Psalm 78:3
Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
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78:1-8 These are called dark and deep sayings, because they are carefully to be looked into. The law of God was given with a particular charge to teach it diligently to their children, that the church may abide for ever. Also, that the providences of God, both in mercy and in judgment, might encourage them to conform to the will of God. The works of God much strengthen our resolution to keep his commandments. Hypocrisy is the high road to apostacy; those that do not set their hearts right, will not be stedfast with God. Many parents, by negligence and wickedness, become murderers of their children. But young persons, though they are bound to submit in all things lawful, must not obey sinful orders, or copy sinful examples.Which we have heard and known - Which have been communicated to us as certain truth.

And our fathers have told us - That is, we have heard and known them by their telling us; or, this is the means by which we have known them. They have come down to us by tradition from ancient times.

3-8. This history had been handed down (Ex 12:14; De 6:20) for God's honor, and that the principles of His law might be known and observed by posterity. This important sentiment is reiterated in (Ps 78:7, 8) negative form. No text from Poole on this verse. Which we have heard and known,.... The change of number from "I" to "we" have made some think that the disciples of Christ are here introduced speaking; but there is no need to suppose that, since our Lord uses the same form of speech, John 3:11,

and our fathers have told us; this may not only regard the Jewish ancestors, from whom our Lord descended according to the flesh, and so refer to the following account of the wonderful things done for the people of Israel; but also the divine Father of Christ, from whom, as his only begotten Son that lay in his bosom, and as Mediator, and the Angel of the great council, he heard and became acquainted with the secrets and mysteries of grace, and with his Father's mind and will; all which he declared and made known to his apostles, and in so doing used them as his friends, John 1:18 and so the apostles of Christ, what they had from him their everlasting Father, and who had used to call them his children, even what they had seen, and heard, and learned, they made known to others, Acts 4:20.

Which we have heard and known, and our {c} fathers have told us.

(c) Who were the people of God.

3, 4. It is best to place a full stop at the end of Psalm 78:2, and connect Psalm 78:3-4 thus:

The things which we have heard and known,

And our fathers have told to us,

We will not hide from their sons,

Telling to another generation the praises of Jehovah,

And his strength and his wondrous works that he hath done.

With line 2 cp. Psalm 44:1; Jdg 6:13.

‘From our sons’ might have been expected rather than ‘from their sons’: but the pronoun their is significant. It implies that the trust was committed to the speakers by their ancestors not for themselves only but for future generations. Excellently Keble:

“The tale our fathers used to tell

We to their children owe.”

The praises of Jehovah are His praiseworthy acts. Cp. Psalm 22:3; Psalm 22:30-31. For wondrous works see note on Psalm 71:17. Cp. Psalm 145:4 ff.Verse 3. - Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us; or, "recounted to us" (Kay). The facts of their past history had been handed down orally from father to son among the Israelites, not simply learnt from their sacred writings. So the facts of Christianity have reached us, not merely through the New Testament, but also by the teaching of the Church. When He directed His lance towards the Red Sea, which stood in the way of His redeemed, the waters immediately fell as it were into pangs of travail (יחילוּ, as in Habakkuk 3:10, not ויּחילו), also the billows of the deep trembled; for before the omnipotence of God the Redeemer, which creates a new thing in the midst of the old creation, the rules of the ordinary course of nature become unhinged. There now follow in Psalm 77:18, Psalm 77:19 lines taken from the picture of a thunder-storm. The poet wishes to describe how all the powers of nature became the servants of the majestic revelation of Jahve, when He executed judgment on Egypt and delivered Israel. זרם, Poel of זרם (cognate זרב, זרף, Aethiopic זנם, to rain), signifies intensively: to stream forth in full torrents. Instead of this line, Habakkuk, with a change of the letters of the primary passage, which is usual in Jeremiah more especially, has זרם מים עבר. The rumbling which the שׁחקים

(Note: We have indicated on Psalm 18:12; Psalm 36:6, that the שׁהקים are so called from their thinness, but passages like Psalm 18:12 and the one before us do not favour this idea. One would think that we have more likely to go back to Arab. sḥq, to be distant (whence suḥḳ, distance; saḥı̂ḳ, distant), and that שׁהקים signifies the distances, like שׁמים, the heights, from שׁחק equals suḥḳ, in distinction from שׁחק, an atom (Wetzstein). But the Hebrew affords no trace of this verbal stem, whereas שׁחק, Arab. sḥq, contundere, comminuere (Neshwn: to pound to dust, used e.g., of the apothecary's drugs), is just as much Hebrew as Arabic. And the word is actually associated with this verb by the Arabic mind, inasmuch as Arab. saḥâbun saḥqun (nubes tenues, nubila tenuia) is explained by Arab. sḥâb rqı̂q. Accordingly שׁהקים, according to its primary notion, signifies that which spreads itself out thin and fine over a wide surface, and according to the usage of the language, in contrast with the thick and heavy פני הארץ, the uppermost stratum of the atmosphere, and then the clouds, as also Arab. a‛nân, and the collective ‛anan and ‛anân (vid., Isaiah, at Isaiah 4:5, note), is not first of all the clouds, but the surface of the sky that is turned to us (Fleischer).)

cause to sound forth (נתנוּ, cf. Psalm 68:34) is the thunder. The arrows of God (חצציך, in Habakkuk חצּיך) are the lightnings. The Hithpa. (instead of which Habakkuk has יחלּכוּ) depicts their busy darting hither and thither in the service of the omnipotence that sends them forth. It is open to question whether גּלגּל denotes the roll of the thunder (Aben-Ezra, Maurer, Bttcher): the sound of Thy thunder went rolling forth (cf. Psalm 29:4), - or the whirlwind accompanying the thunder-storm (Hitzig); the usage of the language (Psalm 83:14, also Ezekiel 10:13, Syriac golgolo) is in favour of the latter. On Psalm 77:19 cf. the echo in Psalm 97:4. Amidst such commotions in nature above and below Jahve strode along through the sea, and made a passage for His redeemed. His person and His working were invisible, but the result which attested His active presence was visible. He took His way through the sea, and cut His path (Chethb plural, שׁביליך, as in Jeremiah 18:15) through great waters (or, according to Habakkuk, caused His horses to go through), without the footprints (עקּבות with Dag. dirimens) of Him who passes and passed through being left behind to show it.

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