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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 114

 

 

Verse 1

When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language;

Psalms 114:1-8.-Yahweh owned Israel as His after her departure from Egypt, by driving back the Red Sea and the Jordan; the mountains also were moved (Psalms 114:1-4); personification: the sea asked why it fled? the answer (Psalms 114:5-8 ). God's past mighty deeds for His Church rebuke her unbelieving fears when the world-powers as a sea threaten her destruction.

When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language - even as now they were recently delivered from the Babylonians (aliens in language), to whom, according to Moses' prophecy (Deuteronomy 28:49), they had been captives. It enhances the joy of Israel's deliverance out of Egypt to remember how alien in thought, of which "language" is the index, was the people from under bondage to whom she was delivered (cf. Psalms 81:5).


Verse 2

Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion.

Judah was his sanctuary. "Was" in Hebrew is feminine, whereas Judah is masculine. Judah is therefore here personified as a virgin (Isaiah 22:4), "the daughter of my people" (Psalms 45:12). As the description of God as "the holy One" denotes His separation far above every created being (Psalms 22:3), so the choice of Judah as "His sanctuary" or holy dwelling denotes the elect nation's separation from the world and consecration as "holy unto the Lord her God" (Deuteronomy 7:6; Exodus 19:5-6). God by acts of deliverance manifested His choice of the people before He in words declared it at Sinai. Judah here is made to represent the nation, as being, from the time of the carrying away of the Ten tribes, the surviving heir of the ancient promises belonging to it (Psalms 76:1).

Moreover, Judah from David's time was the seat of the royal family and of the national worship (Psalms 78:68-71). It the more strikingly, because undesignedly, shows the sense of God's continual presence which was realized by the Psalmist, that the "HIS" is introduced, though God had not been named before; as if every believer would instinctively know who was meant, and needed not to hear the name of God specified. Compare Psalms 87:1 : also Mary Magdalene's address to the supposed gardener, speaking of "Him" with whom her heart was full, as if everybody must know that it was Christ whom she meant (John 20:15).

And Israel his dominion - literally, His dominions. The plural expresses excellency.


Verse 3

The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back.

The sea saw (it), and fled - (Exodus 14:21.)

Jordan was driven back - (Joshua 3:13-16.) The sea and the rivers are the emblem of the overwhelming world-powers (notes, Psalms 93:1-5; Psalms 107:23-30).


Verse 4

The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.

The mountains (namely, Sinai) skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs - (Psalms 29:6). The fact alluded to is Exodus 19:18 (cf. Psalms 68:8; Judges 5:4). The mountains symbolize the world-kingdoms. Mount Sinai's quaking in past time presages the coming convulsion and removal of every lofty power that opposes the kingdom of God (Psalms 76:4; Zechariah 4:7).


Verse 5-6

What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back?

What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams? - rather in the present tense, which vividly sets the scene before our eyes, 'What aileth thee, O thou Sea, that thou dost flee? Thou Jordan, that thou art driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skip like rams,' etc.


Verse 7

Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob;

Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord. The Psalmist hereby answers his own question (Psalms 114:5 : cf. Psalms 97:4-5).


Verse 8

Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.

Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters - (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11; Deuteronomy 8:15; Deuteronomy 32:13.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 114:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-114.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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