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Psalm 135:8-12

8. He smote the first-born of Egypt, from man to beast. 9. He sent tokens and wonders in the midst of thee, O Egypt! On Pharaoh, and on all his servants. 10.. He smote great nation, and slew mighty kings. 11. Sikon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan. 163163     “Comp. Numbers 21; Deuteronomy 2: and Deuteronomy 3; Joshua 12:7, etc. The chiefs of very small communities were in ancient times styled kings; Sihon and Og are particularly enumerated as being (Deuteronomy 3:11; Amos 2:9) of a gigantic race, of prodigious size and strength.” — Cresswell. 12. And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage to Israel his people.

 

8. He smote the first-born of Egypt He now reverts to those more special benefits, by which God had laid his Church and chosen people under obligation to his service. As it was the Lord’s believing people only whom he addressed, the chief point singled out as the subject of praise is God’s having adopted them, small as they were in numbers, from the mass of the human family. Again, there was the fact of his having set himself in opposition, for their sakes, to great kingdoms and mighty nations. The wonderful works done by God in Egypt and in Canaan were all just so many proofs of that fatherly love which he entertained for them as his chosen people. It is not strictly according to historic order to begin with mentioning the destruction of the first-born of Egypt; but this is instanced as a memorable illustration of the great regard God had for the safety of his people, which was such that he would not spare even so mighty and wealthy a nation. The scope of the passage is to show that God, in delivering his people, had abundantly testified his power and his mercy.

10. He smote great nations He comes now to speak of the end for which God delivered them from their bondage. He did not lead his people out of Egypt, and then leave them to wander as they might, but brought them forth that he might settle them in the promised inheritance. This the Psalmist mentions as another signal proof of the favor of God, and his unwearied kindness to them; for having once taken the children of Abraham by the hand, he led them on, in the continued exercise of his power, till he put them in possession of the promised land. He takes occasion to extol God’s power, from the circumstance that it was only after the slaughter of many enemies that they came to the peaceable possession of the country. And it was a striking illustration of the divine goodness to manifest this preference for the Israelites, who were but a multitude of inconsiderable persons, while those opposed to them were mighty kings and powerful nations. Notice is taken of two kings, Sihon and Og, not as being more powerful than the rest, but because shutting up the entrance to the land in front they were the first formidable enemies met with 164164     “Sed quia praecluso terrae aditu in primis erant formidabiles.” — Lat.Mais pource qu’ils estoyent les plus a redouter, a cause qu’ils tenoyent l’entree de la terre fermee.” — Fr. and the people, besides, were not as yet habituated to war. As the crowning act of the Lord’s goodness, the Psalmist adds, that the Israelites obtained firm possession of the land. One has said —

“Non minor est virtus quam quaerere, parta tueri,”

“It is no less an achievement to keep possession than to acquire it;” and as the Israelites were surrounded with deadly enemies, the power of God was very eminently displayed in preserving them from being rooted out and expelled again, an event which must have repeatedly taken place, had they not been firmly settled in the inheritance.


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