Psalms 105


An exhortation to praise God for his wondrous works, 1-5;

his goodness to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 6-16;

to Joseph in Egypt, 17-22;

to Israel in Egypt, 23-25;

to Moses in the same land, 26;

the plagues sent on the Egyptians, 27-36;

the deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt, 37, 38;

how he supported them in the wilderness, 39-43;

and brought them into Canaan, 44, 45.


We find several verses of this Psalm in 1Ch 16:7-14 &c., from

which it is evident that David was the author of the principal

part of it: but it was probably enlarged and sung at the

restoration of the people from the Babylonish captivity. The

hallelujah which terminates the preceding Psalm, is made the

title of this by the Vulgate, Septuagint, AEthiopic, and Arabic:

but it has no title either in the Hebrew or Chaldee. The Syriac

considers it a paraphrase on the words, "Fear not, Jacob, to go

down into Egypt; and teach us spiritually not to fear when we are

obliged to contend with devils; for God is our shield, and will

fight for us." The Psalm is a history of God's dealings with

Abraham and his posterity, till their settlement in the promised


Verse 1. O give thanks] He had been meditating on God's gracious

dealings with their fathers; and he calls upon himself and all

others to magnify God for his mercies.

Verse 2. Talk ye of all his wondrous works.]

niphleothaiv, "of his miracles." Who have so many of these to

boast of as Christians! Christianity is a tissue of miracles; and

every part of the work of grace on the soul is a miracle. Genuine

Christian converts may talk of miracles from morning to night; and

they should talk of them, and recommend to others their

miracle-working God and Saviour.

Verse 3. Glory ye in his holy name] Show the name Jesus: exult

in it-praise it. His name was called Jesus; because he came to

save his people from their sins.

Let the heart of them rejoice] That is, the heart of those shall

rejoice who seek the Lord: therefore it is added,-

Verse 4. Seek the Lord] Worship the one only Supreme Being, as

the only and all-sufficient good for the soul of man.

And his strength] Man is weak; and needs connexion with the

strong God that he may be enabled to avoid evil and do good.

Seek his face] Reconciliation to him. Live not without a sense

of his favour.

Evermore.] Let this be thy chief business. In and above all thy

seeking, seek this.

Verse 5. Remember his marvellous works] Keep up communion with

thy Maker, that thou mayest neither forget him nor his works.

The judgments of his mouth] Whatsoever he has spoken concerning

good or evil. His commands, promises, threatenings; and

particularly what he has foretold, and what he has done.

Verse 6. O ye seed of Abraham] Ye Jews especially, who have been

the peculiar objects of the Divine favour.

Verse 7. He is the Lord our God] He is Jehovah, the

self-existent and eternal God. He is our God, he is our portion;

has taken us for his people, and makes us happy in his love.

The following abstract of the history of the Israelites presents

but few difficulties. See Clarke on Ps 78:1, &c.

Verse 12. But a few men] When all appearances were against them,

and nothing but the arm of God could have brought them through

their difficulties, and given them a settlement in the promised


Verse 13. When they went from one nation to another] From

several circumstances in the history of the travels of the ancient

Hebrews, we find that the wilderness through which they then

passed was well peopled.

Verse 15. Touch not mine anointed] It is supposed that the

patriarchs are here intended; but the whole people of Israel may

be meant. They were a kingdom of priests and kings unto God; and

prophets, priests, and kings were always anointed.

Verse 19. Until the time that his word came] This appears to

refer to the completion of Joseph's interpretation of the dreams

of the chief butler and baker.

The word of the Lord tried him.] This seems to refer to the

interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams, called imrath

Yehovah, "the oracle of the Lord," because sent by him to Pharaoh.

See Ge 41:26, and

Kennicott in loco.

Verse 25. He turned their heart] "Their heart was turned." So

the Syriac and Arabic. After befriending the Hebrews on Joseph's

account, to whom they were so deeply indebted, finding them to

multiply greatly in the land, and at last to become more powerful

than the Egyptians themselves, they turned their attention to the

adoption of measures, in order to prevent the Hebrews from

possessing themselves of the government of the whole land; they

curtailed them of their privileges, and endeavoured to depress

them by all possible means, and by a variety of legal enactments.

This appears to be the sole meaning of the phrase, "He turned

their heart;" or, "their heart was turned."

Verse 27. They showed his signs] Here is a reference to the

plagues with which God afflicted the Egyptians. See the places

in the margin, and the notes on them.

Verse 28. They rebelled not against his word.] Instead of

velo maru, "they rebelled," some think that a shin

has been lost from before the word, and that it should be read

velo shamru, "they did not observe or keep his word." Or

the words may be spoken of Moses and Aaron; they received the

commandment of God, and they did not rebel against it. They

believed what he had spoken, and acted according to his orders. It

could not be spoken of the Egyptians; for they rebelled against

his words through the whole course of the transactions.

Verse 33. He smote their vines also, and their fig trees] This

is not mentioned in Exodus; but we have had it before, Ps 78:47.

Verse 41. He opened the rock, and the waters rushed out]

See Clarke on Ex 17:6,

to which I can now add, that a piece of this

rock, broken off by the hand of my nephew, E. S. A. Clarke, in the

course of the present year [1822,] now lies before me. It is fine

granite; and so well distinguished as a granite, that the

feldt-spar, the mica, and the quartz, of which granite is

composed, appear very distinctly. It is worthy of remark, that, as

granite is supposed, in the most accredited systems of geology, to

be the very basis of the earth, the original rock, and all other

substances to be superimpositions upon it, and as the

decompositions of the feldt-spar produce pure vegetable earth,

this rock should be used for this purpose, and should be an emblem

of Jesus Christ, the Creator and Redeemer of the human race; and

that it should signify him who is the basis of all things; who

upholds all by the word of his power; without whom nothing is

stable, nothing fruitful; from whom alone the water of life

proceeds; and in whose name only is salvation. And that rock (in

the wilderness) was Christ! and it is the only remaining emblem of

him in creation.

Verse 45. That they might observe his statutes] That they might

be properly instructed, and properly disciplined. This is the end

proposed by Divine revelation: men are to be made wise unto

salvation, and then to be brought under the yoke of obedience. He

who is not conformed to God's word shall not enter into Christ's



The title of this Psalm is Hallelujah, as are also the two

following; and the first fifteen verses of it were sung at the

bringing up of the ark by David, 1Ch 16:1, 7-36.

The scope of it is the same with the two former Psalms, "that we

praise God;" but yet with this difference: in the hundred and

third, that he be magnified "for his benefits of redemption;" in

the hundred and fourth, "for the manifestation of his power and

providence in creating, governing, and sustaining the world;" but

in this, "for the gracious covenant he made with Abraham, and, in

him, with his whole Church."

I. An exhortation to praise God, Ps 105:1-7.

II. An enumeration of the favours God bestowed to persuade to

it, Ps 105:7-45.

I. He that loves his prince truly desires also that others

should magnify and honour him. This was David's case; he was a

true lover of his God, and set a true estimate upon him. He

honoured and praised God himself, and desired that others should

do the same outwardly and inwards with heart and tongue: he

thought all too little, and therefore, he repeats the duty often,

and shows how it is to be done.

1. By giving of thanks: "O give thanks unto the Lord."

2. By invocation: "Call upon his name."

3. By communication: "Make known his deeds among the people."

4. By voices, psalms, and hymns: "Sing unto him; sing psalms

unto him."

5. By frequent colloquies of his works: "Talk ye of all his

wondrous works."

6. By boasting of him: "Glory ye in his holy name." Profess that

you are happy men, that God's holy name was ever made known to

you. "He that glories, let him glory in the Lord;" 2Co 10:17.

He invites all outwardly to exhibit praise; and now he advises

that it be done inwardly also, with exultation and gladness of


1. "Let the heart of them rejoice." The Holy Spirit does not

sing but out of a joyous heart.

2. "Let them seek the Lord." For, indeed, they only who seek him

rejoice heartily: they can acquiesce in God, in his promises of

grace, pardon, and acceptance; which is so necessary to every one

who will make his approaches to the throne of grace, and have his

praise rendered acceptable, that the prophet seriously urges the


(1) "Seek the Lord." Cast all impiety and wickedness away: seek


(2) "Seek his strength." Which at that time was the ark, it

being the symbol of his presence. Seek him in his Church.

(3) "Seek his face evermore." His favour, and grace, and

reconciliation; seek them in his word and sacraments, &c.

(4) "Evermore seek him." Now and then is too little; it must be

our constant work.

Having thus spoken of the heart, he comes to the memory:

"Remember, forget not." And the things to be remembered are, 1.

His marvellous works. 2. His wonders. 3. His judgments; which

three are the substance of this whole Psalm, and are explained

according to their heads. They ought to be particularly remembered

by the Israelites, the posterity of Abraham, and the sons of


"Remember his marvellous works," &c. "O ye seed of Abraham, his

servant; ye children of Jacob, his chosen." Remember that he made

Abraham and chose Jacob to be his servants, gave you laws, and

showed you with what rites he would be worshipped. Forget them


II. But at the seventh verse the prophet begins his narration;

and tells the Israelites, and in them us, what marvellous works

God had done for his people, all which he presses as arguments to

his people that they should praise, honour, worship, and obey him.

There is much reason for it.

1. "He is the Lord our God." The same argument prefaces the

commandments: "I am the Lord thy God."

2. "His judgments are in all the earth." He is a mighty Monarch,

and has all nature under his empire.

And if neither of these move, yet there is another, drawn from

his many and infinite favours: "On you Israelites," and all

mankind as well; for on the fall of man his covenant was, That the

seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head; and this he

forgot not: "He hath remembered his covenant," &c.

1. "Which covenant he made with Abraham," and confirmed it by

sacrifice, Ge 15:13.

2. "His oath unto Isaac," Ge 26:3, 4.

3. "And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law," &c.;

Ge 28:13-15.

4. The form of the covenant recited: "Saying, Unto thee will I

give," &c.; for it was divided to the tribes by lots.

Which covenant God made with their fathers and them, not out of

any merit that could be in them; De 8:4-6; Jos 24:2.

1. "When there were but a few men," and humble; "yea, very few."

2. And they "strangers" in the land. For the patriarchs only

sojourned in Canaan.

3. Yea, "when they went from one nation to another," &c.

Now when they were in this condition, very few, strangers,

sojourners, and pilgrims, God protected and defended them.

1. "He suffered no man to do them wrong," &c.; no, not the

greatest, for "he reproved even kings for their sakes."

2. For he gave the command: "Touch not mine anointed,"-Abraham,

Isaac, and Jacob, who were anointed with the Holy Ghost, though

not with material oil; "and do my prophets no harm," i.e., the

same men, for they were prophets. Abraham foresaw the bondage of

his seed in Egypt; Isaac foretold what should befall Esau's

posterity, Ge 27:38-40; and

Jacob, by a prophetical spirit, gave his blessings, Ge 49:1-28.

Of Abraham it is expressly said, "He is a prophet, and he shall

pray for thee," Ge 20:7.

Two of these mercies, the covenant and protection, are already

named; and now he goes on and insists upon the third,

Ps 105:16-23, for which there was infinite matter of praise for

the wonderful wisdom of God, that brought out of the greatest

evils the chiefest good, by preserving their lives in Egypt in the

midst of famine, Ge 37:17-36.

1. "Moreover he called for a famine upon the land." It came not

by chance.

2. "He brake the whole staff of bread," the upholder of our

lives; and this he brake when he ordered that there should be no

ploughing, sowing, nor harvest, Ge 45:5-7.

3. By this famine the patriarchs were to suffer; yet God

provided for their subsistence: "He sent a man, (a wise man,)

before them,"-Joseph.

4. This Joseph was sold by the envy and cruelty of his brethren.

And now he comes, 1. To his base usage. 2. His advancement.

1. By the false accusation of Potiphar's wife, who turned her

base love into hatred: "His feet were hurt with fetters of iron."

2. "He was laid in iron;" or, as some read, "the iron entered

into his soul." Grief that he should lie under foul aspersions.

There he lay: "Until the time that his word came." So long then

he lay in prison, and no longer.

1. "Until the time that his word came:" his word-God's word for

his deliverance. Or, as others: "Joseph's word to the butler."

2. "The word of the Lord tried him." God tried his patience: or

the interpretation of the dreams proved that by the Lord he spake.

And now follows his honour and advancement:-

1. Pharaoh, by his butler, hearing of Joseph's wisdom: "He

sent," &c.

2. "Even the ruler of the people let him go free." A work fit

for a king.

And his advancement follows:-

1. "He made him lord of his house."

2. "A ruler of all his substance." A viceroy, a grand vizier.

The king's end in it; not only in the famine to provide bread

for their bodies, but for the good of their souls.

1. To punish the rebellious: "To bind his princes at his


2. To instruct his counsellors in wisdom, arts, sciences,

religion. It is supposed that all the learning in which the

Egyptians excelled was first taught them by Joseph.

The fourth benefit follows of God towards his people,

Ps 105:22-37, which was their nourishment, increase in Egypt,

their oppression, and deliverance.

1. He begins with Jacob's descent thither: 1. "Israel also,

Joseph's father, went down into Egypt," Ge 46:2. "And Jacob with

all his family," &c.

2. He proceeds with their strange increase there; for it is

wonderful that in so short a time they should grow into such a

multitude, Ex 1:7. At their going out they were six hundred

thousand, besides children, Ex 12:37: "And he increased his

people greatly, and made them stronger than their enemies,"

Ex 1:9.

This was the occasion of their afflictions, bondage, and

sufferings; for,-

1. "He turned the Egyptians' hearts to hate his people." He

suffered them to be turned: "For there arose another king," &c.

2. "And to deal subtilly with his people. Come on, say they,"


"To set over them taskmasters," &c.; Ex 1:11. But when they saw

"that the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied,"

Ps 105:12, then they ordered "that all the male children should

be strangled by the midwives," Ps 105:16. And when even this

would not do, then Pharaoh charged "that every son that was born,"

&c., Ps 105:22. Thus subtilly they dealt; but it did not hinder

their multiplication. There is no counsel against God.

Now God, seeing their affliction, and hearing their groans, sent

them a deliverer.

1. "He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron whom he had chosen."

2. "They showed his signs among them." 1. To the Israelites; 2.

"And wonders in the land of Ham."

The catalogue follows:-

1. "He sent darkness," &c.

2. "He turned their waters into blood," &c.

3. "The land brought forth frogs," &c.

4. "He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies," &c.

5. "He gave them hail for rain," &c.

6. "He smote the vines also, and the fig-trees," &c.

7. "He spake, and the locusts came," &c.

8. "He smote also the first-born of their land," &c.

These were the wonders that God wrought in Egypt by the hand of

Moses and Aaron for the deliverance of his people, which the

psalmist briefly records that they might remember-be thankful, and

praise him.

The fifth benefit that the psalmist records is, that God brought

not out his people beggars, but enriched them with the spoils of


1. "He brought them forth with silver and gold." For they were

sent by God to ask jewels: and when the Jews pretend by their

example to rob more honest men than themselves, when they can show

an immediate commission from God to do it, I am content that they

borrow, and never restore; rob and spoil whom they please. Till

this be shown, they are thieves and sacrilegious persons.

2. Farther, they left the Egyptians afflicted with some strange

disease, of which their first-born had died; yet they were

healthy: "There was not one, no, not one feeble person, among


The terror of them was so great, and the fear of death so

instant, that, regarding not their jewels, they urged them to be

gone-they thrust them out; which the prophet expresses: "Egypt was

glad when they departed."

The sixth benefit follows after their departure, which was "the

pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night. He spread a cloud

for a covering," &c.; which most interpret as if the cloud kept

off the heat of the sun; and therefore the prophet says: "He

spread it for a covering."

The seventh benefit was quails and manna:-

1. "The people asked, and he brought quails." Those given

Ex 16:3, 8, 12, 13.

2. "And satisfied them with the bread of heaven"-manna, because

it was made of the sweet dew descending from the air, and

therefore called heavenly bread; the earth having nothing to do

with its production.

The eighth benefit was the water out of the rock; "for they

travelled through a dry wilderness."

1. "He opened the rock." He did not turn the rock into water,

but opened a passage for the fountain he had made.

2. For the waters gushed out upon the passage being made for


3. "And they ran in dry places."

Now here he inserts the reason both of the former and latter

benefits, which was his covenant and promise to Abraham: "For he

remembered his holy promise," &c.

The ninth benefit was, he brought them not only out of Egypt;

but that too in such a manner that they had reason to exult and

triumph, Ex 15:1-21: "And he brought forth his people with joy,"


And to make the number of his benefits complete, he adds a

tenth, which was the exact fulfilling of his promise, his

introduction of them into Canaan, ejection of the inhabitants, and

the donation of their inheritances to his people, which they

afterwards possessed.

"He gave them the lands of the heathen," &c. The houses they

built not, the vines they planted not, the lands they tilled not,

fell to them.

For which benefits God requires no more than their obedience:

this he requires as his due and tribute. He bestowed so many

benefits on them for one end only: "That they might observe his

statutes, and keep his laws." Hallelujah! "Let your light so shine

before men, that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven."

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