|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
74:12-17 The church silences her own complaints. What God had done for his people, as their King of old, encouraged them to depend on him. It was the Lord's doing, none besides could do it. This providence was food to faith and hope, to support and encourage in difficulties. The God of Israel is the God of nature. He that is faithful to his covenant about the day and the night, will never cast off those whom he has chosen. We have as much reason to expect affliction, as to expect night and winter. But we have no more reason to despair of the return of comfort, than to despair of day and summer. And in the world above we shall have no more changes.
Verse 13. - Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength. A clear reference to Exodus 14:21 (comp. Psalm 77:16; Psalm 78:13; Psalm 106:9). Thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. The dragon (tannim) is frequently used as a symbol of Egyptian power (see Isaiah 51:9; Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 32:2). The allusion here is to the destruction of Pharaoh's host in the waters of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:27-30; Exodus 15:4).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength,.... This and the following instances from hence to Psalm 74:18 are proofs of God's working salvation in the midst of the earth; some of them seem peculiar to the people of Israel, and others are benefits common to mankind in general; which the church makes use of to encourage her faith and hope, in expectation of salvation, and deliverance out of her present distressed and melancholy circumstances. This seems to refer to the Lord's dividing of the Red sea into parts by a strong east wind, while Moses lifted up his rod and stretched out his hand as he was ordered, as a token of the divine power, and so the children of Israel passed through it as on dry land, Exodus 14:21, and he that did this can make way for his redeemed ones to return to Zion with everlasting joy, Isaiah 51:10. Some render the words, "thou hast broken the sea by thy strength" (g); subdued and conquered it, and so hast the dominion over it, rulest the raging of it, settest bounds to it, and hast ordered its proud waves to go so far and no farther; and thus the Arabic version, "thou hast made it to stand"; and the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, "thou hast confirmed it": but our version is best, which refers it to the work of God at the Red sea, and with which the Targum agrees; and Aben Ezra observes, that some refer it to the dividing of the Red sea:
thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the waters: or great whales, as the word is rendered in Genesis 1:21, by which are meant Pharaoh and his generals, his captains and chief men, who were destroyed in the waters of the Red sea; comparable to dragons for their strength, for their cruelty to the children of Israel, and for their wrath and malice against them; and so, for the same reason, another Pharaoh, king of Egypt, in later times, is called the great dragon, that lies in the midst of his rivers, Ezekiel 29:3 and the king of Babylon or of Egypt, Isaiah 27:1. So the Targum paraphrases it:
"thou hast broken the heads of dragons, and hast suffocated the Egyptians in the sea.''
Rome Pagan is compared to a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, which have been broken and destroyed, Revelation 12:3, and Rome Papal has the power, seat, and great authority of the dragon; and though the Romish antichrist has two horns like a lamb, he speaks as a dragon, who also has seven heads and ten horns, and which ere long will be broke in pieces, see Revelation 13:1, in the faith of which the church might be strengthened, by considering what God had done to the heads of the dragon in the Red sea; to which may be added that Satan is called a dragon, Psalm 91:13, whose head was bruised, and his principalities and powers spoiled, by Christ at his death, and will be utterly destroyed at his second coming.
(g) "contrivisti", Pagninus, Montanus; "disrupisti", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; "rupisti", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13-15. Examples of the "salvation wrought" are cited.
divide the sea—that is, Red Sea.
brakest … waters—Pharaoh and his host (compare Isa 51:9, 10; Eze 29:3, 4).
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