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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 107

 

 

Verse 1

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalms 107:1-43.-Thank Yahweh (Psalms 107:1); because He hath redeemed Israel from the east, west, north, and south (Psalms 107:2-3); like men wandering hungry and thirsty in a wilderness, and at last led to a city of habitation (Psalms 107:4-9); as men found in a prison, then released from bonds (Psalms 107:10-16); as men brought to death's door by sickness, then, upon praying, healed by Yahweh's word (Psalms 107:17-22); as men threatened with destruction by a storm at sea, then saved by Yahweh (Psalms 107:23-32). The order in all these cases is the trouble, the prayer, the deliverance, and the thanksgiving. But in Psalms 107:33-42 Israel declares in thanksgiving, Yahweh is turning the rivers of the world's prosperity into a wilderness, and the Church's wilderness into a standing water (Psalms 107:33-35); her change to prosperity in the city, the lands, and the cattle (Psalms 107:36-39); contempt poured on the world-princes, and the poor set on high, so that the righteous rejoice, and the oppressor stops his mouth (Psalms 107:40-42); the wise will observe and bless Yahweh for His loving-kindness (Psalms 107:43). The occasion (Psalms 107:32) was at an "assembly of the people and elders," a national feast at which thank offerings were presented (Psalms 107:22): probably the feast of tabernacles celebrated after the return from Babylon, 536 BC, when sacrifices were offered on the newly raised altar (Ezra 3:1-6). No mention of the temple occurs in our psalm; because its foundation was not laid until the next year (535 BC, Ezra 3:4; Ezra 3:8-13). Psalms 107:2; Psalms 107:11 show that the PRIMARY reference is not to the deliverances vouchsafed by God to men in general, but that to Israel from captivity. Not 'Elohiym (Hebrew #430) (God in His relation to the world), but Yahweh (His covenant name to Israel) is He to whom those in trouble cry (Psalms 107:6; Psalms 107:13; Psalms 107:19; Psalms 107:28). What was prayed for in Psalms 106:47, with the promise of thanksgiving in the event of God hearing, is here thanked for.


Verse 2-3

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever - from Psalms 106:1. The Psalmist puts into restored Israel mouth the same thanksgiving as she had offered in the anticipation of faith and hope toward the close of the captivity, (Psalms 106:1-48.)

Verse 2. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy. The Jews and Israel restored are "the redeemed of the Lord" (Isaiah 62:12; Isaiah 63:4; cf. Isaiah 35:10, "The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs," etc.; 59:20; cf. Romans 11:26). Hengstenberg translates, instead of "the enemy," 'trouble,' as the Hebrew [ tsaar (Hebrew #6862)] is translated, Psalms 107:6; Psalms 107:13; and Psalms 106:44). But the parallel, Psalms 106:10, confirms the rendering here, though the Hebrew term for "enemy" is different there

[ 'owyeeb (Hebrew #341)]. Psalms 44:10; Psalms 74:10 translate the same Hebrew as here, enemy. Psalms 107:39-42 also support the English version.

Verse 3. And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. "South" - literally, the sea; namely, the Red Sea, if the south be meant. But it is more probable, from the usage of the expression, 'the sea,' that the Mediterranean is meant, southwest of the Holy Land toward Africa. The Psalmist contents himself with naming the places according to the number of the quarters of heaven, without exactly naming each quarter. The omission of the south, and the substitution of 'the sea,' on which the exiles returned from Egypt and other lands (Deuteronomy 28:68), is occasioned by the fact that there is nothing southward of Judea but a wilderness. Compare similarly the omission of one of the four quarters, Psalms 75:6; so also Isaiah 49:12, which, with its juxtaposition of the north and the sea, was evidently before the mind of the Psalmist: "Behold these shall come from far; and lo, these from the north, and from the west (literally, the sea), and these from the land of Sinim." Compare also the enumeration of the four quarters of heaven, Isaiah 43:5-6; Isaiah 56:8. The gathering of Israel at the return from Babylon was not so world-wide as is here described. Therefore there must he an ulterior gathering of all Israel from her present world-wide dispersion intended.


Verse 4

They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.

They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way - literally, in a desert of a way; in that which is a mere desert (Jeshimon), so far as a way is concerned: a desert in its waylessness. Compare Psalms 107:40 : cf. Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalms 68:7. The allusion is to God's original guidance of His people through the wilderness: a type of His future restoration of them through all difficulties.

They found no city to dwell in - as contrasted with Jerusalem, the city of God, which, as being the sacred metropolis in a national and religious, though not in a local and literal sense, the whole people dwelt in. Compare Psalms 101:8,


Verse 5

Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.

Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Psalms 137:1-9 describes the hungering and thirsting of the true sons and daughters of Zion for the holy city. Literal hunger and thirst they did not experience in Babylon, if we may judge from the fact that those whose souls had no panting after the spiritual privileges of the Holy Land preferred remaining where they were.


Verse 6

Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.

Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses - (Psalms 106:44; Psalms 50:15.) Troubles are like the dogs that drive the wandering sheep back to the flock and to the Shepherd.


Verse 7

And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.

And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation - contrasted with their previous state, Psalms 107:4, "they found no city to dwell in." The way is one not known before to the people of God (Isaiah 42:16); but God, in answer to their prayer, 'teaches them the good way wherein they should walk' (1 Kings 8:36; 1 Kings 8:38); and reveals to those who seek Him 'a right way for them, and for their little ones, and for all their substances' (Ezra 8:21). The true Israel's cry is, "cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee" (Psalms 143:8).


Verse 8

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Oh that (men) would praise the Lord (for) his goodness, and (for) his wonderful works to the children of men! - rather, 'These (who have been led by the Lord to a city of habitation) should praise before the Lord His goodness, and before the children of men His wonderful works.' Thus, the Hebrew l


Verse 9

For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

For he satisfieth the longing soul - "longing;" literally, running to and fro in quest of something. Compare Isaiah 29:8. God satisfieth the longings of His people (Psalms 103:5; Psalms 104:13; Psalms 104:16).


Verse 10

Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;

Such as sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death -- i:e., in a dark and terrible prison: an image of the extreme misery of Israel (Isaiah 9:1; Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 49:9). So also "the shadow of death" - i:e., the thickest gloom (Psalms 23:4).

Being bound in affliction and iron - i:e., with the iron bonds of affliction; figurative of affliction which as it were binds one down so as to admit of no release. Compare Psalms 107:41; Psalms 105:18, margin; Job 36:8. The verb to the nominative in this verse follows in Psalms 107:15. 'These should praise the Lord.' etc.


Verse 11

Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:

Because they rebelled against the words of God. There is in the Hebrew a play upon similar sounds - Him


Verse 12

Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.

Therefore he brought down their heart with labour. Their heart had been proud and rebellious. The Lord brought it down by affliction.

They fell down, and there was none to help - whereas heretofore they had been full of self-confidence in their own powers.


Verses 13-15

Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 16

For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder. Isaiah 45:2 puts this very language into the mouth of Yahweh concerning Cyrus, the conqueror of Babylon and the deliverer of the Jews, "I will

... open before him the two-leaved gates ... I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron." Compare metaphorically, Psalms 116:16.


Verse 17

Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Fools - sinners, in Bible diction; because sin is suicidal folly.

Because of their transgression - literally, 'because of the way of their transgression.'

Are afflicted. God brings their inward folly to outward view by punishment.


Verse 18

Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.

Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat - through sickness (Job 33:20; Psalms 103:3).

And they draw near unto the gates of death - (Job 33:22; Psalms 88:3.)


Verse 19

Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 20

He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

He sent his word, and healed them. "His word" is His swift and omnipotent instrument sent forth to do His bidding. So the centurion's faith viewed the word of Jesus (Matthew 8:8 : cf. Psalms 147:15; Psalms 147:18).

And delivered them from their destructions - literally, from their pits; Psalms 107:18, "the gates of death." Compare Lamentations 4:20; Isaiah 38:10; Psalms 103:4. The Psalmist probably had in view Job 33:28.


Verse 21

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 22

And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving. This was done at the first feast of tabernacles, after the restoration from Babylon (Ezra 3:4-5). See introductory notes; cf Psalms 50:14.


Verse 23-24

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord - another image of Israel's distressed condition during the captivity. The sea is an image of the restless agitation of the world-powers on which Israel, both the literal and the spiritual, are cast (Psalms 93:3; Psalms 46:2-3). The ship is the spiritual Church of Christ, which is safe through His presence in it, however tempest-tossed (Daniel 7:2; Mark 4:37-39).

Verse 24. These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep - namely, the deliverances which He imparts to His own people from the waves of the world's oppression (Psalms 107:25-30).


Verse 25

For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind - He speaks the word, and instantly the stormy wind arises (Psalms 105:31).

Which lifteth up the waves thereof - or, 'His waves;' the waves of God (Psalms 42:7).


Verse 26

They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths - (Psalms 104:8.) Depths, or 'floods.'


Verse 27

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.

No JFB commentary on this vurse.


Verse 28

Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble. If anything outward could drive a man to pray, it is a storm at sea.


Verse 29

He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

He maketh the storm a calm - (Matthew 8:26.) Metaphorically, as here, Psalms 89:9.

So that the waves thereof are still rather 'so that their aes (the aes hich threaten those going on sea So that the waves thereof are still - rather, 'so that their waves (the waves which threaten those going on sea in ships) are still.' "The waves," in Psalms 107:25, are said to be the Lord's waves, because He rules them. Here the waves are called the waves of His people, as they toss them up and down. What a comfort to know all the waves of the Lord's people are waves of the Lord: they are absolutely at His control, and cannot engulf His Church.


Verse 30

Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

So he bringeth them unto their desired haven - Hebrew, mechoz, from a root, to look for: the scope or haven which they look for.


Verse 31

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 32

Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people - at the public assembly for the worship of God, after the restoration from Babylon (Ezra 3:1).

And praise him in the assembly of the elders (Ezra 1:5, "the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin") - the leaders of the people in secular and in religious matters.


Verses 33-42

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 107:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-107.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, September 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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