Kidner notes that ‘The first fifteen verses of this psalm, the last two verses of 106, and, in between, the greater part of Psalm 96 are quoted in the account of David’s procession with the ark to Jerusalem in 1 Chronicles 16.’
105:1 Give thanks to the LORD!
Call on his name!
Make known his accomplishments among the nations!
105:2 Sing to him!
Make music to him!
Tell about all his miraculous deeds!
105:3 Boast about his holy name!
Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
‘What, then, does it mean to worship God? It is to ‘glory in his holy name (Ps. 105:3), that is, to revel adoringly in who he is in his revealed character. But before we can glory in God’s name, we must know it. Hence the propriety of the reading and preaching of the Word of God in public worship, and of biblical meditation in private devotion. These things are not an intrusion into worship; they form the necessary foundation of it. God must speak to us before we have any liberty to speak to him. He must disclose to us who he is before we can offer him what we are in acceptable worship. The worship of God is always a response to the Word of God. Scripture wonderfully directs and enriches our worship.’ (John Stott, The Contemporary Christian)
105:4 Seek the LORD and the strength he gives!
Seek his presence continually!
Seek his face – That is, seek to live in his presence. ‘The psalmist often testifies of the horror associated with the withdrawal of God’s friendship (Ps. 22:1; 28:1).’ (New Geneva)
105:5 Recall the miraculous deeds he performed,
his mighty acts and the judgments he decreed,
105:6 O children of Abraham, God’s servant,
you descendants of Jacob, God’s chosen ones!
105:7 He is the LORD our God;
he carries out judgment throughout the earth.
105:8 He always remembers his covenantal decree,
the promise he made to a thousand generations—
105:9 the promise he made to Abraham,
the promise he made by oath to Isaac!
105:10 He gave it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as a lasting promise,
105:11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion of your inheritance.”
This passage (8-11), together with a quotation from Rom 11, heads up the statement of Foundation Principles of Christian Friends of Israel. These Principles affirm, among other things, belief that ‘the restoration of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is in accordance with promises contained in the Old and New Testaments’.
Kidner remarks: ‘We must note from Scripture the relativity of such a pledge: first, in that the earth itself will perish (Psa 102:25f.), and secondly, that even God’s ‘for ever’ can be forfeited by man’s apostasy (1 Sam 2:30; Mt 21:43). It would be a mistake to understand it in a purely political sense, as a territorial title-deed on its own.’
105:12 When they were few in number,
just a very few, and resident aliens within it,
105:13 they wandered from nation to nation,
and from one kingdom to another.
105:14 He let no one oppress them;
he disciplined kings for their sake,
105:15 saying, “Don’t touch my chosen ones!
Don’t harm my prophets!”
v14f Cf. 1 Chronicles 16:22f.
Allen thinks that the reference is to God’s protection of the Patriarchs from kings such as Pharaoh (Gen 12:17) and Abimelech (Gen 20:3; 26:11). This would fit the overall chronological movement of the psalm (patriarchs, 11-15, Joseph, 16-23, Moses, 24-38, wilderness, 39-41, conquest, 42-45).
But, alternatively, it may refer to the Israelites generally. Whereas in 1 Sam 24:6 it was King Saul who, as God’s ‘chosen one’ was protected, here it is God’s people generally who are protected from (foreign) kings.
‘It is true that Abraham was called a prophet in Genesis 20:7; but the designation here is probably for the Israelites in general. So the reference should not be restricted to the classical prophets. The point of the section is that God protected his people because he chose them and made a covenant with them so that they would be his representatives in the earth.’ (Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms)
105:16 He called down a famine upon the earth;
he cut off all the food supply.
105:17 He sent a man ahead of them—
Joseph was sold as a servant.
105:18 The shackles hurt his feet;
his neck was placed in an iron collar,
105:19 until the time when his prediction came true.
The LORD’s word proved him right.
105:20 The king authorized his release;
the ruler of nations set him free.
105:21 He put him in charge of his palace,
and made him manager of all his property,
105:22 giving him authority to imprison his officials
and to teach his advisers.
105:23 Israel moved to Egypt;
Jacob lived for a time in the land of Ham.
105:24 The LORD made his people very fruitful,
and made them more numerous than their enemies.
105:25 He caused them to hate his people,
and to mistreat his servants.
105:26 He sent his servant Moses,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
105:27 They executed his miraculous signs among them,
and his amazing deeds in the land of Ham.
105:28 He made it dark;
they did not disobey his orders.
‘The sun was a leading object of devotion among the Egyptians under the name of Osiris. The very name Pharaoh means not only the king but also the sun, and characterises the king himself as the representative of the sun and entitled in some sort to divine honours. But now the very light of the sun has disappeared and primeval chaos seems to have returned. Thus all the forms of Egyptian will worship were covered with shame and confusion by the plagues.’ (James G. Murphy, in “A Commentary on Exodus”, 1866)
105:29 He turned their water into blood,
and killed their fish.
105:30 Their land was overrun by frogs,
which even got into the rooms of their kings.
105:31 He ordered flies to come;
gnats invaded their whole territory.
105:32 He sent hail along with the rain;
there was lightning in their land.
105:33 He destroyed their vines and fig trees,
and broke the trees throughout their territory.
105:34 He ordered locusts to come,
105:35 They ate all the vegetation in their land,
and devoured the crops of their fields.
105:36 He struck down all the firstborn in their land,
the firstfruits of their reproductive power.
105:37 He brought his people out enriched with silver and gold;
none of his tribes stumbled.
105:38 Egypt was happy when they left,
for they were afraid of them.
105:39 He spread out a cloud for a cover,
and provided a fire to light up the night.
105:40 They asked for food, and he sent quails;
he satisfied them with food from the sky.
105:41 He opened up a rock and water flowed out;
a river ran through dry regions.
105:42 Yes, he remembered the sacred promise
he made to Abraham his servant.
105:43 When he led his people out, they rejoiced;
his chosen ones shouted with joy.
105:44 He handed the territory of nations over to them,
and they took possession of what other peoples had produced,
105:45 so that they might keep his commands
and obey his laws.
Praise the LORD!