Verses 1-16: Yahweh's goodness toward His people Israel
1 (Maschil of Asaph.) Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Yahweh, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
5 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 children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:
8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with El.
9 The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
10 They kept not the covenant of Elohim, and refused to walk in his law;
11 And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.
12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.
14 In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.
15 He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.
16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
vv. 17-33, Israel - Rebellions and punishment;
17 And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.
18 And they tempted Elohim in their heart by asking meat for their lust.
19 Yea, they spake against Elohim; they said, Can Elohim furnish a table in the wilderness?
20 Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?
21 Therefore the Yahweh heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel;
22 Because they believed not in Elohim, and trusted not in his salvation:
23 Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,
24 And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.
25 Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full.
26 He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.
27 He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:
28 And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.
29 So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;
30 They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,
31 The wrath of Elohim came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.
32 For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.
33 Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.
vv. 34-37 Israel - feigned repentance
34 When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after Elohim.
35 And they remembered that Elohim was their rock, and the high Elohim their redeemer.
36 Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.
37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
vv 38-39, Yahweh's compassion toward Israel
38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
See Eur 2 p246-249 Souls
There is much in this for our personal consolation. We have been brought into relation with the God of Israel, in our subjection to the gospel of His Son. We have become His sons and daughters if our faith is one that is alive, working by love, in the obedience of His commandments. In this position how naturally - naturally to the spiritual man - we turn our thoughts towards "Him with whom we have to do." If we could not find comfort in our contemplations of Him, how comfortless we should be.
We are poor and weak ourselves in all senses. We have no mental resources of any account. In the flesh dwelleth no good thing. We delight in the law of God after the inner man: but we find a distressing impotence in the direction of spiritual accomplishment, which would bow us to earth with despair were it not for the encouragement we draw from "the God of all comfort" in our contemplations of Him as revealed.
He is presented to us as our Father, compassionate of our weakness, and appreciative of our dependence. Jesus made this aspect of Him very prominent in his communications with the disciples.
"My Father and your Father";
"The Father himself loveth you";
"Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him";
"Ye are of more value than many sparrows";
"The Father who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly".
We do well to avail ourselves of the full wealth of comfort there is in these words. Our weakness and our cloud are all our own. They are incidental to the weak nature we have. They no more interfere with His kindness than the mountain mist interferes with the brightness of the sun.
Our weakness may incapacitate us for rejoicing in the Lord at all times: but the Lord is there all the same, to rejoice in. In the Lord Yahweh is everlasting strength, and in the mental sense, we can always draw upon Him for sustenance. We can always lean on the Rock that is higher than all. We learn at last to say with the Psalmist:
"Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."
39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
See Eur 2 p246-249 (Logos) Souls
vv. 40-42, Israel - their backsliding and forgetfulness of His mercy
40 How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!
41 Yea, they turned back and tempted Elohim, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
42 They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.
43 How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan:
44 And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink.
45 He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.
46 He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost.
48 He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.
"messengers of evil," not "evil angels." Context deals with the Exodus. The messengers of evil are no other than Moses and Aaron sent by Elohim to warn and denounce Pharaoh and inflict the several judgment plagues against Egypt because of Pharaoh's refusal to listen to them - the last plague being the worst. In this sense they were the messengers of evil, or affliction.
Sis Valerie Mello
50 He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence;
51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:
vv52-58, Yahweh delivers His people from Egyptian slavery and the peoples' repeated ingratitude and disobedience
52 But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53 And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54 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 their tents.
56 Yet they tempted and provoked the most high Elohim, and kept not his testimonies:
57 But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
vv. 59-64, their punishment
59 When Elohim heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:
60 So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;
61 And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.
62 He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance.
63 The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.
64 Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.
vv. 65-66, Elohim's wrath against Israel's adversaries;
65 Then the Yahweh awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.
66 And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.
vv. 67-72, Elohim's rejection of the tribe of Israel, His choice of the tribe of Judah, and Elohim's choice of David to be king over His people.
67 Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:
68 But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.
69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.
70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:
71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.