Psalm 106 – The LORD’s Mercy to His Covenant People
“This psalm is the dark counterpart of its predecessor, a shadow cast by human self-will in its long struggle against the light.” (Derek Kidner)
Alexander Maclaren observed, “The keynote of Psalms 105 is, ‘Remember His mighty deeds,’ that of Psalms 106 is, ‘They forgot His mighty deeds.’”
“Israel’s history is here written with the View of showing human sin, even as the preceding Psalm was composed to magnify divine goodness. It is, in fact, A NATIONAL CONFESSION.” (Charles Spurgeon)
A. Praise and prayer.
1. (1) Praising God for His enduring mercy.
Praise the LORD!
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
a. Praise the LORD! Psalm 106 begins the way Psalm 105 ended, saying hallelujah! Psalm 105 gave praise because of God’s many gifts and blessings to Israel. Psalm 106 gives praise because of God’s great mercy to an often rebellious and ungrateful Israel.
b. Oh, give thanks to the LORD: There is a sense of pleading in this phrase, as if the Psalmist was desperate to draw greater gratitude from himself and God’s people, especially in light of His goodness.
i. For He is good: “Surely the thought of God’s unspeakable goodness most appropriately precedes the psalmist’s confession, for nothing so melts a heart in penitence as the remembrance of God’s love, and nothing so heightens the evil of sin as the consideration of the patient goodness which it has long flouted.” (Maclaren)
c. His mercy endures forever: The rest of this long psalm will describe God’s great mercy (hesed, God’s loyal covenant love) to a disobedient Israel.
i. “Since man ceases not to be sinful, it is a great blessing that Jehovah ceases not to be merciful.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “For all its exposure of man’s ingratitude, this is a psalm of praise, for it is God’s extraordinary longsuffering that emerges as the real theme.” (Kidner)
2. (2-3) Praising God for His mighty acts.
Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?
Who can declare all His praise?
Blessed are those who keep justice,
And he who does righteousness at all times!
a. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? In the midst of his praise, the Psalmist recognized that it wasn’t enough. God’s mighty acts are so many they are beyond description. Because of this, one cannot declare all His praise.
i. “The interrogative (‘Who can… ?) is a Hebraic form of making an asseveration: ‘no one can proclaim… or fully declare’ (cf. Exodus 15:11).” (VanGemeren)
ii. “Who is sufficient for a work that demandeth the tongues and harps of angels?” (Horne)
b. Blessed are those who keep justice: The sense is that those who walk in obedience to God (keep justice… does righteousness) that they do their part to declare God’s praise.
i. “That are of right principles and upright practices; this is real and substantial praising of God. Thanks doing is the proof of thanksgiving; and the good life of the thankful is the life of thankfulness.” (Trapp)
3. (4-5) Praying to be visited by God’s salvation.
Remember me, O LORD, with the favor You have toward Your people.
Oh, visit me with Your salvation,
That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance.
a. Remember me, O LORD: With a preface and foundation of praise, the Psalmist felt the door was open to ask God for help. He knew that for God to remember was to stir His compassion action. For God to visit meant He would come with His salvation, bringing deliverance in the present trouble.
i. Horne called the prayer of Psalm 106:4-5 “The most spiritual and heavenly petition that the devoutest Christian can prefer to the throne of grace.”
b. Oh, visit me with Your salvation: The plea is made as if the Psalmist were too sick to go to the doctor for necessary care, and must have the doctor visit them.
i. “There is no salvation apart from the Lord, and he must visit us with it or we shall never obtain it. We are too sick to visit our Great Physician, and therefore he visits us.” (Spurgeon)
c. That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones: Three reasons for the request are given, each one concerned with the honor and fame of God.
· That I may see the benefit: “LORD, I want to see Your people blessed by Your mighty works toward them.”
· That I may rejoice: “LORD, I want to share in the joy of your blessed and redeemed people.”
· That I may glory: “LORD, I want to be part of Your victory and the victory of Your people.”
B. Confessing Israel’s sin and need for God’s mercy.
1. (6-7) Israel’s guilt in the past and present.
We have sinned with our fathers,
We have committed iniquity,
We have done wickedly.
Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders;
They did not remember the multitude of Your mercies,
But rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea.
a. We have sinned with our fathers: Psalm 106 is mainly focused the repeated failure of Israel through her history. Yet the singer of this Psalm does not see failure as something only of Israel’s past. He identified his present generation with Israel of old, connected in their sin, their iniquity, and their wicked deeds.
i. This is a remarkably humble and straightforward confession of sin. “Sin must be confessed with utmost aggravation. I will hear how full in the mouth these are against themselves, laying on load, while their sins swell as so many toads in their eyes.” (Trapp)
ii. “Such a prayer stands in the closest relation to the theme of the psalm, which draws out the dark record of national sin, in order to lead to that national repentance… Precisely because the hope of restoration is strong, the delineation of sin is unsparing.” (Maclaren)
iii. We have sinned with our fathers: “The fathers’ sins are often reflected in their children; and each new reflection, instead of being weaker, is stronger than the foregoing.” (Horne)
iv. “Men may be said to have sinned with their fathers when they imitate them, when they follow the same objects, and make their own lives to be mere continuations of the follies of their sires.” (Spurgeon)
b. Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders: Based on the lines from Psalm 106:6, we understand this to carry the sense, “Our fathers sinned and rebelled, and so have we.” He recounted Israel’s sin at Marah, shortly after coming from the Red Sea (Exodus 15:22-27).
i. They did not remember the multitude of Your mercies: “The contrast between the loving acts (v. 7, pl. of ḥeseḏ; NIV, ‘kindnesses’) of the Lord and Israel’s lack of responsiveness dramatizes the greatness of God’s love and salvation. He delivered a people who did not respond to his love!” (VanGemeren)
2. (8-12) The mercy of God’s salvation to rebellious Israel.
Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake,
That He might make His mighty power known.
He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it dried up;
So He led them through the depths,
As through the wilderness.
He saved them from the hand of him who hated them,
And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
The waters covered their enemies;
There was not one of them left.
Then they believed His words;
They sang His praise.
a. Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake: Israel responded to God’s great deliverance with ingratitude and rebellion. Despite all that (nevertheless), God answered with rescue, but not only for Israel’s sake. He saved them so that He might make His mighty power known.
i. “Thus Israel’s history is as much the story of God’s mercy, faithfulness, and long-suffering as it is the story of Israel’s faithlessness and unbelief. In fact, it is against the background of their sin that God’s patience is most fully illuminated.” (Boice)
ii. His name’s sake: “The Lord very jealously guards his own name and honour. It shall never be said of him that he cannot or will not save his people, or that he cannot abate the haughtiness of his defiant foes. This respect unto his own honour ever leads him to deeds of mercy, and hence we may well rejoice that he is a jealous God.” (Spurgeon)
b. He rebuked the Red Sea: The great works of God are remembered, from the dividing of the Red Sea to the destruction of the Egyptian army (waters covered their enemies).
c. They believed His words; they sang His praise: Israel’s reaction to God’s saving works was not all rebellion and disobedience. There were times they trusted God’s words and praised Him in song (Exodus 15).
i. Spurgeon detected a fault even in this belief and praise: “That is to say, they believed the promise when they saw it fulfilled, but not till then. This is mentioned, not to their credit, but to their shame. Those who do not believe the Lord’s word till they see it performed are not believers at all.”
3. (13-15) Because of their sin, God gave them leanness of soul.
They soon forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness,
And tested God in the desert.
And He gave them their request,
But sent leanness into their soul.
a. They soon forgot His works: Israel moved quickly from faith and celebration of God’s works (Psalm 106:12) to ingratitude and disobedience. Their lust after physical, material things (lusted exceedingly) was an important factor in this (Numbers 11).
i. Soon forgot His works: “In the hour of deliverance faith aided by sight is strong, and it is easy to sing. But directly strain and stress return, the past of God’s might is forgotten, and His counsel is not sought.” (Morgan)
ii. “Is it that way with you? You see God’s miracles, but at the first sign of any new opposition you forget what God has done and are soon rebelling against what you suppose to be your hard and painful life? Then, when God saves you again, you sing his praises but soon forget even that deliverance? That is exactly what you and I are like.” (Boice)
iii. Lusted exceedingly: The Hebrew for this phrase is simply a repetition of the word lust—as in, they lusted a lust.
b. Tested God in the desert: The Psalmist repeated the idea from Psalm 78:18 which spoke of Israel testing God with their unbelief regarding His ability to provide for their needs in the wilderness.
c. He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul: God gave Israel the meat they craved (Numbers 11). Yet the meat was also sent with an associated curse, and what they wanted became something bad. The prodigal son and Lot are other examples of those who received what they wanted, but came to ruin because of it.
i. When we allow ungodly cravings to rule our lives, God may send what we crave – and leanness into our soul as well. Better to deny one’s self those cravings, yet enjoy a “fat” and healthy soul. “They had their desire, but their souls were starved.” (Meyer)
ii. “For whoever sets his hot desires in self-willed fashion on material good, and succeeds in securing their gratification, gains with the satiety of his lower sense the loss of a shrivelled spiritual nature. Full-fed flesh makes starved souls.” (Maclaren)
iii. He gave them their request: “Oh, do not seek to impose your will on God; do not insist on anything with too great vehemence; let God choose. Whenever you make request for things, which are not definitely promised, ask God not to grant them, except it be for the very best.” (Meyer)
iv. God sent “A plague upon their bodies, a curse upon their souls. Many men eat that on earth which they digest in hell. It is dangerous feeding on sin’s murdering morsels.” (Trapp)
v. The judgment mentioned here (and in Numbers 11) was strict, but it was a help to Israel because it taught them to not be ruled by their cravings and lusts. They came to call this place Kibroth Hattaavah–meaning, “Graves of Craving” (Numbers 11:34). Many since have allowed their cravings to become their grave.
4. (16-18) Because of their sin, God sent fire and judgment.
When they envied Moses in the camp,
And Aaron the saint of the LORD,
The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan,
And covered the faction of Abiram.
A fire was kindled in their company;
The flame burned up the wicked.
a. When they envied Moses in the camp: This refers to the rebellion led by Korah, recorded in Numbers 16. Korah believed that Moses and Aaron were arrogant and proud, accusing them: You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD? (Numbers 16:3)
i. “The self-righteous attacks on Moses’ spiritual and temporal leadership in Numbers 16:3, 13 are unmasked in the simple words, men … were jealous. Such directness is as characteristic of Scripture as are the elaborate self-justifications of men.” (Kidner)
ii. “Who can hope to escape envy when the meekest of men was subject to it? How unreasonable was this envy, for Moses was the one man in all the camp who laboured hardest and had most to bear. They should have sympathised with him; to envy him was ridiculous.” (Spurgeon)
b. Aaron the saint of the LORD: This was God’s generosity towards an often-erring servant (as in Exodus 32, the golden calf incident). Whatever faults Aaron had, he was God’s appointed priest and Korah directed his rebellion against both Moses and Aaron.
c. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan: Korah had two leading conspirators, Dathan and Abiram. Dramatically, God opened up the earth and they were swallowed in the giant crevice (Numbers 16:31-33).
d. The flame burned up the wicked: Numbers 16:35 describes the fire that consumed 250 men who also conspired with Korah.
5. (19-23) Because of their sin, God set Himself against Israel.
They made a calf in Horeb,
And worshiped the molded image.
Thus they changed their glory
Into the image of an ox that eats grass.
They forgot God their Savior,
Who had done great things in Egypt,
Wondrous works in the land of Ham,
Awesome things by the Red Sea.
Therefore He said that He would destroy them,
Had not Moses His chosen one stood before Him in the breach,
To turn away His wrath, lest He destroy them.
a. They made a calf in Horeb: The singer of Psalm 106 didn’t present the Exodus account in chronological order. Here he remembered Israel’s sin with the golden calf, which happened well before the rebellion of Korah.
b. Worshipped the molded image: This sin of ingratitude, unbelief, idolatry, and immorality is recorded in Exodus 32. The graciousness of God toward Aaron continues by not mentioning his role in Israel’s transgression.
c. Thus they changed their glory into the image of an ox: Israel’s idolatry with the golden calf did not actually debase God; it debased them. They lowered themselves to be the creatures and servants of a man-made beast.
i. “The strange perverseness which turned away from such a radiance of glory to bow down before an idol is strikingly set forth by the figure of bartering it for an image and that of an ox that ate grass.” (Maclaren)
ii. Paul quoted from the Septuagint translation of this phrase from Psalm 106:20 in Romans 1:23, using it as a strong accusation against idolaters of all kinds. Paul’s application of this in Romans 1:23 demonstrates, “It is not Israel alone that has been guilty of the sin of idolatry. This is humanity’s sin in general. We too are idolaters when we put anything but God in God’s place.” (Boice)
d. They forgot God their Savior: Their sin was not only of idolatry and immorality, but also of plain ingratitude. The God who did great things, wondrous works and awesome things in bringing them out of Egypt was ignored in their praise of the golden calf.
e. Therefore He said that He would destroy them: Exodus 32:9-10 records the remarkable words of God to Moses, explaining that He would destroy the rebellious people of Israel and build the nation again through Moses.
i. God told Moses, “Let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them” (Exodus 32:10). God did not ask for the opinion or participation of Moses in this matter. He simply told Moses, “Let Me alone so I can do this.” The clear impression was that if Moses did nothing, the plan would go ahead.
f. Moses His chosen one stood before Him in the breach: Moses did something, not nothing. He did not fatalistically say, “Well, whatever God will do, God will do.” Moses pleaded with the LORD, asking Him to turn away His wrath, because in a larger sense he believed this to be God’s heart (Exodus 32:11-13). God answered the prayer of Moses, and Israel was spared.
i. In the breach: “The metaphor ‘stood in the breach’ derives from military language, signifying the bravery of a soldier who stands in the breach of the wall, willing to give his life in warding off the enemy (cf. Ezekiel 22:30). So Moses stood bravely in the presence of Almighty God on behalf of Israel.” (VanGemeren)
ii. “Like a bold warrior who defends the wall when there is an opening for the adversary and destruction is rushing in upon the city, Moses stopped the way of avenging justice with his prayers.” (Spurgeon)
iii. “God had made a hedge or wall about them; but they had made a gap or breach in it by their sins, at which the Lord, who was now justly become their enemy, might enter to destroy them; which he had certainly done, if Moses by his prevailing intercession had not hindered him.” (Poole)
iv. To turn away His wrath: “Mighty as was the sin of Israel to provoke vengeance, prayer was mightier in turning it away. How diligently ought we to plead with the Lord for this guilty world, and especially for his own backsliding people!” (Spurgeon)
6. (24-27) Because of their sin, God overthrew them in the wilderness.
Then they despised the pleasant land;
They did not believe His word,
But complained in their tents,
And did not heed the voice of the LORD.
Therefore He raised His hand in an oath against them,
To overthrow them in the wilderness,
To overthrow their descendants among the nations,
And to scatter them in the lands.
a. They despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His word: This refers to Israel’s sinful unbelief at Kadesh Barnea (Numbers 14:1-4). They did not believe the promise of God or the report of the two faithful spies (Numbers 13:30).
i. Complained in their tents: “Murmuring is a great sin and not a mere weakness; it contains within itself unbelief, pride, rebellion, and a whole host of sins. It is a home sin, and is generally practised by complainers ‘in their tents,’ but it is just as evil there as in the streets, and will be quite as grievous to the Lord.” (Spurgeon)
b. Did not heed the voice of the LORD: God promised them the land of Canaan, no matter what the opposition. It was plain unbelief, masked by a supposed concern for their wives and children (Numbers 14:3).
c. He raised His hand in an oath against them: God promised that the generation of unbelief in the wilderness would not inherit the land of Canaan (Numbers 14:21-25). That generation would die in the wilderness and the new generation had their opportunity to take the land by faith.
i. He raised His hand: “He sware, as this phrase is commonly used, as Genesis 14:22, Deuteronomy 32:40, Nehemiah 9:15, Revelation 10:5,6: of this dreadful and irrevocable sentence and oath of God,” (Poole)
7. (28-31) Because of their sin, God sent a plague.
They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor,
And ate sacrifices made to the dead.
Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds,
And the plague broke out among them.
Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,
And the plague was stopped.
And that was accounted to him for righteousness
To all generations forevermore.
a. They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor: Numbers 25 tells the story of how the young women of Moab enticed the men of Israel to idolatry and immorality at Baal of Peor. In their idolatry they ate sacrifices made to the dead.
b. Plague broke out among them: God sent plague as a judgment against Israel, and the plague was only stopped with righteous Phinehas, who brought God’s judgment against an Israelite man and Moabite woman who were apparently in the midst of immorality at or near the tabernacle itself (Numbers 25:6-9). This act of righteousness stopped the plague.
i. “This brave and decided deed was so acceptable to God as a proof that there were some sincere souls in Israel that the deadly visitation went no further.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “Dr. Hammon observes, that Phinehas, being the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was one of the judges of Israel; and if so, he had a clear commission for what he did, from Moses… The case of Phinehas, therefore, is no precedent for uncommissioned zealots.” (Horne)
iii. John Trapp emphasized the truth that no one should used Phinehas as an example of taking violence against sinners: “By a secret, heroical, and extraordinary motion of God’s Spirit, such as may not be drawn into example. All things reported and commended in Scripture may not be imitated.”
c. That was accounted to him for righteousness: In recognition of his righteous act, God made a covenant regarding the priesthood with Phinehas and his descendants (Numbers 25:10-13)
8. (32-33) Because of their sin, God disciplined Moses.
They angered Him also at the waters of strife,
So that it went ill with Moses on account of them;
Because they rebelled against His Spirit,
So that he spoke rashly with his lips.
a. They angered Him also at the waters of strife: Numbers 20:9-11 explains how Israel angered Moses at Meribah by their complaining and contention. Nevertheless, God commanded Moses to speak to the rock (Numbers 20:7-8), and God promised to miraculously provide water from the rock.
b. It went ill with Moses on account of them: Moses did not speak to the rock as God commanded. In anger he struck the rock (Numbers 20:9-11). God provided the water, but Moses misrepresented God and was therefore denied entrance into the promised land (Numbers 20:12-13).
c. Because they rebelled against His Spirit: The singer of Psalm 106 put the emphasis on how Israel provoked Moses by their rebellion and by making him angry. Moses was truly provoked, but God still held him responsible for his reaction to the provocation.
i. Spurgeon noted that sometimes congregations provoke their ministers or pastors as Israel provoked Moses. “We ought also to be very careful how we treat the ministers of the gospel, lest by provoking their spirit we should drive them into any unseemly behaviour which should bring upon them the chastisement of the Lord. Little do a murmuring, quarrelsome people dream of the perils in which they involve their pastors by their untoward behaviour.”
ii. He spoke rashly with His lips: “For this sentence we have only these two words in the Hebrew, vayebatte bisephathaiv, he stuttered or stammered with his lips, indicating that he was transported with anger.” (Clarke)
9. (34-39) Because of their sin, the land was polluted.
They did not destroy the peoples,
Concerning whom the LORD had commanded them,
But they mingled with the Gentiles
And learned their works;
They served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.
They even sacrificed their sons
And their daughters to demons,
And shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with blood.
Thus they were defiled by their own works,
And played the harlot by their own deeds.
a. They did not destroy the peoples, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them: When Israel came into the promised land God commanded them to destroy the Canaanite nations living in the land.
i. This was a unique war of judgment that God commanded Israel to perform against depraved cultures, ripe and even overdue for judgment.
b. They mingled with the Gentiles and learned their works: God wanted Israel to make war against the Canaanites to serve His purpose of judgment. But God also wanted the Canaanites removed so they would not be an evil influence upon the Israelites, leading them into the worship of their idols and their evil ways. Israel’s failure to do as God commanded meant this evil influence corrupted God’s people.
i. “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.” (Spurgeon)
c. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons: One of the worst examples of this evil influence was Israel’s worship of Molech, a Canaanite god sometimes worshipped with child sacrifice.
i. To demons: “They did not worship God, as they pretended and sometimes designed, but devils in their idols; and that those spirits which were supposed by the heathen idolaters to inhabit in their images, and which they worshipped in them, were not gods or good spirits, as they imagined, but evil spirits or devils.” (Poole)
ii. Demons: “The devils are here called Shedim, destroyers (in opposition to Shaddai, the Almighty), and worthily; for they make it their work to waste and spoil people of their dearest children, as here, of their precious souls, with the blood whereof they do daily glut themselves.” (Trapp)
d. The land was polluted with blood: The Bible teaches that until justice prevails, the blood of innocents murdered cries out to God (Genesis 4:10) and pollutes a nation in the eyes of God (Numbers 35:33).
i. “The promised land, the holy land, which was the glory of all lands, for God was there, was defiled with the reeking gore of innocent babes, and by the bloodred hands of their parents, who slew them in order to pay homage to devils.” (Spurgeon)
e. Thus they were defiled by their own works: In both the atmosphere they allowed and the deeds they did, Israel defiled themselves, and by their own works. The same statement could be said over many of God’s people today.
10. (40-43) Because of their sin, God gave them to their enemies.
Therefore the wrath of the LORD was kindled against His people,
So that He abhorred His own inheritance.
And He gave them into the hand of the Gentiles,
And those who hated them ruled over them.
Their enemies also oppressed them,
And they were brought into subjection under their hand.
Many times He delivered them;
But they rebelled in their counsel,
And were brought low for their iniquity.
a. Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people: For all the sins mentioned in this long psalm, God’s wrath righteously burned against Israel. In a sense, He abhorred His own inheritance, and gave them over to severe correction.
i. “How far the divine wrath can burn against those whom he yet loves in his heart it were hard to say, but certainly Israel pushed the experiment to the extreme.” (Spurgeon)
b. He gave them into the hand of the Gentiles: This seems to be an exilic psalm (especially in light of Psalm 106:46), written after the conquest and forced exile of Judah. This giving of Israel into the hand of the Gentiles was not merely defeat in a few battles, but their complete conquest and virtual depopulation of the land—those who hated them ruled over them.
i. “In their God they had found a kind master, but in those with whom they had perversely sought fellowship they found despots of the most barbarous sort.” (Spurgeon)
c. Many times He delivered them: Israel’s basic ingratitude is once again considered. God delivered, but they rebelled. Such ingratitude could not go forever unanswered. In time—after much longsuffering from God—Israel was brought low for their iniquity.
C. God’s great mercy to Israel.
1. (44-46) Because of His mercy, God heard their cry of affliction.
Nevertheless He regarded their affliction,
When He heard their cry;
And for their sake He remembered His covenant,
And relented according to the multitude of His mercies.
He also made them to be pitied
By all those who carried them away captive.
a. Nevertheless He regarded their affliction: After the truth of God’s correction of Israel described in the previous lines, the word nevertheless comes as a wonderful, gracious reprieve. Despite the judgment they well deserved, God regarded their affliction and remembered His covenant.
i. “Although the people were unfaithful to him, God nevertheless was faithful to them, which is why a psalm dealing with the sins of God’s people can end on a positive note.” (Boice)
ii. “The covenant forgotten by men is none the less remembered by Him. The numberless number of His lovingkindnesses, greater than that of all men’s sins, secures forgiveness after the most repeated transgressions.” (Maclaren)
b. Relented according to the multitude of His mercies: It might have been different; God could have dealt with Israel only on the basis of their sin and His righteous judgment. While not ignoring their sin, God decided to deal with them according to the multitude of His mercies.
c. He also made them to be pitied: One aspect of God’s mercy to Israel was in giving them favor with the nations where they suffered exile. Those who carried them away captive felt sorry for their Israelite captives and treated them better.
i. “This was particularly true as to the Babylonish captivity; for Cyrus gave them their liberty; Darius favoured them, and granted them several privileges; and Artaxerxes sent back Nehemiah, and helped him to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple.” (Clarke)
2. (47-48) Praying to and praising the God of great mercy.
Save us, O LORD our God,
And gather us from among the Gentiles,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
To triumph in Your praise.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the LORD!
a. Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles: The sense is that this psalm was composed when the mercies of God to Israel in their captivity were just beginning to be seen. The singer of the psalm rightly took those early, small mercies as the basis to boldly ask for greater mercies—that their captivity would be ended and they could return to the land.
b. To give thanks to Your holy name: The Psalmist vowed that God’s people would respond gratefully, breaking the previous pattern of ingratitude. They would not forget, but triumph in Your praise.
i. “Penitence is never out of place in praise, nor praise in an act of penitence.” (Kidner)
c. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel: The Psalmist would not wait for the asked for mercies to be evident before he began to thank and praise God. The praise started immediately, and would be given to God from everlasting to everlasting. This was praise that all the peoples should join with, saying “Hallelujah!” to God.
i. “Verse 48 therefore makes a fitting crown to a psalm whose theme has been God’s steadfastness even more than man’s perversity, and a doxology to conclude Book iv of the Psalter.” (Kidner)
ii. “Psalms 106:48 is the concluding doxology of the Fourth Book. Some commentators suppose it an integral part of the psalm, but it is more probably an editorial addition.” (Maclaren)
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission