Ps 78:1
78:1 <<{a} Maschil of Asaph.>> Give ear, O my people, [to] my
     {b} law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

     (a) Read Ps 32:1.
     (b) The prophet under the name of a teacher calls the
         people his, and the doctrine his, as Paul calls the
         gospel his, of which he was but the preacher, as in
         Rom 2:16,16:25.

Ps 78:3
78:3 Which we have heard and known, and our {c} fathers have
     told us.

     (c) Who were the people of God.

Ps 78:5
78:5 For he established a {d} testimony in Jacob, and appointed
     a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they
     should make them known to their children:

     (d) By the testimony and law, he means your law written,
         which they were commanded to teach their children,
         De 6:7.

Ps 78:6
78:6 That the {e} generation to come might know [them, even] the
     children [which] should be born; [who] should arise and
     declare [them] to their children:

     (e) He shows how the children would be like their father's:
         that is, in maintaining God's pure religion.

Ps 78:7
78:7 That they might {f} set their hope in God, and not forget
     the works of God, but keep his commandments:

     (f) He shows where the use of this doctrine exists: in
         faith, in the meditation of God's benefits, and in

Ps 78:8
78:8 And might not be as their {g} fathers, a stubborn and
     rebellious generation; a generation [that] set not their
     heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.

     (g) Though these fathers were the seed of Abraham and the
         chosen people, yet he shows by their rebellion,
         provocation, falsehood, and hypocrisy, that the
         children should not follow their examples.

Ps 78:9
78:9 The children of {h} Ephraim, [being] armed, [and] carrying
     bows, turned back in the day of battle.

     (h) By Ephraim he means also the rest of the tribes,
         because they were most in number: whose punishment
         declares that they were unfaithful to God, and by their
         multitude and authority had corrupted all others.

Ps 78:12
78:12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their {i}
      fathers, in the land of Egypt, [in] the field of Zoan.

      (i) He proves that not only the posterity but also their
          forefathers were wicked and rebellious to God.

Ps 78:17
78:17 And they {k} sinned yet more against him by provoking the
      most High in the wilderness.

      (k) Their wicked malice could be overcome by no benefits,
          which were great and many.

Ps 78:18
78:18 And they tempted God in their heart by {l} asking meat for
      their lust.

      (l) Then to require more than is necessary, and to
          separate God's power from his will, is to tempt God.

Ps 78:19
78:19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God {m}
      furnish a table in the wilderness?

      (m) Thus when we give place to sin, we are moved to doubt
          God's power, unless he is always ready to serve our

Ps 78:22
78:22 Because they believed not in God, and {n} trusted not in
      his salvation:

      (n) That is, in his fatherly providence, by which he cares
          for his, and provides sufficiently.

Ps 78:23
78:23 Though he had commanded the {o} clouds from above, and
      opened the doors of heaven,

      (o) So that they had that which was necessary and
          sufficient: but their lust made them cover that which
          they knew God had denied them.

Ps 78:26
78:26 He caused an {p} east wind to blow in the heaven: and by
      his power he brought in the south wind.

      (p) God used the wind to show them that all the elements
          were at his command, and that no distance could
          restrain his working.

Ps 78:30
78:30 They were not estranged from their {q} lust.  But while
      their meat [was] yet in their mouths,

      (q) Such is the nature of concupiscence, that the more it
          has the more it lusts.

Ps 78:31
78:31 The wrath of God came upon them, and slew {r} the fattest
      of them, and smote down the chosen [men] of Israel.

      (r) Though others were not spared, yet chiefly they
          suffered, who trusted in their strength against God.

Ps 78:32
78:32 For all this they {s} sinned still, and believed not for
      his wondrous works.

      (s) Thus sin by continuance makes man insensible, so that
          by no plagues they can be amended.

Ps 78:34
78:34 When he {t} slew them, then they sought him: and they
      returned and enquired early after God.

      (t) Such was their hypocrisy, that they sought God out of
          fear of punishment, though in their heart they did not
          love him.

Ps 78:37
78:37 For their {u} heart was not right with him, neither were
      they stedfast in his covenant.

      (u) Whatever does not come from the pure fountain of the
          heart is hypocrisy.

Ps 78:38
78:38 But he, [being] full of compassion, {x} forgave [their]
      iniquity, and destroyed [them] not: yea, many a time
      turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his

      (x) Because he would always have some remnant of a Church
          to praise his Name in earth, he did not permit their
          sins to overcome his mercy.

Ps 78:41
78:41 Yea, they {y} turned back and tempted God, and {z} limited
      the Holy One of Israel.

      (y) That is, they often tempted him.
      (z) As they all do who measure the power of God by their

Ps 78:42
78:42 They {a} remembered not his hand, [nor] the day when he
      delivered them from the enemy.

      (a) The forgetfulness of God's benefits is the root of
          rebellion and all vice.

Ps 78:45
78:45 He sent {b} divers sorts of flies among them, which
      devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.

      (b) This word signifies a confused mixture of flies and
          venomous worms. Some take it for all sorts of
          serpents: some for all wild beasts.

Ps 78:46
78:46 He {c} gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and
      their labour unto the locust.

      (c) He does not repeat here all the miracles that God did
          in Egypt, but certain which might be sufficient to
          convince the people of malice and ingratitude.

Ps 78:49
78:49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and
      indignation, and trouble, by sending {d} evil angels
      [among them].

      (d) So called either for the effect, that is, of punishing
          the wicked: or else because they were wicked spirits,
          whom God permitted to vex men.

Ps 78:51
78:51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the {e} chief of
      [their] strength in the tabernacles of {f} Ham:

      (e) The firstborn are so called, as in Ge 49:3.
      (f) That is, Egypt: for it was called Mizraim, or Egypt of
          Mizraim that was the son of Ham.

Ps 78:53
78:53 And he led them on safely, so that they {g} feared not:
      but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.

      (g) That is, they had no opportunity to fear, even as God
          destroyed their enemies and delivered them falsely.

Ps 78:54
78:54 And he brought them to the border of his {h} sanctuary,
      [even to] this mountain, [which] his right hand had

      (h) Meaning, Canaan, which God had consecrated to himself
          and appointed to his people.

Ps 78:57
78:57 But turned back, and dealt {i} unfaithfully like their
      fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.

      (i) Nothing more displeases God in the children, than when
          they continue in that wickedness, which their fathers
          had begun.

Ps 78:58
78:58 For they {k} provoked him to anger with their high places,
      and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.

      (k) By serving God other than he had appointed.

Ps 78:60
78:60 So that he {l} forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent
      [which] he placed among men;

      (l) For their ingratitude he permitted the Philistines to
          take the Ark which was the sign of his presence, from
          among them.

Ps 78:61
78:61 And delivered his {m} strength into captivity, and his
      glory into the enemy's hand.

      (m) The Ark is called his power and beauty because by this
          he defended his people, and beautifully appeared to

Ps 78:63
78:63 The fire {n} consumed their young men; and their maidens
      were not {o} given to marriage.

      (n) They were suddenly destroyed, 1Sa 4:10.
      (o) They had no marriage songs: that is, they were not

Ps 78:64
78:64 Their priests fell by the sword; and their {p} widows made
      no lamentation.

      (p) Either they were slain before or taken prisoner by
          their enemies, and so were forbidden.

Ps 78:65
78:65 Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, [and] like a
      mighty man that {q} shouteth by reason of wine.

      (q) Because they were drunk in their sins, they judged
          God's patience to be slumbering, as though he were
          drunk, therefore he answering their beastly judgment,
          says, he will awake and take sudden vengeance.

Ps 78:67
78:67 Moreover he refused the tabernacle of {r} Joseph, and
      chose not the tribe of Ephraim:

      (r) Showing that he did not spare the Israelites
          altogether, though he punished their enemies.

Ps 78:69
78:69 And he {s} built his sanctuary like high [palaces], like
      the earth which he hath established for ever.

      (s) By building the temple, and establishing the kingdom,
          he declares that the signs of his favour were among

Ps 78:72
78:72 So {t} he fed them according to the integrity of his
      heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.

      (t) He shows where a kings charge stands: that is, to
          provide faithfully for his people, to guide them by
          counsel, and defend them by power.