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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 106

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-48

Psalms 106:1-48.

V.I. Praise ye the Lord.] Hallelujah. (Psalms 105:45.) ’ There is little doubt, . . .but this is the title of ’ the psalm, .. .whereby the author excites them to acknowledge God’s bounty to their ungrateful forefathers.’ Bp. Patrick. Many commentators affix a very late date to this psalm ; supposing it to have been written during the Babylonish captivity, or even so long after, as the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes. (Note, 47, 48.) But the concluding verses, on which they ground that opinion, is found for substance in the psalm, which was used when David removed the ark to mount Zion. (Note, 1 Chronicles 16:34-36’.) Indeed this seems to be an appendix to the preceding psalm : for as that celebrated the mercies of God to Israel ; (Notes, 105 ;) so this confesses and deplores the rebellions of Israel against God. ’ The prophet exhorteth ’ the people to praise God for his benefits past, that ’ thereby their minds may be strengthened against all *’ present troubles and despair.’ He is good, &c.] Notes, Psalms 136:1-3. Ezra 3:8-11; Ezra 5:11. Jeremiah 33:10-11; Jeremiah 5:11.

V. 2. ’ When ye glorify the LORD, exalt him as much ’ as ye can : for even yet he will far exceed : and when ye ’ exalt him, put forth all your strength, and be not weary ; ’ for ye can never go far enough. Who hath seen him, ’ that he might tell us ? and who can magnify him as he ’is?’ Ecelesiasticus 43: 30, 31. (Marg. Ref. Note, Nehemiah 9:5.)

V. 3. The Israelites had been put in possession of Canaan, by the immediate power of JEHOVAH, " that they " might keep his statutes, and observe his laws : " (Note, Psalms 105:43-45, Psalms 5:4-5:) and they would have been very happy, if they had thus " kept judgment, and done righteousness " at all limes ; " that is, if they had persevered in attendance on the ordinances of God, and in obedience to his commandments. (Notes, Psalms 1:1-3. Psalms 32:1-2; Psalms 81:13-15. Psalms 119:3-5. Matthew 5:3-12. Luke 11:27-28.) But though Israel, as a nation, had lost much of their prosperity by sin ; yet every individual, who thus ordered his conduct, was and would be happy. No mere man indeed obeys God perfectly ; yet every true believer makes this his constant aim : nor shall we ever be perfectly happy till we are perfectly obedient ; that is, till fuily delivered from sin and all its consequences. (Marg. Ref.)

V. 4, 5. The Psalmist well understood the difference between the nation of Israel, and the true Israelites found among them. (Notes,Psalms 73:1. John 1:47-51. Romans 2:25-29; Romans 9:6-9.) He was one of that nation, and shared all its external privileges : but his desire and prayer was, that he might be remembered with the favour or gracious forgiveness and acceptance, shewn to the true people of God, and visited with his salvation ; and that he might see and share the blessings, the joy, and the triumphs, on earth and in heaven, of those who are indeed " a chosen " generation, a holy nation," and the Lord’s highly valued inheritance. (Note, 1 Peter 2:9-10.) Many expositors understand these verses merely of the temporal felicity promised to Israel when obedient : but that was merely a. shadow of the spiritual and eternal blessings, ensured to the elect of God ; and scarcely any passage of the New Testament breathes out a more fervent longing after those spiritual blessings, than this does. ’ " Remember me, O ’ " Lord, with the favour," which thou hast always shewn ’ to " thy people," in whom thou hast delighted from the ’ foundation of the world, and on whom it is thy good ’ pleasure to confer a glorious kingdom. " O visit me ’ " with thy salvation," with which so many patriarchs, ’ prophets, and kings, have desired to be visited, the salvation of thy Christ... : " that I may see the good of thy ’ " chosen," their felicity in beholding thy countenance,, ’ and living for ever in thy presence, " that I may rejoice ’ " in the gladness of thy nation," the unspeakable glad’ ness of those who enter into " the joy of their Lord ; " ’ and " glory with thine inheritance; " singing hallelujahs ’ before thine everlasting throne, in the Jerusalem which ’is above.’ Bp. Home.

(Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 51:12-13. Psalms 119:41-42; Psalms 119:81-82; Psalms 119:123; Psalms 119:132; Psalms 119:166. Genesis 49:18. 1 Samuel 2:1. Is. 49: 5, 6. Luke 2:25-32; Luke 3:4-6. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. Philippians 3:1-7.)

V. 6. ’ We are no better than our forefathers ; but ’ have offended after their example, by which we ought to ’ have been amended. W T e are guilty of many iniquities ’ against one another, and much impiety against thee.’ Bp. Patrick.

(Notes, Ezra 9:6-7. Daniel 9:7-10.)

V. 7 The Israelites in general did not so understand the miracles wrought for them in Egypt, as to expect deliverance from the love and power of God ; nor were they suitably impressed or affected by what they had heard and seen, when pursued by the Egyptians to the banks of the Red sea : so that they soon provoked the Lord by their unbelief and distrustful murmurs. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Exodus 14:10-12.)

V. 8. ’ He gave them a new deliverance, that the ’ world might not imagine he wanted power to- complete ’what he had begun to do for them.’ Bp. Patruk.

(Notes, Exodus 14:13-18. Is. 64. 13. Exodus 20:7-9.)

V. 9- 11. Notes, Exodus 14:19-31; Exodus 15:1-21. Is. 51.9-11; 63.7 -14. Hebrews 11:29.

V.12-14. The faith of the Israelites was exactly the same, as is represented by " the seed sown upon stony " ground," and widely different from that which springs up in a broken and penitent heart. (Note, Matthew 13:20-21.) They were surprised, gratified, and delighted, by their unexpected deliverance and the destruction of their enemies : and they experienced a mighty flow of natural joy and gratitude, such as may be observed in children when they are humoured. (Notes, Exodus 14:26-31.) But there was no humiliation for sin ; no abiding apprehensions of the glorious perfections of JEHOVAH ; no steady, habitual reliance on his power, wisdom, truth, and love ; no submission to his will, or preparation for self-denying obedience : and therefore " in time of temptation they fell " away," having no root in themselves. " They made haste, " they forgat his works." (Marg.) ’ Within three days, ’ they became impatient again.’ Up. Patrick. And when their wishes were thwarted, they murmured, rebelled, forgat the works of God, would not wait for his counsel ; but " lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God " by their unbelief.

(Marg. Ref. Notes, . 1 Corinthians 10:6-12.)

V. 15. Instead of being benefited by the abundance of the quails sent them, the Israelites surfeited through excess, and multitudes died by disease. (Notes, Deuteronomy 7:3-4.) They " knew not what they asked," or " what manner ’’ of spirit they were of : " and their sensual request was granted as a punishment, and proved injurious both to their health, and to their souls.

(Notes,Psalms 78:17-31 3 John 1:11.)

V. 16- 18. Marg. Ref. Notes, Numbers 16:1-50: Saint of the Lord (16) Or, " The holy priest of JEHOVAH;" whom he had chosen and sanctified to himself, as the type of our great High Priest. (Note, Deuteronomy 33:8.)

V. 19- 23. (Notes, Exodus 32:-34:) ’ All idolaters ’ renounce God to be their glory, when instead of him they worship any creature.’ ’ It is to be hoped, that ’ we shall never live to see a time, when the miracles of or ’redemption shall be forgotten; ...and when the people ’ shall solicit their teachers, to fabricate a new philosophical deity for them to worship, instead of the God of ’ their ancestors.’ Bp. Home. The place, even Horeb, where the Israelites made and worshipped the calf; and all the preceding miracles of mercy to them, and judgment on their enemies, which they had witnessed, constituted so many highly aggravating circumstances of their base and ungrateful conduct. And by parity of reason, is not the idolatry of professed Christians, especially of spch as have access to the oracles of God, proportionably more heinous and inexcusable, than that of poor benighted pagans? the idolatry of papists, than that of the Chinese? Moses stood before God, in behalf of Israel, by fervent prayer : but when he stood before Israel, protesting against their wickedness, and executing judgment on the idolaters ; he was equally employed for the good of the nation, and his exertions were equally efficacious in preventing their destruction.

(Notes, 28- 31. Exodus 32:7-14; Exodus 32:25-35. Deuteronomy 9:2-18. Nehemiah 9:7-19. Ezekiel 16:15-22; Ezekiel 20:11-18.)

V. 24- 27. (Notes, Numbers 13:14:) ’ He solemnly ’ sware, that not one of that wicked generation should ever ’ come there ; ’ (into Canaan ; ) ’ but all perish in the wilderness.’ Bp. Patrick.

(Notes, Psalms 95:9-11. Numbers 32:6-15. Deuteronomy 1:22-36. Hebrews 3:7-19; Hebrews 4:1-11. Judges 1:5-8, ) The prophetical thrcatenings in the twenty sixth of Leviticus, the twenty-eighth of Deuteronomy, and other parts of the books of Moses, which are fulfilling at this day, seem also to be referred to. ’ Discomfiture ’ and dispersion were also threatened to their posterity, ’ that is, if they should go on in the same spirit of re’ bellion, and fill up the measure of their fathers’ iniqui’ ties ; which they have since done, and are accordingly ’ " overthrown among the nations, and scattered among ’ " the lands to this day.’ " Bp. Home.

(Marg. Ref. Notes, Deuteronomy 4:25-28; Deuteronomy 28:65-67. )

V. 28- 31. (Notes, Numbers 25:1-18:) The word (e;) rendered " executed judgment," means also "prayed," and is so translated in the Book of common prayer : but the conduct of Phinehas, as recorded by Moses, shews that the translation here used is proper. He interposed, (for this seems the precise meaning of the word, in this connexion,) not merely by prayer ; but as a magistrate, by punishing two most daring and audacious criminals. The Septuagint render it, " He made atonement." ’ This act declared his lively faith, and for his ’ faith’s sake was accepted.’ (Notes, 19 23. Deuteronomy 4:3-4. Joshua 22:17. Hosea 9:9-10. Revelation 2:14-16.) Sacrifices of the dead. (28) Notes, Psalms 115:3-8. Is 8: 19. Jeremiah 10:9-10. 1 Corinthians 10:18-22. The word signifies dead men ; and the idols of the gentiles were generally warriors, kings, or lawgivers, whom they deified, when dead, as the papists worship dead saints.

V. 32, 33. (Notes, Numbers 20:2-13. Deuteronomy 3:23-28.) ’ " The wrath of man " found admission, and that " worketh not the righteousness of God." Thou, blessed Jesus, art the only perfect pattern of patience and love ! O grant to all, but above all to the pastors of thy flock, a " spirit " not easy to be " provoked," and lips not hasty to " speak unadvisedly." ’ Bp. Home.-’ If so notable a prophet of God escape not punishment, though others provoked him to sin ; how much more shall they be subject to God’s judgment, who cause God’s children to ’ sin/ (Marg. Ref. Notes, Numbers 27:12-17. Deuteronomy 1:37.)

V. 34. God commissioned Israel to execute his righteous sentence of extermination on the Canaanites, who had filled up the measure of their crimes : and, while many in every age declaim against them for the supposed cruelty of their conduct in this respect; they are repeatedly in scripture charged with guilt, for sparing those whom God had doomed to death ; and their crime was awfully punished by its consequences. (Notes, Numbers 31:1-4. Joshua 6:21; Joshua 23:13. Judges 2:1-5.)

V. 35-38. Mate. Ref. Notes, Psalms 78:56-60: 2 Kings 17:7-17. Jeremiah 2:10-13; Jeremiah 2:33-37. Ezekiel 16:15-22; Ezekiel 20:25-26; Ezekiel 23:3-9. Which were a snare, &c. (36) " They were to them for a snare." The Canaanites, whom the Israelites spared, were a snare unto them, by tempting them to join in their abominable idolatries. Sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils. (37) (Notes, Leviticus 20:25. Deuteronomy 32:17 -) No instance is recorded, in which the Israelites were guilty of this most horrid crime, till long after the days of David ; and this circumstance seems to favour the opinion, that the psalm was composed by some other person, during the captivity. The Israelites, however, in the days of the judges, might imitate the idolaters, among whom they lived, in this, as well as in their other abominations, though it is not expressly recorded. And no allusion is made, in any part of the psalm, to the rebellions and idolatries of the kings of Judah or of Israel, to the golden calves worshipped by the latter, or to the profanations of the temple by the former: yet these are prominent subjects, in the enumeration given by other inspired writers, of the crimes which provoked God to cast off Israel, and to punish Judah by the Babylonish captivity ; and would scarcely have been passed over in entire silence, if the psalm had been written after those events. Indeed, it would be wonderful, in that case, that nothing should be said, either about the temple, or Jerusalem, or any of the kings of Judah, good or bad. people Praise e the LORD.

V. 39. Notes, Exodus 34:11-17. Leviticus 17:3-7; Leviticus 20:2-6. Jeremiah 3:1-3. Revelation 17:1-6.

V. 40- 45. The history contained in the book of Judges and in the former part of the first book of Samuel ; and especially those parts of it which are referred to in the margin, form a full comment on these verses. (Notes, Leviticus 26:11-12. Deuteronomy 32:19-20. Zechariah 11:7-9.) ’This is an epitome of the history of the Israelites. ...Transgressions brought on chastisements, chastisements produced repentance, and repentance obtained mercy. For their last and grand rebellion against the Son of God, and their king Messiah, whom they murdered, the sore burden of heaven’s displeasure hath rested upon the nation these seventeen hundred years : but their eyes are not yet opened ; their hearts have not hitherto relented.’ Bp. Home. (Notes, Leviticus 26:40-45. Deuteronomy 4:29-31; Deuteronomy 30:1-10. Zechariah 12:9-14.)

V. 46. Had the several nations, into whose hands God successively sold Israel for their sins, determined on extirpating the nation, as they had the Canaanites ; there was, in many instances, nothing of external difficulty sufficient to hinder them : but the Lord inclined the hearts of the conquerors to compassionate their slaves and captives, and thus the effects of their vehement resentments were prevented. The Israelites, being pitied, were only impoverished and enslaved, and not destroyed.

(Notes, Ezra 6:22; Ezra 7:27-28. Jeremiah 42:10-12.)

V. 47, 48. (Note, 1 Chronicles 16:34-36.) If David did not write this psalm, but it was composed by some prophet during the captivity ; the writer took this passage from David’s psalm, and applied it to the state of the Jews in his own time. Indeed the words are very applicable to the present condition of the Jews ; and will doubtless be used by them, when the veil shall be taken from their

hearts, and they shall turn to the Lord. Triumph, &c.

(47) Glory in thy praise : " 1 Chronicles 16:35. The original word is the same in both places. Blessed be, &c.

(48) Notes, Psalms 41:11-13, Psalms 5:1-3; Psalms 72:17-19; Psalms 89:52. Nehemiah 9:5. Matthew 6:13. ’ Let the great LORD of all the ’ world who hath been so gracious unto Israel, as to choose ’ them for his own peculiar people, be most heartily blessed and praised. Let all generations bless him, as long as the world shall last, and unto all eternity : and let all his people concur in these desires, and wish it may be so; let them all praise the LORD, and desire that he may be ever praised.’ Bp. Patrick. This Psalm also concludes with HALLELUJAH.


V. 1-27

None of our sins or sufferings should prevent our ascribing glory and praise to the Lord, and thanking him for his undeserved and everlasting goodness and mercy : indeed the more unworthy we are, the more admirable is his kindness, in continuing to us any of our comforts and hopes. " But who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD, " or shew forth all his praise f " This as much exceeds our ability, as it does, to fulfil the whole of his righteous law without defect or failure : yet those, who depend on the Redeemer’s righteousness, will copy the example of his persevering obedience, and endeavour, both by word and deed, to shew forth his praises as they are able. These are indeed a happy people ; for sin is the only cause of all the misery in the universe : how absurd then is it for men to amuse themselves with the notion of a religion, which they fancy will save and bless them, without rendering them obedient to the will of God ! Multitudes indeed abuse their outward privileges, and many professed Christians run into extravagant sentiments, and inconsistent practices : yet God has a people in every age, who enjoy his favour, and experience the power and comfort of his salvation ; whom he has chosen to himself, and to whom he will do good ; who are holy and happy under his government and protection ; and for whom gladness, and victory, and eternal glory are reserved. Let us pray, earnestly and constantly, to be thus remembered and distinguished, and to participate their privileges and felicity. We shall not be excluded from this favour, though " we " have sinned with our fathers and done very wickedly," if indeed we are truly humbled for our iniquities. But when man is left to himself, no miracles, mercies, warnings, or judgments, will, deeply and durably, influence his heart to trust and serve the Lord. We have then no right to charge our misery upon the sins of our fathers, seeing we have copied and perhaps exceeded them : rather we should he humbled to reflect how we arise, one generation after another, " an increase of sinful men, to provoke the LORD to anger : " so that, if he did not " save " us lor his own name’s sake," and to the praise of his glorious power and grace, we should all perish without remedy. In reviewing our past lives, we shall often find that the timing of our rebellions has exceedingly aggravated the guilt of them. We have perhaps distrusted the Lord, after having just before experienced his merciful interpositions in our favour. When remarkable deliverances have excited a transient joy and gratitude ; we have speedily forgotten all, and relapsed into murmurs and disobedience ! Under distress of conscience, we have perhaps been ready to say to the Lord, ’ Save our souls, and deal with us in all other things as thou pleasest : ’ yet, it may be, ere long we have grown impatient of poverty and hardship, have lusted after some worldly indulgence, and tempted instead of trusting Providence ; and thus have we provoked God to send " leanness into our souls," or to inflict severe corrections upon us, in order to bring us to a sense of our folly. We cannot but know, that we have often given way to envy, ambition, and self-preference ; and instead of sitting down quietly " in the lowest place" of his church, (which is far too good for such vile sinners,) and rejoicing in the gifts and usefulness of his saints and ministers ; we have been secretly repining, or openly rivaling or censuring them. So that even the believer will see abundant cause to say, " It is of the Lord’s mercies " that I am not consumed," after the example of Korah and his company. Often have we, forgetful of the terrors of mount Sinai, and even of the scene exhibited on mount Calvary, and of our marvellous deliverance from the hand of our enemy, been setting up idols in our hearts, and cleaving to some forbidden object : so that if a greater than " Moses had not stood in the breach, to turn away the anger of the LORD ; " we should have provoked him to destroy us. Even though we have not entirely disbelieved the word of God, or despised the heavenly inheritance ; yet the feebleness of our desires, and the weakness of our faith, and our eagerness about worldly things, have frequently argued a very perverse, ungrateful, and carnal frame of spirit. In short we have put the patience of the Lord himself to trial, and no other could have borne with us ; we have brought upon ourselves many rebukes and corrections ; we have continual reason to join humiliation with our gratitude : and though the Lord has many a time delivered us, and renewed our comforts, yet we have again provoked him, and have been brought low for our iniquity. Still, however, mercy has prevailed ; he has heard our prayers, remembered his covenant, and spared us for his name’s sake.

V. 28- 48.

If the real Christian’s review of his past conduct affords so much ground for humiliation, the case of processed Christians is still worse. A great part of the visible church has forgotten God our Saviour, and turned aside to the worship of molten images, saints, and angels ; changing, like Israel, their " glory into the similitude" of their fellow-creatures. Great multitudes seem desirous of dis- carding the God and Saviour of the Bible, and substituting in his place a philosophical deity, not indeed the work of their own hands, but the creature of their own imaginations, and no more a just resemblance of JEHOVAH, than the golden calf was. Among those who do not adopt such sentiments, we find conformity to the world, in its vainest, if not most criminal practices ; the indulgence, instead of the mortification, of every carnal lust; nay, an imitation of the lewdness, excesses, extortions, oppressions, and cruelties of the heathen, even to the polluting of the lands where they live, with the blood of great numbers sacrificed to their avarice. And many train up their children in vanity and vice, and in contempt of every thing sacred ; as if they meant that they should be devoted to Satan, and were determined to murder their precious souls. While nations professing Christianity are openly and generally guilty of such enormities, no wonder that the wrath of tlip Ivord is kindled against them ; and we may expect that, after repeated deliverances, he will bring them very low for their iniquities : and except a general and deep repentance, and " works meet for repentance," intervene, there can be no prospect but of increasing calamities and confusion. It would be well, if those, who fill up the important stations of legislators and magistrates, were inspired with the intrepid zeal of Phinehas, to execute judgment upon daring criminals : this would be " accounted to them for righteousness " by the Judge of the world, however it were blamed by the criminals or their abettors. Every one of us however, should imitate Moses, by " standing in the breach to turn away the wrath " of God from a guilty land ; both by our earnest and persevering prayers, and by our zealous endeavours to promote reformation, and the revival of true religion, in our several circles. But it behoves us, in our zeal against sin and sinners, to watch over our own passions and expressions ; lest we speak unadvisedly with our lips, and it should go ill with us also for their sakes. Our general duty is, however, the most pleasant and the safest : and when many are left in any church or nation, who attend to the duties of their several stations ; there remains a hope that God will turn away his wrath, and not destroy them. Let us then beseech him to separate his church, and to distinguish his professed people, from the heathen, by his sanctifying grace ; and to unite them in love that they may " give " thanks unto his holy name, and triumph in his praise." Let us beseech him to bring again into his church the poor dispersed Jews : let us bless his name for our peculiar mercies, and desire that our God may be universally and everlastingly praised ; and that all the people of the earth may say, "Amen; Hallelujah."

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 106". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-106.html. 1804.
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