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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.

39. Afterwards they are lessened Ere I enter upon the consideration of the truths contained in this verse, I must make some brief verbal observations. Some make the word עוצר, otser, to signify tyranny, and certainly עצר, atsar, does signify to bear rule. But since it is used metaphorically for anguish, it appears to me that this is the meaning which is most accordant with the tenor of the passage. The last two words of the verse may be read as in the nominative case, as I have rendered them, or in the genitive, the anguish of misery and sorrow This lection appears to me preferable, through the anguish of misery, 289289     “Par angoisse de mal et par douleur.” — Fr. and through sorrow.

We come now to notice shortly the main things in the passage. And as we had formerly a description of the changes which these districts underwent in relation to the nature of the soil, so now we are informed that mankind do not for ever continue in the same condition; because they both decrease in number, and lose their place and property by being reduced by wars or by civil commotions, or by other casualties. Therefore, whether they are wasted by the pestilence, or are defeated in battle, or are cut off by intestine broils, it is manifest that both their rank and condition undergo alteration. And what is the occasion of this change, but that God withdraws his grace, which hitherto formed the hidden spring from which all their prosperity issued? And as there are a thousand casualties by which cities may be ruined, the prophet brings forward one species of change of all others the most palpable and remarkable. And since God’s hand is not observed in that which relates to persons living in comparative obscurity, he brings into view princes themselves, whose name and fame will not permit any memorable event which befalls them to remain in obscurity. For it seems that the world is made on their account. When God, therefore, hurls them from their lofty estate, then men, aroused as it were from their slumber, are prepared to regard his judgments. Here, too, the mode of address which is employed must be attended to; in saying, that God poured contempt upon princes, it is as if it was his pleasure, so long as they retained their dignity, that honor and respect should be paid to them. The words of Daniel are well known,

“O king, God hath put the fear of thee in the very fowls of the heaven and the beasts of the earth,” (Daniel 2:8)

And assuredly, though princes may clothe themselves with power, yet that inward honor and majesty which God has conferred upon them, is a greater safeguard than any human arm. Nor even would a single village hold out for the space of three days, did not God, by his invisible and invincible agency, put a restraint upon the hearts of men. Hence, whenever God renders princes contemptible, their magnificent power must of necessity be subverted. This is a fact corroborated by history, that mighty potentates, who have been the terror and dread of the whole world, when once denuded of their dignity and power, have become the sport even of their own dependants. And inasmuch as such a striking revolution as this should be regarded as a wonderful display of God’s power, yet such is the obtuseness of our minds, that we will not acknowledge his overruling providence. As a contrast to these reverses, the prophet afterwards shows, that the poor and ignoble are exalted, and their houses increased, and that those who were held in no estimation, suddenly increase in wealth and power. In these things men would assuredly recognize the providence of God, were it not that the perversity of their minds rendered them insensate.

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