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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 105

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Psalms 105:0


The Lord's Wonderful Work in Behalf of IsraelNo MT IntroThe Eternal Faithfulness of the LordThe Story of God's Great Deeds on Behalf of His PeopleGod and His PeopleThe Wonderful History of Israel
Psalms 105:1-7Psalms 105:1-6Psalms 105:1-6Psalms 105:1-6Psalms 105:1-3
Psalms 105:4-5
Psalms 105:6-7
Psalms 105:7-12Psalms 105:7-11Psalms 105:7-11
Psalms 105:8-15 Psalms 105:8-9
Psalms 105:10-11
Psalms 105:12-15Psalms 105:12-15Psalms 105:12-13
Psalms 105:13-15
Psalms 105:14-15
Psalms 105:16-24Psalms 105:16-22Psalms 105:16-22Psalms 105:16-22Psalms 105:16-17
Psalms 105:18-19
Psalms 105:20-21
Psalms 105:22-23
Psalms 105:23-25Psalms 105:23-25Psalms 105:23-25
Psalms 105:24-25
Psalms 105:25-36
Psalms 105:26-36Psalms 105:26-36Psalms 105:26-36Psalms 105:26-27
Psalms 105:28-29
Psalms 105:30-31
Psalms 105:32-33
Psalms 105:34-35
Psalms 105:36-37
Psalms 105:37-45Psalms 105:37-41Psalms 105:37-42Psalms 105:37-42
Psalms 105:38-39
Psalms 105:40-41
Psalms 105:42-45 Psalms 105:42-43
Psalms 105:43-45Psalms 105:43-45b
Psalms 105:44-45
Psalms 105:45c

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Etc.


A. Psalms 105:0 and Psalms 106:0 form a theological unit.

Just an added thought, modern Bible interpreters really do not know why, how, or when the Psalms were edited and by whom. This is true for all the Hebrew Bible. The process has been lost to us. So, it must be admitted that many presuppositions and speculations drive modern theories of the process of canonization. I surely and completely affirm the inspiration of the Scriptures (see three videos on www.freebiblecommentary.org, first paragraph), but also accept the Jews' understanding of their canon and the early church's decisions on which books to include.

See SPECIAL TOPIC: INSPIRATION and Special Topic: Bible Interpretation Seminar Textbook, “The Bible, I “Canon,” p. 19, online at www.freebiblecommentary.org.

B. Psalms 105:0 describes God's acts of love and grace in the life of the covenant people.

1. initial call to the Patriarchs, Psalms 105:1-7

2. Patriarchs' journey to Canaan, Psalms 105:8-15

3. Patriarch (Jacob) to Egypt, Psalms 105:16-24

4. Israel from Egypt, Psalms 105:25-36

5. Israel to Canaan, Psalms 105:37-45

C. Psalms 106:0 describes the disgrace of Israel's rebellious response.

D. There are many similarities with this Psalm and Psalms 105:1 Chronicles 16:7-46.

Verses 1-7

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 105:1-7 1Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. 2Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. 3Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. 4Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually. 5Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth, 6O seed of Abraham, His servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! 7He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth.

Psalms 105:1-7 This Psalm and this strophe highlight YHWH's special call and relationship with Abraham and his descendants. YHWH acted in powerful, purposeful ways to accomplish His revelation through this one family.

This Psalm uses several terms to describe these acts.

1. His deeds, Psalms 105:1 - BDB 760, cf. 1 Chronicles 16:8; Psalms 9:11; Psalms 66:5; Psalms 77:13; Psalms 78:11; Psalms 103:7; Isaiah 12:4

2. all His wonders, Psalms 105:2 - BDB 810, cf. Exodus 3:20; Exodus 34:10; Joshua 3:5; Judges 6:13; 1 Chronicles 16:9, 1 Chronicles 16:24; Job 37:5, Job 37:14; Psalms 9:1; Psalms 26:7; Psalms 78:11; Psalms 139:14; Jeremiah 21:2; Micah 7:15, see Special Topic: Wonderful Things

3. his wonders, Psalms 105:5 - BDB 810, see Special Topic at #2

4. His marvels, Psalms 105:5 - BDB 68, cf. Exodus 7:3; Exodus 11:9; 1 Chronicles 16:12; Job 3:3

5. the judgments, Psalms 105:5 - BDB 1048, see SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION

6. His judgments, Psalms 105:7 - BDB 1048

7. His wondrous acts, Psalms 105:27 - BDB 68

Different periods of Israel's history demonstrate YHWH's special activities on behalf of Abraham's family. The purpose of these divine acts was to help the nations know YHWH, cf. 1 Kings 8:42-43; see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan.

Psalms 105:1-5 has a series of imperatives imploring the worship of YHWH in the temple.

1. give thanks - BDB 392, KB 389, Hiphil, cf. 1 Chronicles 16:8, 1 Chronicles 16:34; Isaiah 12:4

2. call upon - BDB 894, KB 1128, Qal, cf. Psalms 99:6

3. make known - BDB 393, KB 390, Hiphil, cf. Psalms 145:12

4. sing - BDB 1010, KB 1479, Qal

5. sing praises - BDB 274, KB 273, Piel, cf. Psalms 66:2; Psalms 68:4; Psalms 135:3

6. speak/muse - BDB 967, KB 1319, Qal cf. Psalms 77:12; Psalms 119:27; Psalms 145:5; Psalms 147:1

7. glory - BDB 237, KB 248, Hithpael

8. seek - BDB 205, KB 233, cf. Exodus 33:7; Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Chronicles 16:10; 2 Chronicles 11:10-11; Isaiah 51:1; Jeremiah 50:4; Hosea 3:5; Hosea 5:6

9. seek - BDB 134, KB 152, Piel, cf. 1 Chronicles 16:11; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalms 27:8; Amos 4:5

10. remember - BDB 269, KB 269, Qal cf. 1 Chronicles 16:12

Psalms 105:1 “the Lord” See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY.

“call upon His name” Psalms 105:1-4 describes cultic (religious procedures) worship. The “name” represents the person's character. See Special Topic: “The Name” of YHWH.

“Make known His deeds among the peoples” It is God's will that all the earth (cf. Psalms 105:7b) know Him (cf. Psalms 145:12; Isaiah 12:4-5, see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan). Israel was a means to this end and the Bible is a record of this revelation.

Psalms 105:2 “Sing to Him” This (BDB 967, KB 1319) also describes cultic worship. They sang songs about YHWH and His acts of salvation.

“Speak” This is literally “meditate” or “muse.” We are to keep God's character and acts before our minds (cf. Psalms 105:5; Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

Psalms 105:3 “glory” This verb means to boast (BDB 237). Israel was to “glory” in the kind of God who called them and was uniquely their God.

“Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad” The “heart” speaks of the entire person (see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE HEART). We must respond (the verb is a Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense) to God's initiative, and the appropriate way is with “joy” (BDB 970).

Psalms 105:4

NASB, NKJV, NJB, NRSV“and His strength” TEV“for help” LXX, Moffatt“and be strengthened” JPSOA“His might” (referring to the Ark, cf. Psalms 78:61; Psalms 132:8) Peshitta, REB“be strong” NAB“rely on” NET Bible“and the strength he gives”

As is obvious from the variety of translations, the phrase is uncertain. I think, from the context of temple worship (i.e., Psalms 105:1-4), that the JPSOA option is best (i.e., the Ark, cf. Psalms 78:61; Psalms 132:8).

“Seek His face continually” This is an idiomatic way of calling on faithful followers to keep YHWH and His revelation before their minds (cf. Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

This is similar to Paul's emphasis of praying without ceasing (cf. Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Psalms 105:5 “the judgments uttered by His mouth” This reflects the Hebrew concept of the power of the spoken word (cf. Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 55:1; John 1:1; and note at Genesis 1:3). For “judgments” see Special Topic: Terms for God's Revelation.

Psalms 105:6 This verse reflects God's choice of Abraham (Psalms 105:6a) and his descendants (Psalms 105:6b) as His chosen means to redeem all mankind, Genesis 3:15.

Remember, in the OT the term “chosen” (BDB 104; 1 Chronicles 16:13) is used for instrumentality (i.e., service), not salvation. God chooses to use nations, people, and historical events for His larger redemptive plan (see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan).

Psalms 105:7 “He is the Lord our God” This phrase may be a reference to the covenant language of Exodus 20:2. It involves the two most common names for Deity, YHWH - Lord and Elohim - God. Modern western scholarship has asserted that these represent the name of Deity used by two different human authors of the OT. The Jews assert that they represent the characteristics of the one true God (see SPECIAL TOPIC: MONOTHEISM). Elohim is Deity's title as creator, provider, and sustainer of all life, while YHWH is Deity's covenant title as savior and redeemer. See Special Topic: Names for Deity.

“His judgments are in all the earth” This refers to God's universal focus, which is so dominant in this section of the Psalms (i.e., Psalms 96:0, see notes there).

The term “earth” can be translated “land.” See Special Topic: Land, Country Earth.

Verses 8-15

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 105:8-15 8He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, 9The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. 10Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, 11Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the portion of your inheritance,” 12When they were only a few men in number, Very few, and strangers in it. 13And they wandered about from nation to nation, From one kingdom to another people. 14He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes: 15”Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.”

Psalms 105:8-15 This strophe alludes to YHWH's call to Abraham to leave Ur and follow Him to a new land of promise (i.e., Genesis 12-18). This same promise was reaffirmed to Jacob/Israel (cf. Genesis 28:13-15).

YHWH protected and provided for the descendants of Abraham as they sojourned in Canaan (i.e., Genesis 12:7; Genesis 20:1-7; Genesis 35:5).

Psalms 105:8 “He has remembered His covenant forever” Almost all of God's promises are conditioned on human response. Therefore, “forever” must be interpreted in the context of conditional/unconditional covenant (see Special Topic: Forever ('olam).

The focus of the biblical revelation is that God is faithful even when mankind is not (compare Psalms 105:0 with Psalms 106:0). Fallen mankind's hope is not in his ability to perform, although there is a required continuing repentant faith response necessary. It is the unchanging character of God that provides hope and assurance (cf. Malachi 1:6).

For “covenant” see SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT.

“to a thousand generations” This is an idiom for God's faithfulness. It is parallel to “forever” in Psalms 105:8a. It is used as a contrast between God's love and justice in Deuteronomy 5:9 and Psalms 7:9.

“Thousand” is a symbolic number used in several senses. See Special Topic: Thousand (eleph) and Special Topic: Symbolic Numbers in Scripture.

Psalms 105:9-10 YHWH repeated His initial promise about the land to Abram to the other Patriarchs.

1. Abraham - Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:15; Genesis 15:18

2. Isaac - Genesis 26:3-4

3. Jacob/Israel - Genesis 28:13

Psalms 105:11 This is an allusion to Genesis 12:1; Genesis 13:15; and 15:18.

“As the portion of your inheritance” See full note online at Psalms 78:55.

Psalms 105:12 The family of Abraham started out very small (cf. Genesis 34:30; Genesis 46:26-27; Deuteronomy 7:7; 1 Chronicles 16:19) but grew to be as numerous as the stars of heaven, the sand on the sea shore.

Psalms 105:15 “My anointed ones. . .My prophets” These are in a parallel relationship and, therefore, refer to the Patriarchs (cf. Genesis 20:7).

This term “anointed ones” (BDB 603) is the root meaning of Messiah (see SPECIAL TOPIC: MESSIAH). It refers to the Patriarchs or the community that God has chosen and equipped to perform His will.

Verses 16-24

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 105:16-24 16And He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread. 17He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; 19Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the Lord tested him. 20The king sent and released him, The ruler of peoples, and set him free. 21He made him lord of his house And ruler over all his possessions, 22To imprison his princes at will, That he might teach his elders wisdom. 23Israel also came into Egypt; Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. 24And He caused His people to be very fruitful, And made them stronger than their adversaries.

Psalms 105:16-24 This strophe deals with YHWH leading His covenant people from Canaan to Egypt. This was God's plan.

1. to raise up Joseph as a leader in preparation, Psalms 105:17

2. to force the move by way of a famine, Psalms 105:16

3. to cause later friction between the Egyptians and Israelites so as to demonstrate His power over the Egyptian gods and reveal Himself to the Egyptians and the surrounding nations of the ANE, Psalms 105:25

The “few in number” of Psalms 105:12 is contrasted with Psalms 105:24.

Psalms 105:16 “He called. . .He broke” God uses calamity for His purposes, Isaiah 45:7. This seems contradictory to Psalms 105:14-15, but God uses both positive and negative events. This is obvious in His covenant relationship with Israel (cf. Leviticus 26:0; Deuteronomy 27-29; Psalms 1:0). See full note at Isaiah 45:7 online.

“staff and bread” This idiom is used several times in the OT (cf. Leviticus 26:26; Ezekiel 4:16; Ezekiel 5:16; Ezekiel 14:13). God controls rain and food. He wants to bless but sin and rebellion cause the necessities of life to be withheld (i.e., Leviticus 26:0; Deuteronomy 27-30). In Psalms 105:0 the famine was to accomplish a divine plan (i.e., Joseph to a place of leadership in Egypt and Israel to take up residence there).

The term “staff” (BDB 641) could refer to

1. stalk of grain

2. wooden rod on which the food was carried

3. wooden rod to suspend the food so that animals could not eat it

4. symbolic way of referring to the absolute necessity of bread for life in the Ancient Near East

Psalms 105:17 “He sent a man before them” This refers to Joseph as being God's means of saving and sustaining the chosen family of Jacob (cf. Genesis 37:0; 39-46). Joseph's own sense of YHWH's actions is expressed in Genesis 45:4-8; Genesis 50:20. The eyes of faith see history clearly!

Psalms 105:18 “He himself was laid in irons” This reflects the painful experience of Joseph being sold by his own brothers, though he recognized God's hand (cf. Genesis 37:0; Genesis 45:4-8).

The MT is literally “iron came (into his) soul.”

The verb “came” (BDB 97, KB 112, Qal perfect) is a common verb, with several connotations.

The word “soul” is nephesh (BDB 659), which also has a wide semantic field, but usually denotes air-breathing life on this planet (i.e., human and animal).

Most modern English translations assume that the consonants for nephesh, in this context, reflect an Akkadian root for “throat” or “neck” (cf. NRSV, TEV, NJB, JPSOA, REB). Iron was a way of referring to imprisonment (cf. Psalms 107:10).

However, the LXX translated the phrase as “his soul passed through iron.” Joseph's life experiences of rejection by his brothers and the cruel treatment in the Egyptian prison were painful and lasting scars. But they also produced a strong, faithful follower (cf. Hebrews 5:8).

Psalms 105:19 “the Lord tested him” God tests all His children (cf. Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:0; Abraham, Genesis 22:1; Jesus, Matthew 4:11). The test is meant to strengthen, not destroy. See SPECIAL TOPIC: GOD TESTS HIS PEOPLE.

Psalms 105:20 “the king” There is much scholarly disagreement about the dates related to Israel's sojourn in Egypt and the date of the Exodus. Modern scholars are not sure of

1. the date of the Exodus

2. the number of Israelites involved in the Exodus

3. the Pharaoh of the Exodus

4. the route of the Exodus

See Special Topic: The Exodus (uncertainties).

Psalms 105:22 Psalms 105:20-22 relates to Pharaoh. He allowed Joseph to have authority over his own princes and elders.

The term “imprison” is literally “to bind” (BDB 63, KB 75, Qal infinitive construct). It is the legal terminology related to “binding and loosing” (cf. UBS Text Project, p. 380).

In context this word, which usually denotes “the binding of a prisoner,” is what the powerful imagery of Psalms 105:18 describes, but it does not use the word. However, there is an obvious play on - the Egyptians bindimg Joseph, now he binds them!

Psalms 104:24 This reflects the blessing of numerous children seen in Exodus 1:7, Exodus 1:9.

Verses 25-36

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 105:25-36 25He turned their heart to hate His people, To deal craftily with His servants. 26He sent Moses His servant, And Aaron, whom He had chosen. 27They performed His wondrous acts among them, And miracles in the land of Ham. 28He sent darkness and made it dark; And they did not rebel against His words. 29He turned their waters into blood And caused their fish to die. 30Their land swarmed with frogs Even in the chambers of their kings. 31He spoke, and there came a swarm of flies And gnats in all their territory. 32He gave them hail for rain, And flaming fire in their land. 33He struck down their vines also and their fig trees, And shattered the trees of their territory. 34He spoke, and locusts came, And young locusts, even without number, 35And ate up all vegetation in their land, And ate up the fruit of their ground. 36He also struck down all the firstborn in their land, The first fruits of all their vigor.

Psalms 105:25-36 As Psalms 105:8-15 reflects the Patriarchal period and Psalms 105:16-24 reflects the Joseph experience, Psalms 105:25-36 reflects the Exodus.

Psalms 105:25 “He turned their heart to hate His people” As God hardened Pharaoh's heart toward Moses' requests, He hardened the people of Egypt toward the Jews. Following I have included my unpublished notes on Exodus 4:21.

Exodus 4:21 “but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go” God informs Moses that though in the presence of great light, the Hebrews will believe, but Pharaoh will not be convinced. This passage, and ones similar to it, have caused tremendous problems to western theologians. We must allow this to speak in its original context and not bring to this passage questions that it was never intended to ask or to explicate. In the ANE, and particularly in Israel, God was the source of all things (cf. Job 2:10; Eccl. 3:28 Isaiah 45:7; Isaiah 54:16; Lamentations 3:37; Ezekiel 14:9; Amos 3:6b). Therefore, the Jews saw no problem in God hardening Pharaoh's heart or in Pharaoh hardening his own heart. It is only in light of further NT revelation about mankind's need to respond to God that the problem of God's sovereignty and mankind's free will becomes a mysterious paradox for the church. It is best to affirm both truths than it is to magnify one over the other. The best place in the Bible to ascertain the relationship between these two is Romans 9:0 on the sovereignty of God and Romans 10:0 on the free will of mankind. In Exodus Pharaoh is described as being hardened in three ways.

1. God hardened his heart, Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:3; Exodus 9:12; Exodus 10:1, Exodus 10:20, Exodus 10:27; Exodus 11:10; Exodus 14:4, Exodus 14:8 (cf. Rom. 9:34)

2. Pharaoh hardened his own heart, Exodus 8:15, Exodus 8:32; Exodus 9:34

3. his heart was hardened but with no mention of the source, Exodus 7:13, Exodus 7:14, Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:19; Exodus 9:7, Exodus 9:35

It is also interesting to note that three different verbs are used to describe this hardening.

1. “to be strong” in the sense of callous, Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:13, Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:19; Exodus 9:12, Exodus 9:35; Exodus 10:20, Exodus 10:27; Exodus 11:10; Exodus 14:4, Exodus 14:8

2. “to be heavy” and, therefore, lack of responsiveness, Exodus 7:14; Exodus 8:15, Exodus 8:32; Exodus 9:7, Exodus 9:34; Exodus 10:1

3. “to be hard,” Exodus 7:3

However, all of these seem to be used in a synonymous relationship. The Bible emphatically teaches that each of us is personally responsible for our actions, including Pharaoh and Judas Iscariot.

Psalms 105:26 The account of YHWH calling Moses and sending him back to Egypt is recorded in Exodus 3-4.

The need for Aaron is explained in Exodus 4:10-17.

Psalms 105:1. Exodus 4:10, Moses' excuse

Psalms 105:2. Exodus 4:11-12, YHWH's answer

Psalms 105:3. Exodus 4:13, Moses' continuing refusal

Psalms 105:4. Exodus 4:14-16, YHWH's answer to send Aaron to speak for him

Psalms 105:27 “the land of Ham” The Hebrews recognized that the Egyptians were ancient brothers. Ham is also mentioned in Psalms 78:51; Psalms 106:22. This speaks of the unity of mankind. See full notes at Genesis 10:0.

Psalms 105:28-36 This describes the plagues (cf. Exodus 7-11). However, this is only a partial list. It starts with the 9th, then the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 3rd, 7th, 8th, and 10th.

Psalms 105:28 “And they did not rebel against His words” The LXX and Peshitta leave out the negative. This is followed by NRSV and REB. However, the MT has the negative and the UBS Text Project gives its inclusion a “B” rating (some doubt). The interpretive issue is, who is “they.”

1. MT - Moses and Aaron

2. LXX - the Egyptians, especially Pharaoh

Verses 37-45

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 105:37-45 37Then He brought them out with silver and gold, And among His tribes there was not one who stumbled. 38Egypt was glad when they departed, For the dread of them had fallen upon them. 39He spread a cloud for a covering, And fire to illumine by night. 40They asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven. 41He opened the rock and water flowed out; It ran in the dry places like a river. 42For He remembered His holy word With Abraham His servant; 43And He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout. 44He gave them also the lands of the nations, That they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples' labor, 45So that they might keep His statutes And observe His laws, Praise the Lord!

Psalms 105:37-43 These verses reflect the wilderness wandering period (cf. Numbers 13-36).

Psalms 105:37 “with silver and gold” The Egyptians gave the Israelites much gold and silver (cf. Exodus 3:21-22; Exodus 11:2; Exodus 12:35-36). It was a way of illustrating the humiliating defeat by YHWH (cf. Psalms 105:38).

“among His tribes” This phrase may be related to “by their hosts” (BDB 838), which is found in Exodus 6:26; Exodus 12:51; and Josephus, Antiq. 14.6. It means that as the Israelites left Egypt on their Exodus, they camped by tribal groupings.

“there was not one who stumbled” This shows God's special miraculous care for the old, sick, and young (cf. Deuteronomy 8:4).

Psalms 105:39 “. . .cloud. . .” This was called the “Shekinah Cloud of Glory” by the rabbis (cf. Exodus 13:21-22; Exodus 14:19, Exodus 14:24; Exodus 33:9-10; Psalms 78:14; Psalms 99:7). It accomplished several things for the Israelites.

1. symbol of YHWH's personal presence (shekinah means “to dwell with”)

2. it separated Israel from Pharaoh's elite troops (cf. Exodus 14:19-20)

3. it led Israel (cf. Exodus 13:21-22; Numbers 9:17-23)

4. it covered them and protected them from the heat (cf. Psalms 105:39)

5. it lit up the camp by night, even allowed Israel to travel at night (cf. Exodus 13:21; Nehemiah 9:12, Nehemiah 9:19)

6. it caused the nations to fear Israel (cf. Exodus 23:27; Deuteronomy 2:25; Deuteronomy 11:25; Joshua 2:9)

7. it finally disappeared when Israel crossed the Jordan (cf. Exodus 16:35; Joshua 5:12), but reappeared at the dedication of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 8:0).

Psalms 105:40 “They asked” The MT has “he asked.” The UBS Text Project (p. 381) gives this a “C” rating (considerable doubt). The question is who the pronoun refers to.

1. the people as a whole

2. one among them acting as a spokesperson

3. YHWH Himself

“quail” God provided quail meat twice (cf. Exodus 16:13-14 and Numbers 11:31) as a sign of His love and promise of provisions and care.

“bread of heaven” This was another name for manna (cf. Exodus 16:0).

In Deuteronomy 8:3, the people called it “manna” (BDB 577 I, [Exodus 16:31] from the question of Exodus 16:4, “What is it?” Moses called it “bread from heaven,” Exodus 16:4). It was God's special provision of food during the wilderness wandering period. It is described in Exodus 16:4, Exodus 16:14-15; Exodus 31:0; Numbers 11:7-8, but its exact substance is unknown to us (BDB says it was known to Bedouins in the Sinai and that it was strictly a juice from a certain twig, but this does not fit the biblical description). God provided what they needed for each day, not for a long period of time, so the people would learn to trust Him for their daily needs. He does this for new covenant believers also (cf. Matthew 6:11).

Psalms 105:41 “He opened the rock” This divine provision of water was repeated several times (cf. Exodus 17:1-6; Numbers 20:11; Deuteronomy 8:15; Psalms 78:20; Psalms 114:8). It becomes a Messianic symbol in 1 Corinthians 10:4.

Psalms 105:42 “He remembered His holy word” This refers to God's initial covenant with Abraham (cf. Psalms 105:5-6; Genesis 12-15, especially Genesis 15:16).

Psalms 105:44-45 These verses reflect the Conquest of Canaan under Joshua.

Psalms 105:45 “keep His statutes,

And obey His laws” Obedience to the revealed word of God is crucial. Obedience reveals the heart. The covenant has two aspects.

1. the sovereignty and faithfulness of YHWH (cf. Deuteronomy 4:39)

2. the faith and obedience of His people (cf. Deuteronomy 4:40; Psalms 25:10; Psalms 103:18)

3. YHWH is faithful (cf. Deuteronomy 7:9), so His followers must be also!

“Praise the Lord” This is literally “praise Yah” (BDB 237 II, KB 248, Piel imperative with Yah, BDB 219). In English it is transliterated “hallelujah.” This phrase is a common refrain in the last section of the Psalter (i.e., Psalms 104:35; Psalms 105:45; Psalms 106:1, Psalms 106:48; Psalms 111:1; Psalms 112:1; Psalms 113:1, Psalms 113:9; Psalms 116:19; Psalms 117:2; Psalms 135:1, Psalms 135:21; Psalms 146:1, Psalms 146:10; Psalms 147:1; Psalms 148:1, Psalms 148:14; Psalms 149:1, Psalms 149:9; Psalms 150:1, Psalms 150:6). How appropriate!


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. Why does the Bible encourage us to participate in public, corporate worship?

2. What are the implications of monotheism?

3. Does God send famine? (Psalms 105:16)

4. Why are God's acts of love and deliverance on behalf of Israel so significant?

5. Are God's covenants conditional or unconditional?

6. Why is the Psalm called “salvation history”?

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Psalms 105". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/psalms-105.html. 2021.
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