|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
77:11-20 The remembrance of the works of God, will be a powerful remedy against distrust of his promise and goodness; for he is God, and changes not. God's way is in the sanctuary. We are sure that God is holy in all his works. God's ways are like the deep waters, which cannot be fathomed; like the way of a ship, which cannot be tracked. God brought Israel out of Egypt. This was typical of the great redemption to be wrought out in the fulness of time, both by price and power. If we have harboured doubtful thoughts, we should, without delay, turn our minds to meditate on that God, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, that with him, he might freely give us all things.
Verse 16. - The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee. Professor Cheyne regards this and the three following verses as not belonging properly to this psalm, but a "fragment of another," accidentally transferred to this place. But most commentators see in the passage a most essential portion of the poem. It is the thought of the deliverance from Egypt that especially sustains and comforts the psalmist in his extreme distress. The passage is prepared for by vers. 11 and 14, and is exegetical of ver. 15. They were afraid. They shrank from the sight of God, and made a way for his people to pass over. The depths also were troubled. The very abysses trembled with fear, and moved themselves, leaving the bottom of the sea dry (see Exodus 14:29).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The waters saw thee, O God,.... The waters not of Jordan, but of the Red sea; these felt and perceived the power of God, in causing a strong east wind, which dried it up, and made way for the children of Israel to pass through it as on dry land: compare with this Psalm 114:3,
the waters saw thee; which is repeated for the confirmation of it, and to excite attention to it, as well as to express the psalmist's admiration at it; the Targum is,
"they saw thy majesty in the midst of the sea, O God; they saw thy power upon the sea;''
not the Egyptians, but the sons of Jacob and Joseph; the old Syriac church understood these waters of the waters of Jordan, at the baptism of Christ, when in their way they saw the incarnate God, and felt his sacred body laid in them, by which he was made manifest to Israel; but Jerom better interprets them, by the help of Revelation 17:15 of people, nations, and tongues; some of which saw Christ corporeally, others spiritually, and by faith, as preached in the Gospel to the Gentile world:
they were afraid; of the majesty of God, obeyed their Sovereign, of whom they stood in awe, gave way unto him, and fled at his rebuke, see Psalm 114:5 or "were in pain" (z), as a woman in travail, as were the Gentile world at the preaching of the Gospel of redemption and salvation by Christ, Romans 8:22,
the depths also were troubled; not only the surface, or waves of the waters, were moved by the strong east wind, through the power of God, but the bottom of the sea was reached by it; the depths were congealed in the midst of it, the channels of water were seen, and the foundation of the world discovered, and the children of Israel went through the deep as on dry land, see Exodus 15:8.
(z) "parturierunt", Montanus, Vatablus; "dolore corruptae sunt, videl dolore parturientium", Piscator; so Ainsworth.
The Treasury of David
16 The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.
17 The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.
18 The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.
19 Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.
20 Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
"The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid." As if conscious of its Maker's presence, the sea was ready to flee from before his face. The conception is highly poetical, the Psalmist has the scene before his mind's eye, and describes it gloriously. The water saw its God, but man refuses to discern him; it was afraid, but proud sinners are rebellious and fear not the Lord. "The depths also were troubled." To their heart the floods were made afraid. Quiet caves of the sea, far down in the abyss, were moved with affright; and the lowest channels were left bare, as the water rushed away from its place, in terror of the God of Israel.
"The clouds poured out water." Obedient to the Lord, the lower region of the atmosphere yielded its aid to overthrow the Egyptian host. The cloudy chariots of heaven hurried forward to discharge their floods. "The skies sent out a sound." From the loftier aerial regions thundered the dread artillery of the Lord of Hosts. Peal on peal the skies sounded over the heads of the routed enemies, confusing their minds and adding to their horror. "Thine arrows also went abroad." Lightnings flew like bolts from the bow of God. Swiftly, hither and thither, went the red tongues of flame, on helm and shield they gleamed; anon with blue bale-fires revealing the innermost caverns of the hungry sea Which waited to swallow up the pride of Mizraim. Behold, how all the creatures wait upon their God, and show themselves strong to overthrow his enemies.
"The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven," or "in the whirlwind." Rushing on with terrific swiftness and bearing all before it, the storm was as a chariot driven furiously, and a voice was heard (even thy voice, O Lord!) out of the fiery car, even as when a mighty man in battle urges forward his charger, and shouts to it aloud. All heaven resounded with the voice of the Lord. "The lightnings lightened the world." The entire globe shone in the blaze of Jehovah's lightnings. No need for other light amid the battle of that terrible night, every wave gleamed in the fire-flashes, and the shore was lit up with the blaze. How pale were men's faces in that hour, when all around the fire leaped from sea to shore, from crag to hill, from mountain to star till the whole universe was illuminated in honour of Jehovah's triumph, "The earth trembled and shook." It quaked and quaked again. Sympathetic with the sea, the solid shore forgot its quiescence and heaved in dread. How dreadful art thou, O God, when thou comest forth in thy majesty to humble thine arrogant adversaries.
"Thy way is in the sea." Far down in secret channels of the deep is thy roadway; when thou wilt thou canst make a sea a highway for thy glorious march. "And thy path in the great waters." There, where the billows surge and swell, thou still dost walk; Lord of each crested wave. "And thy footsteps are not known." None can follow thy tracks by foot or eye. Thou art alone in thy glory, and thy ways are hidden from mortal ken. Thy purposes thou wilt accomplish, but the means are often concealed, yea, they need no concealing, they are in themselves too vast and mysterious for human understanding. Glory be to thee, O Jehovah.
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