PSALM 105 OVERVIEW.
This historical psalm was evidently composed by King David, for the first fifteen verses of it were used as a hymn at the carrying up of the ark from the house of Obededom, and we read in 1 Chronicles 16:7 , "Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the Lord, into the hand of Asaph and his brethren." Such a song was suitable for the occasion, for it describes the movements of the Lord's people and his guardian care over them in every place, and all this on account of the covenant of which the ark, then removing, was a symbol. Our last psalm sang the opening chapters of Genesis, and this takes up its closing chapters and conducts us into Exodus and Numbers.
The first verses are full of joyful praise, and call upon the people to extol Jehovah, Ps 105:1-7; then the earliest days of the infant nation, are described, Psalms 105:8-15 ; the going into Egypt, Psalms 105:16-23 , the coming forth from it with the Lord's outstretched arm, Ps 105:24-38, the journeying through the wilderness and the entrance into Canaan.
We are now among the long Psalms, as at other times we have been among the short ones. These varying lengths of the sacred poems should teach us not to lay down any law either of brevity or prolixity in either prayer or praise. Short petitions and single verses of hymns are often the best for public occasions, but there are seasons when a whole night of wrestling or an entire day of psalm slinging will be none too long. The Spirit is ever free in his operations, and is not to be confined with, the rules of conventional propriety. The wind bloweth as it listeth, and at one time rushes in short and rapid sweep, while at another it continues to refresh the earth hour after hour with its reviving breath.
Verse 1. O give thanks unto the Lord. Jehovah is the author of all our benefits, therefore let him have all our gratitude.
Call upon his name, or call him by his name; proclaim his titles and fill the world with his renown.
Make known his deeds among the people, or among the nations. Let the heathen hear of our God, that they may forsake their idols and learn to worship him. The removal of the ark was a fit occasion for proclaiming aloud the glories of the Great King, and for publishing to all mankind the greatness of his doings, for it had a history in connection with the nations which it was well for them to remember with reverence. The rest of the psalm is a sermon, of which these first verses constitute the text.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. -- This is the first of a series of "Confitemini Domino" Psalms, "O give thanks unto the Lord" ( Psalms 105:1 106:1 107:1 108:1 136:1) --Christopher Wordsworth.
Whole Psalm. -- The 105th Psalm is a meditation on the covenant as performed on the part of God, the 106th on the covenant as kept by Israel. They both dwell on the predestinating will of God, electing men to holiness and obedience, and the mode in which human sin opposes itself to that will, and yet cannot make it void. --Plain Commentary.
Verse 1. -- The first fifteen verses were written at the bringing up of the Ark, 1 Chron. 6. They tell that it is sovereign grace that ruleth over all -- it is a sovereign God. Out of a fallen world he takes whom he pleases -- individuals, families, nations. He chose Israel long ago, that they might be the objects of grace, and their land the theatre of its display. He will yet again return to Israel, when the days of his Kingdom of Glory draw near; and Israel shall have a full share -- the very fullest and richest -- in his blessings, temporal and spiritual. --Andrew A. Bonar.
Verse 1. -- Call upon his name. The original meaning of this phrase is call (him) by his name, i.e., give him the descriptive title most expressive of his divine perfections; or more specifically, call him by his name Jehovah, i.e., ascribe to him the attributes which it denotes, to wit, eternity and self existence, together with that covenant relation to his people, which though not denoted by the name was constantly associated with it, and therefore necessarily suggested by it. The meaning of the next phrase is obscured, if not entirely concealed in the common version, "among the people." The plural form and sense of the original expression are essential to the writer's purpose, which is to glorify the God of Israel among the nations. -- Joseph Addison Alexander.
Verse 1. Make known his deeds among the people. The people of God were not shut up in that narrow corner of the earth for the purpose of confining within their straitened territories the true knowledge and worship of God; but God wished that to be the fixed seat of the church, from which the sound of heavenly doctrine should go forth into all nations. Therefore he chose Canaan, which is interjected among the most powerful nations of the world, that from it as from a fountain might more easily issue the doctrine of God to the rest, of the nations: as Isaiah says, "Out of Zion shall go forth the law." --Mollerus.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1. --
- Praise God for former mercies.
- Pray for further mercies.
- Publish his famous mercies.
Verse 1. -- A series of holy exercises.
"Give thanks" --
"call upon his name" --
"make known" --