Wednesday, Oct 05th

Last update:08:21:32 PM GMT

Psalm 105

E-mail Print PDF

The first eleven verses, says Matthew Henry, were apparently written by David to Asaph (David’s chief Levite musician, who set Psalms to music), for use in the daily ministrations of the Tabernacle. As is usual, they speak of praise for Almighty God, because no matter what our circumstances are, the response in our hearts must be praise. The praise of God is paramount, every day. NOT as a duty but as a sincere desire to please the Lord with our thanks, and because we love Him… and if we cannot praise God at all times there is something seriously wrong with our concept of God and our relationship to Him. Of course, the subject matter is primarily for the Hebrews, but there is no problem in applying them to our modern day also, which is the wonder of God’s word… it is never dated, but timeless and always relevant.

Verses 1-6

  1. O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

  2. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

  3. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

  4. Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

  5. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

  6. O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

“Give thanks”, yadah - praise, confess-to and revere - “the Lord”, Jehovah. A very good start to the Psalm, and one we should all follow as an example. Always give thanks and praise to God, no matter what happens. We might not enjoy, like or want some situations, but the principle remains the same. We must “call upon His Name”; qara’ – the meaning assumes we have actually met the Person to whom we are calling – the Lord. If we were born again and are saved, then we have met the Lord through the salvation by Jesus Christ. To “call” is quite a detailed instruction. It has (as is usual) many possible meanings, such as reciting His Name, crying out, proclaiming Him, read about Him, summon, to be chosen, etc. It is to call upon God Himself, for His Name, shem, includes His reputation, His eternal fame, honour and glory… “Call upon”, “make known”, “talk ye”!

Many Christians unfortunately follow football more than they follow God! They know every little fact about their favourite teams and players, and spend much time watching games and analysing results, devouring every detail about players, managers, and league positions. Imagine if they spent all that time with God and reading of Him instead! “Make known His deeds” says the Psalmist, to all and everyone. God is surely greater than football?

God created everything; He sustains the entire Creation. Is this not more worthy than men kicking a ball (no matter how skilfully) and being paid obscene amounts? We must tell people of God’s greatness. After all, He is the One Who made the men who kick footballs in a field; He also made the substance the field is made of; He gives footballers the strength and ability to move as they do. Yet, how many Christians think of the God behind all things? He designed and created men and gave them abilities and skills, gifts and natural talents. The League tables are nothing compared to Him! The “deeds”, ‘aliylah, practices and actions of God, are worthy to be shouted out, but what we find is a people He has saved cowering in the shadows, not daring to speak His Name or even admitting to their salvation! And there are those who claim salvation, but consistently fail miserably to obey… ARE they saved?

We should sing psalms and other joyful things unto Him, and tell others of the wondrous things He has done. In David’s day he was referring to the tabernacle choirs he had formed. He wrote psalms to his own music, and the choirs sang them accompanied by the tabernacle musicians… nothing like the choruses of loud discord often found in local churches today, which are in praise of rock and roll rather than of God. My mother used to sing all day to God. As a church caretaker she sang as she swept floors alone, and when she had time played the organ, again singing loudly. And she sang at home, too. Instead of sitting like a monument, why not sing, or even hum! I do. The real emphasis is to always be in an attitude of praise. In itself this is equal to singing to God. In just about all local churches people sing… it is the padding between sermons. But, how many singers know what they are singing? Be honest – mostly they sing automatically, and do not even know WHAT they are singing. Do you read the hymns? Do they agree with scripture? Is your singing representative of how you feel inside? Or, do you sing because it is expected of you?

Seek God’s ‘name’ because His Name incorporates everything we know about Him. He is our only valid contact, Whose promises hold true and Whose will is always good. Seek Him because of His strength, in all things, a strength that works in our favour always, and not to our detriment. Be true to God and He will uphold you.

Bring to mind all His wonders, miracles, things said, including His timeless laws. Such laws will not be needed in Heaven, because then we will all be of the same mind and heart, spontaneously uttering praise and trust. These words were written for the seed of Abraham, but equally apply to us today as believers, because all believers, whether of old or new testaments, are one.

Verses 7-15

  1. He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.

  2. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

  3. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;

  4. And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:

  5. Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:

  6. When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.

  7. When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;

  8. He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;

  9. Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Jehovah is the Lord our God. Everything He says is in “all the earth”. In other words, everything God says applies to everyone at all times. No-one is exempt from obeying God (including inanimate objects). Some who try to be exempt are often doomed whilst alive, but will certainly be doomed after they die. God made His promises to Abraham and to Isaac, and the same promises “he commanded to a thousand generations”… for all time to those who obey and love Him. The covenant He made to the Israelites came to pass, and then He made a new covenant with believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the same covenant but with new requirements. In both covenants, old and new, what God says is law… not optional.

God told the ancient patriarchs that Canaan would belong to His people amongst the tribes; it was their inheritance, even when the promise was made when Israel consisted of relatively few people. From the time the people left Egypt, God kept His promises and looked after them, though at times they deserved nothing. As they travelled through the lands of foreign kings, He kept them from harm and military attacks and even allowed the Hebrews to win battles against them. It is a battle-cry that exists to the end of time: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm”. Today, the same promise and warning is for us and for those who dare to dismiss God or His people. These enemies have no freedom to harm God’s people and those He appoints to pastorship and preaching. But, remember – His promises do not come through for those who claim salvation but whose words and lives oppose it! This is why, today, we do not see God in our lives. Only obedience will turn the tide and allow believers to live unmolested. If we fail in this God will not help us and may even send our enemies to our doors to remind us.

Verses 16-22

  1. Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.

  2. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:

  3. Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

  4. Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

  5. The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.

  6. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:

  7. To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

The Psalm then turns to pre-Egypt days, when the whole of the Middle East knew famine. Note that the famine was not a ‘natural disaster’ but a judgment upon the region by God, Who denied the people the very stuff of life – food. Crops failed and drove many to distraction or death. Even Joseph’s father and tribe were desperate. It is possible all this came about because of the way Joseph was treated by his jealous brothers. But, it was God Who allowed the brothers to be wicked in selling Joseph to traders, who then sold him to an Egyptian master. Joseph was not happy, because he was unaware that God was sending him before his family, so he could help them in their need and bring them to a land of plenty (northern Egypt).

As a servant Joseph had his ankles bound by iron shackles, even when he worked for his Egyptian master, making his feet and ankles sore. This lasted a while until the king/pharaoh heard his interpretation of prophecy and freed him from his bonds. Not only that, but the king made him ruler of his house and land, along with everything he owned. Even then, it was Joseph’s God Who arranged for the king to do all this. God can cause princes to be imprisoned, so that they learn wisdom.

Verses 23-27

  1. Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

  2. And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

  3. He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

  4. He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.

  5. They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.

Israel and Jacob are the same person. Why use both names in one verse? I suggest it is because Jacob was the progenitor of the nation of Israel, so when he entered northern Egypt and lived there, he was representative of the whole future nation of Israel. Yisra’el (‘God prevails’) was a name given to Jacob by God, after he wrestled with the angel. Ya’aqob (‘heel holder’ or ‘supplanter’), was son of Isaac and became father of all 12 tribes of Israel. Thus, when Jacob went to live in Egypt, his future tribes went with him. Jacob “sojourned in the land of Ham”. We can take this as authoritative, that Noah’s son, Ham, made his habitation in what became Egypt, and his offspring became the Egyptians (and possibly Coptics). To ‘sojourn’ implies staying as a guest, but can also mean living permanently in a place. Though given the top part of Egypt, Jacob’s family appear to have become so numerous that they were enslaved in all parts of Egypt (sometime after the death of Joseph). It was in Egypt that Jacob’s family divided into twelve tribes (re Jacob’s 12 sons).

To the dread of Ham’s descendants, Jacob’s tribes grew more numerous than did the Egyptians. In terms of vast numbers they were mightier than the Egyptians. And so the Egyptians began to hate the Hebrews. The name ‘Hebrews’ was used by Joseph to describe his origin, “the land of the Hebrews”, where ‘Hebrews’, ‘Ibriy, means ‘one from beyond’, an Eberite, from the other side of the Euphrates, making the persons strangers – thus, Hebrews. It was a name given to those who went into Canaan as strangers to overcome the population.

Who is the “He” at the start of verse 25? ‘He’ is none other than Jehovah. Though he treated kindly with the Egyptians (who were related to the tribes of Israel through Ham), they now started to fear Jacob’s people. And this fear drove them to commit atrocities by enslaving them. What we now have is Jehovah prompting the Egyptians to turn against the Hebrews, haphak, as they tried to stop their increase in numbers, which included killing male babies. This seems to be the favoured way for unbelievers to deal with those they hate – kill babies and imprison their parents! It is highly possible that if God had not sent Moses to bring the people out of Egypt, the slaves would have finally rebelled anyway, as usually happens when an iron fist is used to crush freedom.

After 400 years of enslavement God sent Moses, then aged about 80, with his brother, Aaron, to tackle Pharaoh. The Pharaoh had knowledge of one particular Hebrew, Joseph, and what he did for the Egyptians, because it was part of history, taught to princes as children and youths in a royal school. But, he had no personal knowledge of the Hebrews or of Joseph’s amazing administration, just as we, today, know the history of the medieval days but no personal knowledge of the people who then lived. So, Pharaoh had no inclination to treat the Hebrews fairly. To him they presented a real danger. Their numbers meant they could easily take-over the land for themselves. Today, the same danger arises with the numbers of Muslims being born in the West. Not only do they present a theoretical danger, but also a danger they themselves have spoken of – that when they are high enough in numbers they WILL take over the West, country by country. Thus, the danger assumed by the Egyptians was just as real as it is today, with Muslims. In both cases, the growing numbers represented an enemy, though they did not act with enmity towards Egypt.

Note, too, that the Egyptian rulers “(dealt) subtilly”, nakal, with the Hebrews. This means they were deceitful and crafty towards them, being treacherous… fraudulently. This is how modern men treat Christians and Jews. The next step after this and legal restraints, is obviously physical abuse. It has been the way unbelievers have always dealt with believers. The text implies that the Hebrews became the object of widespread conspiracy to defraud and undermine, before they became actual slaves, abused, and mistreated violently, even to death.

When ill-treatment reached its height, God brought Moses back to the land he had fled from 40 years previously. With him came his brother Aaron (‘Aharown, ‘light bringer’), a Levite who became the first high priest; note that both were elected by Jehovah. Through Moses, God wrought many miracles, via plagues, as both punishments and warnings “in the land of Ham”. To the Egyptians, Moses was ‘Moses son of Hatshepsut’; ‘Moses’ (meaning ‘son of’) is Egyptian, the first part of a name; ‘Moshe’ is Hebraic. Both names sounded almost identical. But, despite his being part of the royal family, he killed an Egyptian task-master so was condemned. Now, forty years on, he returned at the command of Jehovah, despite his misgivings.

Verses 28-36

  1. He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.

  2. He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.

  3. Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.

  4. He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.

  5. He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.

  6. He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.

  7. He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,

  8. And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.

  9. He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.

God sent darkness to Egypt (one of the last plagues); God sent them misery and adversity… “and they rebelled not against his word”. That is, they were not marah – disobedient. WHO exactly were ‘not obedient’ to God? The Egyptians or Moses and Aaron? Or, the Hebrews as a group? It can only apply to Moses and Aaron (and maybe, later, the Hebrews as a whole)… the Egyptians were still not complying with God. (Readers unfamiliar with Hebraisms and Hebraic forms of writing can be confused by these kinds of sentences).

Then, God speaks of “their” waters, thus turning this time to the Egyptians. (For more on the plagues see my book, ‘Plagues, a Crossing, and Small White Things’). The water was turned into blood. NOT ‘blood coloured’ but literal blood, thus killing fish and making drinking water stinking and unusable, as the Hebrew structure proves. Frogs were sent so they were almost a carpet, even in the Pharaoh’s chambers. This might sound improbable, but when I went to work one morning in a nursing home surrounded by fields, I was met with panic by the night staff – the place was filled with small frogs, thousands of them! That was a natural phenomenon. The plagues on the other hand were SENT by God by His power.

Then along came other plagues – all kinds of flying insects, lice, hail and fire (possibly by lightning, but not necessarily – God can make flames by His word). Fruit and other trees were destroyed. Unusually huge numbers of caterpillars and locusts arrived and all the fruits, edible plants and corn were consumed. And the final plague, the killing of the first-born, came last. These are called the “chief of all their strength”… the future was wiped out. This was the God of wrath Whose power one cannot withstand. It is worth remembering this; throughout their existence the Israelites are reminded of these wonders, time and again. As should we be reminded for our persuasion and wellbeing. God is STILL a God of wrath as well as love.

Verses 37-42

  1. He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

  2. Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.

  3. He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.

  4. The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

  5. He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.

  6. For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.

The Psalmist continues to remind the people of God’s goodness and protection. Verse 37 is often not realised in our modern world. God did not just free the slaves, He also made sure they left with wealth. The Egyptians were so glad to get rid of their nemesis, they handed over silver, gold and other valuables to make sure the Hebrews left. Not only that, but Jehovah ensured that each person left with strength – there was “not one feeble person” amongst the tribes, no matter what their ages were. It would have been a blow if many older folks died on the way, or became a liability because of illness. Remember that many of those who left had been treated abysmally and were starved or beaten. Yet, when God gives us freedom, He does so with strength, not just words. The Egyptians could not care less how the Hebrews were, so long as they left; they had experienced the awesome power of the Hebrew God, and just wanted to get the Hebrews out. In many ways it was not just the Hebrews who were free – so were the Egyptians!

During the early part of the exodus, God covered the people with protection – a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night, which also gave light. It must have been a fire that did not burn the people, for to provide enough light for about a million or more people would have otherwise been too strong and dangerous. The size of the fire must have been unimaginably large (or unusually bright), yet did not burn.

When the people complained about only having manna (the “bread of heaven”), Jehovah sent them millions of fat quails for meat! When there was no water, God split a rock and a river of water gushed out, enough for all the people and animals. He did not just give a weak spring – He supplied a river! In those earlier days the people were glad to have been freed, though a few did start to grumble. God overlooked the first disquiet, because of His promises to Abraham. We should not presume upon God. He gives us what is necessary, but we still complain about our circumstances! What we see as misfortune is usually an opportunity for us to remember God’s wondrous ways, and to praise Him, just for being alive!

Verses 43-45

  1. And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:

  2. And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;

  3. That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.

And so Jehovah brought His people out of slavery with great joy. These were His chosen people, showered with blessings. They were glad… until their sin got the better of them. We are no different today! Though many disobeyed or complained, God provided because He had promised Abraham. He gave the land of Canaan and elsewhere to the Hebrews as a gift, along with crops, animals and cities, and these were made good by Joshua. The people had ready-made land and food, plus the wealth they all carried with them from Egypt. The Canaanites worked hard in their fields, but the Hebrews took it all, with God’s help. He did this for them so there was no spiritual impediment to cause them to falter or not to praise God. They were given everything needed for life and more, so they had no excuse to stay dormant. Instead, they had everything and all they had to do was praise and honour the Lord! They were to keep His laws and praise Him. Do WE remember all this in our own day? Or, do we complain about our lot? 


Published on

Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
United Kingdom