Verse 23. Israel also came into Egypt. The aged patriarch came, and with him that increasing company which bore his name. He was hard to bring there. Perhaps nothing short of the hope of seeing Joseph could have drawn him to take so long a journey from the tombs of his forefathers; but the divine will was accomplished and the church of God was removed into an enemy's country, where for a while it was nourished.
And Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. Shem the blessed came to lodge awhile with Ham the accursed: the dove was in the vulture's nest. God so willed it for a time, and therefore it was safe and right: still it was only a sojourn, not a settlement. The fairest Goshen in Egypt was not the covenant blessing, neither did the Lord mean his people to think it so; even so to us "earth is our lodge" but only our lodge, for heaven is our home. When we are best housed we ought still to remember that here we have no continuing city. It were ill news for us if we were doomed to reside in Egypt for ever, for all its riches are not worthy to be compared with the reproach of Christ.
Thus the song rehearsed the removals of the Lord's people, and was a most fit accompaniment to the bearing up of the ark, as the priest carried it into the city of David, where the Lord had appointed it a resting place.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 23. -- Egypt...the land of Ham. The Egyptians were a branch of the race of Ham. They came from Asia through the desert of Syria to settle in the valley of the Nile. This is a fact clearly established by science, and entirely confirms the statements of the book of Genesis. --F. Lenormant and E. Chevalier, in "A Manual of Ancient History," 1869.