Psalms 105 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The two historical Psalms which stand at the end of Book iv. are closely related. Psalms 105 is a Psalm of thanksgiving, recapitulating the marvellous works by which Jehovah demonstrated His faithfulness to the covenant which He made with Abraham. Psalms 106 is a Psalm of penitence, reciting the history of Israel’s faithlessness and disobedience. They present, so to speak, the obverse and reverse of Israel’s history; the common prophetic theme of Jehovah’s lovingkindness and Israel’s ingratitude. They have much in common with Psalms 78, with which their author was evidently familiar; but that Psalm is distinguished by its didactic and monitory character, and it combines the two strands of thought which are here separated.
Such a recital of the proofs of Jehovah’s faithfulness as is contained in Psalms 105 was very suitable as an encouragement to the community of the Restoration. If God had preserved the patriarchs, and made a nomad family into a strong nation, giving them possession of the land through which they wandered as strangers, He could again fulfil His purposes even through the feeble body of returned exiles (Isa 60:22). That these Psalms belong to the period after the Return from Babylon is evident, for they presuppose not only the Exile (Psa 106:47) but the restoration of the Temple-worship. Psa 106:47, which at first sight might seem to imply that no return had yet taken place, must be understood as a prayer for the completion of the restoration by the return of the Israelites from all the countries in which they were scattered. The repeated call to “give thanks to Jehovah,” to “praise Jah” corresponds exactly to the terms in which the function of the Levites is described in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles (Ezr 3:11; Neh 12:24 ; 1Ch 16:4; &c.). On the other hand these Psalms are earlier than Chronicles (c. 300 b.c.). The festal anthem which the Chronicler introduces on the occasion of the translation of the Ark to Zion is a combination of Psa 105:1-15 (= 1Ch 16:8-22) with Psalms 96 (= 1Ch 16:23-33) and Psa 106:1; Psa 106:47-48 (= 1Ch 16:34-36). It is certain that the Psalms stand in their original form in the Psalter, and that the anthem in Chronicles is merely a compilation; for Psa 105:1-14 is clearly but a portion of a connected poem, while there is an entire absence of connexion in Chron. between Psa 105:22-23, and between Psa 105:33-34. A theory has been advanced that the anthem is a later insertion in Chronicles, and consequently that the date of Chronicles does not fix a limit for the date of the Psalms; but this theory is improbable.
Though there is no marked strophical arrangement in Psalms 105, there is a certain symmetry in its plan. It consists of four nearly equal divisions.
i. The Israelites, as the seed of Abraham, the children of Jacob, are summoned to praise Jehovah for His faithfulness to His covenant with the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Psa 105:1-12).
ii. He guarded them in their wanderings, and led Jacob into Egypt, after He had prepared the way by sending Joseph before him (Psa 105:13-24).
iii. When the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites, He displayed His power in the judgements which led to their release (Psa 105:25-36).
iv. He brought them out of Egypt, protected them and provided for their wants in the wilderness, and settled them in the land of Canaan, that they might serve Him by grateful obedience to His laws (Psa 105:37-45).
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".