Bible Commentaries
Psalms 106

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations


Psalms 106:0


This Psalm was unquestionably composed in the time of the Israelites’ captivity and dispersion, as is manifest from Psalms 106:47, but whether it was that of Babylon, or some other of a later date, is neither easy nor necessary to determine.

The psalmist exhorteth to praise God, Psalms 106:1-3; prayeth for the remission of his sin, Psalms 106:4-6. The story of the Israelites’ rebellion, and of God’s mercy, in their journey from Egypt to Canaan, rehearsed, Psalms 106:7-46; concluding with prayer and praise unto the Lord, Psalms 106:47,Psalms 106:48.

Verse 1

He deserves our praises, notwithstanding all our sufferings, which are not to be imputed to him, for he is gracious and merciful, but only to our own sins.

Verse 2

i.e. His praiseworthy actions, by a usual metonymy.

Verse 3

That keep judgment; that observe and practise what is just and right towards God and men; which in the next clause he calls

doing righteousness. At all times; in adversity as well as in prosperity. And this clause may belong either,

1. To the last foregoing words, that doeth righteousness at all times, constantly and perpetually; or rather,

2. To the first words, they are blessed at all times, even in the day of their calamity, which therefore ought not to hinder us from this great and just duty of praising God. And so this verse coheres with the former.

Verse 4

Remember me; or, us; for he speaks here in the name and on the behalf of the whole nation, as is evident from Psalms 106:6,Psalms 106:7,Psalms 106:47, of which he oft speaks as of one person.

With the favour that thou bearest unto thy people; with those favours and blessings which thou dost usually and peculiarly give to thy people; such as the pardon of all our sins, by which we have procured our present miseries, and a complete deliverance, and that improved to thy praise and glory, as well as to our own comfort, as is clearly implied, Psalms 106:47. Visit me with thy salvation; give me that salvation or deliverance which thou hast promised, and which none but thou canst give.

Verse 5

See, i.e. enjoy, as the next clause explains it, and as this word is frequently used.

Of thy chosen; of thy chosen people; which thou usest to give to thine elect, or to such as are Israelites indeed.

That I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation; with such joy as thou hast formerly afforded unto thy beloved nation or people.

That I may glory; that we may have occasion to glory in God’s goodness to. wards us. With thine inheritance; either in the congregation of thy people, that we thy people may jointly and solemnly praise thy name; or, as thy people, who are commonly called God’s inheritance, in former ages have frequently done, for the particle with is sometimes used as a note of comparison, as it is in the very next verse, and Job 9:26; Ecclesiastes 2:16; Ecclesiastes 7:11.

Verse 6

With our fathers; as our fathers did, and have not been made wiser or better by their examples, as we should have been.

Verse 7

Understood not; or, considered not, to wit, so as to be rightly affected with them, to give thee that love, and praise, and trust, and obedience which they deserved and required.

Even at the Red Sea; when those wonders of thy power and goodness in Egypt were but newly done, and fresh in memory.

Verse 8

For his name’s sake; that he might glorify his name, and vindicate it from the blasphemous reproaches which the Egyptians and others would have cast upon it, if they had been destroyed. This argument was urged by Moses, Numbers 14:13, &c.

Verse 9

As securely as if they had walked upon the dry land.

Verse 10

Of him that hated them; of Pharaoh, who pursued them with cruel rage and hatred.

Verse 13

Soon; even within three days, Exodus 15:22,Exodus 15:23.

They waited not for his counsel; they did not wait patiently and believingly upon God for supplies from his hand, in such manner and time as he in his own counsel had appointed and thought fit.

Verse 14

Lusted exceedingly, to wit, for flesh, as the next verse showeth.

Verse 15

Either into their persons; or rather, their bodies, which are oft understood by this word; of which see the notes upon Psalms 16:10. So their inordinate desire of pleasing and pampering their bodies was the occasion of destroying them; whilst God denied his blessing, which alone makes food able to nourish us, and inflicted his curse, which made their food as destructive as poison to them.

Verse 16

So called here, not so much for his inherent holiness, whereof Moses had a greater share, but because he was consecrated or set apart by God for that sacred office of the priesthood, in which respect all the priests are said to be holy, Leviticus 21:6-8. Hereby he intimates that their envy and rebellion was not only against Aaron, but against God himself.

Verse 17

Dathan, with his company, which is sufficiently understood out of the following clause, and out of the history, Numbers 16:0.

Verse 18

In their company; in their associates or confederates, those wicked men, as he calls them in the next clause, to wit, Korah and his company, who were consumed by a fire from the Lord, Numbers 16:35, compared with Psalms 106:1,Psalms 106:2,Psalms 106:16-19.

Verse 19

When they were but very lately brought out of Egypt by such wonderful power and goodness of God, and had seen the dreadful plagues of God upon the Egyptian idolaters, and upon their idols too, as is noted, Numbers 33:4, and when the law of God was but newly delivered to them in such a solemn and tremendous manner, and the most high God was yet present, and delivering further precepts to Moses for their benefit upon the top of that very mount. This greatly aggravated their sin.

Verse 20

Changed, as far as in them lay, and in respect of their worship.

Their glory; their God, who was indeed their glory; for they had this just occasion of triumphing and glorying over all the nations of the world; that whereas all other nations worshipped stocks and stones, or the heavenly bodies, or dead men, they only worshipped the living and true God, who was present and in covenant with them, and with them only.

Into the similitude of an ox; into the golden image of an ox or calf.

That eateth grass; which is so far from feeding his people, as the true God did the Israelites, that he must be fed by them. And yet the image of such a creature was preferred by them, before the all-sufficient and ever-blessed God, which was an evidence of their horrid contempt of God, and also of their prodigious folly and stupidity.

Verse 23

He said; he declared his intention in express words, as Exodus 32:10, and elsewhere.

In the breach: God had made a hedge or wall about them; but they had made a gap or breach in it by their sins, at which the Lord, who was now justly become their enemy, might enter to destroy them; which he had certainly done, if Moses by his prevailing intercession had not hindered him. See Deuteronomy 9:12; Deuteronomy 10:10. It is a metaphor from a besieged city, where the enemy endeavours to make a breach in the walls, and thereby to enter into the city; which he will do, unless some valiant champion stand in the gap to oppose him.

Verse 24

Despised; preferring Egypt and the former bondage before it, Numbers 14:3,Numbers 14:4, and not thinking it worthy of a little hazard and difficulty in taking the possession of it.

The pleasant land, Canaan; which was so not only in truth, Deuteronomy 11:11,Deuteronomy 11:12; Jeremiah 3:19; Ezekiel 20:6, but even by the relation of those spies who discouraged them from entering into it.

His word, i.e. his promise of giving them the land, and subduing all their enemies before them; which they knew by late and manifold experience that God was both able and willing to do.

Verse 25

To God’s command, which was, that they should boldly and confidently enter into it.

Verse 26

He lifted up his hand; he sware, as this phrase is commonly used, as Genesis 14:22; Deuteronomy 32:40; Nehemiah 9:15; Revelation 10:5,Revelation 10:6; of this dreadful and irrevocable sentence and oath of God, see Numbers 14:0.

Verse 27

To overthrow their seed; he sware also (though not at the same time) that he would punish their sins, not only in their persons, but also in their posterity. See Exodus 20:5; Exodus 32:34; Leviticus 26:33. Others refer this to the same oath and history, Numbers 14:0, because God intended at first to destroy both parents and children, even the whole nation, Psalms 106:12,Psalms 106:15, though afterwards upon Moses’s intercession he limited the judgment to that generation. But that destruction threatened was by the pestilence, Psalms 106:12, not, as here, by captivity and banishment. Besides, God said that, Psalms 106:11, but he did not swear it, but the oath came afterward, Psalms 106:21.

Verse 28

They joined themselves, to wit, in worship, whereby they had a union and communion with him, as God’s people have with God in acts of his worship. And this phrase seems also to note their carnal copulation with

the daughters of Moab in the temple, or to the honour of Baal-peor.

The sacrifices of the dead; which were offered to idols, which he calls dead, in opposition to the true and living God, and by way of contempt, and to note the sottishness of idolaters, who worshipped lifeless things, as stocks and stones, or dead men. And some learned men conceive that this is spoken with particular regard to Baal-peor, or the lord of Peor, a place so called, who had been a person of great eminency in those parts, and therefore was worshipped, according to the custom of the heathens, after his death, by sacrifices and feasts appointed for his honour and memory.

Verse 31

And although that action of his might seem harsh, and rash, and irregular, as being done by a private person and a priest, and as allowing the delinquents no space for repentance, it was accepted and rewarded by God as an act of justice and piety agreeable to his mind, and proceeding from a sincere zeal for God’s honour, and for the good of God’s people; and God gave him a public testimony of his approbation to be recorded to all generations, and the priesthood to be continued to him and his in all succeeding generations, of all which see Numbers 25:0.

Verse 32

Or, because of them, upon occasion of their unbelief and murmuring, whereby he was provoked to speak unadvisedly, as it here follows.

Verse 33

He spake unadvisedly: so this word is thought to signify, Leviticus 5:4; Proverbs 12:18. Or, he spake, as the word commonly signifies. Not that it was in itself a sin to speak, but because he spake when he should have been silent; or he spake to the people, when God commanded him only to speak to the rock, Numbers 20:8-10; or, he spake, to wit, the provocation of his spirit, or such words as were agreeable to it, and might be expected from it. He mentions not here what Moses spake, because that was fully known from the history, and because he would throw a veil over Moses’s infirmity, and rather imply than express his fault.

Verse 34

Concerning whom, i.e. concerning whose destruction or rather, which thing to wit, to destroy those Canaanitish nations; for in the Hebrew there is nothing but asher, which signifies only either whom or which.

Verse 35

Mingled in their habits and negotiations, as also in marriages.

Verse 36

Which idols were an occasion of their falling both into further and greater sins, as it follows, Psalms 106:37,Psalms 106:38; and into utter ruin, as this phrase also notes, Exodus 23:33; Judges 2:12, &c.

Verse 37

Of which heathenish practice, See Poole "Leviticus 18:21".

Unto devils; by which expression he informeth them that they did not worship God, as they pretended and sometimes designed, but devils in their idols; and that those spirits which were supposed by the heathen idolaters to inhabit in their images, and which they worshipped in them, were not gods or good spirits, as they imagined, but evil spirits or devils. See Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17; 1 Corinthians 10:20; Revelation 9:20.

Verse 38

Innocent blood; the blood of their children, who, though sinners before God, yet were innocent as to them, from any crime deserving such barbarous usage from them.

Verse 39

Committed spiritual whoredom, by worshipping those idols which were but human inventions, and that in such an unnatural and bloody manner, as they had devised.

Verse 43

Provoked him with their counsel, by forsaking God’s counsel and the way which he had appointed, and following after their own inventions and evil inclinations, as charged them, Psalms 106:39. See the like Numbers 15:30.

Verse 45

His covenant; the covenant made with their father which, notwithstanding their horrible violation of it. made good unto them, and in consideration thereof delivered them.

Repented; changed his course and dealing with them, as penitent persons usually do. See Poole "Genesis 6:6".

Verse 46

By changing their opinions of them, and inclining their hearts towards them, which he had alienated from them See Poole "Psalms 105:25".

Verse 47

Save us, O Lord our God: O thou who hast so often pardoned and saved us, notwithstanding our former and manifold provocations, be thou pleased once more to deliver us.

In thy praise; in thy praiseworthy work wrought for us;

praise being put for actions worthy of praise, as it is here, above, Psalms 106:2; 1 Chronicles 16:35; Psalms 9:14; Philippians 4:8, and oft elsewhere.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 106". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.