Matthew Poole's Commentary
O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.THE ARGUMENT
The penman of this Psalm was David, as is manifest from 1 Chronicles 16:8, &c. It is a thanksgiving to God for his mercies to his people of Israel.
An exhortation to praise God, and to remember his works and wonders, Psalm 105:1-6. The story of God’s promises to and providences over Abraham, Psalm 105:7-15, Joseph, Psalm 105:16-22, and Jacob in Egypt, Psalm 105:23-25; over Moses delivering the Israelites, Psalm 105:26-36; and over them whom he fed in the wilderness, and planted in Canaan, Psalm 105:37-45.
Call upon his name or, proclaim his name, i.e. the fame and glory of his works, as it follows.
Among his people; each of you amongst his and your people, or even among the heathens, as you have opportunity.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.No text from Poole on this verse.
Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.Glory ye in his holy name; glory in the God whom you serve, as the only true God, and one of infinite power and goodness.
That seek the Lord; that seek his face or presence, as it follows, his acquaintance and favour, above all the world.
Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.The Lord, and his strength, i.e. by a figure called hendiaduo, the Lord in his strength, to wit, in his sanctuary, or before the ark, which is called God’s strength, Psalm 63:2 78:61, and the ark of his strength, Psalm 132:8.
His face, i.e. his gracious presence in his sanctuary, and the blessed fruits of it. See on Psalm 27:8.
Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;Either,
1. The laws delivered from his mouth. Or rather,
2. The plagues or punishments (as this same word is used here, Psalm 105:7, and every where) which he brought upon Egypt by his mere word or command, as is oft noted in the history of them in Exodus.
O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.Children of Jacob; to whom he restrains the former more general expression, because these were the only branch of Abraham’s seed to whom the following covenant and blessings belong.
He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.Either,
1. The fame of his judgments upon the Egyptians is spread over the face of the earth. Or,
2. God executes his judgments upon all nations and people; which may be here noted as a foil to magnify God’s grace to them who were the monuments of his mercy, when all the world besides them fell under his just severity.
He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.He hath remembered, practically, so as to perform it; as that word is frequently used in Scripture.
The word; the word of promise, or the covenant, as is explained both in the foregoing and following words. And so the word is taken Judges 13:12 Luke 1:38.
Commanded, i.e. established, or ordained, or appointed, as this word is oft taken, as Psalm 68:28 71:3 133:3 Isaiah 13:3 23:11. To a thousand generations; to all generations; a certain number being put for an uncertain. He seems to allude to that passage, Exodus 20:6.
Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;Wherewith he ratified the covenant with Isaac, Genesis 26:3.
And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:For a law; either that it might be as firm and irrevocable, as a law; or that it might have the use and force of a law towards God, because God did hereby put himself under an obligation of making it good in regard of his own truth and righteousness.
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:The portion assigned to you by lot and the designation of Divine Providence. See Poole "Deu 32:9"; See Poole "Psalm 16:6".
When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.A few men in number, Heb. men of number, i.e. few, who could easily be numbered,
very few, as the next words explain it.
When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;Both in Canaan, where there were seven nations, Deu 7:1, and in Egypt, &c.
He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;Both verbally, and really, by his judgments. See Genesis 12:17 20:3.
Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.Touch not; hurt not, as this word is used of these very persons, Genesis 26:11,29, and elsewhere.
Mine anointed; my prophets, as the next words explain it, to wit, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, as is evident; who are called God’s anointed, because they were eminently blessed of God, and consecrated to be his peculiar people, and to be kings and priests in their families, and replenished with the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, in respect whereof many persons are said to be anointed in Scripture who never had any material oil applied to them, as Psalm 45:7 Isaiah 61:1 2 Corinthians 1:21. And they are called
prophets, because God did familiarly converse with them, and revealed his mind and will to them, and by them to others; and because they were instructors or teachers of others in the true religion. See Genesis 18:19 20:7.
Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.He called for, i.e. he effectually procured, as this word is used, 2 Kings 8:1 Isaiah 47:1,5 56:7 Romans 4:17.
The whole staff of bread, i.e. bread, which is the staff or support of our animal lives. See Leviticus 26:26 Psalm 104:15 Ezekiel 4:16.
He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:He sent, by the direction of his secret providence.
Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:Heb. his soul came into iron; which seems to be added emphatically to aggravate his imprisonment, and to show how grievous it was to his very soul, which must needs sympathize with his body, and moreover was greatly vexed to consider both the great injury which was done to him, and yet the foul and public scandal which lay upon him.
Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.The time; till which time his eminent prudence, and innocency, and piety gave him no relief.
His word; either,
1. Joseph’s word, or his prophecy concerning the chief butler and baker; which is said to come when it was fulfilled, as that word is used, Judges 13:12,17 Eze 24:24, and elsewhere. But the event confutes this; for Joseph was not delivered at that time, but two years after it, Genesis 41:1. Or rather,
The word of the Lord, as it follows; the pronoun relative being here put before the substantive, to which it belongs, as it is also Exodus 2:6 Job 33:20 Proverbs 5:22 14:13. He seems to speak of that word or revelation which came first to Pharaoh in a dream, Genesis 41:1,2, &c.; and then to Joseph concerning the interpretation of it. Psalm 105:15,16. For the word of the Lord is said to come, not only when it comes to pass, but also and most commonly when it is first revealed, as Jeremiah 7:1 11:1 18:1; and God is said to come when he doth reveal it, as Genesis 20:3 31:24.
Tried him; either,
1. Tried his sincerity and constancy. But that was not done by God’s word, but by his rod. Or rather,
2. Discovered him, to wit, unto Pharaoh and his courtiers, how innocent, and holy, and knowing a person he was; or purged him from those calumnies which were cast upon him, and so prepared the way for his release, which here follows, Psalm 105:20. This verse may well be rendered thus,
Until the time that his word came, even the word of the Lord, which tried him; such ellipses being most usual in the Hebrew text.
The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.No text from Poole on this verse.
He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:Heb. of all his possession, i.e. of his whole kingdom.
To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.To bind his princes by his commands, and if they were refractory, to punish them.
Teach his senators; his wisest counsellors, whom he commanded to receive instructions from Joseph upon all occasions.
Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.Israel; Jacob in his person, and with his children. Of Ham, i.e. Egypt, so called here, also Psalm 78:5 106:22; from that cursed Ham, Genesis 9:22, who was the father of Mizraim, or the Egyptians, Genesis 10:6. And the psalmist seems to call it by this name, to intimate that they were the people of God’s curse, and thereby to caution the Israelites against returning to that land, which they were particularly forbidden to do, Deu 17:16.
And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.Not really, but according to their enemies’ apprehensions and expressions, Exodus 1:9. Or, more numerous, as this word is elsewhere used. So this latter branch answers to the former. And this was true; for though they were not simply more in number than the Egyptians, yet they multiplied much faster.
He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.He turned their heart to hate his people; not by putting this wicked hatred into them, which is not consistent either with the holiness of God’s nature, or with the truth of his word, and which was altogether unnecessary, because they had that and all other wickedness in them by nature; but partly, by withdrawing the common gifts and operations of his Spirit, and all other restraints and hinderances to it, and wholly leaving them to their own mistakes, and passions, and corrupt affections, which of their own accord were ready to take that course; partly, by ordering the affairs of his people in such manner as might give them occasion of hatred; and partly, by directing and governing that hatred, which was wholly in and from themselves, so as it should fall upon the Israelites rather than upon other people.
To deal subtilly with his servants; to destroy them by crafty devices; of which see Exodus 1:11, &c.
He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.To be the companion and interpreter of Moses in this expedition, of which see Exodus 3:10 4:12, &c. This clause he adds, to show that Aaron was no less called and chosen by God to this work than Moses, which otherwise was not so evident from the history; or this clause may belong to both Moses and Aaron.
They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.His signs, Heb. the words of his signs; an emphatical expression. First they boldly declared the word and will of God concerning the several plagues, and then they actually inflicted them.
He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.Either,
1. The darkness and other plagues; which obeyed God’s word, and instantly came at God’s call. So this may be a reflection upon the Egyptians, that those brutish or unreasonable creatures were more obedient to the will and command of God than they were. Thus diseases are said to come or go at God’s command, Matthew 8:8. Or rather,
2. Moses and Aaron, mentioned Psalm 105:26, and called they, Psalm 105:27, whose obedience in denouncing and inflicting these plagues, and especially that plague of darkness, is noted and commended here as an act of great faith and fortitude, because they inflicted that plague after Pharaoh had threatened them, Exodus 10:10; as the obedience of their parents is commended as a great act of faith, because they preserved and hid their son contrary to the express command of the king of Egypt.
He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.No text from Poole on this verse.
Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.Their land; their country; for otherwise they were produced by their rivers, Exodus 8:3.
In the chambers; which entered into
the chambers. Of their kings; of Pharaoh and his sons, and his chief nobles and governors of provinces under him; for such persons are oft called kings in Scripture, Judges 1:7 1 Kings 20:1,12 Isa 19:2.
He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.Or, borders, i.e. in all their land, even to the utmost ends or borders of it.
He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.No text from Poole on this verse.
He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.No text from Poole on this verse.
He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,No text from Poole on this verse.
And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.No text from Poole on this verse.
He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.To wit, their first-born, as it is in the first clause, who are so called, Genesis 49:3 Psalm 78:51, and the beginning of their strength, Deu 21:17.
He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.Feeble person; diseased or unable for his journey; which in so vast a body, and in a time of such mortality as it had been in Egypt, and in a people which had been so long and so dreadfully oppressed as the Israelites were, was wonderful; but they all journeyed on foot, Exodus 12:37.
Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.Of them, i.e. of the Israelites, lest God for their sakes should destroy them.
He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.For a covering, to protect them from the heat of the sun, which in that hot and open country had otherwise been intolerable to them, especially in so long a journey.
The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.He speaks of the first giving of quails, Exodus 16:13, which God gave them as a refreshment, notwithstanding their sin in desiring them, which he graciously pardoned; and not of that second giving of quails, which God gave them in judgment, Numbers 11, and therefore would not have been numbered here amongst God’s favours vouchsafed to them. With the bread of heaven; with manna which came out of the air, which is commonly called heaven.
He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.They flowed in channels which God provided for them, and followed the Israelite’s in their march, as is noted, 1 Corinthians 10:4. Hence they complained no more of want of water till they came to Kadesh, Numbers 20, which was many years after this time.
For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.Or rather, with (as this particle is oft used)
Abraham; made with or to Abraham.
And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:No text from Poole on this verse.
And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;The fruits of their labour, their cities, vineyards, olive, yards, &c.
That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.No text from Poole on this verse.