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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 105



Verse 1

Psalm 105:1-45. After an exhortation to praise God, addressed especially to the chosen people, the writer presents the special reason for praise, in a summary of their history from the calling of Abraham to their settlement in Canaan, and reminds them that their obedience was the end of all God‘s gracious dealings.

call … name — (Psalm 79:6; Romans 10:13). Call on Him, according to His historically manifested glory. After the example of Abraham, who, as often as God acquired for Himself a name in guiding him, called in solemn worship upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:4).

among the people — or, “peoples” (Psalm 18:49).

deeds — or, “wonders” (Psalm 103:7).

Verse 3-4

Seeking God‘s favor is the only true mode of getting true happiness, and His strength [Psalm 105:4 ] is the only true source of protection (compare Psalm 32:11; Psalm 40:16).

Glory … name — boast in His perfections. The world glories in its horses and chariots against the Church of God lying in the dust; but our hope is in the name, that is, the power and love of God to His people, manifested in past deliverances.

Verse 5-6

judgments … mouth — His judicial decisions for the good and against the wicked.

Verse 6

chosen — rather qualifies “children” than “Jacob,” as a plural.

Verse 7

Rather, “He, Jehovah, is our God.” His title, “Jehovah,” implies that He, the unchangeable, self-existing Being, makes things to be, that is, fulfils His promises, and therefore will not forsake His people. Though specially of His people, He is God over all.

Verses 8-11

The covenant was often ratified.

word — answering to “covenant” [Psalm 105:9 ] in the parallel clause, namely, the word of promise, which, according to Psalm 105:10, He set forth for an inviolable law.

commanded — or, “ordained” (Psalm 68:28).

to a thousand generations — perpetually. A verbal allusion to Deuteronomy 7:9 (compare Exodus 20:6).

Verse 9

Which covenant — or, “Word” (Psalm 105:8).

Verse 10-11

Alluding to God‘s promise to Jacob (Genesis 28:13). Out of the whole storehouse of the promises of God, only one is prominently brought forward, namely, that concerning the possession of Canaan [Psalm 105:11 ]. Everything revolves around this. The wonders and judgments have all for their ultimate design the fulfillment of this promise.

Verses 12-15
in number — alluding to Jacob‘s words (Genesis 34:30), “I being few in number.

yea, very few — literally, “as a few,” that is, like fewness itself (compare Isaiah 1:9).

strangers — sojourners in the land of their future inheritance, as in a strange country (Hebrews 11:9).

Verse 13

from one nation to another — and so from danger to danger; now in Egypt, now in the wilderness, and lastly in Canaan. Though a few strangers, wandering among various nations, God protected them.

Verse 14

reproved kings — Pharaoh of Egypt and Abimelech of Gerar (Genesis 12:17; Genesis 20:3).

Verse 15

Touch not — referring to Genesis 26:11, where Abimelech says of Isaac, “He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

mine anointed — as specially consecrated to Me (Psalm 2:2). The patriarch was the prophet, priest, and king of his family.

my prophets — in a similar sense, compare Genesis 20:7. The “anointed” are those vessels of God, consecrated to His service, “in whom (as Pharaoh said of Joseph, Genesis 41:38) the Spirit of God is” [Hengstenberg].

Verse 16

God ordered the famine. God

called for a famine — as if it were a servant, ready to come at God‘s bidding. Compare the centurion‘s words, as to disease being God‘s servant (Matthew 8:8, Matthew 8:9).

upon the land — namely, Canaan (Genesis 41:54).

staff of bread — what supports life (Leviticus 26:26; Psalm 104:15; Isaiah 3:1).

Verses 17-21

Joseph was sent of God (Genesis 45:5).

Verse 18

hurt with fetters — (Genesis 40:3).

was laid in iron — literally, “his soul” (see on Psalm 16:10), or, “he came into iron,” or, he was bound to his grief (compare Psalm 3:2; Psalm 11:1). The “soul” is put for the whole person, because the soul of the captive suffers still more than the body. Joseph is referred to as being an appropriate type of those “bound in affliction and iron” (Psalm 107:10).

Verse 19

his word came — His prophecy (Genesis 41:11-20) to the officers came to pass, or was fulfilled (Judges 13:12, Judges 13:17; 1 Samuel 9:6, explain the form of speech).

the word of the Lord — or, “saying,” or “decree of the Lord.”

tried him — or, “proved him,” by the afflictions it appointed him to endure before his elevation (compare Genesis 41:40-43).

Verse 22

To bind — Not literally bind; but exercise over them absolute control, as the parallel in the second clause shows; also Genesis 41:40, Genesis 41:44, in which not literal fettering, but commanding obedience, is spoken of. It refers to Psalm 105:18. The soul that was once bound itself now binds others, even princes. The same moral binding is assigned to the saints (Psalm 149:8).

teach … senators wisdom — the ground of his exaltation by Pharaoh was his wisdom (Genesis 41:39); namely, in state policy, and ordering well a kingdom.

Verses 23-25
and Jacob — that is, Jacob himself is meant, as Psalm 105:24 speaks of “his people.” Still, he came with his whole house (Genesis 46:6, Genesis 46:7).

sojourned — (Genesis 47:4).

land of Ham — or, Egypt (Psalm 78:51).

Verse 25

turned their heart — God controls men‘s free acts (compare 1 Samuel 10:9). “When Saul had turned his back to go from (God‘s prophet) Samuel, God turned (Margin) him another heart” (see Exodus 1:8, etc.). Whatever evil the wicked man plots against God‘s people, God holds bound even his heart, so as not to lay a single plan except what God permits. Thus Isaiah (Isaiah 43:17) says it was God who brought forth the army of Pharaoh to pursue Israel to their own destruction (Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:3).

Verse 26
chosen — both what they were by divine choice (Psalm 78:70).

Verse 27

signs — literally, “words of signs,” or rather, as “words” in Hebrew means “things,” “things of His signs,” that is, His marvelous tokens of power (Psalm 145:5, Margin). Compare the same Hebraism (Psalm 65:3, Margin).

Verses 28-36

The ninth plague is made prominent as peculiarly wonderful.

they rebelled not — Moses and Aaron promptly obeyed God (Hebrews 11:27); (compare Exodus 7:1-11:10 and Psalm 78:44-51, with which this summary substantially agrees). Or, rather, the “darkness” here is figurative (Jeremiah 13:16), the literal plague of darkness (Exodus 10:22, Exodus 10:23) being only alluded to as the symbol of God‘s wrath which overhung Egypt as a dark cloud during all the plagues. Hence, it is placed first, out of the historical order. Thus, “They rebelled not (that is, no longer) against His word,” refers to the Egyptians. Whenever God sent a plague on them, they were ready to let Israel go, though refusing when the plague ceased.

his word — His command to let Israel go [Hengstenberg]. Of the ten plagues, only eight are mentioned, the fifth, the murrain of beasts, and the sixth, the boils, being omitted.

Verses 29-31

He deprived them of their favorite “fish,” and gave them instead, [Psalm 105:30 ] out of the water, loathsome “frogs,” and (Psalm 105:31) upon their land tormenting “flies” (the dog-fly, according to Maurer) and “lice” (gnats, according to Hengstenberg).

Verse 32

gave them — referring to Leviticus 26:4, “I give you rain in due season.” His “gift” to Israel‘s foes is one of a very different kind from that bestowed on His people.

hail for rain — instead of fertilizing showers, hail destructive to trees. This forms the transition to the vegetable kingdom. The locusts in Psalm 105:34 similarly are destructive to plants.

Verse 33

their coasts — all their land (Psalm 78:54).

Verse 34

caterpillars — literally, “the lickers up,” devouring insects; probably the hairy-winged locust.

Verse 36

the chief — literally, “the firstlings.” The ascending climax passes from the food of man to man himself. The language here is quoted from Psalm 78:51.

Verse 37

with silver and goldpresented them by the Egyptians, as an acknowledgment due for their labors in their bondage (compare Exodus 12:35).

one feeble person — or, “stumbler,” unfit for the line of march. Compare “harnessed,” that is, accoutred and marshalled as an army on march (Exodus 13:18; Isaiah 5:27).

Verse 38

(Compare Exodus 12:33; Deuteronomy 11:25).

Verse 39

covering — in sense of protection (compare Exodus 13:21; Numbers 10:34). In the burning sands of the desert the cloud protected the congregation from the heat of the sun; an emblem of God‘s protecting favor of His people, as interpreted by Isaiah (Isaiah 4:5, Isaiah 4:6; compare Numbers 9:16).

Verses 42-45

The reasons for these dealings: (1) God‘s faithfulness to His covenant, “His holy promise” of Canaan, is the fountain whence flowed so many acts of marvelous kindness to His people (compare Psalm 105:8, Psalm 105:11). Exodus 2:24 is the fundamental passage [Hengstenberg]. (2) That they might be obedient. The observance of God‘s commands by Abraham was the object of the covenant with him (Genesis 18:19), as it was also the object of the covenant with Israel, that they might observe God‘s statutes.

remembered … and Abraham — or, “remembered His holy word (that is, covenant confirmed) with Abraham.”

Verse 44

inherited the labour — that is, the fruits of their labor; their corn and vineyards (Joshua 21:43-45).


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 105:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

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