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105. Psalm 105

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

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

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

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

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

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

7He is the Lord our God: his judgments are in all the earth.

8He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

9Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;

10And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:

11Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:

12When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.

13When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;

14He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;

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

16Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.

17He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:

18Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

19Until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him.

20The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.

21He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:

22To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

23Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

24And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

25He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

26He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.

27They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.

28He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.

29He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.

30Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.

31He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.

32He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.

33He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.

34He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,

35And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.

36He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.

37He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

38Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.

39He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.

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

41He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.

42For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.

43And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:

44And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;

45That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the Lord.

17. He sent a man before them This whole passage graphically teaches us, that whatever befell that people was by the hand and counsel of God. The simple recital would have been to say, that the famine came upon the land, after Joseph had been sold by his brethren, and carried into Egypt. But the prophet speaks emphatically, declaring that Joseph by the divine counsel had been sent before into Egypt, to support his father’s house, that afterwards the famine was called, and that then, by God’s providence, a remedy was presented beyond all hope. This, indeed, is generally true in human affairs; but there is here commemorated a special care which God took in governing and nourishing his Church. Moreover, the prophet mentions that as second in place which was first in the order of time. Accordingly, in regard to the word send, the pluperfect tense would better express the sense, he had sent; implying that before God afflicted the land of Canaan with famine, he had prepared a remedy for his servant Jacob, and for his household, in having sent Joseph before as a steward to provide them with food. Here two contraries as it were are stated, to render the divine superintendence in the whole the more conspicuous. How was Joseph sent of God? It was in this way:- When he was doomed to death, it happened that his brethren preferred selling him to leaving him in his grave. This selling, if considered merely by itself, like a cloud interposed, obscured and concealed the divine providence. When counsel was taken to put Joseph to death, who would have expected that he was to be the sustainer of his father’s house? Afterwards a kind of death was devised for him less cruel; but then he was cast into a well or pit, and in that situation how could he succor others? The last hope was, that at length being sold, he came forth from the pit. But again, he was well nigh rotting all his life long in prison.

Who could think that processes so intricate and circuitous were controlled by divine providence? The prophet therefore meets this difficulty by saying, that in respect of men, he was indeed sold; but that he had nevertheless been previously sent by the divine purpose. The passage is worthy of notice, admirably vindicating, as it does, the providence of God against the perverse stupidity of our corrupt nature. Resting on the second causes which meet the eye, or ascribing to the direction of man whatever is done in this world, or thinking that all things happen by chance, very few trace them to the appointment of God. And yet the selling of Joseph is not here interposed as a veil to hide divine providence; but is rather set forth as a signal instance of it to teach us that whatever men may undertake, the issues are in the hand of God; or rather, that by a secret influence, he bends the hearts of men in whatever direction he pleases, that by their instrumentality, whether they will or no, he may bring to pass what he has determined should be done. Agreeably to this Joseph said to his brethren, “Now, therefore, be not grieved nor angry with yourselves that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life,” (Genesis 45:5) Farther, God so governs human affairs by his secret controlling influence, and overrules men’s wicked devices to a right end, as that his judgments are notwithstanding uncontaminated by the depravity of men. The brethren of Joseph wickedly conspire his death; they also wrongfully sell him: the fault is in themselves. Contemplate now how God directs and controls all. By the hand of these brethren he provides for the good both of themselves and of their father Jacob, yea for that of the whole Church. This holy purpose contracts no defilement or spot from the malice of those who aimed at an entirely opposite end; even as Joseph testified afterwards,

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive,” (Genesis 1:20)


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