Verse 10. Thy congregation hath dwelt therein. In the wilderness itself, enclosed as in a wall of fire, thy chosen church has found a home; or, rather, girdled by the shower of free grace which fell all around the camp, thy flock has rested. The congregation of the faithful find the Lord to be their "dwelling place in all generations." Where there were no dwellings of men, God was the dwelling of his people.
Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor. Within the guarded circle there was plenty for all; all were poor in themselves, yet there were no beggars in all the camp, for celestial fare was to be had for the gathering. We, too, still dwell within the circling protection of the Most High, and find goodness made ready for us: although poor and needy by nature, we are enriched by grace; divine preparations in the decree, the covenant, the atonement, providence, and the Spirit's work, have made ready for us a fulness of the blessing of the Lord. Happy people, though in the wilderness, for all things are ours, in possessing the favour and presence of our God.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10. Thy congregation. The words are choice and expressive. Addressing God, (the poet) intentionally and emphatically calls the people of Israel $tyx thy combined congregation, in contrast to former divisions and various dissensions, to signify, that the people was now welded together, formed into one society, and united at the same time, that it was well ordered, and constituted as the society of God, wherein his laws flourished and were wont to be observed. Hermann Venema.
Verse 10. Thy congregation. Or, Thy living creatures, $tyh, ta zwa, LXX animalia, Vulgate; probably a reference to the immense number of quails which were miraculously brought to the camp of the Israelites, and, in a manner, dwelt around it. Note in the "Congregational Bible."
Verse 10. Thy congregation. Or, Thy living creatures. That desolate place, where only wild beasts before could live, was now by those showers of manna ( Psalms 68:9 ) enabled to sustain a multitude of other tamer living creatures, even of men and all their flocks and herds. Henry Hammond.
Verse 10. (first clause). Rather: -- "As for thy food (manna and quails), they dwelt in the midst of it." Edmund Law.
Verse 10. (first clause). As to thy food, they dwelt amidst it. The ambiguity of the word hyx has occasioned various renderings of this line. Parkhurst considers the radical sense of hyx is "to be vigorous, strong;" hence the noun denotes force, a body of men ( 2 Samuel 23:13 ); and also that which gives strength, the means of support, or food ( Judges 6:4 17:10); and compare Nehemiah 9:6 . Our translators took the term in the first sense; I take it in the second, because the connection seems to require it, and because (tyx) refers always to a body of men, as soldiers, as actually engaged in some kind of warfare. Hence what is called the troop of Philistines ( 2 Samuel 23:13 ) is called the camp of the Philistines. 1Ch 11:15. And, lastly, because the common version has no antecedent to which hk, in it, or amidst it, can refer; but this version has one in the noun food. I think there is then a reference not only to the manna, but to the quails, which God brought in abundance around the camp. Exodus 16:13 Numbers 11:31 . Thus he prepared in his goodness for the poor. Benjamin Boothroyd.
Verse 10. Thou hast prepared in thine own sweetness for the poor, O God. In thine own sweetness, not in his sweetness. For the needy he is, for he hath been made weak, in order that he may be made perfect: he hath acknowledged himself indigent, that he may be replenished. Augustine.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 10. (second clause). Special goodness, for a special people, specially prepared.
Verse 10. (second clause). It is spoken in reference to the poor, because,
- They are the larger mass of mankind; and, whatever
pride may think, in the eye of reason, policy, and
revelation, by far the most important, useful, and
- They would be more peculiarly affected by deficiency.
- To encourage those in humble and trying life to
depend upon him.
- To enforce our attention to them from the divine
example. W. Jay.