Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

106. Psalm 106

Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

2Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise?

3Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.

4Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;

5That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.

6We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

7Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.

8Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

9He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.

10And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.

11And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.

12Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.

13They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:

14But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.

15And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

16They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord.

17The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.

18And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

19They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.

20Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.

21They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;

22Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.

23Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.

24Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:

25But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.

26Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:

27To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.

28They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.

29Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.

30Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.

31And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.

32They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:

33Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.

34They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them:

35But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.

36And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.

37Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,

38And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

39Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.

40Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.

41And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.

42Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.

43Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.

44Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry:

45And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.

46He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.

47Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.

48Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord.

1. Praise ye Jehovah This exhortation supplies the want of a title; not that the psalm contains nothing else than thanksgiving and praise to God, but that the people, from the experience of past favors, may obtain the assurance of reconciliation; and thus entertain the hope that God, although at present offended, would soon be pacified towards them. In celebrating the praises of God, therefore, he orders them to call to mind such things as would have a tendency to assuage their grief on account of present ills, and to animate their spirits, and prevent them from sinking into despair. 241241     It is the province of faith to celebrate the divine mercy in the most trying circumstances.

2 Who shall express. This verse is susceptible of two interpretations; for if you read it in connection with the one immediately following, the sense will be, that all men are not alike equal to the task of praising God, because the ungodly and the wicked do nothing else than profane his holy name with their unclean lips; as it is said in the fiftieth psalm: “But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?” And hence to this sentence the following clause should have been annexed, in the form of a reply, Blessed are they that keep judgment I am of opinion, however, that the prophet had another design, namely, that there is no man who has ever endeavored to concentrate all his energies, both physical and mental, in the praising of God, but will find himself inadequate for so lofty a subject, the transcendent grandeur of which overpowers all our senses. Not that he exalts the power of God designedly to deter us from celebrating its praises, but rather as the means of stirring us up to do so to the utmost of our power. Is it any reason for ceasing our exertions, that with whatever alacrity we pursue our course, we yet come far short of perfection? But the thing which ought to inspire us with the greatest encouragement is, the knowledge that, though ability may fail us, the praises which from the heart we offer to God are pleasing to him; only let us beware of callousness; for it would certainly be very absurd for those who cannot attain to a tithe of perfection, to make that the occasion of their not reaching to the hundredth part of it.

3 Blessed are they that keep judgment I make a distinction between this and the preceding verse, and yet so as to preserve the connection between them. For the prophet, having declared the magnitude of God’s power to be such that no tongue could utter all its praises, now says, that the praises of the lip merely are not acceptable to God, but that the concurrence of the heart is indispensable, nay, that even the whole of our deportment must be in unison with this exercise. Now, when he first commands to keep judgment, and then to work righteousness, he gives us a short description of genuine godliness. I have no doubt, that in the former clause he describes the sincere affection of the heart, and that, in the latter, he refers to external works. For we know, there is nothing but the mere shadow of righteousness, unless a man cordially devote himself to the practice of honesty. He requires perseverance, too, that no one may imagine that he has discharged this duty properly, excepting he whose constant and continued aim it is to live righteously and justly. We behold not a few who have only an empty profession; others show some signs of virtue, but do not maintain a consistent course of conduct.

4 Remember me By these words the prophet declares it to be his chief desire, that God would extend to him that love which he bore towards the Church, that he might thus become a participator of all the blessings which, from the very first, he bestows upon his chosen, and which day by day he continues with them. Nor does he desire this for himself alone, but in name of the Church Catholic, offers up a prayer alike for all, that, by his example, he might stimulate the faithful to present similar petitions.

Remember me, says he, with the good will which thou bearest towards thy people; that is to say, grant to me the same unmerited kindness which thou art pleased to confer upon thy people, that so I may never be cut off from thy Church, but always be included among the number of thy children; for the phrase, good will towards thy people, is to be understood passively of that love which God graciously bears to his elect. It is, however, by a metonymy employed by the prophet to point out the marks of God’s love. For from this gracious source flows that proof which he actually and experimentally gives of his grace. But the prophet, if accounted to belong to the number of the people of God, would consider this to be the summit of true happiness; because, by this means, he would feel that God was reconciled to him, (than which nothing is more desirables) and thus, too, he would experience that he was bountiful. The term, remember, relates to the circumstance of time, as we shall see towards the end of the psalm that it was penned when the people were in a state so sad and calamitous, that the faithful might entertain some secret apprehension that their God had forgotten them. To obviate this is the tendency of the next clause, visit me with thy salvation For God is said to visit those from whom he had apparently withdrawn himself; and their salvation is a demonstration of his good-will towards them. In the next verse he repeats the same sentiment, that I may see the good of thy chosen For he desires to be an associate and participator of the blessings which are constantly realised by the elect of God. The verb to see, is very plainly taken to denote the enjoyment of the blessings, as “to see the kingdom of God,” (John 3:3;) and “to see good and life” (1 Peter 3:10,) denote the corresponding blessings. Those who expound it, that I may see thee do good to the chosen, are mistaken; because the preceding verse upon which this depends will not bear this interpretation, and the exposition which I have given is supported by the words which follow, that I may rejoice in the joy of thy nation, and glory with thy heritage For it is quite obvious that the prophet is solicitous to become a sharer in all the benefits which are the portion of the chosen, that, satisfied with God alone, he may, under his providential care, live joyfully and happily. Whatever might be the then mournful state of the Church, the prophet, amid all such tumult, still clings fast by this principle, that there is nothing better than to be regarded as belonging to the flock and people of God, who will always prove the best of fathers to his own, and the faithful guardian of their welfare. All that he asks is, that God would deal with him, as he is wont to deal with his Church; and declares that he could not bear the thought of being severed or separated from the common lot of the Church. These words, however, imply a tacit complaint that at that time God was withholding his loving-kindness from his afflicted Church, as if he had cast her off altogether.


VIEWNAME is study