78:1(a Maschil of Asaph.) Give ear, O my people, [to] my
b law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
(a) Read (Ps 32:1).
(b) The prophet under the name of a teacher calls the
people his, and the doctrine his, as Paul calls the
gospel his, of which he was but the preacher, as in
78:3 Which we have heard and known, and our c fathers have
(c) Who were the people of God.
78:5 For he established a d testimony in Jacob, and appointed
a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they
should make them known to their children:
(d) By the testimony and law, he means your law written,
which they were commanded to teach their children,
78:6 That the e generation to come might know [them, even] the
children [which] should be born; [who] should arise and
declare [them] to their children:
(e) He shows how the children would be like their father's:
that is, in maintaining God's pure religion.
78:7 That they might f set their hope in God, and not forget
the works of God, but keep his commandments:
(f) He shows where the use of this doctrine exists: in
faith, in the meditation of God's benefits, and in
78:8 And might not be as their g fathers, a stubborn and
rebellious generation; a generation [that] set not their
heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
(g) Though these fathers were the seed of Abraham and the
chosen people, yet he shows by their rebellion,
provocation, falsehood, and hypocrisy, that the
children should not follow their examples.
78:9 The children of h Ephraim, [being] armed, [and] carrying
bows, turned back in the day of battle.
(h) By Ephraim he means also the rest of the tribes,
because they were most in number: whose punishment
declares that they were unfaithful to God, and by their
multitude and authority had corrupted all others.
78:12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their i
fathers, in the land of Egypt, [in] the field of Zoan.
(i) He proves that not only the posterity but also their
forefathers were wicked and rebellious to God.
78:17 And they k sinned yet more against him by provoking the
most High in the wilderness.
(k) Their wicked malice could be overcome by no benefits,
which were great and many.
78:18 And they tempted God in their heart by l asking meat for
(l) Then to require more than is necessary, and to
separate God's power from his will, is to tempt God.
78:19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God m
furnish a table in the wilderness?
(m) Thus when we give place to sin, we are moved to doubt
God's power, unless he is always ready to serve our
78:22 Because they believed not in God, and n trusted not in
(n) That is, in his fatherly providence, by which he cares
for his, and provides sufficiently.
78:23 Though he had commanded the o clouds from above, and
opened the doors of heaven,
(o) So that they had that which was necessary and
sufficient: but their lust made them cover that which
they knew God had denied them.
78:26 He caused an p east wind to blow in the heaven: and by
his power he brought in the south wind.
(p) God used the wind to show them that all the elements
were at his command, and that no distance could
restrain his working.
78:30 They were not estranged from their q lust. But while
their meat [was] yet in their mouths,
(q) Such is the nature of concupiscence, that the more it
has the more it lusts.
78:31 The wrath of God came upon them, and slew r the fattest
of them, and smote down the chosen [men] of Israel.
(r) Though others were not spared, yet chiefly they
suffered, who trusted in their strength against God.
78:32 For all this they s sinned still, and believed not for
his wondrous works.
(s) Thus sin by continuance makes man insensible, so that
by no plagues they can be amended.
78:34 When he t slew them, then they sought him: and they
returned and enquired early after God.
(t) Such was their hypocrisy, that they sought God out of
fear of punishment, though in their heart they did not
78:37 For their u heart was not right with him, neither were
they stedfast in his covenant.
(u) Whatever does not come from the pure fountain of the
heart is hypocrisy.
78:38 But he, [being] full of compassion, x forgave [their]
iniquity, and destroyed [them] not: yea, many a time
turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his
(x) Because he would always have some remnant of a Church
to praise his Name in earth, he did not permit their
sins to overcome his mercy.
78:41 Yea, they y turned back and tempted God, and z limited
the Holy One of Israel.
(y) That is, they often tempted him.
(z) As they all do who measure the power of God by their
78:42 They a remembered not his hand, [nor] the day when he
delivered them from the enemy.
(a) The forgetfulness of God's benefits is the root of
rebellion and all vice.
78:45 He sent b divers sorts of flies among them, which
devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.
(b) This word signifies a confused mixture of flies and
venomous worms. Some take it for all sorts of
serpents: some for all wild beasts.
78:46 He c gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and
their labour unto the locust.
(c) He does not repeat here all the miracles that God did
in Egypt, but certain which might be sufficient to
convince the people of malice and ingratitude.
78:49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and
indignation, and trouble, by sending d evil angels
(d) So called either for the effect, that is, of punishing
the wicked: or else because they were wicked spirits,
whom God permitted to vex men.
78:51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the e chief of
[their] strength in the tabernacles of f Ham:
(e) The firstborn are so called, as in (Ge 49:3).
(f) That is, Egypt: for it was called Mizraim, or Egypt of
Mizraim that was the son of Ham.
78:53 And he led them on safely, so that they g feared not:
but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
(g) That is, they had no opportunity to fear, even as God
destroyed their enemies and delivered them falsely.
78:54 And he brought them to the border of his h sanctuary,
[even to] this mountain, [which] his right hand had
(h) Meaning, Canaan, which God had consecrated to himself
and appointed to his people.
78:57 But turned back, and dealt i unfaithfully like their
fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
(i) Nothing more displeases God in the children, than when
they continue in that wickedness, which their fathers
78:58 For they k provoked him to anger with their high places,
and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
(k) By serving God other than he had appointed.
78:60 So that he l forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent
[which] he placed among men;
(l) For their ingratitude he permitted the Philistines to
take the Ark which was the sign of his presence, from
78:61 And delivered his m strength into captivity, and his
glory into the enemy's hand.
(m) The Ark is called his power and beauty because by this
he defended his people, and beautifully appeared to
78:63 The fire n consumed their young men; and their maidens
were not o given to marriage.
(n) They were suddenly destroyed, (1Sa 4:10).
(o) They had no marriage songs: that is, they were not
78:64 Their priests fell by the sword; and their p widows made
(p) Either they were slain before or taken prisoner by
their enemies, and so were forbidden.
78:65 Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, [and] like a
mighty man that q shouteth by reason of wine.
(q) Because they were drunk in their sins, they judged
God's patience to be slumbering, as though he were
drunk, therefore he answering their beastly judgment,
says, he will awake and take sudden vengeance.
78:67 Moreover he refused the tabernacle of r Joseph, and
chose not the tribe of Ephraim:
(r) Showing that he did not spare the Israelites
altogether, though he punished their enemies.
78:69 And he s built his sanctuary like high [palaces], like
the earth which he hath established for ever.
(s) By building the temple, and establishing the kingdom,
he declares that the signs of his favour were among
78:72 So t he fed them according to the integrity of his
heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.
(t) He shows where a kings charge stands: that is, to
provide faithfully for his people, to guide them by
counsel, and defend them by power.