Psalm 78:35
And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.
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(35) Rock.—A reminiscence of Deuteronomy 32:15-18.

78:9-39. Sin dispirits men, and takes away the heart. Forgetfulness of God's works is the cause of disobedience to his laws. This narrative relates a struggle between God's goodness and man's badness. The Lord hears all our murmurings and distrusts, and is much displeased. Those that will not believe the power of God's mercy, shall feel the fire of his indignation. Those cannot be said to trust in God's salvation as their happiness at last, who can not trust his providence in the way to it. To all that by faith and prayer, ask, seek, and knock, these doors of heaven shall at any time be opened; and our distrust of God is a great aggravation of our sins. He expressed his resentment of their provocation; not in denying what they sinfully lusted after, but in granting it to them. Lust is contented with nothing. Those that indulge their lust, will never be estranged from it. Those hearts are hard indeed, that will neither be melted by the mercies of the Lord, nor broken by his judgments. Those that sin still, must expect to be in trouble still. And the reason why we live with so little comfort, and to so little purpose, is, because we do not live by faith. Under these rebukes they professed repentance, but they were not sincere, for they were not constant. In Israel's history we have a picture of our own hearts and lives. God's patience, and warnings, and mercies, imbolden them to harden their hearts against his word. And the history of kingdoms is much the same. Judgments and mercies have been little attended to, until the measure of their sins has been full. And higher advantages have not kept churches from declining from the commandments of God. Even true believers recollect, that for many a year they abused the kindness of Providence. When they come to heaven, how will they admire the Lord's patience and mercy in bringing them to his kingdom!And they remembered that God was their Rock - See Deuteronomy 32:4, Deuteronomy 32:15, Deuteronomy 32:31. Compare the notes at Psalm 18:2. That is, they were brought to reflect that their only security and defense was God. They were made to feel that they could not rely on themselves, or on any human power, and that their only trust was in God.

And the high God their Redeemer - The God who is exalted over all; the true and living God. The truth was brought to their recollection that it was He who had delivered them from bondage in Egypt, and who had brought them out into freedom. On the word "Redeemer," see the notes at Isaiah 41:14. Compare Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 44:6, Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 47:4; Isaiah 59:20; Psalm 25:22; Job 5:20.

33-39. Though there were partial reformations after chastisement, and God, in pity, withdrew His hand for a time, yet their general conduct was rebellious, and He was thus provoked to waste and destroy them, by long and fruitless wandering in the desert. They considered that God, and God alone, had preserved them in all their former exigences, and that he only could now help them, and not those idols or creatures which they had preferred before him; and therefore being driven by absolute necessity, they fled to him for relief.

And they remembered that God was their Rock,.... Who had delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, had strengthened them against them, and supported and protected them, as well as supplied them with all good things, of whom they had been greatly unmindful; but affliction was a means of refreshing their memory; see Deuteronomy 32:15,

and the high God their Redeemer; who had redeemed them out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, with a high hand and a mighty arm, and thereby showed himself to be the most high God: between this and the following verse the Masorah puts this note,

"half of the book,''

i.e. half of the book of Psalms ends here.

And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.
35. their rock] Cp. Deuteronomy 32:4 ff.

the high God] God Most High, El Elyôn, a combination found elsewhere only in Genesis 14:18 ff. But cp. Psalm 73:11; and Psalm 7:17, Psalm 47:2, Jehovah Elyôn; Psalm 57:2, Elôhîm Elyôn.

Verse 35. - And they remembered that God was their Rock; i.e. their strength and stay. The expression is first used of God in Deuteronomy 32:4. And the high God their Redeemer (comp. Psalm 19:14; Psalm 74:2). Psalm 78:35Passing over to the giving of the quails, the poet is thinking chiefly of the first occasion mentioned in Exodus 16, which directly preceded the giving of the manna. But the description follows the second: יסּע (He caused to depart, set out) after Numbers 11:31. "East" and "south" belong together: it was a south-east wind from the Aelanitic Gulf. "To rain down" is a figurative expression for a plentiful giving of dispensing from above. "Its camp, its tents," are those of Israel, Numbers 11:31, cf. Exodus 16:13. The תּעוה, occurring twice, Psalm 78:29-30 (of the object of strong desire, as in Psalm 21:3), points to Kibroth-hattaavah, the scene of this carnal lusting; הביא is the transitive of the בּוא in Proverbs 13:12. In Psalm 78:30-31 even in the construction the poet closely follows Numbers 11:33 (cf. also זרוּ with לזרא, aversion, loathing, Numbers 11:20). The Waw unites what takes place simultaneously; a construction which presents the advantage of being able to give special prominence to the subject. The wrath of God consisted in the breaking out of a sickness which was the result of immoderate indulgence, and to which even the best-nourished and most youthfully vigorous fell a prey. When the poet goes on in Psalm 78:32 to say that in spite of these visitations (בּכל־זאת) they went on sinning, he has chiefly before his mind the outbreak of "fat" rebelliousness after the return of the spies, cf. Psalm 78:32 with Numbers 14:11. And Psalm 78:33 refers to the judgment of death in the wilderness threatened at that time to all who had come out of Egypt from twenty years old and upward (Numbers 14:28-34). Their life devoted to death vanished from that time onwards בּהבל, in breath-like instability, and בּבּהלה, in undurable precipitancy; the mode of expression in Psalm 31:11; Job 36:1 suggests to the poet an expressive play of words. When now a special judgment suddenly and violently thinned the generation that otherwise was dying off, as in Numbers 21:6., then they inquired after Him, they again sought His favour, those who were still preserved in the midst of this dying again remembered the God who had proved Himself to be a "Rock" (Deuteronomy 32:15, Deuteronomy 32:18, Deuteronomy 32:37) and to be a "Redeemer" (Genesis 48:16) to them. And what next? Psalm 78:36-37

(Note: According to the reckoning of the Masora this Psalm 78:36 is the middle verse of the 2527 verses of the Psalter (Buxtorf, Tiberias, 1620, p. 133).)

tell us what effect they gave to this disposition to return to God. They appeased Him with their mouth, is meant to say: they sought to win Him over to themselves by fair speeches, inasmuch as they thus anthropopathically conceived of God, and with their tongue they played the hypocrite to Him; their heart, however, was not sincere towards Him (עם like את in Psalm 78:8), i.e., not directed straight towards Him, and they proved themselves not stedfast (πιστοί, or properly βέβαιοι) in their covenant-relationship to Him.

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