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107. Psalm 107

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 3And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. 4They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. 5Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. 6Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. 7And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. 8Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 9For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. 10Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; 11Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: 12Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help. 13Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. 14He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. 15Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 16For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder. 17Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. 18Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. 19Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. 20He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. 21Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 22And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. 23They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. 25For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 26They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. 27They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. 28Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. 29He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. 30Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. 31Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 32Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. 33He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; 34A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. 35He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. 36And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; 37And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. 38He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease. 39Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow. 40He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. 41Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock. 42The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth. 43Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

33. He turneth rivers into a wilderness Here then is an account of changes which it would be the height of folly to attribute to chance. Fruitful lands become unfruitful, and barren lands assume the new aspect of freshness and fruitfulness. And how happens it that one district becomes sterile, and another becomes fat and fertile, contrary to what they were wont to be, but because that God pours out his wrath upon the inhabitants of the one, by taking his blessing from them, and renders the other fruitful to feed the hungry? It may be ascribed to the thinness of the population, that many parts of Asia and Greece, once exceedingly fruitful, now lie uncultivated and unproductive; but we must ascribe to the providence of God, which the prophet praises, the well authenticated fact, that in some places the earth that was fruitful has now become barren and parched, while others are beginning to be fertile.

It is, however, not sufficient merely to observe, that these wonderful revolutions of the surface of the earth are the result of God’s overruling purpose, unless we also observe, in the second place, what the prophet does not omit, that the earth is cursed by him on account of the iniquity of its inhabitants, who prove themselves to be undeserving of being so amply sustained by his bountiful hand. He has put pools and springs of water for fields or countries where there is an abundance of water; because moisture is required to nourish the plants by which fruit is produced. The term saltness is employed metaphorically, inasmuch as there is nothing more sterile than salt; hence that saying of Christ’s,

“If the salt have lost its saltness, what further purpose will it serve?”
Mark 9:50

not even indeed for barrenness. And, consequently, when men designed to doom any place to remain unproductive, they usually sowed it with salt. And probably it is in allusion to this ancient custom, that the prophet says that the land was covered with salt.


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