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also were troubled ; the deep sea was divided to the very bottom, 17 The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound : thine 18 arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder (was) in
the heaven : the lightnings lightened the world : the earth trembled and shook ; referring to the rain, thunder and lightning,
which fell upon the Egyptians, when they were pursuing Israel, 19 when God looked through the cloud and troubled their hosts. Thy
way [is] in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy 20 footsteps are not known. Thou leddest thy people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron, with all prossible care and tenderness, till thou broughtest them to the promised land : so thou leadest thy people now, through many strange providences, and wilt conduct them safe to their everlasting resi.
OOD men should not think their case singular when they
was indeed a mournful case ; he had wearisome days, restless nights, weeping eyes, a comfortless soul; and was tempted to make a desperate conclusion about his own state, and the mercy and faithfulness of God. Those who are in such afflicted circumstances, should recollect what others have endured, and draw no rash conclusions about their real characters. Let them remember, that despondency of spirit and distrust of God is an infirmity, and therefore endeavour to suppress it.
2. Such afflicted persons should give the mselves to pr ayer In the day of my trouble, says the psalmist, I sought the Lord ; and the gospel rule is, Are any afflicted ? let them pray ; not seek for business and recreations to divert their minds, though they are useful in their places, but continue in prayer. • Let them not think, as Mr. HENRY expresses it, to drink away or laugh away their melancholy apprehensions, but pray them away ;' let them not cease their petițions, though they may for a long time be discouraged, and have very little hope of success ; at length God will incline his ear, and their souls shall be comforted.
3. Those who are afflicted should think of God's works ; his works of wonder for his people, and his works of kindness for themselves. Let them recollect what God has done both for their bodies and souls in time past, as an encouragement to trust in him, and to hope that he will not forsake them. It seems that Asaph did not find relief in this thought, therefore he set himself to consider what God had done for his people of old, and then he found relief. This shows the usefulness of scripture history; and of how much importance it is that we make it familiar to our minds, and meditate upon it. It shows also, that we should apply those histories to our own case. What God hath wrought for the church, may, and ought to be improved for the comfort of particular behieyers. Though God's way be in the sea, and his path in the deep
waters, let us trust him when we cannot trace him, and follow him, though we know not where he leads us ; and we shall find that all the paths.of the Lord are mercy and truth to such as fear him and keep his covenant and his statutes.
Maschil of Asaph.
The greatest part of this psalm needs no illustration. It was com
prosed for the instruction of the Israelites, especially their children, according to the command of God that they should teach them these things. It is an abstract of their history from their coming out of Egypt 10 David's time.
1 YIVE ear, O my people, (to) my law: incline your ears 2 3 parable : I will utter dark sayings of old :* Which we have 4 heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not
hide (them) from their children, showing to the generation to
come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonder5 ful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in
Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our
fathers, that they should make them known to their children : 6 That the generation to come might know (them, even) the chil.
dren (which) should be born ; (who) should arise and declare 7 (them) to their children : That they might set their hope in
God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his comn.and8 ments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and re
bellious generation ; a generation [that] set not their heart 9 aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God. The chil
dren of Ephraim, [being] armed, (and) carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle ; referring to the defeat of Israel by the Philistines when the ark was taken. The Ephraimites, in whose
tribe Shiloh was, proved cowardly, and fled on that occasion. 10 They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his 11 law; And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had show, 12 ed them. Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, 13 in the land of Egypt, (in) the field of Zoan. He divided the
sea, and caused them to pass through ; and he made the waters 14 to stand as an heap. In the day time also he led them with a 15 cloud, and all the night with a light of fire. He clave the rocks
in the wilderness, and gave (them) drink as (out of] the great 16 depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused 17 waters to run down like rivers. And they sinned yet more 18 against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness. And
• As the first poetry consisted of parables or riddles, they came to be used for all kinda of poetry; and here may signify any discourse that is sublime and poetical.
they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. 19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a 20 table in the wilderness ? Behold, he smote the rock, that the
waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed ; _can he give 21 bread also ? can he provide flesh for his people? Therefore the
LORD heard (this,) and was wroth : so a fire was kindled against 22 Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel ; Because they 23 believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation : Though
he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors 24 of heaven, And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and 25 had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels 26 food : he sent them meat to the full. He caused an east wind
to blow in the heaven : and by his power he brought in the 27 south wind. He rained Aesh also upon them as dust, and feath28 ered fowls like as the sand of the sea : And he let [it] fall in 29 the midst of their camp, round about their habitations. So they
did eat, and were well filled : for he gave them their own desire; 30 they had as much as they wished for ; yet They were not estrang
ed from their lust ; they still greedily desired more, to gratify
their sensual appetite : but while their meat (was) yet in their 31 mouths, The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fat32 test of them, and smote down the chosen (men) of Israel. For
all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous 33 works. Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and 34 their years in trouble. When he slew them, then they sought 35 him : and they returned and inquired early after God. And
they remembered that God (was) their rock, and the high God 36 their redeemer. Nevertheless they did flatter him with their 37 mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their
heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his 38 covenant. But he, [being] full of compassion, forgave (their)
iniquity, and destroyed (them) not; yea, many a time turned 39 he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he
remembered that they (were but] flesh; a wind that passeth 40 away, and cometh not again. How oft did they provoke him in 41 the wilderness, [and] grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turn
ed back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel ;
they questioned his power, and prescribed to him what proof he 42 should give of it. They remembered not his hand, (nor) the 43 day when he delivered them from the enemy. How he had
wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of 44 Zoan: And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, 45 that they could not drink. He sent divers sorts of flies among
them, which devoured them ; and frogs which destroyed them. 46 He gave also their increase unto the catterpiller, and their labour 47 unto the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail, and their 48 sycamore trees with frost. He gave up their cattle also to the 49 hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts. He cast upon them
the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels (among them,] who were employed in 50 plaguing the Egyptians. He made a way to his anger with the
exactest care, that it might strike the Egyptians and pass by the
Israelites ; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their 51 life over to the pestilence ; And smote all the firstborn in
Egypt; the chief of (their) strength in the tabernacles of Ham : 52 But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided 53 them in the wilderness like a flock. And he led them on safe
ly, so that they feared not : but the sea overwhelmed their ene54 mies. And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary,
[even to) this mountain, (which) his right hand had purchased. 55 He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an
inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in 56 their tents. Yet they tempted and provoked the most high Cod, 57 and kept not his testimonies: But turned back, and dealt un
faithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a de 58 ceitful bow. For they provoked him to anger with their high
places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images. 59 When God heard [this,] he was wroth, and greatly abhorred 60 Israel. So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent 61 (which] he placed among men ; And delivered his strength
into captivity, and his glory, that is, the ark, into the enemy's 62 hand. He gave his people over also unto the sword ; and was 63 wroth with his inheritance. The fire consumed their young 64 men ; and their maidens were not given to marriage. Their
priests fell by the sword ; and their widows made no lamenta
tion ; they were so oppressed with grief, that they had no heart to 65 use the common ways of mourning. Then the LORD awaked as
one out of sleep, [and] like a mighty man that shouteth by rea66 son of wine. And he smote his enemies in the hinder part :
he put them to a perpetual reproach : referring to the diseases 67 brought upon the Philistines. Moreover he refused the taber
nacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim ; that is, 68 would not permit the ark to return to Shiloh again : But chose the 69 tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved. And he built
his sanctuary like high [palaces,] like the earth which he hath 70 established for ever. He chose David also his servant, and took 71 him from the sheepfolds : From following the ewes great with
young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his 72 inheritance. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart ; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.
E may hence learn an important part of education ;
namely, to inform children of God's wonderful works. In this view, we see the usefulness of scripture history, and how important it is that children should be acquainted with it. This will be very entertaining to them, and be remembered better than precepts. They should be taught what ideas of God, and what useful instructions are to be learned from it. This is what God
requires; and it is a proper honour paid to his works and word. By this means one generation will declare his praises, and his strength, and his wonderful works 10 future generations ; that they may sec their hope in God, and keep his commandments.
2. See the cause of national calamities ; what brought all their miseries upon the Israelites ; forgetfulness of the works and word of God. A remarkable passage occurs, v. 9, 10, 11. Sin makes men cowards ; guilt makes them fear death, and so disposes them to fly : true courage has its foundation in religion. These things happened to Israel for examples ; and we shall have little ground to hope for great success in our national contentions, or of a lasting peace, till we keep God's covenani and walk in his laws.
3. We are taught to guard against all those iniquities which brought the wrath of God upon Israel ; unbelief, distrust of his power and care, dealing treacherously with him, or the indulgence of appetite. And what is the source of all this? forgetfulness of God. May we therefore believe his word, trust his promises, and be particularly careful after our solemn professions and engagements, that we do not turn aside like a deceitful boru, v. 57. This is the greatest affront we can put upon Gorl, and will expose us to his hottest anger. He desireth truth ; and nothing but truth can stand before him with honour or acceptance.
4. See the compassion and tender mercy of God; all the deliverances of Israel are traced up to these ; and this is recorded for our encouragement ; that we may turn unto the Lord and hope in his mercy. But if we continue in sin because grace abounds, our sin will be exceeding sinful. With God there is forgiveness, that he may be feared. His goodness is designed to lead us to repentance, and keep us from sinning against him ; and if it answers this end, we, through patience and comfort of the scripture, shall have hope.
A Psalm of, or for, Asaph.
Whether it was composed on occasion of the destruction of Jerusalem
by the Chaldeans, or on the sufferinge which the Jews endured under Antiochus king of Syria, after they returned from captivity, is uncertain. I imagine the former, as I much question whether any of the psalms were composed so late as the latter event. There might be several successive musicians of the name of Asaph, descended from the first of that name, who was 80 eminent in David's time.
holy temple have they defiled, by setting up idols there; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps, made it a charnel house. 2 The dead bodies of thy servants, that is, firiests, have they given Vol. IV.