New American Standard Bible
When He killed them, then they sought Him, And returned and searched diligently for God;
King James Bible
When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and inquired early after God.
Darby Bible Translation
When he slew them, then they sought him, and returned and sought early after �God;
World English Bible
When he killed them, then they inquired after him. They returned and sought God earnestly.
Young's Literal Translation
If He slew them, then they sought Him, And turned back, and sought God earnestly,
Psalm 78:34 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
When he slew them - When he came forth in his wrath and cut them down by the plague, by fiery serpents, or by their enemies.
Then they sought him - Their calamities had the effect of producing temporary reformation. They became professedly penitent; they manifested a wish to know God, and expressed a purpose to serve him. It was, however, a temporary and hollow, not a deep and real reformation. This often occurs. In times of affliction, in sickness, in bereavement, in the loss of property, people become serious, and express a purpose to repent and turn to God. A deep impression seems to be produced on their minds, to last, alas! only as long as the hand of God rests upon them. Resolutions of repentance are formed only to be forgotten when the affliction is removed, and when the days of prosperity again return.
And they returned and inquired early after God - The word rendered "inquired early" has reference to the first rays of the morning - the aurora - the dawn. Then it comes to denote the beginning of anything; or, the first thing. Thus employed, it may refer to the act of seeking God as the first thing; in youth; in the morning; at the commencement of any enterprise or undertaking. See Proverbs 8:17; Proverbs 1:28. Here it means that, in their affliction, they did not delay to seek God, but expressed an early intention of serving him. They evinced a prompt purpose to break off their sins, and to return to him.
Among such sins of the first table is that described in our text. It is consequently one of the masterpieces of iniquity, and we shall do well to purge ourselves of it. It is full of evil to ourselves, and is calculated to dishonor both God and man, therefore let us be in earnest to cut it up both root and branch. I think we have all been guilty of this in our measure; and we are not free from it even to this day. Whether we be saints or sinners, we may stand here and make our humble confession that …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859
"The Sun of Righteousness"
A Jealous God
So the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us." And Moses interceded for the people.
But when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab.
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
"I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, 'Seek Me in a waste place'; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright.
I will go away and return to My place Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud And like the dew which goes away early.
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