|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
44:1-8 Former experiences of God's power and goodness are strong supports to faith, and powerful pleas in prayer under present calamities. The many victories Israel obtained, were not by their own strength or merit, but by God's favour and free grace. The less praise this allows us, the more comfort it affords, that we may see all as coming from the favour of God. He fought for Israel, else they had fought in vain. This is applicable to the planting of the Christian church in the world, which was not by any human policy or power. Christ, by his Spirit, went forth conquering and to conquer; and he that planted a church for himself in the world, will support it by the same power and goodness. They trusted and triumphed in and through him. Let him that glories, glory in the Lord. But if they have the comfort of his name, let them give unto him the glory due unto it.
Verse 2. - How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand; i.e. "by thy power." The conquest of Canaan is the historical fact referred to. And plantedst them (comp. Exodus 15:17, "Thou wilt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance;" and see also Psalm 80:8, "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt; thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it"). How thou didst afflict the people; rather, the peoples, i.e. the Canaanitish nations. And cast them out. So the LXX, the Vulgate, and even the Revised Version. But most moderns, understanding "them" of Israel, render, but didst spread them out (comp. Psalm 80:11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
How thou didst drive out the Heathen with thy hand,.... Of power; that is, the Canaanites, as the Targum; the seven nations which inhabited the land of Canaan before the children of Israel came into it, Deuteronomy 7:1;
and plantedst them: not the Canaanites elsewhere; but, as the same Targum explains it the house of Israel in their land; which, like a vine, was removed from one place, and planted in another; and the settlement of the children of Israel in the land of Canaan is frequently expressed by this metaphor, Exodus 15:17, Jeremiah 2:21;
how thou didst afflict the people; the Egyptians, according to Arama; rather the Canaanitish nations by wars and desolating judgments;
and cast them out; that is, the same nations out of their land; though some render this clause, "and didst send them out"; the captive Israelites, as Arama; or "didst propagate them" (q); meaning the people of Israel; who being like a vine planted in the and, sent out its boughs and branches, and became very flourishing and fruitful; see Psalm 80:9; and so the Syriac version renders it, "and thou confirmedst them"; but the former sense seems best, agreeably to which is the Targum, "thou hast broken the nations, and hast consumed them"; and that all this was the Lord's work appears by what follows.
(q) "has autem germinare fecisti", Tigurine version; "propagasti ipsos", Piscator; so Ainsworth; but rejected by Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 859.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. plantedst them—that is, "our fathers," who are also, from the parallel construction of the last clause, to be regarded as the object of "cast them out," which means—literally, "send" them out, or, "extend them." Heathen and people denote the nations who were driven out to make room for the Israelites.
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