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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Psalms 106

 

 

Verse 1

Psalms 106:1 Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

Ver. 1. Praise ye the Lord] Though scattered among the heathen, and in a sorrowful condition, Psalms 106:47. In prosperity praise the Lord, saith Austin, and it shall increase upon thee. In adversity praise him, and it shall be better with thee.

O give thanks unto the Lord, &c.] This verse was, say some, the foot or tenor of the song in many sacred hymns.

For his mercy endureth for ever] Even to those also that have sinned against his goodness.


Verse 2

Psalms 106:2 Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? [who] can shew forth all his praise?

Ver. 2. Who can utter, &c.] i.e. To the just worth of them; none can: they are fitter to be admired than possible to be uttered. It is enough that we do what we can toward the work. God accepteth according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not, 2 Corinthians 8:12; he taketh it for no small praise when we thus acknowledge him to be above all praise.

Who can show forth all his praise?] Quis fando exprimat? Surely none can. David saith he will, Psalms 9:1, but soon found his utter inability; for according to thy name, O Lord, so is thy praise, saith he in another psalm. The best way is, as here in the ensuing verses, to submit to God’s justice, and to implore his mercy, and to study integrity, Psalms 106:3-6.


Verse 3

Psalms 106:3 Blessed [are] they that keep judgment, [and] he that doeth righteousness at all times.

Ver. 3. Blessed are they that keep judgment, &c.] That are of right principles and upright practices; this is real and substantial praising of God. Thanks doing is the proof of thanksgiving; and the good life of the thankful is the life of thankfulness. Those that say God a-thank only, and no more, are not only contumelious, but injurious.

And he that doth righteousness] So preaching forth the virtues (or praises) of God who hath called him into his marvellous light, 1 Peter 2:9, and composing his whole course, velar spectatum aliquod simulaehrum et documentum laudis eius constans atque perpetuum (Jun.).


Verse 4

Psalms 106:4 Remember me, O LORD, with the favour [that thou bearest unto] thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;

Ver. 4. Remember me, O Lord, with the favour, &c.] The psalmist would have favour, and special favour, mercies, and sure mercies, proper to God’s peculiar, and with these he would be remembered; grace he would find, such as might help in time of need, Hebrews 4:16. "God remembered Noah," Genesis 8:1. "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things," Matthew 6:32. Though our ark be driven in a tempestuous sea, yet it shall neither sink nor split while we sail in the thoughts of God.

O visit me with thy salvation] A gracious spirit will not be satisfied with low things, common mercies,


Verse 5

Psalms 106:5 That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.

Ver. 5. That I may see the good of thy chosen] Ut videam in bonum, that I may see it, and partake of it, have both the vision and fruition of thy great goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, Psalms 31:19, giving them a taste thereof aforehand, as a few grapes of that promised Canaan.

Of thy nation] i.e. By this name God’s elect are here and elsewhere styled, and therefore the Jews have no reason to reproach us, as they do, by it; calling us Gel, and Mamzer-goi, bastard heathens.


Verse 6

Psalms 106:6 We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

Ver. 6. We have sinned with our fathers] Adding to their heap, and making up their measure, Matthew 23:32. People think the example of their fathers a sufficient excuse. Jerome once (but not well) desired leave of Austin to err with seven Fathers whom he found of his opinion. I will follow my forefathers, saith Cicero, although I fall together with them. See Jeremiah 44:17. But so would not these good souls, as neither Jeremiah, Jeremiah 3:25, nor Daniel, Daniel 9:5, whose confession suiting and symbolizing with this (together with that we read Psalms 106:47), maketh some think that this psalm was penned for his people’s use then when they were captives in Babylon.

We have committed iniquity, &c.] Sin must be confessed with utmost aggravation. I will hear how full in the mouth these are against themselves, laying on load, while their sins swell as so many toads in their eyes.


Verse 7

Psalms 106:7 Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked [him] at the sea, [even] at the Red sea.

Ver. 7. Our fathers understood not] i.e. They weighed them not, improved them not, but as the dull earth is surrounded by the heavens, yet perceiveth it not; so were these with miracles and mercies, yet understood them not.

Even at the Red Sea] Not only while they were on the bank they feared to enter, but also even when they were passing and walking over that dry land made for them by a miracle, they did still continue their murmurings and mutinings.


Verse 8

Psalms 106:8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

Ver. 8. Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake] Here he comes, in with a Non-obstante. So Isaiah 57:17. Now, if God will save for his name’s sake, what people is there whom he may not save?

That he might make his miqhly power to be known] The Lord hath other things to look unto than presently to punish his people when they most deserve it.


Verse 9

Psalms 106:9 He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.

Ver. 9. He rebuked the Red Sea also] Ingentia beneficia, flagitia, supplicia, as appeareth in the subsequent verses.

So he led them through the depths] Inter duas aquarum congeries, between two mountains of waters, which stood on each hand of them as a wall, and made a lane. Every main affliction is our Red Sea; which while it threateneth to swallow us up, preserveth us.


Verse 10

Psalms 106:10 And he saved them from the hand of him that hated [them], and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.

Ver. 10. And he saved them, &c.] From Pharaoh, that perfect enemy of theirs, that pursued them with a deadly design, but was happily prevented.


Verse 11

Psalms 106:11 And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.

Ver. 11. And the waters covered their enemies] The preservation of the Church is ever accompanied with the destruction of its enemies, that the mercy may appear the greater.

Not one of them left] Left alive to carry the news.


Verse 12

Psalms 106:12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.

Ver. 12. Then believed they his words] Then for a flash, while the memory of the mercy was fresh and warm; but ere they were three days older they murmured again; it proved not so much as a nine days’ wonderment; they were soon at oldward.

They sang his praise] Exodus 15:1-21 A temporary faith and joy.


Verse 13

Psalms 106:13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:

Ver. 13. They soon forgat his works] Heb. They made haste, they forgat. This is an aggravating circumstance. See Galatians 1:6, Exodus 32:8, Deuteronomy 9:16.

They waited not for his counsel] For the performance of what he had purposed and promised; they were short-spirited and impatient.


Verse 14

Psalms 106:14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.

Ver. 14. But lusted exceedingly] Heb. lusted a lust. See Numbers 11:1-35, they had a sufficiency, but must have superfluities, as belly-gods; not want, but wantonness, set them a lusting, and that in the wilderness, where they knew that in an ordinary way it was not to be had.

And tempted God] Whom they should have trusted rather, since he waiteth to be gracious, and being a God of judgment, knoweth best when to deal forth his favours, Isaiah 30:18; Isaiah 49:8.


Verse 15

Psalms 106:15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

Ver. 15. And he gave them their request] Deus saepe dat iratus quod negat propitius (Aug.).

Munera magna quidem misit, sed misit in hamo

(Martial).

Quails they had, but to choke them; as afterwards a king, but to vex them, &c.

But sent leanness into their soul] i.e. Into their bodies, such a loathing as caused leanness, Numbers 11:20, a plague upon their bodies, a curse upon their souls. Many men eat that on earth which they digest in hell. It is dangerous feeding on sin’s murdering morsels.


Verse 16

Psalms 106:16 They envied Moses also in the camp, [and] Aaron the saint of the LORD.

Ver. 16. They envied Moses also] Korah and his complices did; and because the people punished them not, they are all accused as guilty of that conspiracy, and looked upon as a rabble of rebels against heaven.

And Aaron the saint of the Lord] Separated to the priesthood. The Rabbis tell us that they bad chosen Dathan instead of Moses, and Abiram for Aaron.


Verse 17

Psalms 106:17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.

Ver. 17. The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, &c.] Korah is not here mentioned, haply for his sons’ sakes, who were famous prophets and music masters in David’s days. As for On the son of Peleth (one of the chief conspirators), the Rabbis say that by the good counsel of his wife he repented, and so escaped.


Verse 18

Psalms 106:18 And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

Ver. 18. And a fire was kindled in their company] It is both a just presage and desert of ruin not to be warned. Let seditious persons and schismatics take heed; for even our God also is a consuming fire, Hebrews 12:29.

The flame burnt up the wicked] And among the rest Korah, as some conceive. Dathan and Abiram are stigmatized for their stubbornness, Numbers 26:9, as was afterwards Ahaz, 2 Chronicles 28:22, and before them all Cain, Genesis 4:15, and Lamech, Genesis 4:24.


Verse 19

Psalms 106:19 They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.

Ver. 19. They made a calf in Horeb] i.e. In the country near to that mountain, where they at same time saw visible tokens of God’s dreadful presence. Well might Aaron say of this people, that they were wholly set upon wickedness, Exodus 32:22. This piece of idolatry they had learned belike of the Egyptians, who worshipped Apis in such a shape, so catching is sin, and so dangerous is ill company (Lege Lacrant. and Aug. lib. 1, de Mirab. Script. cap. 15).


Verse 20

Psalms 106:20 Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.

Ver. 20. Thus they changed their glory] i.e. Their God, Romans 1:23, the Creator for a contemptible creature.

Of an ox that eateth grass] Tunc stercora egerit, et multum inquinatur, as R. Solomon here glosseth. They pretended not to worship the calf, but God in the calf, as did also Jebu, 2 Kings 10:16; 2 Kings 10:29, 2 Chronicles 11:15, and as the idolatrous Papists do at this day. See Exodus 32:5-6. Yet the text here saith, "They worshipped the molten image, they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox." And although some of the Rabbis would excuse this gross idolatry of their forefathers, yet others, more wise, bewail it, and say that there is an ounce of this golden calf in all their present sufferings.


Verse 21

Psalms 106:21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;

Ver. 21. They forgat God their saviour] This is often mentioned as the mother of all the misrule among them.


Verse 22

Psalms 106:22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, [and] terrible things by the Red sea.

Ver. 22. Wondrous works in the land of Ham] i.e. Among the Egyptians, Ham’s posterity.

And terrible things by the Red Sea] All which were buried, together with the remembrance of God, the doer.


Verse 23

Psalms 106:23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy [them].

Ver. 23. Therefore he said that he would destroy them] Idolatry is a people desolating sin. God was once in a mind to have destroyed this people utterly, and to have left none but Moses, Exodus 32:10; Exodus 32:31, &c., promising him a great fortune if he would have suffered it; but he, tendering God’s glory more than his own greatness, refused it: choice and excellent spirits use to do so.

Had not Moses his chosen] "Chosen" to represent Christ in his mediatorship.

Stood up in the breach] A metaphor from military matters. When a stronghold is besieged, and a breach made, valiant soldiers use to make up that breach with their own bodies, till the enemy be beaten back. God’s wrath was even breaking in upon the people. Moses prayed instantly and constantly, even the most part of those forty days and nights he spent in the mount, Deuteronomy 9:9; Deuteronomy 9:11; Deuteronomy 9:18; Deuteronomy 9:25, and at length prevailed. See Ezekiel 13:5; Ezekiel 22:30.


Verse 24

Psalms 106:24 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:

Ver. 24. Yea, they despised the pleasant land] Heb. The land of desire, flowing with milk and honey, sumen totius terrae, as one calleth it; Egypt they preferred before it, though it were a gage of heaven; as Cardinal Bourbon did his part in Paris, before his part in paradise.

They believed not his word] sc. That he would, or indeed could, give them that good land. He that believeth not maketh God a liar.


Verse 25

Psalms 106:25 But murmured in their tents, [and] hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.

Ver. 25. But murmured in their tents] Where they sat discontented (after the report of the spies), and, as we say, sick of the sullens; they would not attempt a conquest, but bewailed their hard fortune, and let fly on all hands, keeping a clutter and a rattle.


Verse 26

Psalms 106:26 Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:

Ver. 26. Therefore he lifted up his hand] i.e. He solemnly swore, as Numbers 14:30, or he was fetching his full blow at them.

To overthrow them in the wilderness] Which also befell them according to their own wicked wish. Let men false heed of wishing evil to themselves, lest God say Amen to it.


Verse 27

Psalms 106:27 To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.

Ver. 27. To overthrow their seed also among the nations] This clause of God’s oath is not expressed in Numbers, but drawn there hence as a fearful consequence, both here by the psalmist, and also by the prophet Ezekiel, Ezekiel 20:1-49 And R. Solomon’s note upon this text is, Tunc erat decretum de desolando Templo, ut lachrymas pro re magna, sicut ante pro nihilo effunderent, Then was the desolation of the temple (though it fell out long after) determined, that those malcontents who cried for nothing before, might have somewhat to cry for.


Verse 28

Psalms 106:28 They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.

Ver. 28. They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor] Heb. they were unequally yoked, as 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Quam male inaequales veniunt ad aratra iuvenci.

They separated themselves to that shame, Priapus, Hosea 9:10, who had his name from showing all, Ab operatione seu nudatione pudendorum; and his worshippers were most impudent servants.

And ate the sacrifices of the dead] i.e. Of idols opposed to the living God. The beginning of idolatry, some say, was the attributing of divine honours to great persons when they were dead. The heathens showed the sepulchres of their oldest deities.


Verse 29

Psalms 106:29 Thus they provoked [him] to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.

Ver. 29. Thus they provoked him] God cannot brook men’s devices in matters of religion; he will have no other worship than what himself hath appointed.

And the plague brake in upon them] As a deluge, or as an army, very impetuously, to the destroying of twenty-four thousand persons.


Verse 30

Psalms 106:30 Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and [so] the plague was stayed.

Ver. 30. Then stood up Phinehas] Animose surrexit (Vatab.). By a secret, heroical, and extraordinary motion of God’s Spirit, such as may not be drawn into example. All things reported and commended in Scripture may not be imitated. One Birchet, by example of Phinehas and Ehud, thought he might have killed a great personage in this land, whom he looked upon as a naughty man, and God’s enemy. A particular example will afford a general instruction, when the equity of the thing done is universal, and the cause common, otherwise not, saith learned Junius.

And executed judyment] Not tarrying for the sentence of the judges. The Chaldee rendereth it, And prayed. Execution of justice is that actual, magisterial, and majestical kind of prayer that will stay the plague when nothing else will.


Verse 31

Psalms 106:31 And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.

Ver. 31. And that was counted unto him for righteousness] God not only condemned him not of rash zeal, but looked upon what he had done as a piece of singular service, and rewarded it accordingly.


Verse 32

Psalms 106:32 They angered [him] also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:

Ver. 32. They angered him also at the waters of strife] Yet he made not the least semblance of it to Moses, but only bade him smite the rock, which, if he had then done, and no more, he had done right. God is Bagnal Chemah, master of his anger, Nahum 1:2, so was not meek Moses at this time. The best are miscarried by their passions sometimes, to their cost.

So that it went ill with Moses for their sakes] i.e. By their means he was kept out of Canaan, which was a great cross to him, and his repentance, as to that favour, came too late, for God was resolved.


Verse 33

Psalms 106:33 Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.

Ver. 33. Because they provoked his spirit] So that he was in a pelt to the grieving of God’s good Spirit within him, Ephesians 4:30-31. O tantaene animis coelestibus irae?

So that he spake unadvisedly] Some render it only, he spake, or he pronounced; he should not have spoken at all to the people, as having no order from God so to do in that transaction, but only to the rock. Whereas he not only smote the rock, and smote it twice, but spake to the people, and spake rashly, or idly (the Greek word βαττολογεω is thought to come from the Hebrew Bata here used), yea, bitterly, calling them rebels, and falling foul upon them with distrustful interrogations and misimplications, Et perperam locutus est. Contra charitas, ου περπερευεται, 1 Corinthians 13:4. This is called rebellion, Numbers 20:10-11; Numbers 20:24, and severely punished in God’s favourite Moses.


Verse 34

Psalms 106:34 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them:

Ver. 34. They did not destroy the nations] For which neglect of theirs pity would be pleaded. But there is a cruel mercy, saith one; there is a pious cruelty, saith another. Cursed is he that doeth the Lord’s work deceitfully, and cursed is he that restraineth his sword from blood when God biddeth him strike. Saul and Ahab felt the dint of this curse, and so did these Israelites, for sparing the Canaanites, whether out of pusillanimity or foolish pity.


Verse 35

Psalms 106:35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.

Ver. 35. But were mingled among the heathen] With whom they made leagues and marriages, 1:3, and so were soon corrupted by them. It is dangerous to converse with graceless people, their very example is a compulsion; see Galatians 2:14; how much more their evil counsel!


Verse 36

Psalms 106:36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.

Ver. 36. And they served their idols] The devil is ειδωλοχαρης, saith Synesius, a lover of idolatry, and he speaks through idolaters as through his trunks, persuading people to like practice, as did Julian, whom an ancient, therefore, called Idolian.

Which were a snare unto them] Or, a ruin, as some render it; they were first drawn in, and then undone by them.


Verse 37

Psalms 106:37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,

Ver. 37. Yea, they sacrificed their sons, &c.] The devils are here called Shedim, destroyers (in opposition to Shaddai, the Almighty), and worthily; for they make it their work to waste and spoil people of their dearest children, as here, of their precious souls, with the blood whereof they do daily glut themselves.


Verse 38

Psalms 106:38 And shed innocent blood, [even] the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

Ver. 38. And shed innocent blood, &c.] This was furor Diabolicus; but what may not the devil do with his drudges, when God’s word cannot obtain the smallest things of us?

Whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan] Prompted thereunto by that old manslayer. This was practised by Manasseh, Ahaz, and others not a few, Jeremiah 7:19, Ezekiel 16:1-63 Haec atrocitas frequens apud gentes.

And the land was polluted with blood] Impiata est abominabilis reddita est quasi hypocrita. See Ezra 9:11. As a hypocrite is a fair professor, but a foul sinner, so here.


Verse 39

Psalms 106:39 Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.

Ver. 39. Thus were they defiled] Great sins do greatly pollute; neither are men by anything more disadvantaged than by doting upon their own devices.

And went a whoring] They followed it earnestly, and with delight.


Verse 40

Psalms 106:40 Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.

Ver. 40. Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled] Sin doth as naturally draw and suck judgments to it as the loadstone doth iron, or turpentine fire.

Insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance] This was the greatest of all miseries, and a piece of hell.


Verse 41

Psalms 106:41 And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.

Ver. 41. And he gave them into the hand of the heathen] That they might suffer by them with whom they had sinned, and with whom, by compliance, they hoped to have ingratiated.


Verse 42

Psalms 106:42 Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.

Ver. 42. And they were brought into subjection] Heb. they were bowed down, or humbled, who would not humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, that he might exalt them.


Verse 43

Psalms 106:43 Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked [him] with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.

Ver. 43. Many times did he deliver them] And as many times told them, Servati estis ut mihi servatis, I have, therefore, saved you that ye might serve me the better; Sed surdo fabulam, but they would not hearken.

η χαρις αλλαξαι την φυσιν ου δυναται (Theogn.).


Verse 44

Psalms 106:44 Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry:

Ver. 44. Nevertheless he regarded their affliction] See for proof hereof the whole Book of Judges, and take notice of God’s philanthropy, who heareth men’s afflictions, as he did Hagar’s, Genesis 16:11, and is oft found of them that seek him not, Isaiah 65:1. See 2 Kings 14:26-27.

When he heard their cry] Heb. their shrill outcry; not for joy (as the word is mostly taken), but for grief.


Verse 45

Psalms 106:45 And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.

Ver. 45. And he remembered for them his covenant] Which could not be vacated or abolished by the wickedness of men, but stood firm and inviolable, inasmuch as God is faithful and merciful.

And repented] That is, changed his severity into clemency. God’s repentance is not a change of his will, but of his work, Mutatio rei, non Dei.


Verse 46

Psalms 106:46 He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.

Ver. 46. He made them also to be pitied] God can soon turn the hearts of tyrants, and make them of lions lambs, &c.


Verse 47

Psalms 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, [and] to triumph in thy praise.

Ver. 47. Save us, O Lord our God] This is the main request of the psalm, and the chief thing intended; for for this cause prefaced the prophet, as Psalms 106:1-2, &c., and reckoned up the people’s sins and God’s deliverances, that he might bring in this, "Save us," as thou ever hast done.

To give thanks unto thy holy name] Good ends propounded in prayer is a special means of speeding. Hypocrites do all in themselves, so do not the saints, Hosea 14:8; and all for themselves, as Zechariah 7:5, Hosea 10:1, which is not the saints’ practice, Song of Solomon 5:1, they have good aims in their good actions.


Verse 48

Psalms 106:48 Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.

Ver. 48. Blessed be the Lord] viz. For our return out of captivity, which we foresee, believe, and give thanks for beforehand.

Praise ye the Lord] Thus they speak one to another, by way of excitation, υμνησατε μετα μελους το ον, so Justin Martyr rendereth it.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 106:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-106.html. 1865-1868.

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