|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
106:13-33 Those that will not wait for God's counsel, shall justly be given up to their own hearts' lusts, to walk in their own counsels. An undue desire, even for lawful things, becomes sinful. God showed his displeasure for this. He filled them with uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach. Many that fare deliciously every day, and whose bodies are healthful, have leanness in their souls: no love to God, no thankfulness, no appetite for the Bread of life, and then the soul must be lean. Those wretchedly forget themselves, that feast their bodies and starve their souls. Even the true believer will see abundant cause to say, It is of the Lord's mercies that I am not consumed. Often have we set up idols in our hearts, cleaved to some forbidden object; so that if a greater than Moses had not stood to turn away the anger of the Lord, we should have been destroyed. If God dealt severely with Moses for unadvised words, what do those deserve who speak many proud and wicked words? It is just in God to remove those relations that are blessings to us, when we are peevish and provoking to them, and grieve their spirits.
Verse 24. - Yea, they despised the pleasant land. The psalmist passes to the consideration of another sin. After the ill report of the spies (Numbers 13:27-33), the Israelites "despised" the land promised to them (Numbers 14:31), and relinquished all desire for it. They were ready to have turned back into Egypt (Numbers 14:3). They believed not his word; i.e. his promise to give them the land (Genesis 15:18-21; Exodus 23:31, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Yea, they despised the pleasant land,.... Or "land of desire" (r); the land of Canaan; a very delightful and desirable country, the glory of all lands, a land that abounded with everything for necessity and pleasure. The spies themselves, that brought an ill report of it, owned it was a land flowing with milk and honey; but that there were such difficulties to possess it which they thought insuperable: and hence the people despised it, inasmuch as, when they were bid to go and possess it, they refused, and did not choose to be at any difficulty in subduing the inhabitants of it, or run any risk or hazard of their lives in taking it, though the Lord had promised, to give it them, and settle them in it; but they seemed rather inclined to make themselves a captain, and return to Egypt, when they were just on the borders of Canaan; which was interpreted as despising the land, Numbers 14:1. This was a type of heaven, the good land afar off; the better country, the land of promise and rest; in which is fulness of provisions, and where there will be no hunger and thirst; where flows the river of the water of life, and stands the tree of life, bearing all manner of fruits; where there is fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore: the most delightful company of Father, Son, and Spirit, angels and glorified saints; and nothing to disturb their peace and pleasure, neither from within nor from without. And yet this pleasant land may be said to be despised by such who do not care to go through any difficulty to it; to perform the duties of religion; to bear reproach for Christ's sake; to go through tribulation; to walk in the narrow and afflicted way, which leads unto it: and by all such who do not care to part with their sinful lusts and pleasure; but prefer them and the things of this world to the heavenly state.
They believed not his word; his word of promise, that he would be with them, and lead them into the pleasant land, and put them into the possession of it: which disbelief of his word was highly provoking to him; and therefore he swore they should not enter into his rest; and because of their unbelief they did not, Numbers 14:11. This is a very heinous sin, to disbelieve God that is true, and cannot lie; it is to make him a liar; nothing can more dishonour him; it is a departure from him, very provoking to him, and of very dangerous consequence; unbelievers shall have their part and portion in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, Revelation 21:8.
(r) "in term desiderii", Montanus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.
The Treasury of David
24 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:
25 But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.
26 Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:
27 To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them; in the lands.
"Yea, they despised the pleasant land." They spoke lightly of it, though it was the joy of all lands - they did not think it worth the trouble of seeking and conquering; they even spoke of Egypt, the land of their iron bondage, as though they preferred it to Canaan, the land which floweth with milk and honey. It is an ill sign with a Christian when he begins to think lightly of heaven and heavenly things; it indicates a perverted mind, and it is moreover, a high offence to the Lord to despise that which he esteems so highly that he in infinite love reserves it for his own chosen. To prefer earthly things to heavenly blessings is to prefer Egypt to Canaan, the house of bondage to the land of promise. "They believed not his word." This is the root sin. If we do not believe the Lord's word, we shall think lightly of his promised gifts. "They could not enter in because of unbelief" - this was the key which turned the lock against them. When pilgrims to the Celestial City begin to doubt the Lord of the way, they soon come to think little of the rest at the journey's end, and this is the surest way to make them bad travellers. Israel's unbelief demanded spies to see the land; the report of those spies was of a mingled character, and so a fresh crop of unbelief sprang up, with consequences most deplorable.
"But murmured in their tents." From unbelief to murmuring is a short and natural step; they even fell to weeping when they had the best ground for rejoicing. Murmuring is a great sin and not a mere weakness; it contains within itself unbelief, pride, rebellion, and a whole host of sins. It is a home sin, and is generally practised by complainers "in their tents," but it is just as evil there as in the streets, and will be quite as grievous to the Lord. "And hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord." Making a din with their own voices, they refused attention to their best Friend. Murmurers are bad hearers.
Psalm 106:26, Psalm 106:27
"Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness." He swore in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest; he commenced his work of judgment upon them, and they began to die. Only let God lift his hand against a man and his day has come; he falls terribly whom Jehovah overthrows. "To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands." Foreseeing that their descendants would reproduce their sins, he solemnly declared that he would give them over to captivity and the sword. Those whose carcases fell in the wilderness were, in a sense, exiles from the land of promise, and, being surrounded by many hostile tribes, they were virtually in a foreign land; to die far off from their father's inheritance was a just and weighty doom, which their rebellions had richly deserved. Our own loss of fellowship with God, and the divisions in our churches, doubtless often come to us as punishments for the sins out of which they grow. If we will not honour the Lord we cannot expect him to honour us. Our captains shall soon become captives, and our princes shall be prisoners if we forget the Lord and despise his mercies. Our singing shall be turned into sighing, and our mirth into misery if we walk contrary to the mind of the Lord.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24-27. The sin of refusing to invade Canaan, "the pleasant land" (Jer 3:19; Eze 20:6; Da 8:9), "the land of beauty," was punished by the destruction of that generation (Nu 14:28), and the threat of dispersion (De 4:25; 28:32) afterwards made to their posterity, and fulfilled in the great calamities now bewailed, may have also been then added.
believed not his word—by which He promised He would give them the land; but rather the word of the faithless spies (compare Ps 78:22).
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