The first 15 verses of this psalm are recorded in 1Chronicles 16 as part of a psalm of David in which he gives thanks and praise to God after bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem.
Psalms 105:1 ¶ O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Psalms 105:2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
David’s song begins with a call for his people to give thanks to the LORD and publicly testify of all that He had done for Israel. He encouraged them to sing songs of praise to the LORD as they told of His great miracles on behalf of Israel.
As a gifted musician, David knew that music was one of the most powerful ways to spread the message of God’s great works.
Thought: How much time do we spend talking about God in comparison to other things? He should dominate every aspect of our life and conversation.
A good comment from Spurgeon: “Bring your best thoughts and express them in the best language to the sweetest sounds. Take care that your singing is "unto him," and not merely for the sake of the music or to delight the ears of others.”
Psalms 105:3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Psalms 105:4 Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
David declares that those who seek the LORD should rejoice and glorify His name. He then encourages the people to personally ask the LORD to strengthen them on a daily continual basis.
I think David’s time in the wilderness especially served to impress upon him the importance of seeking the LORD’s provision for him on an ongoing basis. We who claim His name today would do well to follow his advice. If we are constantly in communion with the LORD, we are not likely to yield to evil temptations and will be more likely to make wise choices.
Psalms 105:5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
Psalms 105:6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.
I believe David takes this admonition right from the mouth of God as recorded by Moses. The LORD urged His people to “remember” all that He had done for them as a means of encouragement and motivation concerning future choices. That memory would include both miracles of provision and judgment.
Spurgeon: “Alas, we are far more ready to recollect foolish and evil things than to retain in our minds the glorious deeds of Jehovah. If we would keep these in remembrance our faith would be stronger, our gratitude warmer, our devotion more fervent, and our love more intense.”
David reminds the people again that God had specifically chosen them as His servants from among all the nations on earth.
We who know Christ as Savior also fall into the category of God’s chosen people and are privileged to be His servants. That status should be reflected in everything we do and say. Our testimony is most powerful when the truth of what we say is reflected in how we live.
1 Peter 2:5–10 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ….But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
1 John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Psalms 105:7 He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.
Psalms 105:8 ¶ He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.
Psalms 105:9 Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;
Psalms 105:10 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
Psalms 105:11 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:
Psalms 105:12 When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.
David goes on to declare that though the LORD is the God of Israel, He is sovereign over all nations on earth. Israel needs to remember, however, that the LORD made an everlasting covenant with their forefathers; they were unique from the other nations on earth. Part of that covenant promise was to give the children of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob the land of Canaan as their inheritance. This covenant was made when they were but few in number living as foreigners in the land.
Genesis 35:10–12 “And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.”
Psalms 105:13 When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;
Psalms 105:14 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;
Psalms 105:15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
Though they lived as nomads among the nations, the LORD’s protective hand was over them. He warned the kings of the nations not to touch His people or harm His prophets.
For example, remember how the LORD dealt with Pharaoh when Abraham had Sarai pose as his sister…
Genesis 12:17–19 “And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.”
…and with Abimelech, king of Gerar.
Genesis 20:1–7 “And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.”
Psalms 105:16 Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.
Psalms 105:17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
Psalms 105:18 Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:
Psalms 105:19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.
Psalms 105:20 The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.
Psalms 105:21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:
Psalms 105:22 To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.
David moves on to tell of how God prepared Joseph to be in position to provide for His people during a time of great famine (beginning in Genesis 37). His brothers sold him into slavery, and he was eventually sold to Potiphar, the captain of the guard under Pharaoh. After rejecting the advances of Potiphar’s wife, he was thrown into prison and ended up interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh’s baker and chief butler. This eventually led to his being called to interpret Pharaoh’s dream and being appointed second in command in Egypt with the responsibility of preparing for the coming famine foretold by God in Pharaoh’s dream. God used Joseph in a mighty way, but the time of preparation for such responsibility was long and hard. But Joseph remained faithful to God through it all.
A good observation from Spurgeon: “A delayed blessing tests men, and proves their metal, whether their faith is of that precious kind which can endure the fire. Of many a choice promise we may say with Daniel ‘the thing was true, but the time appointed was long.’ If the vision tarry, it is good to wait for it with patience. There is a trying word and a delivering word, and we must bear the one till the other comes to us.”
Psalms 105:23 Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
Psalms 105:24 And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.
Psalms 105:25 ¶ He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.
As David continues, he notes that eventually Israel (Jacob) came to Egypt (the land of Ham) and reunited with the son he had thought dead, bringing the whole family with him. (Genesis 46) During their time in Egypt, God greatly increased their numbers and their strength, to the point that they were stronger than the Egyptians. The Egyptians began to hate the Israelites and enslaved them, treating them cruelly.
It’s been proven many times throughout history that those with numbers and strength are often subjugated by those who are fewer and weaker in comparison. I’ve never understood that. I am so thankful that God is sovereign and that I am His child! No matter what, I know that He will work all things for good in my life and the lives of all those that love Him.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Psalms 105:26 He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.
Psalms 105:27 They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.
In God’s timing, He sent Moses and Aaron to deliver His people. Before that was accomplished, however, He performed many miracles, sending plagues against the “gods” of Egypt to eventually force the Pharaoh to let the people go.
In His omniscience, God always has His people positioned in the right place at the right time in the right circumstances to accomplish His purposes.
Psalms 105:28 He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.
David doesn’t reference all the plagues, nor does he reference them chronologically. Darkness was actually the ninth plague; it was a complete darkness that lasted for three days. It was directed against Ra, the sun god, considered the father of Pharaoh; Horus, god of the sunset; and Shu, god of light. (Exodus 10)
“they rebelled not” – Though the wording is difficult, I think the reference is to the faithful obedience of Moses and Aaron in the face of Pharaoh’s anger.
Psalms 105:29 He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.
This was the first plague. It was directed against Khnum, guardian of the Nile, and Osiris, the chief god (the Nile was considered his bloodstream). (Exodus 7)
Psalms 105:30 Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.
This was the second plague. It was directed against Isis, wife of Osiris, the fertility goddess, who was often represented by a frog. The frog was also deified in the goddess Hekt, who assisted women in childbirth. (Exodus 8)
Psalms 105:31 He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.
God has to but speak for His will to be accomplished.
Ezekiel 12:25 “For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass….”
Flies were the fourth plague that was directed against Beelzebub, prince of the air; flies were considered his ears. (Exodus 8)
The affliction of lice was the third plague and was directed against Seth/Geb, the earth god--the dust of the earth became lice. (Exodus 8)
Psalms 105:32 He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.
Psalms 105:33 He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.
The seventh plague was one of destructive hailstones and lightning; it was directed against Shu, the wind god, and Nut, the sky goddess. The hailstones were so great that they broke all the trees. (Exodus 9)
Psalms 105:34 He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,
Psalms 105:35 And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.
The eighth plague was one of a great swarm of locusts that ate everything that had not already been destroyed by the hail. This plague was directed against Nepri, the grain god and Ermutet, the goddess of crops. (Exodus 10)
Psalms 105:36 He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.
The death of the firstborn was the tenth and final plague that caused the Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go. It was directed against Min, god of procreation and reproduction; Isis, goddess of fertility; and Osiris, giver of life, the chief god. Pharaoh was considered a god, and the death of his firstborn was the death of the son of a god. (Exodus 12)
Psalms 105:37 He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.
Psalms 105:38 Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.
When Pharaoh finally let the people of Israel go, God gave them favor with the people of Egypt who gave them jewels of silver and gold, clothing and all the other things they needed for their journey in the wilderness. (Exodus 12) This was God’s way of providing some deserved compensation for their servitude as slaves.
David also marvels that there was not one feeble (weak or sick) person among the people of Israel as they left Egypt.
Psalms 105:39 He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.
David continues his review of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt by noting how God had provided a cloud for protection from the heat of the sun by day and as a fire to give light in the night. What he doesn’t say, however, is that this cloud was the presence of the LORD to guide them in their journey through the wilderness.
Exodus 13:21–22 “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”
The LORD is still faithful to be the sun and shield of guidance and protection to all those that place their faith in Him.
Psalms 84:11 “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
Psalms 105:40 The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
By the middle of the second month of their journey, the people began to complain about the lack of food. The LORD miraculously provided for them by sending an abundance of quail and providing fresh manna, the bread of heaven, every day—except for the Sabbath. (Exodus 16)
We now know that the true bread of heaven is Jesus, the bread of eternal life.
John 6:43–51 “Jesus therefore answered and said unto them….He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Psalms 105:41 He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.
When they complained about the lack of water, the LORD miraculously provided water from a rock.
Exodus 17:6 “Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
Again, this is a picture of how Jesus provides living water for our eternal life as He told the Samaritan woman at the well.
John 4:13–14 “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Psalms 105:42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.
Psalms 105:43 And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:
Psalms 105:44 And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;
Psalms 105:45 That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.
David closes the psalm by recognizing God as a covenant keeper.
Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations….”
He had promised Abraham that His seed would inherit the land of Canaan, and He kept His promise. They not only inherited the land, they inherited the crops, housing, etc. of its former occupants. However, he expected His people to keep His commandments as they had promised before entering the land.
Deuteronomy 26:16–18 “This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee….”
In light of all that God has done for His people, David’s final words are “Praise ye the LORD.” And we should do the same. He does so much for us that we take for granted each and every day. May we learn to give Him the praise He so richly deserves from truly humble and grateful hearts!