|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
105:8-23 Let us remember the Redeemer's marvellous works, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth. Though true Christians are few number, strangers and pilgrims upon earth, yet a far better inheritance than Canaan is made sure to them by the covenant of God; and if we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit, none can do us any harm. Afflictions are among our mercies. They prove our faith and love, they humble our pride, they wean us from the world, and quicken our prayers. Bread is the staff which supports life; when that staff is broken, the body fails and sinks to the earth. The word of God is the staff of spiritual life, the food and support of the soul: the sorest judgment is a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. Such a famine was sore in all lands when Christ appeared in the flesh; whose coming, and the blessed effect of it, are shadowed forth in the history of Joseph. At the appointed time Christ was exalted as Mediator; all the treasures of grace and salvation are at his disposal, perishing sinners come to him, and are relieved by him.
Verse 12. - When they were but a few men in number; literally, when they were men of number; i.e. when they could be easily counted. A few scores at the utmost, or, with their entire households, a few hundreds (Genesis 14:14; Genesis 33:1). Yea, very few, and strangers in it; i.e. "in the land of Canaan" (comp. Exodus 6:4).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
When they were but a few men in number,.... Or "men of number" (d), that might easily be numbered; see Genesis 34:30, when this covenant, promise, and oath, were first made to Abraham, he was alone, and had no child; and when his posterity were increased in Jacob's time, and sojourned in Egypt, they were but few, though greatly enlarged when they came out of it: in comparison of other nations, they were the fewest of all people, and therefore had this grant of Canaan, not for their numbers any more than their goodness. And this circumstance is mentioned to show the unmerited goodness of God unto them; see Deuteronomy 7:6. And so the Lord's people, to whom he gives the kingdom of heaven, are a little flock; they are only a few that find the way to eternal life, Luke 12:32.
Yea, very few; or "as a little thing" (e): so were the people of Israel a little contemptible body of men in the eyes of others, and in comparison of them. And such are the saints in this world; "the filth of it", and the "offscouring of all things";
yea, things that are not; that scarce deserve, in the opinion of men, to be reckoned entities or beings. And strangers in it; as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were, Hebrews 11:9, and so are the people of God, who are the heirs of the heavenly Canaan. These are strangers to the men of the world, who know them not; and the men of the world to them; with whom they have no conversation and fellowship in things sinful and criminal; for which they late despised by the world: yet these are the fellow citizens of heaven, and of the household of God, which shows his discriminating grace.
(d) "viros numeri", Montanus; so Vatablus, Gejerus, Michaelis. (e) "sicut parum", Montanus; so Vatablus; "aut exile aliquid", Gejerus; so Gussetius, p. 477.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12-15. few … in number—alluding to Jacob's words (Ge 34:30), "I being few in number."
yea, very few—literally, "as a few," that is, like fewness itself (compare Isa 1:9).
strangers—sojourners in the land of their future inheritance, as in a strange country (Heb 11:9).
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