God profane persons call fate, fortune, …

The word of the Lord tried him — That he was affliction proof, and still retained his integrity, 1 Peter 1:7 .

Verse 20

The king sent and loosed him; [even] the ruler of the people, and let him go free.

The king sent and loosed him — By his own master, Potiphar, who had laid him there at his wife’s instance. Such as are bound ignominiously for righteousness’ sake shall be one way or other loosed honourably.

Verse 21

He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:

He made him lord of his house — Thus, for his short braid of imprisonment, whereof he never dreamed, Joseph hath eighty years’ preferment, more than ever he dreamed of: God’s retributions are very bountiful.

Verse 22

To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

To bind his princes at his pleasure — To overawe and to overrule them, to bind them in prison, if need so required, as himself had been bound, and that at his pleasure, or according to his own soul, sine consensu Pharaoh, saith Rabbi Solomon; without Pharaoh’s consent, as he dealt by Potiphar, say other Rabbis.

And teach his senators wisdom — Policy and piety, which yet the Egyptians long retained not.

Verse 23

Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

Israel also came into Egypt — Whither he feared to go, till God promised him his presence and protection, Genesis 46:3-4 . God saith the same in effect to us, when to descend into the grave, Fear not to go down, I will go down with thee, and be better to thee than thy fears. Jacob’s best and happiest days were those he spent in Egypt.

Verse 24

And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

And he increased his people greatly — Against all the power of Egypt set against them.

And made them stronger than their enemies — They were not so for present, but the Egyptians conceited and feared they would be so.

Verse 25

He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

He turned their heart to hate — Men’s hearts are in God’s hands, and he formeth and fashioneth their opinions of and affections to others at his pleasure, yet without sin.

To deal subtilly with his servants — Seeking to imbase and enervate their spirits by base drudgeries imposed upon them. So afterwards dealt the Persian tyrant with Hormisaus, and the Great Turk with the Christians.

Verse 26

He sent Moses his servant; [and] Aaron whom he had chosen.

He sent Moses his servantQuando duplieantur lateres, venit Moses, say the Jews at this day.

And Aaron, … — God usually sendeth his by two and two, for mutual helps and comfort.

Verse 27

They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.

They showed his signs — Heb. the words of his signs; for God’s wondrous works are vocal, they are real sermons of God’s power and justice. See Exodus 4:8 .

Verse 28

He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.

He sent darkness — Palpable darkness, by reason of most black and thick vapours of the earth mingling themselves with the air; such as Aben Ezra said that he once felt, sailing upon the ocean, the gross vapours there putting out the light of fire and candle, and not suffering them to be re-enkindled.

And they rebelled not against his word — They, that is, the plagues called for, came immediately, with an Ecce me. Or, they, that is, Moses and Aaron, refused not to denounce and inflict those plagues, though Pharaoh threatened to kill them; where a man would wonder at Pharaoh’s hardness and hardiness, that being in the midst of that deep and dreadful darkness, he could rage against God, and threaten with death his servant Moses. The Arabic (reading ìå for ìà ) rendereth it, Et irritarunt sermonem eius; and they (the Egyptians) provoked his word, or rebelled against it.

Verse 29

He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.

And he turned their waters into blood — A just hand of God upon them for their cruelty in drowning the Hebrew infants, and a real forewarning, if they could have seen it, of the death of their firstborn, and their final overthrow at the Red Sea.

And slew their fish — Which was a great part of their food; piscis a pascendo dictus.

Verse 30

Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.

The land brought forth frogs in abundance — Like grass that grows upon the ground, or as fishes spawned in the sea, as the word signifieth, Genesis 1:20 . Some think they were not common frogs, sed venenatas et horrendas, quales sunt rubetae et bufones, but toads and lizards; crocodiles, some think, came out of the river, and destroyed people (Aben-Ezra).

In the chambers of their kingsRegis et regulorum inter medias enses, medias custodias; this was the finger of God; as it was likewise when a town in Spain was overturned by conies, and another in Thessaly by moles, a city in France undone by frogs, and another in Africa by locusts (Plin. l. viii. c. 29).

Verse 31

He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, [and] lice in all their coasts.

He stake, and there came divers sorts of flies — Heb. a mixture, sc. of wasps, hornets, dog flies (the most troublesome of all other κυνομυιαι ), all sorts of insects.

And lice in all their coasts — This the magicians could not do, Quid ciniphe vilius, …? saith Philo, What is baser than a louse? yet hereby God can tame the sturdiest of his rebels. Some kings and other nobles have died of the lousy disease; as Herod, Philip of Spain, …

Verse 32

He gave them hail for rain, [and] flaming fire in their land.

He gave them hail for rain — Rain was rare in Egypt; but now they had hail for rain, a giftless gift. Heb. he gave their rain hail, Exodus 9:23 .

And flaming fire in their land — That they might see that he was Lord of all the four elements.

Verse 33

He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.

He smote their vines also, and their fig trees — Of the fruitfulness of these trees in Egypt, strange things are reported by Solinus and others; but this extraordinary hail mingled with fire, marred them in the spring, when they promised great store of fruit, trusis botris et baccis.

And brake the trees — Yea, dashed out the brains of men and beasts that were abroad, as Moses addeth.

Verse 34

He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,

He spake, and the locusts came — These are called God’s great army, and their terrible invasion is graphically described, Joel 2:3-5 , …

Verse 35

And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.

And did eat up all the herbs — All that the fiery hail had not blasted and beaten down.

And devoured the fruit of their ground — But not yet the fruit of their bodies, that plague was reserved to the last, to show God’s longsuffering, and lothness to destroy men.

Verse 36

He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.

He smote also all the firstborn — This he did last of all, the next spring after the first plague inflicted, et non nisi coactus, as that emperor once said when he subscribed a writ for execution of a certain malefactor.

The chief of all their strengthEt ubi non erat primogenitus, moritur epitropus, say the Hebrews, where was not a firstborn, there the steward died; so that there was no house in Egypt without a dead corpse, as there are few among us without many dead souls.

Verse 37

He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and [there was] not one feeble [person] among their tribes.

He brought them forth also with silver and gold — Which they had dearly earned in Egypt, but could not get, till God, the right owner of all, set them in a course, Exodus 12:35-36 , dispensing with his own law.

There was not one feeble person — But all able and fit for their journey, Viatico et firma valetudine instructi.

Verse 38

Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.

Egypt was glad when they departed — For they said, We are all dead men, Exodus 12:33 . The devil for like cause spake Christ fair to be rid of him, Mark 1:24 .

For the fear of them fell upon them — God can make the very name and countenance of his servants fearful to their oppressors.

Verse 39

He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.

He spread a cloud — It must needs be a very large one that could cover such an army from the extraordinary heats there; for the deserts of Arabia are extreme hot, both by reason of the climate and also of the sand’s reflecting the sunbeams. So still upon all the glory (the Church) shall be a covering, Isaiah 4:5 .

And fire to give light, … — A fiery pillar against the error, terror, and danger of the darkness. See Nehemiah 9:19 .

Verse 40

[The people] asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

The people asked — Not as suppliants, but as malcontents, and therefore had what they asked, with a vengeance.

And satisfied them with the bread of heaven — Never was any prince in his greatest state so served as these miscreants were; and yet we fare better than they in God’s holy ordinances.

Verse 41

He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places [like] a river.

He opened the rock — Set it abroach, giving them pluviam escatilem, et petram aquatilem, as Tertullian hath it.

They ran in the dry placesPer deserta Sinis et Tzinis, saith Junius. See 1 Corinthians 10:4 .

Verse 42

For he remembered his holy promise, [and] Abraham his servant.

For he remembered his holy promise — Holy, that is, firm, and inviolable, Heb. the word of his holiness, that is, his sacred and gracious engagement, whereby he had made himself a voluntary debtor to Abraham’s posterity.

And Abraham his servant — To whom he had passed his promise four hundred and thirty years before. Nullum tempus occurrit regi.

Verse 43

And he brought forth his people with joy, [and] his chosen with gladness:

And he brought forth his people with joy — According to his promise made to Abraham; and according to the time they were afflicted, so were they comforted, Psalms 90:15 .

Verse 44

And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;

And gave them the lands of the heathen — God doth not his work to the halves, he will perfect that which concerneth us, Psalms 138:8 , and preserve all his unto his heavenly kingdom, 2 Timothy 4:18 .

And inherited the labour of the people — Their cities, towns, villages, fields, vineyards, all done to the hand of the Israelites. We shall also enter into our Master’s joy, mansions made ready for us, …

Verse 45

That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.

That they might observe his statutes — Here the psalmist showeth the final cause of all the service of God; what should be the result, his praise.

Praise ye the LordLoquitur ad prudentes, saith Aben Ezra, this he speaketh to those that are wise; for high words become not a fool, saith Solomon.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 105". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/psalms-105.html. 1865-1868.
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