Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
A. M. 3074. B.C. 930. (Title.) Maschil. or, A Psalm for Asaph, to give instruction
74:1 *title This Psalm was probably written, as Calmet and others suppose, by Asaph in the days of Asa, who had gained, by the aid of the Syrians, a great victory over the Israelites, and brought back to the pure worship of God many out of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon.; 2 Chronicles 15:1-16
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I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:
The word testimony is used for the ark, and for the law, written on tables of stone, put within the ark, and covered with the mercy seat. This testified the Lord's gracious presence with his people, and seemed to point out to them both the way of access and acceptance, and the standard or rule of their duty.
That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:
And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
Heb. prepared not.
The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
Some think this refers to a defeat of the Ephraimites mentioned in 1 Ch 7:20-22; but it probably refers to the conduct and defeat of the ten tribes of which Ephraim was the head. Nothing is recorded in the history of Israel concerning the cowardice of the Ephraimites, as distinct from that of the other tribes: some therefore think, "that the children of Ephraim" is put by a figure of speech for the nation in general.
Heb. throwing forth. turned.
They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;
And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.
Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
Zoan, the ancient capital of the Pharaohs, where Moses wrought so many miracles, is rendered by the Chaldee, Tanium, LXX. [Tanis] Vulgate, Tanis, and Coptic, TanÈ, from the Coptic, ten, plain, flat, level; being situated in the low ground of the Delta, on one of the eastern branches of the Nile, bearing its own name, near a large lake, now called the lake of Menzala, 44 miles west of Pelusium, and 169 miles east of Alexandria, according to the Antonine Itinerary, and three miles from the Mediterranean, according to the Geograph. Nubiens. Clim. 3, par. 3. There are ruins still remaining to mark the site of Zoan, or Tanis, called San by the Arabs; comprising broken obelisks, capitals of the Corinthian order, a granite monument, etc.
He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.
In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.
He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.
He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.
And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.
by asking meat
Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?
can he give
Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel;
Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:
Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,
And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.
the corn of heaven
The manna fell about their camp in the form of seeds; and as it appeared to come down from the clouds, it was not improperly termed degan shamayim, the corn of heaven or heavenly grain. See notes on Ex 16:22, 31.
Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full.
Or, Every one did eat the bread of the mighty. Lechem abbeerim, "bread of the mighty:"--they ate such food as could only be expected at the tables of the rich and great;--the best, the most delicate food. Or, it might be so called because it rendered the people healthy and vigorous, and fit for their marches.
He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.
He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:
Heb. fowl of wing.
So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;
for he gave
They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,
The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.
Heb. made to bow. chosen men. or, young men.
For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.
Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.
When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God.
And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.
Ail Èlyon go‰lom, "the strong God, the Most High, their redeemer," or kinsman: that one who possessed the right of redemption; the nearest akin to him who had forfeited his inheritance, as the word originally means; and hence is used for a redeemer; and here denotes Him who redeemed them from Egyptian bondage.
Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.
For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
Or, as the Hebrew roo‰ch holaich welo yashoov may be rendered, "the spirit goeth away and returneth not again." To this purpose the Arabic, "He remembered that they were flesh; and a spirit which when it departs, returneth not again." The human being is composed of flesh and spirit, or body and soul: these are easily separated, and when separated, the body turns to dust, and the spirit returns no more to animate the body in a state of probation.
How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!
or, rebel against him. grieve.
Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.
How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan:
Heb. set. wonders.
And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink.
105:29 Exodus 7:17-21 Revelation 16:3-6 The miracles mentioned in this and the four subsequent verses, evidently shew the power of God over the elements of nature, which at that time were the objects of Egyptian worship.
He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.
He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.
Chosal, from chasal, to consume, eat up, is rendered [~broucov~, brouchos] by the LXX., in 2 Ch 6:28, and Aquila here, and also the Vulgate in Chron. and Isa 33:4 and Jerome here, bruchus, the chaffer, which every one knows to be a great devourer of the leaves of trees. The Syriac in Joel 1:4; 2:25, renders it tzartzooro, which Michaelis, from the Arabic tzartzar, a cricket, interprets the mole-cricket, which in its grub state is also very destructive to corn, grass, and other vegetables, by cankering the roots on which it feeds.
He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost.
or, killed. with hail.
From the value of the sycamore in furnishing wood for various uses, from the grateful shade which its wide spreading branches afforded, and on account of the fruit, which Mr. Maillet says the Egyptians hold in the highest estimation, we may conceive somewhat of the loss they sustained when "their vines were destroyed with hail; and their sycamore trees with frost." See Note on 1 Ch 27:28.
or, great hailstones.
He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
Heb. shut up. hot thunderbolts. or, lightnings.
He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.
He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence;
Heb. weighed a path. he spared.
life over to the pestilence
or, beasts to the murrain.
And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:
But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.
He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies:
But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:
So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;
And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.
That is, the ark, where his power and glory were displayed.
He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance.
The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.
given to marriage
Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.
Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.
And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.
Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:
But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.
And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.
He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:
From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
Heb. From after. ewes.
So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.