P S A L M S
This psalm is historical; it is a narrative of the
great mercies God had bestowed upon Israel, the great sins
wherewith they had provoked him, and the many tokens of his
displeasure they had been under for their sins. The psalmist began,
in the foregoing psalm, to relate God's wonders of old, for his own
encouragement in a difficult time; there he broke off abruptly, but
here resumes the subject, for the edification of the church, and
enlarges much upon it, showing not only how good God had been to
them, which was an earnest of further finishing mercy, but how
basely they had conducted themselves towards God, which justified
him in correcting them as he did at this time, and forbade all
complaints. Here is, I. The preface to this church history,
commanding the attention of the present age to it and recommending
it to the study of the generations to come, ver. 1-8. II. The history itself from Moses
to David; it is put into a psalm or song that it might be the
better remembered and transmitted to posterity, and that the
singing of it might affect them with the things here related, more
than they would be with a bare narrative of them. The general scope
of this psalm we have (ver.
9-11) where notice is taken of the present rebukes they
were under (ver. 9), the sin
which brought them under those rebukes (ver. 10), and the mercies of God to them
formerly, which aggravated that sin, ver. 11. As to the particulars, we are here
told, 1. What wonderful works God had wrought for them in bringing
them out of Egypt (ver.
12-16), providing for them in the wilderness (ver. 23-29), plaguing and ruining
their enemies (ver.
43-53), and at length putting them in possession of the
land of promise, ver. 54,
55. 2. How ungrateful they were to God for his favours
to them and how many and great provocations they were guilty of.
How they murmured against God and distrusted him (ver. 17-20), and did but
counterfeit repentance and submission when he punished them
(ver. 34-37), thus
grieving and tempting him, ver.
40-42. How they affronted God with their idolatries
after they came to Canaan, ver.
56-58. 3. How God had justly punished them for their
sins (ver. 21, 22) in
the wilderness, making their sin their punishment (ver. 29-33), and now, of late,
when the ark was taken by the Philistines, ver. 59-64. 4. How graciously God had
spared them and returned in mercy to them, notwithstanding their
provocations. He had forgiven them formerly (ver. 38, 39), and now, of late, had
removed the judgments they had brought upon themselves, and brought
them under a happy establishment both in church and state,
ver. 65-72. As the
general scope of this psalm may be of use to us in the singing of
it, to put us upon recollecting what God has done for us and for
his church formerly, and what we have done against him, so the
particulars also may be of use to us, for warning against those
sins of unbelief and ingratitude which Israel of old was
notoriously guilty of, and the record of which was preserved for
our learning. "These things happened unto them for ensamples,"
1 Cor. x. 11; Heb. iv.