Psalm 106:24
Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:
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(24-27) The rebellion that followed the report of the spies.

Psalm 106:24-27. They despised the pleasant land — Canaan, which was so, not only in truth, but even by the relation of those spies, who discouraged them from entering into it. They preferred Egypt and their former bondage before it, Numbers 14:3-4, and did not think it deserving of a little hazard and difficulty in taking possession of it. They believed not his word — His promise of giving them the land, and subduing all their enemies before them, which they knew, by late and manifold experience, that God was both able and willing to do. And hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord — To God’s command, which was, that they should boldly and confidently enter into it. Therefore he lifted up his hand — He sware, as this phrase is commonly used. Of this dreadful and irrevocable sentence and oath of God, see Numbers 14:23. To overthrow their seed — He sware also, (though not at the same time,) that he would punish their sins, not only in their persons, but also in their posterity: see Exodus 20:5; Exodus 32:34.

106:13-33 Those that will not wait for God's counsel, shall justly be given up to their own hearts' lusts, to walk in their own counsels. An undue desire, even for lawful things, becomes sinful. God showed his displeasure for this. He filled them with uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach. Many that fare deliciously every day, and whose bodies are healthful, have leanness in their souls: no love to God, no thankfulness, no appetite for the Bread of life, and then the soul must be lean. Those wretchedly forget themselves, that feast their bodies and starve their souls. Even the true believer will see abundant cause to say, It is of the Lord's mercies that I am not consumed. Often have we set up idols in our hearts, cleaved to some forbidden object; so that if a greater than Moses had not stood to turn away the anger of the Lord, we should have been destroyed. If God dealt severely with Moses for unadvised words, what do those deserve who speak many proud and wicked words? It is just in God to remove those relations that are blessings to us, when we are peevish and provoking to them, and grieve their spirits.Yea, they despised the pleasant land - Margin, as in Hebrew, "land of desire." That is, a country "to be desired," - a country whose situation, climate, productions, made it desirable as a place of abode. Such Palestine was always represented to be to the children of Israel (Leviticus 20:24; Numbers 13:27; Numbers 14:8; Numbers 16:14; Deuteronomy 6:3; Deuteronomy 11:9; et al.;) but this land had to them, at the time here referred to, no attractions, and they rather desired to return again to Egypt; Numbers 11:5.

They believed not his word - His assurance in regard to the land to which they were going.

24-27. The sin of refusing to invade Canaan, "the pleasant land" (Jer 3:19; Eze 20:6; Da 8:9), "the land of beauty," was punished by the destruction of that generation (Nu 14:28), and the threat of dispersion (De 4:25; 28:32) afterwards made to their posterity, and fulfilled in the great calamities now bewailed, may have also been then added.

despised—(Nu 14:31).

believed not his word—by which He promised He would give them the land; but rather the word of the faithless spies (compare Ps 78:22).

24 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:

25 But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.

26 Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:

27 To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them; in the lands.

Psalm 106:24

"Yea, they despised the pleasant land." They spoke lightly of it, though it was the joy of all lands - they did not think it worth the trouble of seeking and conquering; they even spoke of Egypt, the land of their iron bondage, as though they preferred it to Canaan, the land which floweth with milk and honey. It is an ill sign with a Christian when he begins to think lightly of heaven and heavenly things; it indicates a perverted mind, and it is moreover, a high offence to the Lord to despise that which he esteems so highly that he in infinite love reserves it for his own chosen. To prefer earthly things to heavenly blessings is to prefer Egypt to Canaan, the house of bondage to the land of promise. "They believed not his word." This is the root sin. If we do not believe the Lord's word, we shall think lightly of his promised gifts. "They could not enter in because of unbelief" - this was the key which turned the lock against them. When pilgrims to the Celestial City begin to doubt the Lord of the way, they soon come to think little of the rest at the journey's end, and this is the surest way to make them bad travellers. Israel's unbelief demanded spies to see the land; the report of those spies was of a mingled character, and so a fresh crop of unbelief sprang up, with consequences most deplorable.

Psalm 106:25

"But murmured in their tents." From unbelief to murmuring is a short and natural step; they even fell to weeping when they had the best ground for rejoicing. Murmuring is a great sin and not a mere weakness; it contains within itself unbelief, pride, rebellion, and a whole host of sins. It is a home sin, and is generally practised by complainers "in their tents," but it is just as evil there as in the streets, and will be quite as grievous to the Lord. "And hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord." Making a din with their own voices, they refused attention to their best Friend. Murmurers are bad hearers.

Psalm 106:26, Psalm 106:27

"Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness." He swore in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest; he commenced his work of judgment upon them, and they began to die. Only let God lift his hand against a man and his day has come; he falls terribly whom Jehovah overthrows. "To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands." Foreseeing that their descendants would reproduce their sins, he solemnly declared that he would give them over to captivity and the sword. Those whose carcases fell in the wilderness were, in a sense, exiles from the land of promise, and, being surrounded by many hostile tribes, they were virtually in a foreign land; to die far off from their father's inheritance was a just and weighty doom, which their rebellions had richly deserved. Our own loss of fellowship with God, and the divisions in our churches, doubtless often come to us as punishments for the sins out of which they grow. If we will not honour the Lord we cannot expect him to honour us. Our captains shall soon become captives, and our princes shall be prisoners if we forget the Lord and despise his mercies. Our singing shall be turned into sighing, and our mirth into misery if we walk contrary to the mind of the Lord.

Despised; preferring Egypt and the former bondage before it, Numbers 14:3,4, and not thinking it worthy of a little hazard and difficulty in taking the possession of it.

The pleasant land, Canaan; which was so not only in truth, Deu 11:11,12 Jer 3:19 Ezekiel 20:6, but even by the relation of those spies who discouraged them from entering into it.

His word, i.e. his promise of giving them the land, and subduing all their enemies before them; which they knew by late and manifold experience that God was both able and willing to do.

Yea, they despised the pleasant land,.... Or "land of desire" (r); the land of Canaan; a very delightful and desirable country, the glory of all lands, a land that abounded with everything for necessity and pleasure. The spies themselves, that brought an ill report of it, owned it was a land flowing with milk and honey; but that there were such difficulties to possess it which they thought insuperable: and hence the people despised it, inasmuch as, when they were bid to go and possess it, they refused, and did not choose to be at any difficulty in subduing the inhabitants of it, or run any risk or hazard of their lives in taking it, though the Lord had promised, to give it them, and settle them in it; but they seemed rather inclined to make themselves a captain, and return to Egypt, when they were just on the borders of Canaan; which was interpreted as despising the land, Numbers 14:1. This was a type of heaven, the good land afar off; the better country, the land of promise and rest; in which is fulness of provisions, and where there will be no hunger and thirst; where flows the river of the water of life, and stands the tree of life, bearing all manner of fruits; where there is fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore: the most delightful company of Father, Son, and Spirit, angels and glorified saints; and nothing to disturb their peace and pleasure, neither from within nor from without. And yet this pleasant land may be said to be despised by such who do not care to go through any difficulty to it; to perform the duties of religion; to bear reproach for Christ's sake; to go through tribulation; to walk in the narrow and afflicted way, which leads unto it: and by all such who do not care to part with their sinful lusts and pleasure; but prefer them and the things of this world to the heavenly state.

They believed not his word; his word of promise, that he would be with them, and lead them into the pleasant land, and put them into the possession of it: which disbelief of his word was highly provoking to him; and therefore he swore they should not enter into his rest; and because of their unbelief they did not, Numbers 14:11. This is a very heinous sin, to disbelieve God that is true, and cannot lie; it is to make him a liar; nothing can more dishonour him; it is a departure from him, very provoking to him, and of very dangerous consequence; unbelievers shall have their part and portion in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, Revelation 21:8.

(r) "in term desiderii", Montanus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.

Yea, they despised {m} the pleasant land, they believed not his word:

(m) That is Canaan, which acted as a promise of the heavenly inheritance to come, though it was only worth a penny in comparison to the value of the inheritance itself.

24. They despised, or rejected (as Numbers 14:31), the pleasant land (Jeremiah 3:19; Zechariah 7:14), the delightful and desirable land of Canaan; and disbelieved Jehovah’s promise to give it them (Deuteronomy 1:32).

24–27. A fifth instance of Israel’s sin; their unbelief and cowardice on the return of the spies (Numbers 13:14).

Verse 24. - Yea, they despised the pleasant land. The psalmist passes to the consideration of another sin. After the ill report of the spies (Numbers 13:27-33), the Israelites "despised" the land promised to them (Numbers 14:31), and relinquished all desire for it. They were ready to have turned back into Egypt (Numbers 14:3). They believed not his word; i.e. his promise to give them the land (Genesis 15:18-21; Exodus 23:31, etc.). Psalm 106:24The fact to which the poet refers in Psalm 106:24, viz., the rebellion in consequence of the report of the spies, which he brings forward as the fourth principal sin, is narrated in Numbers 13, Numbers 14. The appellation ארץ חמדּה is also found in Jeremiah 3:19; Zechariah 7:14. As to the rest, the expression is altogether Pentateuchal. "They despised the land," after Numbers 14:31; "they murmured in their tents," after Deuteronomy 1:27; "to lift up the land" equals to swear, after Exodus 6:8; Deuteronomy 32:40; the threat להפּיל, to make them fall down, fall away, after Numbers 14:29, Numbers 14:32. The threat of exile is founded upon the two great threatening chapters, Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28:1; cf. more particularly Leviticus 26:33 (together with the echoes in Ezekiel 5:12; Ezekiel 12:14, etc.), Deuteronomy 28:64 (together with the echoes in Jeremiah 9:15; Ezekiel 22:15, etc.). Ezekiel 20:23 stands in a not accidental relationship to Psalm 106:26.; and according to that passage, וּלהפיל is an error of the copyist for וּלהפיץ (Hitzig).

Now follows in Psalm 106:28-31 the fifth of the principal sins, viz., the taking part in the Moabitish worship of Baal. The verb נצמד (to be bound or chained), taken from Numbers 25:3, Numbers 25:5, points to the prostitution with which Baal Per, this Moabitish Priapus, was worshipped. The sacrificial feastings in which, according to Numbers 25:2, they took part, are called eating the sacrifices of the dead, because the idols are dead beings (nekroi', Wisd. 13:10-18) as opposed to God, the living One. The catena on Revelation 2:14 correctly interprets: τὰ τοῖς εἰδώλοις τελεσθέντα κρέα.

(Note: In the second section of Aboda zara, on the words of the Mishna: "The flesh which is intended to be offered first of all to idols is allowed, but that which comes out of the temple is forbidden, because it is like sacrifices of the dead," it is observed, fol. 32b: "Whence, said R. Jehuda ben Bethra, do I know that that which is offered to idols (תקרובת לעבדה זרה) pollutes like a dead body? From Psalm 106:28. As the dead body pollutes everything that is under the same roof with it, so also does everything that is offered to idols." The Apostle Paul declares the objectivity of this pollution to be vain, cf. more particularly 1 Corinthians 10:28.)

The object of "they made angry" is omitted; the author is fond of this, cf. Psalm 106:7 and Psalm 106:32. The expression in Psalm 106:29 is like Exodus 19:24. The verb עמד is chosen with reference to Numbers 17:13. The result is expressed in Psalm 106:30 after Numbers 25:8, Numbers 25:18., Numbers 17:13. With פּלּל, to adjust, to judge adjustingly (lxx, Vulgate, correctly according to the sense, ἐξιλάσατο), the poet associates the thought of the satisfaction due to divine right, which Phinehas executed with the javelin. This act of zeal for Jahve, which compensated for Israel's unfaithfulness, was accounted unto him for righteousness, by his being rewarded for it with the priesthood unto everlasting ages, Numbers 25:10-13. This accounting of a work for righteousness is only apparently contradictory to Genesis 15:5.: it was indeed an act which sprang from a constancy in faith, and one which obtained for him the acceptation of a righteous man for the sake of this upon which it was based, by proving him to be such.

In Psalm 106:32, Psalm 106:33 follows the sixth of the principal sins, viz., the insurrection against Moses and Aaron at the waters of strife in the fortieth year, in connection with which Moses forfeited the entrance with them into the Land of Promise (Numbers 20:11., Deuteronomy 1:37; Deuteronomy 32:51), since he suffered himself to be carried away by the persevering obstinacy of the people against the Spirit of God (המרה mostly providing the future for מרה, as in Psalm 106:7, Psalm 106:43, Psalm 78:17, Psalm 78:40, Psalm 78:56, of obstinacy against God; on את־רוּחו cf. Isaiah 63:10) into uttering the words addressed to the people, Numbers 20:10, in which, as the smiting of the rock which was twice repeated shows, is expressed impatience together with a tinge of unbelief. The poet distinguishes, as does the narrative in Numbers 20, between the obstinacy of the people and the transgression of Moses, which is there designated, according to that which lay at the root of it, as unbelief. The retrospective reference to Numbers 27:14 needs adjustment accordingly.

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