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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Psalms 106



Verses 1-48

Psalms 106:1. Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

In this Psalm we have the history of God’s people turned to practical account. I have heard of some very unwise persons, who have said, “I do not care about the histories of Scripture. I do not profit by them.” Tell me, dear friends, what other Bible had David but the history — the first five books? And what more wonderful teaching can there be than is contained in this Psalm, which is the essence of the history, “Praise ye the Lord” —or Hallelujah to Jah? Hallelujah is praise to God.

Psalms 106:2-5. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can show forth all his praise? Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.

If I may fare as God’s people fared, I will be well content, and if God himself will come and bring me salvation, I shall have all that I want. Is that your thought now, dear hearer? Then utter the prayer, and may the Lord answer it while you are yet in your seat.

Psalms 106:6. We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

Three time is the confession of sin here made. It is a good beginning when we can begin with confessing sin. I wish that some people had begun there, when they took up with religion; but they too often jump into it, and I am afraid that they will jump out of it again. That harvest which does not come of ploughing is one which will never fill a barn, and that salvation which does not come from a sense of sin will never come to much.

Psalms 106:7. Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt;

They saw them; they were surprised by them; but they could not make them out, could not tell what God was at when he smote the Egyptians. A want of understanding of divine truth is a very fatal want.

Psalms 106:7. They remembered not the multitude of thy mercies;

What we do not understand we soon forget.

Psalms 106:7. But provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.

They had not been long out of Egypt; they had scarcely eaten the bread that they brought out of their ovens, but they began to doubt God. They provoked him at the sea, even at the Red Sea.

Psalms 106:8. Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

He could not save them for their own sake, but he saved them for his own name’s sake.

Psalms 106:9. He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through depths, as through the wilderness.

The bottom of the sea was made as dry and as easy for their feet as the plains of the wilderness, and God led them through.

Psalms 106:10-12. And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left. Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.

It is almost a sarcasm. They believed when they saw. When the promise was fulfilled, then they believed it. Ah! my dear hearers, are there not some of you of whom the same might be said — I mean some people of God? You believe as far as you can see; and that is not believing at all. Let us trust God, whether or no. Red Sea or no Red Sea, let us believe the promise of God, and make sure that it will be true. Then believed they his words; they sung his praise.

Psalms 106:13. They soon forgat his works:

They were in a hurry to forget.

Psalms 106:13-15. They waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

They had quails to eat. They had the food that they begged for, but their hearts were starved; their souls were famished. Ah! me, what people they were!

Psalms 106:16. They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.

They began to pick holes in their character. Good men that lived for them, and were ready to die for them — they began to spit upon them.

Psalms 106:17-20. The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram. And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burnt up the wicked. They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.

See! they had been in Egypt. They had seen the Egyptians worship the god Apis in the form of a bull, so that they must needs have a bull too. I daresay that they said, “The bull is an emblem of strength. We do not worship the image; the image is only used to help us to think of the power of God.” But God forbids us to worship him under any image of any sort. “Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, nor in the earth beneath. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them.” All images, pictures, crucifixes — the whole (rut) of them are abhorrent and abominable to God. We must have nothing to do with them as helps to worship, for they are not helps. They are destroyers of the worship of God. But, you say to me, “You tell us that it was a bull.” Yes, and, in contempt, the man of God here calls it a calf. You cannot be too disrespectful to objects of idolatrous worship. They may be esteemed by others, but do not show any kind of respect to them yourself; but if there be a name that you can give them that is full of sarcasm, let them have it.

Psalms 106:21-23. They forgot God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea. Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.

They had found fault with Moses, yet Moses stood forward as intercessor, and through his pleading their lives were preserved. You see, again, what a sinful people they were. Ah! indeed they were! Look in this looking-glass and see yourself.

Psalms 106:24-25. Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: But murmured in their tents, and harkened not unto the voice of the LORD.

This murmuring in your tents is a very obnoxious thing to God. Always grumbling and complaining. “It is an Englishman’s privilege,” says one. Mind it does not turn out to be an Englishman’s ruin, for God cannot endure that we should be always murmuring at his providence.

Psalms 106:26-28. Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness: To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands. They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifice of the dead.

They tried to practice necromancy — to have communion with spirits; they tried to learn the dark science and the black art; and this also God abhors.

Psalms 106:29-30. Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them. Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.

In his hot zeal he ran the spear through two who were rebelling against God. He did it with all his might, and sometimes it is a kindness to a people to deal severely with them. Sin is not to be treated with white kid gloves. It has to be dealt with sometimes with a heavy hand. Phineas did this.

Psalms 106:31-32. And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore. They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:

Poor Moses who loved them, and lived with them, yet lost his temper.

Psalms 106:33. Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips

What a people to have to do with! Who would wish to be Moses, and who would wish to be a minister?

Psalms 106:34-35. They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.

They did not keep themselves separate. They would go and join this lot and that lot. They mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.

Psalms 106:36-39. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.

“What a dreadful people,” say you. These were God’s chosen people, Israel; the best people in the world at that time; and yet how could they be much worse? Oh! what a God of mercy God is to deal with such people at all!

Psalms 106:40-43. Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. And he gave them into the hand of the heathen: and they that hated them ruled over them. Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand. Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.

Listen to this.

Psalms 106:44-45. Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry: And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.

You would have thought that he would have been provoked beyond endurance, but, after all he had smitten, he still had a tender heart towards them.

Psalms 106:46-48. He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives. Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting; and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 106:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

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