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The Psalmist exhorteth to praise God: he prayeth for pardon of sin: the history of the people's rebellion, and God's mercy: he concludeth with prayer and praise.
THE first, and the two last verses of this psalm, are given us as David's in 1 Chronicles 16:0. It is therefore most probable, that the whole of it was composed by him; particularly as the subject is very similar to that of the preceding psalm: only that here, besides commemorating God's mercies towards their forefathers, he reproves the Israelites for the ungrateful return they made. Mudge, however, thinks that the psalm was composed during the captivity: an opinion which is much countenanced by the fourth and fifth verses.
Psalms 106:3. Blessed are they that keep judgment— This seems to be spoken upon a view of what they had suffered from their sins. "Happy they, who, by a constant tenor of obedience, never provoke God to punish!" Mudge.
Psalms 106:4. Remember me, &c.— Remember me, O Lord, when thou shewest favour to thy people. Mudge.
Psalms 106:5. That I may glory— That I may sing praises.
Psalms 106:7. Our fathers understood not— Regarded not. LXX, Mudge, &c. Green renders the last clause, But rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea. See Psalms 78:17.
Psalms 106:13. They waited not for his counsel— They did not wait his providence. Mudge. The LXX render it, They did not obey his counsel.
Psalms 106:15. But sent leanness into their soul— But thinned their numbers by death. It is literally, Sent thinness into their life; or, in amidst their life. Several of the ancient versions, with which Houbigant agrees, read, Sent satiety or loathing into their souls. See Psalms 78:30.
Psalms 106:20. They changed their glory— That is, their God, who was their glory; as Jeremiah 2:11. Compare Romans 1:23. This passage fully shews that the golden calf was intended as a symbolic representation of Jehovah. See Exodus 32:4.
Psalms 106:26. Therefore he lifted up his hand— Lifting the hand was the usual form of swearing. As the history observes, that upon their refusing to take possession of the Promised Land, God swore that themselves should perish in the wilderness, but their children should be quietly settled in the possession of it, one is tempted to translate the passage thus: "God swore that he would give them their portion in the wilderness, and that he would give their children their inheritance among the nations of Canaan; but themselves he would scatter up and down the countries they wandered through." Mudge.
Psalms 106:30. Then stood up Phineas, and executed judgment— The expression, stood up, signifies arising to execute judgment. See Numbers 25:7. The best commentary on this psalm is a reference to the history.
Psalms 106:33. So that he spake unadvisedly— The word unadvisedly is added in the Translation. The original says only that he spake with his lips: the speaking with the lips, being a thing in itself indifferent and innocent, can only be concluded ill from the influence which the preceding words seem to have upon it. They provoked his spirit so that he spake with his lips; i.e. "He spake passionately as one provoked." His passionate words, Num 20:10 express such distrust and impatience as did not become so great a minister of God.
Psalms 106:37. They sacrificed their sons, &c.— It is very certain, that the sacrifices of these gods were indeed as cruel as they are here represented. Philastrius observes expressly, says Mr. Selden, that the Jews sacrificed their sons and daughters to devils, in the valley of Hinnom; and Porphry's testimony is a very good one, on this point, especially as he produces it from Sanchoniathon, one of their own historians. "The Phoenicians, in the time of great calamities, such as war, pestilence, or famine, sacrificed some one of their best-beloved friends to Saturn; choosing him by lot; and the Phoenician history, which Sanchoniathon wrote in the Phoenician language, and which Philobiblius translated into Greek, is full of such accounts." See Porph. de Abstin. lib. ii. Selden de Diis Syr. syntag. i. c. 6 and Jeremiah 19:4-5.
Psalms 106:44. Nevertheless, &c.— And he beheld when distress was upon them, and he heard their cry.
Psalms 106:46. To be pitied— Namely, so as that they did not endeavour their total extirpation. See Judges 13:1. But if this psalm was afterwards enlarged so as to be applied to the time of the Babylonish captivity, as some commentators suppose, then this verse in particular might probably relate to what is mentioned in Ezr 9:9 and Jeremiah 42:12.
Psalms 106:47. And gather us— The opinion of those who imagined this psalm to have been made in the time of the captivity of Babylon, Bishop Patrick thinks to have been very weak; for, says he, this verse upon which they ground that conjecture, may have another construction, and mean no more than this; that God would be pleased, when the nation or any part of it should be carried into captivity, to take pity on them, and to restore them again to their country; or rather, says he, in my opinion, it refers to those who in the days of Saul, or before, were taken prisoners by the Philistines or other nations; whom David prays God to gather to their own land again, that they might worship him in that place which he had prepared for the ark of his presence.
REFLECTIONS.—This psalm begins, as the foregoing concluded, with Hallelujah; for praise is always comely; and amidst every complaint we have to make, it becometh well the just to be thankful.
1. The Psalmist calls on us to bless God, for he is good, essentially so in himself, and manifesting it to us in acts of kindness surpassing great: for his mercy endureth for ever, to everlasting his faithful people will experience his regard, and therefore are bound to render him the tribute of praise: through who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord, recount the innumerable instances of his kindness and wondrous interpositions? who can shew forth all his praise? alas! our utmost efforts come infinitely short, and the best of our songs are scarcely the lispings of infancy.
2. He pronounces a blessing on God's believing people. Blessed are they that keep judgment, make God's word their rule, and desire to walk according thereunto; and he that doeth righteousness at all times; with steady integrity and simplicity seeking before God and man to approve himself in all his ways, and at all seasons.
3. He prays for himself, that by divine grace he may be enabled to approve his fidelity to God, and partake of the blessedness of his people. Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people. O visit me with thy salvation! for this cometh from God alone, and is to be received as the gift of his boundless favour and free grace; and possessed of this, he may hope to share in the felicity of God's faithful people, to partake in their eternal inheritance, and join their everlasting songs around the throne of glory. May this be my prayer and my portion for ever!
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 106". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany