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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.

28 And they joined themselves to Baal-peor The prophet tells us that the Jews, after they had been threatened with very awful punishment, very soon fell into a new species of apostasy. Some think, that they are indirectly accused of falling away to the superstitions of the Midianites, in consequence of having been imposed upon by female intrigue. This, it is well known, was the design of Balaam, as soon as he knew that he was forbidden by God to curse the people. His counsel to king Balak was to set the daughters of Moab before the people, to entice them by their allurements to the practice of idolatry,

“Behold, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor.” Numbers 31:16

And as the idolatry here mentioned originated from carnal intrigues, some expositors are of opinion, that on this account the prophet charges the people with the commission of a twofold trespass, in their not only being inveigled by the Midianitish women, but also in binding themselves by another bond to Baal-peor, (Numbers 25) Be that as it may, the prophet exclaims against the perfidy of his own nation, because in forsaking the true worship of God, they had broken that holy union by which they had been betrothed to him. For we know, that as God adopts the Church as his spouse, when she gives herself up to idolatry, she no less shamefully violates her fidelity, than when a wife leaves her husband, and becomes an adulteress. It is well known, that Baal-peor was the idol of the Midianites; but it is not so well known how he received this appellation. The word בעל, Baal, has a signification 258258     “Signifie autant comme Maistre ou Patron.” — Fr. equivalent to lord, master, or patron. And since פער, paar, signifies to open, some render it the God of opening, and assign as a reason, which, however, I dare not affirm, their shamefully exposing themselves in his presence. Perhaps it is the name of some place, for we know that the heathens often gave to their idols the names of the countries where they were worshipped. 259259     Baal was a very common name of the principal male god of the nations of the East, as Ashtaroth was a common one for their chief female deity. The Moabites, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and often the Hebrews, worshipped this idol. Among the Babylonians, he was called Bel or Belus. The sun only might at first be worshipped under that name, as we know that under it the Phoenicians adored that luminary. But at length it came to be applied to many other idols, according to these words of the Apostle, “There be gods many, and baalims, or lords many,” 1 Corinthians 8:5. As the idol Jupiter among the Romans had different names and different rites of worship, occasioned sometimes from the different benefits which he was thought to bestow upon men, as Jupiter Pluvius, because he gave rain, Jupiter Lucetius, because he gave light, Jupiter Altitonans, from thundering; and sometimes from different places — as Jupiter Olympius, from the hill Olympus, Jupiter Capitolinus, from the Capitol hill, Jupiter Latialis, from that part of Italy which is called Latium: so Baal had his distinctive titles, and different rites of worship, occasioned in the same manner. He sometimes received his name from the benefits he was supposed to confer, as Baal-tsephon, (Exodus 14:1) the latter term denoting a watcher, and Baalzebub, (2 Kings 1:2) which signifies the lord of the flies. He was worshipped under this last name by the Cyrenians, but principally by Ekronites, because, whenever they sacrificed to him, they believed that the swarms of flies, which at that time molested the country, would die. At other times he received a distinctive appellation from the places where he was worshipped, as Baal-peor, from the hill Peor, mentioned in Numbers 23:28; and his temple, whither his votaries resorted, standing on the same hill, was called Beth-peor, Deuteronomy 3:29. Possibly, however, the mountain might have taken its name from the god that was there worshipped. The idol named Chemosh, in Jeremiah 48:7, is thought to be the same as Baal-peor. “I take it,” says Goodwin, “to be applied to Baal-peor, by way of contempt, as if one should say their blind god, according to that in the psalm, ‘They have eyes, and see not;’ for the first letter, caph, signifies as it were, or like, and מוש, musch, to grope, or feel about in manner of blind men. Moses and Aaron, page 170. This idol was also called Baal-bereth, (Judges 8:33, and 9:4,) from his worshippers binding themselves to him by covenant. We now perceive the prophet’s meaning, That the Jews had wickedly revolted from God, and defiled themselves in joining themselves to Baal-peor. In saying that they ate the sacrifices of the dead, 260260     “The dead” appears to be a term of contempt applied to idols. They are so called in opposition to the true and living God. There may also be an allusion to the fact, that many of the heathen idols were men who had been deified after their death. he points out the greater baseness of their offense. By the sacrifices of idols, he means that they ate things that were offered to idols, as they had been wont to partake of those sacrifices which bound them to the true God, the inexhaustible fountain of life. Hence their conduct was the more detestable, when they wilfully gave themselves over to death by perpetrating such a heinous crime. And we know, that banqueting was to some extent connected with their worship. The result of this was, that, renouncing the true God, they joined themselves in marriage with the dead; and thus the prophet charges them with acting a very disgraceful part, in not only bowing the knee to Baal, and offering sacrifices to him, but also in feasting upon these sacrifices.

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