78:1 «a Maschil of Asaph.» Give ear, O my people, [to] my b law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
(a) Read (Psalms
(b) The prophet under the name of a teacher calls
the people his, and the doctrine his, as Paul calls the gospel his, of which
he was but the preacher, as in (Romans
78:3 Which we have heard and
known, and our c fathers have told us.
(c) Who were the people of God.
78:5 For he established a d
testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our
fathers, that they should make them known to their children:
(d) By the testimony and law, he means your law
written, which they were commanded to teach their children, (Deuteronomy
78:6 That the e
generation to come might know [them, even] the children [which] should be born;
[who] should arise and declare [them] to their children:
(e) He shows how the children would be like their
father's: that is, in maintaining God's pure religion.
78:7 That they might f
set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his
(f) He shows where the use of this doctrine
exists: in faith, in the meditation of God's benefits, and in obedience.
78:8 And might not be as their g
fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation [that] set not their
heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
(g) Though these fathers were the seed of Abraham
and the chosen people, yet he shows by their rebellion, provocation,
falsehood, and hypocrisy, that the children should not follow their examples.
78:9 The children of h
Ephraim, [being] armed, [and] carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
(h) By Ephraim he means also the rest of the
tribes, because they were most in number: whose punishment declares that they
were unfaithful to God, and by their multitude and authority had corrupted all
Marvellous things did he in the sight of their i
fathers, in the land of Egypt, [in] the field of Zoan.
(i) He proves that not only the posterity but
also their forefathers were wicked and rebellious to God.
And they k sinned yet more against him
by provoking the most High in the wilderness.
(k) Their wicked malice could be overcome by no
benefits, which were great and many.
78:18 And they tempted God in their heart by l
asking meat for their lust.
(l) Then to require more than is necessary, and
to separate God's power from his will, is to tempt God.
78:19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can
God m furnish a table in the wilderness?
(m) Thus when we give place to sin, we are moved
to doubt God's power, unless he is always ready to serve our lust.
Because they believed not in God, and n
trusted not in his salvation:
(n) That is, in his fatherly providence, by which
he cares for his, and provides sufficiently.
78:23 Though he had commanded the o
clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,
(o) So that they had that which was necessary and
sufficient: but their lust made them cover that which they knew God had denied
He caused an p east wind to blow in the
heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.
(p) God used the wind to show them that all the
elements were at his command, and that no distance could restrain his working.
They were not estranged from their q
lust. But while their meat [was] yet in their mouths,
(q) Such is the nature of concupiscence, that the
more it has the more it lusts.
78:31 The wrath of God came upon them, and slew r
the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen [men] of Israel.
(r) Though others were not spared, yet chiefly
they suffered, who trusted in their strength against God.
78:32 For all this they s
sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.
(s) Thus sin by continuance makes man insensible,
so that by no plagues they can be amended.
78:34 When he t
slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God.
(t) Such was their hypocrisy, that they sought
God out of fear of punishment, though in their heart they did not love him.
For their u heart was not right with
him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
(u) Whatever does not come from the pure fountain
of the heart is hypocrisy.
78:38 But he, [being] full of compassion, x
forgave [their] iniquity, and destroyed [them] not: yea, many a time turned he
his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
(x) Because he would always have some remnant of
a Church to praise his Name in earth, he did not permit their sins to overcome
Yea, they y turned back and tempted God,
and z limited the Holy One of Israel.
(y) That is, they often tempted him.
(z) As they all do who measure the power of God
by their capacity.
78:42 They a
remembered not his hand, [nor] the day when he delivered them from the enemy.
(a) The forgetfulness of God's benefits is the
root of rebellion and all vice.
He sent b divers sorts of flies among
them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.
(b) This word signifies a confused mixture of
flies and venomous worms. Some take it for all sorts of serpents: some for all
78:46 He c
gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.
(c) He does not repeat here all the miracles that
God did in Egypt, but certain which might be sufficient to convince the people
of malice and ingratitude.
He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and
trouble, by sending d evil angels [among
(d) So called either for the effect, that is, of
punishing the wicked: or else because they were wicked spirits, whom God
permitted to vex men.
78:51 And smote all the
firstborn in Egypt; the e chief of
[their] strength in the tabernacles of f
(e) The firstborn are so called, as in (Genesis
(f) That is, Egypt: for it was called Mizraim, or
Egypt of Mizraim that was the son of Ham.
78:53 And he led them on
safely, so that they g feared not: but
the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
(g) That is, they had no opportunity to fear,
even as God destroyed their enemies and delivered them falsely.
78:54 And he brought them to the border of his h
sanctuary, [even to] this mountain, [which] his right hand had purchased.
(h) Meaning, Canaan, which God had consecrated to
himself and appointed to his people.
But turned back, and dealt i
unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
(i) Nothing more displeases God in the children,
than when they continue in that wickedness, which their fathers had begun.
78:58 For they k
provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with
their graven images.
(k) By serving God other than he had appointed.
78:60 So that he l
forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent [which] he placed among men;
(l) For their ingratitude he permitted the
Philistines to take the Ark which was the sign of his presence, from among
78:61 And delivered his m
strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.
(m) The Ark is called his power and beauty
because by this he defended his people, and beautifully appeared to them.
78:63 The fire n
consumed their young men; and their maidens were not o
given to marriage.
(n) They were suddenly destroyed, (1 Samuel
(o) They had no marriage songs: that is, they
were not married.
78:64 Their priests fell by the sword; and their p
widows made no lamentation.
(p) Either they were slain before or taken
prisoner by their enemies, and so were forbidden.
78:65 Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep,
[and] like a mighty man that q shouteth
by reason of wine.
(q) Because they were drunk in their sins, they
judged God's patience to be slumbering, as though he were drunk, therefore
he answering their beastly judgment, says, he will awake and take sudden
78:67 Moreover he refused the
tabernacle of r Joseph, and chose not
the tribe of Ephraim:
(r) Showing that he did not spare the Israelites
altogether, though he punished their enemies.
78:69 And he s
built his sanctuary like high [palaces], like the earth which he hath
established for ever.
(s) By building the temple, and establishing the
kingdom, he declares that the signs of his favour were among them.
So t he fed them according to the
integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.
(t) He shows where a kings charge stands: that
is, to provide faithfully for his people, to guide them by counsel, and defend
them by power.