Psalms 78:38-55

38 Yet He was compassionate; He atoned for[a] [their] guilt[b] and did not destroy [them].[c] He often turned His anger aside and did not unleash[d] all His wrath.[e]
39 He remembered that they were [only] flesh,[f] a wind that passes and does not return.
40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness[g] and grieved Him in the desert.
41 They constantly tested God and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember His power [shown] on the day He redeemed them from the foe,
43 when He performed His miraculous signs in Egypt and His marvels in the region of Zoan.[h]
44 He turned their rivers into blood, and they could not drink from their streams.[i]
45 He sent among them swarms of flies,[j] which fed on them, and frogs, which devastated them.[k]
46 He gave their crops to the caterpillar and the fruit of their labor to the locust.[l]
47 He killed their vines with hail and their sycamore-fig trees with a flood.
48 He handed over their livestock to hail and their cattle to lightning bolts.[m]
49 He sent His burning anger against them: fury, indignation, and calamity- a band of deadly messengers.[n]
50 He cleared a path for His anger. He did not spare them from death, but delivered their lives to the plague.
51 He struck all the firstborn in Egypt, the first progeny of the tents of Ham.[o] [p]
52 He led His people out like sheep and guided them like a flock in the wilderness.
53 He led them safely, and they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies.[q]
54 He brought them to His holy land, to the mountain His right hand acquired.[r]
55 He drove out nations before them.[s] He apportioned their inheritance by lot and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

Psalms 78:38-55 Meaning and Commentary

Maschil of Asaph. Or for "Asaph" {f}; a doctrinal and "instructive" psalm, as the word "Maschil" signifies; see Psalm 32:1, which was delivered to Asaph to be sung; the Targum is, "the understanding of the Holy Spirit by the hands of Asaph." Some think David was the penman of it; but from the latter part of it, in which mention is made of him, and of his government of the people of Israel, it looks as if it was wrote by another, and after his death, though not long after, since the account is carried on no further than his times; and therefore it is probable enough it was written by Asaph, the chief singer, that lived in that age: whoever was the penman of it, it is certain he was a prophet, and so was Asaph, who is called a seer, the same with a prophet, and who is said to prophesy, 2 Chronicles 29:30 and also that he represented Christ; for that the Messiah is the person that is introduced speaking in this psalm is clear from Matthew 13:34 and the whole may be considered as a discourse of his to the Jews of his time; giving them an history of the Israelites from their first coming out of Egypt to the times of David, and in it an account of the various benefits bestowed upon them, of their great ingratitude, and of the divine resentment; the design of which is to admonish and caution them against committing the like sins, lest they should be rejected of God, as their fathers were, and perish: some Jewish writers, as Arama observes, interpret this psalm of the children of Ephraim going out of Egypt before the time appointed.

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