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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Psalms 106



Verses 1-5

1. Introductory call to praise106:1-5

The writer, whomever he may have been, urged his audience to praise the Lord by thanking Him for His goodness, loyal love, and powerful works. God promised to bless those who are consistently just and righteous. Therefore the psalmist asked God to bless him with prosperity, joy, and glory.

Verses 1-48

Psalm 106

This psalm recalls Israel"s unfaithfulness to God, whereas Psalm 105 stressed God"s faithfulness to the nation. Even though God"s people proved unfaithful to Him, He remained faithful to them because of His covenant promises (cf. 1 Chronicles 16:34-36; Nehemiah 9; Isaiah 63:7 to Isaiah 64:12; Daniel 9; 2 Timothy 2:13).

Verse 6

The psalmist confessed that Israel had been unfaithful to God. This was true of his generation as it had been true of former generations. This confession introduced a review of specific iniquities and wickedness.

Verses 6-46

2. The record of Israel"s unfaithfulness to God106:6-46

Verses 7-12

The Israelites did not learn from the plagues that God could and would take care of them. Consequently, when there appeared to be no escape at the Red Sea, they complained rather than trusting and waiting ( Exodus 14:11-12). Nevertheless Yahweh saved them from the pursuing Egyptian soldiers for His reputation"s sake. He led them safely across and drowned Pharaoh"s soldiers ( Exodus 14:26-30). This salvation moved His people to praise Him ( Exodus 15).

Verses 13-33

The writer did not recount Israel"s rebellions in the wilderness in strict chronological sequence. His concern was to build from less serious acts of rebellion to greater ones, evidently for the emotional effect this would produce in the reader.

Psalm 106:13-15 describe the rebellion at Kibroth-hattaavah when the Israelites demanded meat and God sent them quails ( Numbers 11:4-34; cf. Lot, and the Prodigal Son). Psalm 106:16-18 recall the rebellion of Dathan and Abiram against Moses ( Numbers 16). Psalm 106:19-23 refer to the golden calf incident at Mt. Sinai ( Exodus 32). "Their glory" ( Psalm 106:20) refers to Yahweh.

"The first failure involved the lusts of the flesh and the second involved the pride of life (see 1 John 2:15-17). The third failure, the worship of the golden calf ( Exodus 32; Deuteronomy 9:8-29), involved the lust of the eyes." [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p285.]

Psalm 106:24-27 speak of Israel"s refusal to enter the Promised Land from Kadesh Barnea when the spies returned and gave their discouraging report ( Numbers 13:26-33). Psalm 106:28-31 refer to Israel"s participation in the pagan worship feast of the Moabites, another flagrant departure from faithful allegiance to Yahweh ( Numbers 25). Psalm 106:32-33 describe the rebellion at Meribah Kadesh when the people so aggravated Moses that he struck the rock rather than just speaking to it ( Numbers 20:2-13).

"In summary, except for Phinehas"s action and God"s patience and grace, the wilderness era, as the psalmists recall it, has few pleasant memories. Yet, it was a time from which Israel could receive much instruction, even from their ancestors" disobedience, for their ongoing history and relationship to God." [Note: Bullock, p112.]

"As George Morrison wrote, "The Lord took Israel out of Egypt in one night, but it took Him forty years to take Egypt out of Israel."" [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p285.]

Verses 34-46

Psalm 106:34-39 relate Israel"s unfaithfulness in the Promised Land. Rather than destroying the Canaanites and their altars, as God had commanded, the Israelites lived among these people, learned their customs, and worshipped their gods. They even participated in child sacrifice rites associated with pagan worship. These involved worshipping demons rather than the true God (cf. Deuteronomy 32:17; 1 Corinthians 10:20). Israel behaved as a harlot by being unfaithful to God.

Psalm 106:40-46 summarize the approximately300 years of Israel"s history that the Book of Judges records (cf. Judges 2:11-23). The Israelites sank lower and lower spiritually during those years. It was God"s faithfulness to His covenant with them and His loyal love that led Him to have mercy on them repeatedly. When they cried out to Him He delivered them (cf. Judges 3:15; et al.). The truth of Psalm 106:46 stands documented in Israel"s later history (cf. Ezra 9:9; Nehemiah 2:8; Esther 8:7-12; et al.).

Verse 47-48

3. Concluding prayer for deliverance106:47-48

This petition suggests that the psalmist lived and wrote during Israel"s Babylonian Captivity. It is a simple request for deliverance, claiming no merit to obtain this favor. The writer relied exclusively on the Lord"s covenant faithfulness and His loyal love for His people ( Psalm 106:45).

The last verse blesses Yahweh and calls on God"s people to praise Him. It is a fitting conclusion to Book4of the Psalter, as well as to Psalm 106.

Prayers of confession, such as this one, help us to maintain a realistic dependence on God"s grace. They remind us that God is faithful-even though His people have not been-and thus they encourage faithfulness in us. Hopefully, we who are New Testament believers will learn from the mistakes of the Israelites and not repeat the same errors ( 1 Corinthians 10:11).

V. BOOK5: CHS107-150

There are44psalms in this section of the Psalter. David composed15 of these (108-110; 122; 124; 131; 133; 138-145), Solomon wrote one (127), and the remaining28 are anonymous. Psalm 113-118 compose the Song of Solomon -called Egyptian Hallel, which the Jews used in their Passover (cf. Mark 14:26). Fifteen are Songs of Ascent (120-134), and five are hallel or Hallelujah psalms (146-150). The time of compilation for Book5 of the Psalter may have been the exilic or postexilic period, perhaps as late as the time of Nehemiah (ca444-432 B.C.). [Note: Bullock, p68.] There is much emphasis on praise in this section of the Psalter, and one might think if it as "the book of praise."


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 106:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

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