|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
78:9-39. Sin dispirits men, and takes away the heart. Forgetfulness of God's works is the cause of disobedience to his laws. This narrative relates a struggle between God's goodness and man's badness. The Lord hears all our murmurings and distrusts, and is much displeased. Those that will not believe the power of God's mercy, shall feel the fire of his indignation. Those cannot be said to trust in God's salvation as their happiness at last, who can not trust his providence in the way to it. To all that by faith and prayer, ask, seek, and knock, these doors of heaven shall at any time be opened; and our distrust of God is a great aggravation of our sins. He expressed his resentment of their provocation; not in denying what they sinfully lusted after, but in granting it to them. Lust is contented with nothing. Those that indulge their lust, will never be estranged from it. Those hearts are hard indeed, that will neither be melted by the mercies of the Lord, nor broken by his judgments. Those that sin still, must expect to be in trouble still. And the reason why we live with so little comfort, and to so little purpose, is, because we do not live by faith. Under these rebukes they professed repentance, but they were not sincere, for they were not constant. In Israel's history we have a picture of our own hearts and lives. God's patience, and warnings, and mercies, imbolden them to harden their hearts against his word. And the history of kingdoms is much the same. Judgments and mercies have been little attended to, until the measure of their sins has been full. And higher advantages have not kept churches from declining from the commandments of God. Even true believers recollect, that for many a year they abused the kindness of Providence. When they come to heaven, how will they admire the Lord's patience and mercy in bringing them to his kingdom!
Verse 12. - Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. The miracles of Egypt are, perhaps, the most striking series in Jewish history. A more particular account of them is given below (vers. 44-53). They were wrought "in the field of Zoan," i.e. in the rich flat tract east and south of the city of Zoan, the Greek Tanis, now San. (On this place, see Mr. Reginald Peele's 'Cities of Egypt,' pp. 64-88.) This fact could not have been gathered from Exodus, but must have come to the writer from the tradition of which he speaks in ver. 3.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers,.... The Targum is,
"before Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes of their fathers, he did marvellous things;''
but these were dead before this time; the Jews have a fancy, that these were brought to the sea, and placed upon it; and the Lord showed them what he would do for their children, and how he would redeem them; but this is to be understood of the plagues which were brought upon the Egyptians, and which are called wonders, Exodus 11:10, and were so to the Egyptians themselves; and these were done by the hands of Moses and Aaron, and in their sight:
in the land of Egypt; where the Israelites were in bondage, and while they were there, and on their account were these things done:
in the field of Zoan; that is, in the territory of Zoan, which was an ancient city of Egypt, Numbers 13:22, the metropolis of the land where Pharaoh kept his court; hence we read of the princes of Zoan, Isaiah 19:11, it is the same with Tanis, and so it is called here in the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, and also in the Targum; it is said to have been two miles from Heliopolis, and one from Memphis; and at this day these three cities are become one, which is fifteen miles in compass, and goes by the name of Alcair. In this great city, the metropolis of the nation, before Pharaoh and all his court, were the above wonders done.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12-14. A record of God's dealings and the sins of the people is now made. The writer gives the history from the exode to the retreat from Kadesh; then contrasts their sins with their reasons for confidence, shown by a detail of God's dealings in Egypt, and presents a summary of the subsequent history to David's time.
Zoan—for Egypt, as its ancient capital (Nu 13:22; Isa 19:11).
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