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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 105

Verse 1

Psalms 105:0.

An exhortation to praise God, and to seek out his works. The history of God's providence over Abraham, over Joseph, over Jacob in Egypt, over Moses delivering the Israelites, over the Israelites brought out of Egypt, fed in the wilderness, and planted in Canaan.

IT appears from 1Ch 16:8 that David was the author of the first part at least of this psalm, after his obtaining several signal victories over the Philistines: and he himself, most probably, enlarged it afterwards with the glorious detail of the mercies of God to the ancestors of the Jews from the days of Abraham. There are some few variations, but of little consequence, in this psalm and that part of it which is found 1 Chronicles 16:0.; but what follows from thence to the end is different in both. As it is historical, there need but few words to explain it.

Verse 12

Psalms 105:12. When there were but a few men in number It is literally men of number; so few as easily to be numbered; in opposition to what their posterity afterwards were, as the sand of the sea without number. See Horace, Ars Poet. ver. 206.

Populus numerabilis, utpote parvus, &c. They might with ease be numbered, being a few, &c.— JONSON.

The word כמעט kimeat, rendered very few, in the next clause, signifies either small as to the number, or as to regard and esteem. Thus Isaiah 16:14. The remainder shall be מעט meat; i.e. contemptible and few. I take this idea to be concluded in the word here, their being insignificant and inconsiderable; as the fewness of their number is mentioned just before. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were all strangers in the land of Canaan, and went about from one nation and kingdom to another, without being injured by those among whom they sojourned. Dr. Chandler.

Verse 19

Psalms 105:19. Until the time, &c.— Until the time that his saying came to pass, the word of the Lord purged him. Green renders it, Until the time that his prediction had come to pass, and the word of the Lord had cleared him. See Genesis 41:14.

Verse 22

Psalms 105:22. To bind his princes, &c.— To command his princes at his pleasure, and to judge his senators. The Vulgate, LXX, and Arabic, read, That he might instruct his princes like himself, and teach, &c. See Wall on the place.

Verse 28

Psalms 105:28. And they rebelled not against his word Yet they were not obedient to his word. So the LXX and Syriac read; and thus it is rendered in the Liturgy of the Church of England. But Houbigant, thinking the present reading genuine, renders it, and his words were not changed; i.e. "what he had commanded to be done, was done." Mudge too is for the present reading. "The LXX (says he) read the passage without the negative, understanding it of the Egyptians." As it now stands, it must be understood of those things of nature to which the divine word was addressed; that they did not disobey it, though the Egyptians had: they readily executed it: and this is made probable by the clause before: He sent darkness, and it darkened; to express the quickness of the execution. He no sooner sent darkness, but it was in fact dark.

Verse 41

Psalms 105:41. They ran in the dry places like a river Or, They went along, a river, in dry places. Or, Rivers flowed down through dry places. Green.

Verse 42

Psalms 105:42. His holy promise, and Abraham The word of his holiness with Abraham. See Psalms 105:8-9.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Before the Psalmist enters on his subject, he prefaces his discourse with an exhortation to all around him,

1. To exalt and magnify the great and glorious God, and this in a variety of ways. Give him thanks for all his mercies past and present, and all his promises so rich and gracious. Call upon his name in humble faith, assured of being heard and answered: make known his deeds, what great things he has done for your souls and bodies, to encourage the hope, and excite the praises of all the righteous: talk ye of all his wondrous works, let them be the delightful daily subject of your conversation. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, in tongue as well as heart rejoice, ye that seek the Lord, as the grand object of your desires, and the rock of your hopes. Yea, glory in his holy name, renouncing all glorying in yourselves, to make mention only of his inestimably precious righteousness and grace. Seek the Lord and his strength, who alone can enable you to stand against your spiritual foes, and overcome them: seek his face evermore, in ceaseless prayer in this world, that you may behold the light of his countenance for ever in a better.

2. Abundant reason there is why we should thus do, if we consider, (1.) His past mercies, works of providence and grace, wonderful and great, such as Israel experienced in Egypt and the desart, and as the people of God daily find in their journey through this world's wilderness; and the judgments of his mouth, his revealed word, according to which we must finally be judged, and which will bring upon us the heaviest condemnation, if we forget or neglect the great salvation therein contained. (2.) Our interest in him, as the Lord our God, our Jehovah, all-sufficient to supply every want of his people, worthy their most enlarged praise; and to engage them thereunto, offering himself to be their portion and exceeding great reward. (3.) His universal government, his judgments are in all the earth; and as the God of all the earth, he is most worthy to be obeyed and adored by all, and for ever: or it may refer to the judgments of his vengeance on the wicked, in the flood, in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, or in the plagues of Egypt; the fame of which were spread abroad, and God's justice and holiness therein manifested; for which praise should be ascribed to him.

2nd, The grand subject of the Psalmist's thanksgiving is, the covenant established in Christ Jesus.
1. God revealed it to Abraham; and, as the type of the eternal inheritance designed for his faithful spiritual children, assured him of the possession of the land of Canaan as the inheritance of his natural posterity.
2. He fulfilled the promise in opposition to all human appearances, notwithstanding the difficulties which seemed insurmountable. They were few, very few; strangers, not possessed of a foot of land; driven from place to place, sojourning sometimes in Egypt, sometimes in Philistia, on account of the famine; but, in all their wanderings, still they experienced the divine protection; restrained by divine power, none dared to lift their hand to hurt them; and even kings are reproved, and warned how dangerous it would be to touch God's anointed ones, or harm his prophets. Note; (1.) The faithful people of God are indeed strangers and pilgrims upon earth, but God hath prepared for them a city: when their wanderings here below are ended, there remaineth for them an eternal rest. (2.) God's prophets are his peculiar care; he who toucheth them toucheth the apple of his eye, so jealous is he to vindicate their wrongs.

3. In the extraordinary case of Joseph, God, in a most astonishing providential manner, opened a way for the accomplishment of his designs of mercy towards them. He sent a famine on the land of Canaan, and brake the whole staff of bread, so that instant death and utter destruction seemed to threaten them; but he had made provision for their sustenance by means of Joseph, whom, though his envious brethren had wickedly sold for a slave, God had designed to send as their deliverer, after having experienced the deepest distresses, under the most cruel and unjust accusations of an enraged mistress; doomed to the lowest dungeon, bound in fetters of iron, and loaded with the most ignominious reproaches; but all wrought together for his good: when his faith and patience had been tried, God's word came unto him; and, divinely taught to interpret the dreams of his fellow-prisoners, the fame of it reached the court of Pharaoh, who sought the inspired prisoner. Convinced, by his interpretation of his dreams, that God's Spirit dwelt within him, the king loosed his bands, and vindicated his injured innocence from the accusations laid against him; advanced him to the highest post in his kingdom; delegated to him the exercise of his royal power to enact laws which all, even the greatest, must obey; and, wiser than the aged senators, appointed him their teacher, whence probably flowed the superior wisdom of the Egyptians. By him, his aged father and all his family were brought to Egypt, and in the land of Goshen richly provided for during the days of famine; where they increased exceedingly, and God's promises began to take effect. Note; (1.) Mysterious are the ways of Providence. When all things seem most against us, they are often really working for our good. (2.) Joseph, in his humiliation and exaltation is the type of Jesus, whose sufferings far exceeded, and whose glory infinitely excelleth. (3.) In every advancement we must remember whose hand hath raised us, and that we only then adorn our station, when we seek to make it subservient to the advancement of his kingdom and glory. (4.) Whatever calumnies and sufferings the saints of God endure, when their faith is tried, they shall be discharged with honour. (5.) God's church will never want a friend; he can raise them protectors where they least expect to find favour. (6.) We are sojourners on earth, as Jacob in that strange land: this is not our home nor our rest; nay, though never so much increased in worldly goods, we would not fit here below, but look for our promised Canaan, and long for our heavenly inheritance.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 105". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.