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The penman of this Psalm was David, as is manifest from 1 Chronicles 16:8, &c. It is a thanksgiving to God for his mercies to his people of Israel.
An exhortation to praise God, and to remember his works and wonders, Psalms 105:1-6. The story of God’s promises to and providences over Abraham, Psalms 105:7-15, Joseph, Psalms 105:16-22, and Jacob in Egypt, Psalms 105:23-25; over Moses delivering the Israelites, Psalms 105:26-36; and over them whom he fed in the wilderness, and planted in Canaan, Psalms 105:37-45.
Call upon his name or, proclaim his name, i.e. the fame and glory of his works, as it follows.
Among his people; each of you amongst his and your people, or even among the heathens, as you have opportunity.
Glory ye in his holy name; glory in the God whom you serve, as the only true God, and one of infinite power and goodness.
That seek the Lord; that seek his face or presence, as it follows, his acquaintance and favour, above all the world.
The Lord, and his strength, i.e. by a figure called hendiaduo, the Lord in his strength, to wit, in his sanctuary, or before the ark, which is called God’s strength, Psalms 63:2; Psalms 78:61, and the ark of his strength, Psalms 132:8.
His face, i.e. his gracious presence in his sanctuary, and the blessed fruits of it. See on Psalms 27:8.
1. The laws delivered from his mouth. Or rather,
2. The plagues or punishments (as this same word is used here, Psalms 105:7, and every where) which he brought upon Egypt by his mere word or command, as is oft noted in the history of them in Exodus.
Children of Jacob; to whom he restrains the former more general expression, because these were the only branch of Abraham’s seed to whom the following covenant and blessings belong.
1. The fame of his judgments upon the Egyptians is spread over the face of the earth. Or,
2. God executes his judgments upon all nations and people; which may be here noted as a foil to magnify God’s grace to them who were the monuments of his mercy, when all the world besides them fell under his just severity.
He hath remembered, practically, so as to perform it; as that word is frequently used in Scripture.
The word; the word of promise, or the covenant, as is explained both in the foregoing and following words. And so the word is taken Judges 13:12; Luke 1:38.
Commanded, i.e. established, or ordained, or appointed, as this word is oft taken, as Psalms 68:28; Psalms 71:3; Psalms 133:3; Isaiah 13:3; Isaiah 23:11. To a thousand generations; to all generations; a certain number being put for an uncertain. He seems to allude to that passage, Exodus 20:6.
Wherewith he ratified the covenant with Isaac, Genesis 26:3.
For a law; either that it might be as firm and irrevocable, as a law; or that it might have the use and force of a law towards God, because God did hereby put himself under an obligation of making it good in regard of his own truth and righteousness.
The portion assigned to you by lot and the designation of Divine Providence. See Poole "Deuteronomy 32:9"; See Poole "Psalms 16:6".
A few men in number, Heb. men of number, i.e. few, who could easily be numbered,
very few, as the next words explain it.
Both in Canaan, where there were seven nations, Deuteronomy 7:1, and in Egypt, &c.
Both verbally, and really, by his judgments. See Genesis 12:17; Genesis 20:3.
Touch not; hurt not, as this word is used of these very persons, Genesis 26:11,Genesis 26:29, and elsewhere.
Mine anointed; my prophets, as the next words explain it, to wit, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, as is evident; who are called God’s anointed, because they were eminently blessed of God, and consecrated to be his peculiar people, and to be kings and priests in their families, and replenished with the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, in respect whereof many persons are said to be anointed in Scripture who never had any material oil applied to them, as Psalms 45:7; Isaiah 61:1; 2 Corinthians 1:21. And they are called
prophets, because God did familiarly converse with them, and revealed his mind and will to them, and by them to others; and because they were instructors or teachers of others in the true religion. See Genesis 18:19; Genesis 20:7.
He called for, i.e. he effectually procured, as this word is used, 2 Kings 8:1; Isaiah 47:1,Isaiah 47:5; Isaiah 56:7; Romans 4:17.
The whole staff of bread, i.e. bread, which is the staff or support of our animal lives. See Leviticus 26:26; Psalms 104:15; Ezekiel 4:16.
He sent, by the direction of his secret providence.
Heb. his soul came into iron; which seems to be added emphatically to aggravate his imprisonment, and to show how grievous it was to his very soul, which must needs sympathize with his body, and moreover was greatly vexed to consider both the great injury which was done to him, and yet the foul and public scandal which lay upon him.
The time; till which time his eminent prudence, and innocency, and piety gave him no relief.
His word; either,
1. Joseph’s word, or his prophecy concerning the chief butler and baker; which is said to come when it was fulfilled, as that word is used, Judges 13:12,Judges 13:17; Ezekiel 24:24, and elsewhere. But the event confutes this; for Joseph was not delivered at that time, but two years after it, Genesis 41:1. Or rather,
The word of the Lord, as it follows; the pronoun relative being here put before the substantive, to which it belongs, as it is also Exodus 2:6; Job 33:20; Proverbs 5:22; Proverbs 14:13. He seems to speak of that word or revelation which came first to Pharaoh in a dream, Genesis 41:1,Genesis 41:2, &c.; and then to Joseph concerning the interpretation of it. Psalms 105:15,Psalms 105:16. For the word of the Lord is said to come, not only when it comes to pass, but also and most commonly when it is first revealed, as Jeremiah 7:1; Jeremiah 11:1; Jeremiah 18:1; and God is said to come when he doth reveal it, as Genesis 20:3; Genesis 31:24.
Tried him; either,
1. Tried his sincerity and constancy. But that was not done by God’s word, but by his rod. Or rather,
2. Discovered him, to wit, unto Pharaoh and his courtiers, how innocent, and holy, and knowing a person he was; or purged him from those calumnies which were cast upon him, and so prepared the way for his release, which here follows, Psalms 105:20. This verse may well be rendered thus,
Until the time that his word came, even the word of the Lord, which tried him; such ellipses being most usual in the Hebrew text.
Heb. of all his possession, i.e. of his whole kingdom.
To bind his princes by his commands, and if they were refractory, to punish them.
Teach his senators; his wisest counsellors, whom he commanded to receive instructions from Joseph upon all occasions.
Israel; Jacob in his person, and with his children. Of Ham, i.e. Egypt, so called here, also Psalms 78:5; Psalms 106:22; from that cursed Ham, Genesis 9:22, who was the father of Mizraim, or the Egyptians, Genesis 10:6. And the psalmist seems to call it by this name, to intimate that they were the people of God’s curse, and thereby to caution the Israelites against returning to that land, which they were particularly forbidden to do, Deuteronomy 17:16.
Not really, but according to their enemies’ apprehensions and expressions, Exodus 1:9. Or, more numerous, as this word is elsewhere used. So this latter branch answers to the former. And this was true; for though they were not simply more in number than the Egyptians, yet they multiplied much faster.
He turned their heart to hate his people; not by putting this wicked hatred into them, which is not consistent either with the holiness of God’s nature, or with the truth of his word, and which was altogether unnecessary, because they had that and all other wickedness in them by nature; but partly, by withdrawing the common gifts and operations of his Spirit, and all other restraints and hinderances to it, and wholly leaving them to their own mistakes, and passions, and corrupt affections, which of their own accord were ready to take that course; partly, by ordering the affairs of his people in such manner as might give them occasion of hatred; and partly, by directing and governing that hatred, which was wholly in and from themselves, so as it should fall upon the Israelites rather than upon other people.
To deal subtilly with his servants; to destroy them by crafty devices; of which see Exodus 1:11, &c.
To be the companion and interpreter of Moses in this expedition, of which see Exodus 3:10; Exodus 4:12, &c. This clause he adds, to show that Aaron was no less called and chosen by God to this work than Moses, which otherwise was not so evident from the history; or this clause may belong to both Moses and Aaron.
His signs, Heb. the words of his signs; an emphatical expression. First they boldly declared the word and will of God concerning the several plagues, and then they actually inflicted them.
1. The darkness and other plagues; which obeyed God’s word, and instantly came at God’s call. So this may be a reflection upon the Egyptians, that those brutish or unreasonable creatures were more obedient to the will and command of God than they were. Thus diseases are said to come or go at God’s command, Matthew 8:8. Or rather,
2. Moses and Aaron, mentioned Psalms 105:26, and called they, Psalms 105:27, whose obedience in denouncing and inflicting these plagues, and especially that plague of darkness, is noted and commended here as an act of great faith and fortitude, because they inflicted that plague after Pharaoh had threatened them, Exodus 10:10; as the obedience of their parents is commended as a great act of faith, because they preserved and hid their son contrary to the express command of the king of Egypt.
Their land; their country; for otherwise they were produced by their rivers, Exodus 8:3.
In the chambers; which entered into
the chambers. Of their kings; of Pharaoh and his sons, and his chief nobles and governors of provinces under him; for such persons are oft called kings in Scripture, Judges 1:7; 1 Kings 20:1,1 Kings 20:12; Isaiah 19:2.
Or, borders, i.e. in all their land, even to the utmost ends or borders of it.
To wit, their first-born, as it is in the first clause, who are so called, Genesis 49:3; Psalms 78:51, and the beginning of their strength, Deuteronomy 21:17.
Feeble person; diseased or unable for his journey; which in so vast a body, and in a time of such mortality as it had been in Egypt, and in a people which had been so long and so dreadfully oppressed as the Israelites were, was wonderful; but they all journeyed on foot, Exodus 12:37.
Of them, i.e. of the Israelites, lest God for their sakes should destroy them.
For a covering, to protect them from the heat of the sun, which in that hot and open country had otherwise been intolerable to them, especially in so long a journey.
He speaks of the first giving of quails, Exodus 16:13, which God gave them as a refreshment, notwithstanding their sin in desiring them, which he graciously pardoned; and not of that second giving of quails, which God gave them in judgment, Numbers 11:0, and therefore would not have been numbered here amongst God’s favours vouchsafed to them. With the bread of heaven; with manna which came out of the air, which is commonly called heaven.
They flowed in channels which God provided for them, and followed the Israelite’s in their march, as is noted, 1 Corinthians 10:4. Hence they complained no more of want of water till they came to Kadesh, Numbers 20:0, which was many years after this time.
Or rather, with (as this particle is oft used)
Abraham; made with or to Abraham.
The fruits of their labour, their cities, vineyards, olive, yards, &c.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 105". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26