|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
106:34-48 The conduct of the Israelites in Canaan, and God's dealings with them, show that the way of sin is down-hill; omissions make way for commissions: when they neglected to destroy the heathen, they learned their works. One sin led to many more, and brought the judgments of God on them. Their sin was, in part, their own punishment. Sinners often see themselves ruined by those who led them into evil. Satan, who is a tempter, will be a tormentor. At length, God showed pity to his people for his covenant's sake. The unchangeableness of God's merciful nature and love to his people, makes him change the course of justice into mercy; and no other change is meant by God's repentance. Our case is awful when the outward church is considered. When nations professing Christianity, are so guilty as we are, no wonder if the Lord brings them low for their sins. Unless there is general and deep repentance, there can be no prospect but of increasing calamities. The psalm concludes with prayer for completing the deliverance of God's people, and praise for the beginning and progress of it. May all the people of the earth, ere long, add their Amen.
Verse 44. - Nevertheless he regarded their affliction; or, "he saw them in their trouble," i.e. he looked on them, and had regard to them (see 2 Kings 17:13; 2 Chronicles 36:15). When he heard their cry. As God "heard the cry" of his people, when they suffered oppression in Egypt (Exodus 2:23; Exodus 3:7, 9), so also in their other oppressions (Judges 3:9, 15; Judges 4:3; Judges 6:6; Judges 10:10; 1 Samuel 12:10, 11, etc), if they did but humble themselves and "cry" to him, he always hearkened and gave them deliverance (1 Chronicles 5:20; 2 Chronicles 12:7; 2 Chronicles 14:11, 12; 2 Chronicles 20:4-24; 2 Chronicles 32:20, 21; 2 Chronicles 33:11-13).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Nevertheless he regarded their affliction,.... Or "looked on them in distress" (d); he saw their affliction, and had compassion on them; he was so far from abhorring and despising the affliction of the afflicted, that he pitied them and sympathized with them; in all their afflictions he was afflicted; he looked upon them with an eye of pity and concern, and helped them out of their troubles.
When he heard their cry; or their "prayer", as the Targum, and so other versions; crying is prayer; and it denotes vocal and vehement prayer, such as is put up to God in distress; and which he hears and answers; his ears are open to the cries of his people.
(d) "et vidit in angustia eis", Montanus, Gejerus; so Musculus, Tigurine version.
The Treasury of David
44 Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry:
45 And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.
46 He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.
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.
"Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry." Notwithstanding all these provoking rebellions and detestable enormities the Lord still heard their prayer and pitied them. This is very wonderful, very godlike. One would have thought that the Lord would have shut out their prayer, seeing they had shut their ears against his admonitions; but no, he had a father's heart, and a sight of their sorrows touched his soul, the sound of their cries overcame his heart, and he looked upon them with compassion. His fiercest wrath towards his own people is only a temporary flame, but his love burns on for ever like the light of his own immortality.
"And he remembered for them his covenant." The covenant is the sure foundation of mercy, and when the whole fabric of outward grace manifested in the saints lies in ruins this is the fundamental basis of love which is never moved, and upon it the Lord proceeds to build again a new structure of grace. Covenant mercy is sure as the throne of God. "And repented according to the multitude of his mercies." He did not carry out the destruction which he had commenced. Speaking after the manner of men he changed his mind, and did not leave them to their enemies to be utterly cut off, because he saw that his covenant would in such a case have been broken. The Lord is so full of grace that he has not only mercy but mercies, yea a multitude of them, and these hive in the covenant and treasure up good for the erring sons of men.
"He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives." Having the hearts of all men in his hands he produced compassion even in heathen bosoms. Even as he found Joseph friends in Egypt, so did he raise up sympathisers for his captive servants. In our very worst condition our God has ways and means for allaying the severity of our sorrows: he can find us helpers among those who have been our oppressors, and he will do so if we be indeed his people.
This is the closing prayer, arranged by prophecy for those who would in future time be captives, and suitable for all who before David's days had been driven from home by the tyranny of Saul, or who had remained in exile after the various scatterings by famine and distress which had happened in the iron age of the judges. "Save us, O Lord our God." The mention of the covenant encouraged the afflicted to call the Lord their God, and this enabled them with greater boldness to entreat him to interpose on their behalf and rescue them. "And gather us from among the heathen." Weary now of the ungodly and their ways, they long to be brought into their own separated country, where they might again enjoy the means of grace, enter into holy fellowship with their brethren, escape from contaminating examples, and be free to wait upon the Lord. How often do true believers now-a-days long to be removed from ungodly households, where their souls are vexed with the conversation of the wicked. "To give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise." Weaned from idols, they desire to make mention of Jehovah's name alone, and to ascribe their mercies to his ever abiding faithfulness and love. The Lord had often saved them for his holy name's sake, and therefore they feel that when again restored they would render all their gratitude to that saving name, yea, it should be their glory to praise Jehovah and none else.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
44-46. If, as is probable, this Psalm was written at the time of the captivity, the writer now intimates the tokens of God's returning favor.
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