Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
After an exhortation to praise God, addressed especially to the
chosen people, the writer presents the special reason for praise, in a
summary of their history from the calling of Abraham to their settlement
in Canaan, and reminds them that their obedience was the end of all
God's gracious dealings.
1. call . . . name--
Call on Him, according to His historically manifested glory. After the
example of Abraham, who, as often as God acquired for Himself a name in
guiding him, called in solemn worship upon the name of the Lord
among the people--or, "peoples"
3, 4. Seeking God's favor is the only true mode of getting true
happiness, and His strength
is the only true source of protection (compare
Ps 32:11; 40:16).
Glory . . . name--boast in His perfections. The world glories in its
horses and chariots against the Church of God lying in the dust; but
our hope is in the name, that is, the power and love of God to His
people, manifested in past deliverances.
5, 6. judgments . . . mouth--His judicial decisions for the good and
against the wicked.
6. chosen--rather qualifies "children" than "Jacob," as a plural.
7. Rather, "He, Jehovah, is our God." His title,
that He, the unchangeable, self-existing Being, makes things to be, that
is, fulfils His promises, and therefore will not forsake His people.
Though specially of His people, He is God over all.
8-11. The covenant was often ratified.
word--answering to "covenant"
in the parallel clause, namely, the word of promise, which, according
He set forth for an inviolable law.
to a thousand generations--perpetually. A verbal allusion to
9. Which covenant--or, "Word"
10, 11. Alluding to God's promise to Jacob
Out of the whole storehouse of the promises of God, only one is
prominently brought forward, namely, that concerning the possession of
Everything revolves around this. The wonders and judgments have all for
their ultimate design the fulfilment of this promise.
12-15. few . . . in number--alluding to Jacob's words
"I being few in number."
yea, very few--literally, "as a few," that is, like fewness itself
strangers--sojourners in the land of their future inheritance, as in
a strange country
13. from one nation to another--and so from danger to danger; now in
Egypt, now in the wilderness, and lastly in Canaan. Though a few
strangers, wandering among various nations, God protected them.
14. reproved kings--Pharaoh of Egypt and Abimelech
(Ge 12:17; 20:3).
15. Touch not--referring to
where Abimelech says of Isaac, "He that toucheth this man or his
wife shall surely be put to death."
mine anointed--as specially consecrated to Me
The patriarch was the prophet, priest, and king of his family.
my prophets--in a similar sense, compare
The "anointed" are those vessels of God, consecrated to His service,
"in whom (as Pharaoh said of Joseph,
the Spirit of God is" [HENGSTENBERG].
16. God ordered the famine. God
called for a famine--as if it were a servant, ready to come at
God's bidding. Compare the centurion's words, as to disease being God's
(Mt 8:8, 9).
upon the land--namely, Canaan
staff of bread--what supports life
17-21. Joseph was sent of God
18. hurt with fetters--
was laid in iron--literally, "his soul"
or, "he came into iron," or, he was bound to his grief (compare
Ps 3:2; 11:1).
The "soul" is put for the whole person, because the soul of the captive
suffers still more than the body. Joseph is referred to as being an
appropriate type of those "bound in affliction and iron"
19. his word came--His prophecy
to the officers came to pass, or was fulfilled
(Jud 13:12, 17;
explain the form of speech).
the word of the Lord--or, "saying," or "decree of the Lord."
tried him--or, "proved him," by the afflictions it appointed him to
endure before his elevation (compare
22. To bind--Not literally bind; but
exercise over them absolute control, as the parallel in the second
clause shows; also
Ge 41:40, 44,
in which not literal fettering, but commanding obedience,
is spoken of. It refers to
The soul that was once bound itself now binds others, even
princes. The same moral binding is assigned to the saints
teach . . . senators wisdom--the ground of his exaltation by Pharaoh
was his wisdom
namely, in state policy, and ordering well a kingdom.
23-25. Israel . . . and Jacob--that is, Jacob himself is meant, as
speaks of "his people." Still, he came with his whole house
(Ge 46:6, 7).
land of Ham--or, Egypt
25. turned their heart--God controls men's free acts (compare
"When Saul had turned his back to go from (God's prophet) Samuel, God
turned (Margin) him another heart" (see
&c.). Whatever evil the wicked man plots against God's people, God
holds bound even his heart, so as not to lay a single plan except what
God permits. Thus Isaiah
says it was God who brought forth the army of Pharaoh to
pursue Israel to their own destruction
(Ex 4:21; 7:3).
26. Moses . . . chosen--both what they were by divine choice
27. signs--literally, "words of signs," or rather, as "words" in
Hebrew means "things," "things of His signs," that is, His marvellous
tokens of power
Margin). Compare the same Hebraism
28-36. The ninth plague is made prominent as peculiarly wonderful.
they rebelled not--Moses and Aaron promptly obeyed God
and Ps 78:44-51,
with which this summary substantially agrees). Or, rather, the
"darkness" here is figurative
the literal plague of darkness
(Ex 10:22, 23)
being only alluded to as the symbol of God's wrath which
overhung Egypt as a dark cloud during all the plagues. Hence, it is
placed first, out of the historical order. Thus, "They rebelled not
(that is, no longer) against His word," refers to the Egyptians.
Whenever God sent a plague on them, they were ready to let Israel
go, though refusing when the plague ceased.
his word--His command to let Israel go
[HENGSTENBERG]. Of the ten
plagues, only eight are mentioned, the fifth, the murrain of beasts, and
the sixth, the boils, being omitted.
29-31. He deprived them of their favorite "fish," and gave them
out of the water, loathsome "frogs," and
upon their land tormenting "flies" (the dog-fly, according to MAURER) and "lice" (gnats, according to HENGSTENBERG).
32. gave them--referring to
"I give you rain in due season." His "gift" to Israel's foes is
one of a very different kind from that bestowed on His people.
hail for rain--instead of fertilizing showers, hail destructive to
trees. This forms the transition to the vegetable kingdom. The locusts
similarly are destructive to plants.
33. their coasts--all their land
34. caterpillars--literally, "the lickers up," devouring insects;
probably the hairy-winged locust.
36. the chief--literally, "the firstlings." The ascending climax passes
from the food of man to man himself. The language here is quoted from
37. with silver and gold--presented them by the Egyptians, as an
acknowledgment due for their labors in their bondage (compare
one feeble person--or, "stumbler," unfit for the line of march. Compare
"harnessed," that is, accoutred and marshalled as an army on march
39. covering--in sense of protection (compare
In the burning sands of the desert the cloud protected the congregation
from the heat of the sun; an emblem of God's protecting favor of His
people, as interpreted by Isaiah
(Isa 4:5, 6;
42-45. The reasons for these dealings: (1) God's faithfulness to
His covenant, "His holy promise" of Canaan, is the fountain whence
flowed so many acts of marvellous kindness to His people (compare
Ps 105:8, 11).
is the fundamental passage [HENGSTENBERG]. (2)
That they might be obedient. The observance of God's commands by
Abraham was the object of the covenant with him
as it was also the object of the covenant with Israel, that they might
observe God's statutes.
remembered . . . and Abraham--or, "remembered His holy word (that is,
covenant confirmed) with Abraham."
44. inherited the labour--that is, the fruits of their labor; their
corn and vineyards