|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
136:10-22 The great things God did for Israel, when he brought them out of Egypt, were mercies which endured long to them; and our redemption by Christ, which was typified thereby, endures for ever. It is good to enter into the history of God's favours, and in each to observe, and own, that his mercy endureth for ever. He put them in possession of a good land; it was a figure of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 10. - To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn. The parallelism with Psalm 135, here becomes very close, and so continues till the end of ver. 22. Five verses, however, are expanded into thirteen. For his mercy, etc.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn,.... In a tender part, in the dear part of themselves, in their sons and heirs, and who were to inherit their lands and estates, and perpetuate their names; this was an act of justice for using ill the Lord's firstborn, the people of Israel, slaying their sons, and refusing to let them go, Exodus 1:13; and yet there was mercy in it, for which thanks were to be given to God;
for his mercy endureth for ever; the Israelites, in a very merciful manner, were distinguished by the blood sprinkled on their door posts, when the destroying angel passed through the land of Egypt to destroy their firstborn; and when they were destroyed, it was owing to the kind providence of God that the Egyptians did not rise as one man to cut off the Israelites in vengeance; and yet not a dog was suffered to move his tongue against them when the dismal cry was made; yea, this was the means of their deliverance, which could not be obtained by all the other plagues; but now they not only bid them go, but were urgent upon them to be gone, Exodus 11:5.
The Treasury of David
10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:
11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:
12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.
13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:
14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:
15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea - for his mercy endureth for ever.
We have heard of the glory of the world's creation, we are now to praise the Lord for the creation of his favoured nation by their Exodus from Egypt. Because the monarch of Egypt stood in the way of the Lord's gracious purposes it became needful for the Lord to deal with him in justice; but the great design was mercy to Israel, and through Israel mercy to succeeding ages, to all the world. "To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn." The last and greatest of the plagues struck all Egypt to the heart. The sorrow and the terror which it caused throughout the nation it is hardly possible to exaggerate. From king to slave each one was wounded in the tenderest point. The joy and hope of every household was struck down in one moment, and each family had its own wailing. The former blows had missed their aim compared with the last; but that "smote Egypt." The Lord's firstborn had been oppressed by Egypt, and at last the Lord fulfilled his threatening, "I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn." Justice lingered but it struck home at last. "For his mercy endureth for ever." Yes, even to the extremity of vengeance upon a whole nation the Lord's mercy to his people endured. He is slow to anger, and judgment is his strange work; but when mercy to men demands severe punishments he will not hold back his hand from the needful surgery. What were all the firstborn of Egypt compared with those divine purposes of mercy to all generations of men which were wrapt up in the deliverance of the elect people? Let us even when the Lord's judgments are abroad in the earth continue to sing of his unfailing grace.
For evermore his love shall last
For ever sure, for ever fast.
"And brought out Israel from among them." Scattered as the tribes were up and down the country, and apparently held in a grasp which would never be relaxed, the Lord wrought their deliverance, and severed them from their idolatrous task-masters. None of them remained in bondage. The Lord brought them out; brought them out at the very hour when his promise was due; brought them out brought them all out; despite their being mingled among the Egyptians; brought them out never to return. Unto his name let us give thanks for this further proof of his favour to the chosen ones, "For his mercy endureth for ever." Once the Israelites did not care to go out, but preferred to bear the ills they had rather than risk they knew not what; but the Lord's mercy endured that test also, and ceased not to stir up the nest till the birds were glad to take to their wings. He turned the land of plenty into a house of bondage, and the persecuted nation was glad to escape from slavery.: The unfailing mercy of the Lord is gloriously seen in his separating his elect from the world. He brings out his redeemed, and they are henceforth a people who show forth his praise.
For God doth prove
Our constant friend;
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