Psalms 106:19-22

19 They made a calf at Horeb and worshiped a cast image.
20 They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.
21 They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,
22 wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.

Psalms 106:19-22 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 106

This psalm is without the name of its author, as the Syriac interpreter observes. Aben Ezra, on Ps 106:47, says, that one of the wise men of Egypt (perhaps Maimonides) was of opinion that it was written in the time of the judges, when there was no king in Israel; and another, he says, thought it was written in Babylon: but he was of opinion it was wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, or by a prophetic spirit, concerning their present captivity; and so Kimchi. The petition in Ps 106:47, "gather us from among the Heathen", has led most interpreters to conclude that it was written either in the Babylonish captivity, or, as some, in the times of Antiochus: but by comparing it with 1Ch 16:7, it appears that it was written by David, at the time of the bringing up of the ark to Zion; since the first and two last verses of it are there expressly mentioned, in the psalm he gave Asaph to sing on that occasion, Ps 106:34-36, who therein might have respect to the Israelites that had been taken captive by some of their neighbours, as the Philistines, and still retained; though there is no difficulty in supposing that David, under a prophetic spirit, foresaw future captivities, and represents those that were in them. As the preceding psalm treats of the mercies and favours God bestowed upon Israel, this of their sins and provocations amidst those blessings, and of the goodness of God unto them; that notwithstanding he did not destroy them from being a people; for which they had reason to be thankful.

Psalms 106:19-22 In-Context

17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the faction of Abiram.
18 Fire also broke out in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
19 They made a calf at Horeb and worshiped a cast image.
20 They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.
21 They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,
22 wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23 Therefore he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.
24 Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Compare Gk Mss: Heb [exchanged their glory]
  • [b]. Or [Sea of Reeds]