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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Psalms 107

 

 

Verse 1

Psalms 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

Ver. 1. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good] He is good, and doeth good, Psalms 119:68, not to his Israel only, as is set forth in the two foregoing psalms, but to all mankind, which is Divini ingenii cura, as one saith, whatever atheists and epicures say to the contrary, denying a Divine providence: witness that profane distich of theirs:

Nempe nihil positum est, et sors incerta vagatur,

Fertque refertque vices, et habent mortalia casum.

For his mercy endureth for ever] Notwithstanding men’s many and mighty provocations.


Verse 2

Psalms 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so], whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

Ver. 2. Let the redeemed of the Lord] Four sorts of whom are afterwards instanced: 1. exiles; 2. prisoners; 3. sick persons; 4. seamen. These and the like must praise him in a special manner for their deliverance.

From the hand of the enemy] Or, of distress.


Verse 3

Psalms 107:3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.

Ver. 3. And gathered them out of the lands] He beginneth with wayfaring men and exiles, because, according to Tyrtaeus, Non exul curae dicitur esse Deo.

And from the south] Heb. from the sea, that is, as the Chaldee expoundeth it, from the southern sea, called the Red Sea.


Verse 4

Psalms 107:4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.

Ver. 4. They wandered in the wilderness, &c.] This is a sad case, Mendicum patria amissa laribusque vagari.

Pλαγχθοσυνης ουκ εστι κακωτερον αλλο βροτοισι.

And yet this is the case of all God’s redeemed ones while they are here, Hebrews 11:38, 1 Peter 2:12.

Per varios casus per tot discrlmina rerum

Tendimus in patriam veram vitamque perennem.


Verse 5

Psalms 107:5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.

Ver. 5. Hungry and thirsty, &c.] The Lord’s exiles meet many times with the like exigents in the wilderness of this wicked world; but let them be content, and say, We are well for the present, and it will be better with us hereafter (Melancthon).

Exul erat Christus; comites nos exulis huius

Esse decet, cuius nos quoque membra sumus.


Verse 6

Psalms 107:6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses.

Ver. 6. Then they cried unto the Lord] Though under a wrong name, it may be, as of Jupiter, Mercury, &c.; and, in an uncertain way, as Hecuba did with her, O Iupiter quicquid es sive caelum hoc, sive mens, quae vehitur in coelo, &c.; and as those mariners in Jonah 1:5, who cried every man to his god, and, lest they might all mistake the true God, they awaken Jonah, to call upon his God.

And he delivered them out of their distresses] Out of his general goodness and compassion to the poor creature; like as he heareth the young ravens that cry unto him, no otherwise than by implication only, and out of mere necessity. God is the Saviour of all men, but especially of those that believe.


Verse 7

Psalms 107:7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.

Ver. 7. And he led them forth by the right way] Better than that Dea Vibilia among the Romans, of whom they fancied that she set them right when out of the way at any time; or Minerva among the Athenians, who, they said, turned all their evil counsels to the best unto them.

That they might go to a city of habitation] Grow to a state of settlement, to Jerusalem, saith the Chaldee; to that city which hath a foundation, may we say, whose maker and founder is God, Hebrews 11:10.


Verse 8

Psalms 107:8 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

Ver. 8. Oh that men would praise the Lord, &c.] Heb. that they would confess it to the Lord, both in secret and in society. This is all the rent that God requireth; he is content that we have the comfort of his blessings, so he may have the honour of them. This was all the fee Christ looked for for his cures, Go and tell what God hath done for thee. Words seem to be a poor and slight recompense; but Christ, saith Nazianzen, calleth himself the Word.


Verse 9

Psalms 107:9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

Ver. 9. For he satisfieth the longing soul, &c.] This as a recapitulation of the first part, Psalms 107:5-7, and setteth forth the reason why the redeemed should praise God out of the sweet experience they have had of his wonderful providence and goodness toward them.

And filleth the hungry soul with goodness] This flower the blessed Virgin picketh out of David’s garden (among many others out of other parts of Holy Scripture, wherein it appeareth she was singularly well versed), and puts it into her posy, Luke 1:53.


Verse 10

Psalms 107:10 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, [being] bound in affliction and iron;

Ver. 10. Such as sit in darkness, &c.] Here come in the second sort of God’s redeemed or rescued ones, viz. captives and prisoners, whose dark and doleful condition is in this verse described.

And in the shadow of death] In dark caves and horrid prisons, where there is Luctus ubique payor, et plurima morris imago. Such was Joseph’s first prison, Jeremiah’s miry dungeon, Lollards’ tower, the bishop of London’s coalhouse, &c.

Being bound in affliction and iron] Or, in poverty and iron, as Manasseh was. Many are the miseries that poor prisoners undergo. Good Savonarola had the experience of it, and Zegedine, and the martyrs, and various of God’s dear servants in the recent wars here. A certain pious prince, discoursing about the dangers that were to be then expected for the profession of religion, said, Nihil so magis metuere quam diuturnos carceres, that he feared nothing so much as perpetual imprisonment.


Verse 11

Psalms 107:11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:

Ver. 11. Because they rebelled against the words of God] Sin is at the bottom of all men’s miseries, as the procreant cause thereof; for God afflicteth not willingly, nor grieveth the children of men, Lamentations 3:33, but they rebel against his words written in the Scriptures, or, at least, in their hearts; and so he is concerned in point of honour to subdue them.

And contemned the counsel] A foul fault. See Luke 7:30.


Verse 12

Psalms 107:12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and [there was] none to help.

Ver. 12. Therefore he brought down their heart] That proud piece of flesh, Quod erat elatum et verba Dei contempsit, saith Kimchi, which had stouted it out with God, and thought to have carried it away with a strong hand; as Manasseh, that sturdy rebel, till God had hampered him, and laid him in cold irons.


Verse 13

Psalms 107:13 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he saved them out of their distresses.

Ver. 13. Then they cried unto the Lord] See Psalms 107:6.

And he saved them, &c.] This is comfort to the greatest sinners; if they can but find a praying heart, God will find a pitying heart, and rebels shall be received with all sweetness, if at length they return, though brought in by the cross.


Verse 14

Psalms 107:14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.

Ver. 14. He brought them out of darkness] He sent his mandamus (a), as Psalms 44:4, and that did the deed, as Acts 5:19; Acts 12:7.


Verse 15

Psalms 107:15 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

Ver. 15. Oh that men, &c.] See Psalms 107:8.


Verse 16

Psalms 107:16 For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

Ver. 16. For he hath broken the gates of brass] If Samson could do so, how much more the Almighty, whom nothing can withstand! Nature may be stopped in her course, as when the fire burned not. Men may not be able to do as they would. Angels, good or bad, may be hindered, because in them there is an essence and an executive power, between which God can step at his pleasure, and interpose his veto; but who or what shall hinder the Most High?


Verse 17

Psalms 107:17 Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.

Ver. 17. Fools because of their transgression] Propter viam defectionis sum, by means of their defection, their departing away from the living God, through an evil heart of unbelief, Hebrews 3:12.

And because of their iniquities] The flood gates whereof are set open, as it were, by that their defection from God; for now what should hinder?

Are afflicted] Heb. do afflict themselves, procure their own ruth, if not ruin, and so prove sinners against their own souls, as those, Numbers 16:30-33


Verse 18

Psalms 107:18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.

Ver. 18. Their soul abhorreth] That is, their stomach loatheth it as unsavoury, though it be never so dainty: an appetite to our meat is an inconconceivable mercy, and, as we say, a sign of health.

And they draw near unto the gates of death] Iam ipsum mortis limen pulsant; as till then little sense of sin or fear of the wrath to come. See Job 30:19-23. {See Trapp on "Job 30:19"} {See Trapp on "Job 30:20"} {See Trapp on "Job 30:21"} {See Trapp on "Job 30:22"} {See Trapp on "Job 30:23"}


Verse 19

Psalms 107:19 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he saveth them out of their distresses.

Ver. 19. Then they cry, &c.] Quando medicus et medicinae non prosunt, saith Kimchi, when physicians have done their utmost. See Psalms 107:6.


Verse 20

Psalms 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered [them] from their destructions.

Ver. 20. He sent his word, and healed them] He commanded deliverance, and it was done; unless there he an allusion to the essential Word, who was afterwards to take flesh, and to heal the diseased.

And delivered them from their destructions] Heb. from their corrupting pits or graves, which do now even gape for them. And he calleth them theirs, quia per peccatum foderunt eas, saith Kimchi, because by their sin themselves have digged them.


Verse 21

Psalms 107:21 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

Ver. 21. Oh that men, &c.] See Psalms 107:8.

And for his wonderful works] Men are misericordiis et miraculis obsesse, and it were no hard matter to find a miracle in most of our mercies.


Verse 22

Psalms 107:22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

Ver. 22. And let them sacrifice, &c.] If they have escaped sickness, let them offer a passover; and if they have recovered, a thankoffering. Heathens in this case praised their Esculapius; Papists their Sebastian, Valentine, Apollonia, &c. Ears of wax they offer to the saint, who, as they suppose, cureth the ears; eyes of wax to the saint that cureth the eyes, &c. But it is Jehovah only who healeth us.

And declare his works, &c.] Memorize and magnify them.


Verse 23

Psalms 107:23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

Ver. 23. They that go down to the sea in ships] Here we have a fourth specimen or instance of God’s gracious and wise dispensations towards men, in their trading or trafficking by sea. These are said to go down to sea, because the banks are above it; but the water is naturally higher than the land, and, therefore, sailors observe that their ships fly faster to the shore than from it. But what a bold man, saith the poet, was he that first put forth to sea! (Horat. Od. lib. 1, 3.)

Illi robut, et aes triplex

Circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci

Commisit pelago ratem

Primus, nec timuit praecipitem Africum, &c.

That do business in great waters] Merchants and mariners, who fish, and find almug, or coral, saith Kimchi, who do export and import commodities of all sorts.


Verse 24

Psalms 107:24 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.

Ver. 24. These see the works of the Lord, &c.] In sea monsters, as whales and whirlpools, and sudden change of weather, and the like, not a few; ebbs and flows, pearls, islands, &c. These are just wonders, and may fully convince the most stubborn atheist that is.


Verse 25

Psalms 107:25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

Ver. 25. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, &c.] Of this Seneca, though a heathen, could say, Inter caetera providentiae divinae opera hoc quoque dignum est admiratione, &c., Among other works of the Divine providence this is admirable, that the winds lie upon the sea for the furtherance of navigation, &c.


Verse 26

Psalms 107:26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

Ver. 26. They mount up to the heaven, they go down, &c.] An elegant hypotyposis or description of a storm at sea; like whereunto is that in Virgil,

Tollimur in coelum curvato gurgite, et iidem

Subducta ad manes imos descendimus unda.

Their soul is melted because of trouble] They are ready to die through fear of death. Juntas understandeth it of extreme vomiting, as if they were casting up their very hearts. Anacharsis for this cause doubted whether he should reckon mariners among the living or the dead. And another said, that any man will go to sea at first I wonder not; but to go a second time thither is little better than madness.


Verse 27

Psalms 107:27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.

Ver. 27. They reel to and fro, &c.] Natant nautae, et vacillant cerebro et pedibus.

And are at their wit’s end] All their skill and strength faileth them at once; they can do no more for their lives. Heb. All their wisdom is swallowed up; that is, the art of navigation is now to no use with them.


Verse 28

Psalms 107:28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

Ver. 28. Then they cry unto the Lord] "Then," if ever: hence that speech of one, Qui nescit orare, discat navigare, He who cannot pray, let him go to sea, and there he will learn. See Psalms 107:6.


Verse 29

Psalms 107:29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

Ver. 29. He maketh the storm a calm] "He," that is, God Almighty, whose the sea is, and he made it, Psalms 95:5; not the Pagans Neptune, or the papagans’ St Nicholas.

So that the waves thereof are still] If, therefore, the voluptuous humours in our body (which is but as a cup made of the husk of an acorn in respect to the sea) will not be pacified when the Lord saith unto us, "Be still"; every drop of water in the sea will be a witness of our monstrous rebellion and disobedience.


Verse 30

Psalms 107:30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

Ver. 30. Then are they glad because they be quiet] All is hushed on the sudden, as Matthew 8:26, both their fears and the sea’s outrages being quickly reduced to a peaceable period.

So he bringeth them to their desired haven] This is more than they then wished for: God is many times better to men than their prayers.


Verse 31

Psalms 107:31 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

Ver. 31. Oh that men would, &c.] See Psalms 107:8.


Verse 32

Psalms 107:32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Ver. 32. Let them exalt him also in the congregation, &c.] i.e. In all public meetings, ecclesiastical and civil.


Verse 33

Psalms 107:33 He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground;

Ver. 33. He turneth rivers into a wilderness] Hitherto the psalmist hath set forth God’s good providence in delivering men from several deaths and dangers; now he declareth the same in his just and powerful transmutations in nature, while according to the good pleasure of his will he changeth men’s condition, either from good to evil, or from evil to good, beyond all expectation; it is even he that doeth it, whatsoever a company of dizzy headed men dream to the contrary, as one phraseth it. It is God who drieth up those rivers, whereby the land was made fat and fertile, Isaiah 41:17.


Verse 34

Psalms 107:34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.

Ver. 34. A fruitful land into barrenness] Heb. saltness. See Luke 14:34-35, Deuteronomy 29:23, 9:45. Salt breedeth barrenness, by eating up the fat and moisture of the earth. Some think the psalmist here alludeth to Sodom and her sisters turned into the Red Sea.

For the wickedness of them that dwell therein] Hereof Judea is at this day a noble instance (besides many parts of Asia and Africa, once very fruitful, now, since they became Mahometan, dry and desert). Judea, saith one, hath now only some few parcels of rich ground found in it; that men may guess the goodness of the cloth by the fineness of the shreds. Greece, which was once Sol et sal gentium, saith another, terrarum flos, fens literarum, nunc vel Priamo miseranda manus; - nunc in Graecia desideramus Graeciam; it is nothing like the place it was once.


Verse 35

Psalms 107:35 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.

Ver. 35. He turneth the wilderness, &c.] Some places, again, God (to show his power and providence) of sterile maketh to become fertile; Polonia, for instance, and other northern countries. Germany and France were of old full of woods and lakes, as Caesar and Tacitus testify; now it is otherwise. So in America to this day. So various desert places of Egypt and Ethiopia, when once they became Christians, became fruitful.


Verse 36

Psalms 107:36 And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;

Ver. 36. And there he maketh the hungry to dwell] As our English, and other plantations in America, where sundry poor people get fair estates.

That they may prepare a city] The building of cities is of God, and so is their conservation.


Verse 37

Psalms 107:37 And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.

Ver. 37. And sow the fields, and plant vineyards] These are noble employments, such as the ancient patriarchs were much in, and the most honourable among the Romans, as Coriolanus, Marcus Curius, Cato Major, &c. Our forefathers, if they could call any one bonum eolonum, a good husbandman, they thought it praise enough, saith Cicero.

Which may yield] The thankful earth yielding, by God’s blessing, her gratum onus, full burden to the laborious tiller.


Verse 38

Psalms 107:38 He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.

Ver. 38. He blesseth them also, &c.] See Proverbs 10:12, Psalms 127:1, James 4:15. They are out that rest in natural causes.


Verse 39

Psalms 107:39 Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.

Ver. 39. Again, they are minished] Minorati sunt. This also is of the Lord, who hath treasuries of plagues, and cannot be exhausted.


Verse 40

Psalms 107:40 He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, [where there is] no way.

Ver. 40. He poureth contempt, &c.] See Job 12:21; Job 12:24, {See Trapp on "Job 12:21"} {See Trapp on "Job 12:24"} Poena tyrannorum est contemptus, exilium, nex, saith Genebrard. All the policy or king craft cannot save them.


Verse 41

Psalms 107:41 Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh [him] families like a flock.

Ver. 41. Yet setteth he the poor] The godly poor, as he did David.

And maketh him families like a flock] Of sheep, which multiply exceedingly in a short time.


Verse 42

Psalms 107:42 The righteous shall see [it], and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.

Ver. 42. The righteous shall see it, and rejoice] It shall cheer them up to see that the reins of government are in God’s hand; and to behold such love in such providence.

And all iniquity shall stop her mouth] Shall be down in the mouth, as we use to say, {see Job 5:16} and have her tongue chambered.


Verse 43

Psalms 107:43 Whoso [is] wise, and will observe these [things], even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

Ver. 43. Whoso is wise] Heb. Who is wise? q.d. not many. Exclamatio querulatoria (Piscat.). Rari quippe boni. None but those that observe providences, and lay up experiences; which, if men would do, they might have a divinity of their own, were they but well read in the story of their own lives.

Even they shall understand, &c.] And as for those providences that for present he understandeth not, reiecit in Dei abyssos; he believeth that there is a reason for them, and that they shall one day be unriddled.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 107:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-107.html. 1865-1868.

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the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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