Psalm 107:20
He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
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(20) He sent His word.—In history (see Psalm 105:19), as in the natural world (Psalm 147:18), God’s word is His messenger. (Comp. Isaiah 55:10-11.)

Destructions.—This follows the LXX., who derive as in Psalm 103:4. A better derivation, however, gives “pits,” either with metaphorical allusion to the “depths” of suffering, or literally, of the “graves” to which the sufferers had drawn near.

107:17-22 If we knew no sin, we should know no sickness. Sinners are fools. They hurt their bodily health by intemperance, and endanger their lives by indulging their appetites. This their way is their folly. The weakness of the body is the effect of sickness. It is by the power and mercy of God that we are recovered from sickness, and it is our duty to be thankful. All Christ's miraculous cures were emblems of his healing diseases of the soul. It is also to be applied to the spiritual cures which the Spirit of grace works. He sends his word, and heals souls; convinces, converts them, makes them holy, and all by the word. Even in common cases of recovery from sickness, God in his providence speaks, and it is done; by his word and Spirit the soul is restored to health and holiness.He sent his word, and healed them - He did it by a word; it was necessary for him merely to give a command, and the disease left them. So it was in the life of the Saviour, who often healed the sick by a "word" Matthew 8:8; Luke 7:7; and so now restoration from disease often seems to be accomplished as if some word had been spoken by one who had power, commanding the disease to depart. In all cases, also, whatever means may be used, healing power comes from God, and is under his control. Compare Psalm 30:2.

And delivered them from their destructions - From what would have destroyed them, if it had not been checked and removed.

20. sent his word—that is, put forth His power.

their destructions—that is, that which threatened them. To the chorus is added the mode of giving thanks, by a sacrifice and joyful singing (Ps 50:14).

His word; his command, or his blessing, which came with power. He sent his word, and healed them,.... It was his will and pleasure they should be healed, and accordingly they were; he issued his orders for the removal of the affliction, and it was done; diseases are his servants, which come and go at his command; so Christ, in the days of his flesh, healed by speaking a word, Matthew 8:3. This is true of Christ the essential Word, who was sent in the fulness of time, and was made flesh and dwelt among men, and went about healing all manner of diseases among the people; and who is also the physician of souls who came with healing in his wings; that is, with pardon of sin, for which his blood was shed: he is the only physician, the skilful, universal, and infallible one, and does all freely, and in a most marvellous manner, by his stripes, blood and wounds, and by an application of these to diseased persons sensible of their case. It may also be applied to the word of the Gospel; the law is the means of wounding, it is the killing letter; the Gospel is the means of healing, the doctrines of it are the leaves of the tree of life, which are for the healing of the nations; it is the doctrine of remission of sins by the blood of Christ, and by it Christ speaks peace and pardon to wounded consciences.

And delivered them from their destructions; from the destruction of the body, of the beauty and strength of it by diseases; restoring to health is a redeeming of the life from destruction; from the grave, the pit of corruption and destruction, so called because in it bodies corrupt, putrefy, and are destroyed by worms; and such who are savingly convinced of sin, and blessed with pardoning grace and mercy, are delivered from the everlasting destruction of body and soul in hell.

{h} He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their {i} destructions.

(h) By healing them he declares his good will toward them.

(i) Meaning their diseases, which had almost brought them to the grave and corruption.

20. He sent &c.] R.V. sendeth … healeth … delivereth. Jehovah’s word is here almost personified as a delivering angel. It is His messenger (Psalm 147:15; Psalm 147:18), which performs His will (Isaiah 55:11; cp. Psalm 9:8). It is His instrument in His dealings with men (Psalm 105:19) as well as in the work of creation (Psalm 33:6). Such passages prepare the way for the use in the Targums of the periphrasis ‘the Word of Jehovah’ (Mçmrâ or Dibbûrâ) for Jehovah in His intercourse with men; and for the fuller revelation of the personal Word, the Logos (John 1:1). In connexion with this thought, it should be noted that in Job 33:23 the restoration of the sick man to health of mind and body is attributed to the intervention of “an angel, an interpreter” (or mediator).

from their destructions] Lit. pitfalls (Lamentations 4:20); the graves into which they had all but fallen. Cp. Job 33:18; Job 33:22; Job 33:24; Job 33:28; Psalm 103:4.Verse 20. - He sent his word. and healed them; rather, he sends Ms word, and heals them (see the Revised Version). The "word" intended may be a message sent by a human messenger, like the "word" sent to Hezekiah in. his sickness (2 Kings 20:4; Isaiah 38:4); or it may be a thought suggested to the mind either directly by God, or by an angel, like that spoken of in Job 33:23, 24; or, lastly, it may be the actual Word of God (John 1:1), the Son, sent by the Father. But this last sense can scarcely have been in the writer's mind. And delivered them from their destructions; or, "from their grave-pits" (Kay, Cheyne). The word used occurs only here and in Lain. 4:20, where it is translated "pits." Others suffered imprisonment and bonds; but through Him who had decreed this as punishment for them, they also again reached the light of freedom. Just as in the first strophe, here, too, as far as יודוּ in Psalm 107:15, is all a compound subject; and in view of this the poet begins with participles. "Darkness and the shadow of death" (vid., Psalm 23:4) is an Isaianic expression, Isaiah 9:1 (where ישׁבי is construed with ב), Psalm 42:7 (where ישׁבי is construed as here, cf. Genesis 4:20; Zechariah 2:11), just as "bound in torture and iron" takes its rise from Job 36:8. The old expositors call it a hendiadys for "torturing iron" (after Psalm 105:18); but it is more correct to take the one as the general term and the other as the particular: bound in all sorts of affliction from which they could not break away, and more particularly in iron bonds (בּרזל, like the Arabic firzil, an iron fetter, vid., on Psalm 105:18). In Psalm 107:11, which calls to mind Isaiah 5:19, and with respect to Psalm 107:12, Isaiah 3:8, the double play upon the sound of the words is unmistakeable. By עצה is meant the plan in accordance with which God governs, more particularly His final purpose, which lies at the basis of His leadings of Israel. Not only had they nullified this purpose of mercy by defiant resistance (המרה) against God's commandments (אמרי, Arabic awâmir, âmireh) on their part, but they had even blasphemed it; נאץ, Deuteronomy 32:19, and frequently, or נאץ (prop. to pierce, then to treat roughly), is an old Mosaic designation of blasphemy, Deuteronomy 31:20; Numbers 14:11, Numbers 14:23; Numbers 16:30. Therefore God thoroughly humbled them by afflictive labour, and caused them to stumble (כּשׁל). But when they were driven to it, and prayed importunately to Him, He helped them out of their straits. The refrain varies according to recognised custom. Twice the expression is ויצעקו, twice ויזעקו; once יצילם, then twice יושׁיעם, and last of all יוציאם, which follows here in Psalm 107:14 as an alliteration. The summary condensation of the deliverance experienced (Psalm 107:16) is moulded after Isaiah 45:2. The Exile, too, may be regarded as such like a large jail (vid., e.g., Isaiah 42:7, Isaiah 42:22); but the descriptions of the poet are not pictures, but examples.
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