Psalm 106:34
They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them:
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(34-39) The national sin after the settlement in Canaan.

Psalm 106:34-39. They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom — Concerning whose destruction, the Lord commanded them — For when the iniquity of the Canaanites was full, it was God’s will to extirpate their race, and Israel was commissioned to execute upon them the vengeance determined. But were mingled among the heathen — In their habitations and negotiations, as also in marriages. And they served their idols — Which idols were an occasion of their falling both into further and greater sins, as it follows, Psalm 106:37-38, and into utter ruin. They sacrificed their sons and daughters — Of which heathenish practice, see the notes on Leviticus 18:21. Unto devils — By which expression he informs them that they did not worship God as they pretended, but devils in their idols; and that those spirits that were supposed by the heathen idolaters to inhabit their images, and which they worshipped in them, were not good spirits, as they imagined, but evil spirits or devils. And shed innocent blood — The blood of their children, who, though depraved before God, yet were innocent as to them, from any crime deserving such barbarous usage from them. Thus were they defiled with their own works — And rendered abominable in the sight of a holy God; and went a whoring with their own inventions — Committed spiritual whoredom, by worshipping those idols which were but human inventions, and that in such an unnatural and bloody manner as they had devised.106:34-48 The conduct of the Israelites in Canaan, and God's dealings with them, show that the way of sin is down-hill; omissions make way for commissions: when they neglected to destroy the heathen, they learned their works. One sin led to many more, and brought the judgments of God on them. Their sin was, in part, their own punishment. Sinners often see themselves ruined by those who led them into evil. Satan, who is a tempter, will be a tormentor. At length, God showed pity to his people for his covenant's sake. The unchangeableness of God's merciful nature and love to his people, makes him change the course of justice into mercy; and no other change is meant by God's repentance. Our case is awful when the outward church is considered. When nations professing Christianity, are so guilty as we are, no wonder if the Lord brings them low for their sins. Unless there is general and deep repentance, there can be no prospect but of increasing calamities. The psalm concludes with prayer for completing the deliverance of God's people, and praise for the beginning and progress of it. May all the people of the earth, ere long, add their Amen.They did not destroy the nations - The Canaanites, Hivites, Jebusites, etc.; the nations that inhabited the land of Canaan.

Concerning whom the Lord commanded them - The command on this subject was positive; and it was to destroy them, to spare none of them. Numbers 33:52; Deuteronomy 7:5, Deuteronomy 7:16.

34-39. They not only failed to expel the heathen, as God

commanded—(Ex 23:32, 33), literally, "said (they should)," but conformed to their idolatries [Ps 106:36], and thus became spiritual adulterers (Ps 73:27).

34 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them:

35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.

36 And they served their idols; which were a snare unto them.

37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,

38 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.

39 Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.

4o Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.

41 And he gave them into the hands of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.

42 Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.

43 Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.

Psalm 106:34

"They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them." They were commissioned to act as executioners upon races condemned for their unnatural crimes, and through sloth, cowardice, or sinful complacency-they sheathed the sword too soon, very much to their own danger and disquietude. It is a great evil with professors that they are not zealous for the total destruction of all sin within and without. We make alliances of peace where we ought to proclaim war to the knife; we plead our constitutional temperament, our previous habits, the necessity of our circumstances, or some other evil excuse as an apology for being content with a very partial sanctification, if indeed it be sanctification at all. We are slow also to rebuke sin in others, and are ready to spare respectable sins, which like Agag walk with mincing steps. The measure of our destruction of sin is not to be our inclination, or the habit of others, but the Lord's command. We have no warrant for dealing leniently with any sin, be it what it may.

Psalm 106:35

"But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works." It was not the wilderness which caused Israel's sins; they were just as disobedient when settled in the land of promise. They found evil company, and delighted in it. Those whom they should have destroyed they made their friends. Having enough faults of their own, they were yet ready to go to school to the filthy Canaanites, and educate themselves still more in the arts of iniquity. It was certain that they could learn no good from men whom the Lord had condemned to utter destruction. Few would wish to go to the condemned cell for learning, yet Israel sat at the feet of accursed Canaan, and rose up proficient in every abomination. This, too, is a grievous but common error among professors: they court worldly company and copy worldly fashions, and yet it is their calling to bear witness against these things. None can tell what evil has come of the folly of worldly conformity.


Concerning whom, i.e. concerning whose destruction or rather, which thing to wit, to destroy those Canaanitish nations; for in the Hebrew there is nothing but asher, which signifies only either whom or which. They did not destroy the nations,.... Here begins an account of their sins and provocations, after they were settled in the land of Canaan. They did not destroy the inhabitants of the land, of the seven nations; whose land was given to them as an inheritance, and of which the Canaanites were dispossessed for their sins, and to be destroyed.

Concerning whom the Lord commanded them; that they should destroy them; the command is in Deuteronomy 7:1. God's commands are to be obeyed; they are neither to be added to, nor diminished from; his commands are transgressed and violated by sins of omission or commission; the Israelites might plead mercy, but this was no excuse to an express command: the same sin Saul was afterwards guilty of, with respect to one of these nations, 1 Samuel 15:2. Those spiritual Canaanites, the sinful deeds of the body, are to be mortified, and not indulged and spared, Colossians 3:5.

They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them:
34. They did not destroy the peoples,

As Jehovah had commanded them.

For the command so often repeated see Exodus 23:32-33; Exodus 34:12 ff.; Deuteronomy 7:2 ff.: and for the neglect of it, Jdg 1:21; Jdg 1:27; Jdg 1:29 ff., Jdg 2:1 ff.

34–39. The continued disobedience of Israel even after the Entry into Canaan. Neglecting the command to exterminate the Canaanites they became infected by their abominations.Verse 34. - They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them. This is reckoned as another sin. Israel, once comfortably settled in Palestine, with sufficient room for its numbers, did not carry out the Divine command to "destroy," or "cast out," the Canaanitish nations, but was content to share the land with them. "The children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem" (Judges 1:21); "neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns; nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns" (Judges 1:27); "neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer" (Judges 1:29); nor "Zebulon the inhabitants of Kitten, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol" (Judges 1:30); "neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho" (Judges 1:31); nor "Naphtali the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath" (Judges 1:33); nor Dan the Amorites, who "would dwell in Mount Heros in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim" (Judges 1:35). It was not compassion that restrained them, but love of ease, idleness, one of the seven deadly sins; and the results were those described in the next verse. The 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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