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78:1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
78:3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
78:4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
78:5 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:
78:6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
78:7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:
78:8 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 God.
78:9 The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
78:10 They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;
78:11 And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.
78:12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
78:13 He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.
78:14 In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.
78:15 He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.
78:16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
78:17 And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.
78:18 And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.
78:19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
78:20 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?
78:21 Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel;
78:22 Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:
78:23 Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,
78:24 And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.
78:25 Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full.
78:26 He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.
78:27 He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:
78:28 And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.
78:29 So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;
78:30 They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,
78:31 The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.
78:32 For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.
78:33 Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.
78:34 When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God.
78:35 And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.
78:36 Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.
78:37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
78:38 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.
78:39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
78:40 How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!
78:41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
78:42 They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.
78:43 How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan.
78:44 And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink.
78:45 He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.
78:46 He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.
78:47 He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost.
78:48 He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
78:49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.
78:50 He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence;
78:51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:
78:52 But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
78:53 And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
78:54 And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.
78:55 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.
78:56 Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies:
78:57 But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
78:58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
78:59 When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:
78:60 So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;
78:61 And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.
78:62 He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance.
78:63 The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.
78:64 Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.
78:65 Then the LORD awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.
78:66 And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.
78:67 Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:
78:68 But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.
78:69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.
78:70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:
78:71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
78:72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.



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Everything King James Bible:Psalms
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Psalms
Book: Psalms
Chapter: 78

Overview:
Attention called for. (1-8) The history of Israel. (9-39)
Their settlement in Canaan. (40-55) The mercies of God to Israel
contrasted with their ingratitude. (56-72)

1-8 These are called dark and Deep sayings, because they are
carefully to be looked into. The Law of God was given with a
particular charge to teach it diligently to their children, that
the Church may abide for ever. Also, that the providences of
God, both in Mercy and in Judgment, might encourage them to
conform to the will of God. The Works of God much strengthen our
resolution to keep his Commandments. Hypocrisy is the high Road
to apostasy; those that do not set their hearts right, will not
be stedfast with God. Many parents, By negligence and
wickedness, become murderers of their children. But young
persons, though they are bound to submit in all things lawful,
must not obey sinful orders, or copy sinful examples.

9-39. Sin dispirits men, and takes away the Heart.
Forgetfulness of God's Works is the cause of disobedience to his
laws. This narrative relates a struggle between God's Goodness
and Man's badness. The Lord hears all our murmurings and
distrusts, and is much displeased. Those that will not believe
the power of God's Mercy, shall feel the Fire of his
indignation. Those cannot be said to trust in God's Salvation as
their happiness at last, who can not trust his Providence in the
way to it. To all that By Faith and Prayer, ask, seek, and
Knock, these Doors of Heaven shall at any time be opened; and
our distrust of God is a great aggravation of our sins. He
expressed his resentment of their provocation; not in denying
what they sinfully lusted after, but in granting it to them.
Lust is contented with nothing. Those that indulge their Lust,
will never be estranged from it. Those hearts are hard indeed,
that will neither be melted By the mercies of the Lord, nor
broken By his judgments. Those that Sin still, must expect to be
in trouble still. And the reason why we live with So little
comfort, and to So little purpose, is, because we do not live By
Faith. Under these rebukes they professed Repentance, but they
were not sincere, for they were not constant. In Israel's
history we have a picture of our own hearts and lives. God's
patience, and warnings, and mercies, embolden them to harden
their hearts against his Word. And the history of kingdoms is
much the same. Judgments and mercies have been little attended
to, until the Measure of their sins has been full. And higher
advantages have not kept churches from declining from the
Commandments of God. Even true believers recollect, that for
many a Year they abused the kindness of Providence. When they
come to Heaven, how will they admire the Lord's patience and
Mercy in bringing them to his kingdom!

40-55. Let not those that receive Mercy from God, be thereby
made bold to Sin, for the mercies they receive will hasten its
Punishment; yet let not those who are under Divine rebukes for
Sin, be discouraged from Repentance. The Holy One of Israel will
do what is most for his own Glory, and what is most for their
good. Their forgetting former favours, led them to limit God for
the future. God made his own people to go forth like Sheep; and
guided them in the Wilderness, as a Shepherd his flock, with all
care and tenderness. Thus the true Joshua, even Jesus, brings
his Church out of the Wilderness; but No earthly Canaan, No
worldly advantages, should make us forget that the Church is in
the Wilderness while in this world, and that there remaineth a
far more glorious Rest for the people of God.

56-72 After the Israelites were settled in Canaan, the children
were like their fathers. God gave them his testimonies, but they
turned back. Presumptuous sins render even Israelites hateful to
God's Holiness, and exposed to his Justice. Those whom the Lord
forsakes become an easy prey to the Destroyer. And sooner or
later, God will disgrace his enemies. He set a good government
over his people; a monarch after his own Heart. With good reason
does the psalmist make this finishing, crowning instance of
God's favour to Israel; for David was a Type of Christ, the
great and good Shepherd, who was humbled first, and then
exalted; and of whom it was foretold, that he should be filled
with the Spirit of Wisdom and understanding. On the uprightness
of his Heart, and the skilfulness of his hands, all his subjects
may rely; and of the increase of his government and peace there
shall be No End. Every trial of human nature hitherto, confirms
the Testimony of Scripture, that the Heart is deceitful above
all things, and desperately wicked, and nothing but being
created anew By the Holy Ghost can cure the ungodliness of any.

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