Thanksgiving for God’s Benefits.
After an exhortation to praise God, directed especially to the congregation of Israel, the psalmist offers his reasons for the admonition presented, in a summary of Israel’s history from the calling of Abraham to the settlement in Canaan. V. 1. O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name, both in praising His glory and in proclaiming His essence and attributes; make known His deeds among the people, this proclamation among the nations serving as a missionary call. V. 2. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him, with the joyful accompaniment of music; talk ye, in willing discussions at home and abroad, of all His wondrous works, of all the miracles performed in the interest of Israel. V. 3. Glory ye in His holy name, boasting in His perfections, as His attributes show in His deeds; let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord, in true faith and trust. V. 4. Seek the Lord and His strength, desiring to possess it according to His gracious invitation and promise; seek His face evermore, to bask in the merciful light of His countenance. V. 5. Remember His marvelous works that He hath done, manifested in the past deliverances, as found in the history of Israel; His wonders and the judgments of His mouth, for His miracles showed Him in His decisions for the good and against the wicked, v. 6. O ye seed of Abraham, His servant, ye children of Jacob, His chosen, the text implying principally the spiritual descendants of Abraham and Jacob as they were found in the midst of the nation of Israel. After this preliminary exhortation the inspired poet briefly tells of some of Jehovah’s notable deeds. V. 7. He is the Lord, our God, the Jehovah of salvation to all believers; His judgments are in all the earth, in love upon those who fear Him, in anger upon those who oppose Him. V. 8. He hath remembered His covenant forever, the merciful agreement by which Jehovah had accepted the children of Israel as His own, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, for the promise by which Abraham and his descendants were designated as the Lord’s people included the wider Messianic meaning and pertained to the chosen of the Lord of all times. V. 9. Which covenant He made with Abraham, Gen. 12, 2-7, and His oath unto Isaac, Gen. 26, 1-6; v. 10. and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, a covenant ordinance, and to Israel, here the second name of Jacob, Gen. 32, 38, for an everlasting covenant; v. 11. saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, Gen. 13, 14. 15; 15, 18, the lot of your inheritance, the expression denoting the land which is measured off with a cord, v. 12. when they were but a few men in number, Gen. 34, 30, yea, very few, and strangers in it. V. 13. When they, the patriarchs, the ancestors of God’s chosen people, went from one nation to another, being obliged to change their dwelling-place often, Mesopotamia, Canaan, Philistia, and Egypt being the countries of their sojourn, from one kingdom to another people, v. 14. He suffered no man to do them wrong, not even after the revenge which Simeon and Levi took upon the Shechemites, Gen. 34; yea, He reproved kings for their sakes, as, Pharaoh and Abimelech, the kings of Egypt and Philistia, respectively, Gen. 12, 10-20; chaps. 26 and 31; v. 15. saving, Touch not Mine anointed, for so the patriarchs were called as the ancestors of kings, priests, and prophets, and do My prophets no harm, for all the patriarchs not only proclaimed the name of the Lord, but also foretold future events, especially in the blessings pronounced upon their children. V. 16. Moreover, He called for a famine upon the land, the one of the seven lean years at the time of Jacob, Gen. 41, 54; He brake the whole staff of bread, by withholding the chief source and supply of food, that of grain. V. 17. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who himself acknowledges the guiding providence of God in the fact that he was sold into Egypt, Gen. 50, 20, who was sold for a servant, Gen. 37, 28. 36; v. 18. whose feet they hurt with fetters, when he was unjustly imprisoned, Gen. 39, 20; he was laid in iron, literally, “iron came on his soul,” said either of the chains with which he was bound or of the feeling of misery which took hold of him in prison, v. 19. until the time that his word came, his own prediction of his exaltation being fulfilled, Gen. 42, 9; the word of the Lord tried him, for the revelation of God made to him proved his faith in the trials upon his own person. V. 20. The king, Pharaoh of the great famine, sent and loosed him, Gen. 41, 14, even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. V. 21. He made him lord of his house, after Joseph had interpreted his dreams, Gen. 41, 40, and ruler of all his substance, putting all his possessions, the entire rule of the country, into Joseph’s power and retaining only the supreme sovereignty for himself, Gen. 41, 40-44, v. 22. to bind his princes at his pleasure, without any intervention and interference on the part of Pharaoh, and teach his senators, the ancient men, the counselors of the country, wisdom. V. 23. Israel also came into Egypt, as a consequence of the great famine and Joseph’s exaltation, Gen. 46, 6; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham, this being a general designation of Egypt because it was settled by descendants of Ham. V. 24. And He increased His people greatly, blessing them with a very rapid growth, Ex. 1, 7; and made them stronger than their enemies, this fact being expressed in the fear expressed by the Pharaoh of the exile, Ex. 1, 9. 10. V. 25. He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal subtilly, with wicked craft, with His servants. Since they deliberately plotted meanness, the Lord held them to their wicked plans, in order thereby to bring about their own destruction. V. 26. He sent Moses, His servant, Ex. 3, 10, and Aaron, whom He had chosen, Ex. 4. 14. 30. V. 27. They showed His signs among them, which the Lord intended for strong admonitions addressed to the Egyptians and Pharaoh, and wonders in the land of Ham, in the great plagues. V. 28. He sent darkness and made it dark, Ex. 10, 21-23; and they rebelled not against His word. that is. Moses and Aaron carried out the commands of God just as they had received them. V. 29. He turned their waters into blood, Ex. 7, 19-24, and slew their fish. V. 30. Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, Ex. 8, 1-15, in the chambers of their kings, Ex. 8, 3. V. 31. He spake, through the mouth of His representative, Moses, and there came divers sorts of flies and lice in all their coasts, Ex. 8, 16-19. V. 32. He gave them hail for rain and flaming fire in their land, Ex. 9, 22-25. V. 33. He smote their vines also, Ps. 78, 47, and their fig-trees; and brake the trees of their coasts, stripping them not only of their foliage, but even of their smaller twigs and branches. V. 34. He spake, and the locusts came and caterpillars, that is, grasshoppers, and that without number, Ex. 10, 12-20, v. 35. and did eat up all the herbs in their land and devoured the fruit of their ground, everything that was left after the hail. V. 36. He smote also all the first-born in their land, Ex. 12, 29, the chief of all their strength, for so the oldest sons were called, Gen. 49, 3. V. 37. He brought them forth also with silver and gold, freely given to them by the Egyptians, by the direction of the Lord, Ex. 12, 35. 36; and there was not one feeble person among their tribes, that is, unfit for the march through the wilderness, Ex. 13, 18. V. 38. Egypt was glad when they departed, rejoicing to be rid of their unlucky presence; for the fear of them, through the agency of the Lord, fell upon them. V. 39. He spread a cloud for a covering, for a bower or protecting screen against the heat of the sun, and fire to give light in the night, for that was the purpose of the pillar of fire, Ex. 13, 21. V. 40. The people asked, the true Israelites, the believers, among them, praying, the others demanding, and He brought quails, Ex. 16, 12-14; Num. 11, 31, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven, Ps. 78, 24. 25; John 6, 31, the miraculous feeding with manna. V. 41. He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out, in great abundance, Ex. 17, 6; Num. 20, 10. 11; they ran in the dry places like a river, Ps. 78, 15. 16. The Lord’s reasons for these marvelous dealings with His people are given in conclusion. V. 42. For He remembered His holy promise and Abraham, His servant, His faithfulness to the word of His promise being His motive in showing such kindness to the children of Israel, Ex. 2, 24. V. 43. And lie brought forth His people with joy, surely giving them occasion enough for rejoicing, and His chosen with gladness, with the voice of singing, Ex. 15, 1; v. 44. and gave them the lands of the heathen, whose land they occupied after the conquest of Canaan; and they inherited the labor of the people, of the heathen nations, Deut. 6, 10, taking possession of homes and cultivated lands which others had prepared with hard work, v. 45. that they might observe His statutes, the precepts of the covenant, and keep His laws, those pertaining to mankind in general, this being the second reason why the Lord showed Israel His favor, to induce them to show obedience to Him. Praise ye the Lord, this hallelujah being echoed by the true, spiritual Israel, the Church of God, at all times, for all the marvels of His gracious favor in and through Christ, the Redeemer.