The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Psalm 107

Psa 107:1

Sandwiched between a one-verse introduction and a one-verse conclusion come six paragraphs about how God brings hardship and also blessing into men's lives.

1. Introduction.
2-9. Captivity.
10-16. Imprisonment.
17-22. Mortal sickness.
23-32. Storm at sea.
33-38. Adversity in climate and agriculture.
39-42. Oppression, affliction, sorrow, and wandering.
43. Conclusion.

All kinds of affliction and trial come upon men through their weakness, folly, or sin (or even through the inscrutable purposes of God: vv 33,34; Psa 106:26). Their best endeavors are too puny for them ever to achieve their own salvation. But when they abandon efforts to save themselves and call upon God for salvation, then He hears and helps them. Let men learn from such experiences and glorify God in their thankfulness (vv. 6,8, etc). V 42 is a good summary: These experiences shut the mouths of God's critics and open the mouths of saved sinners in praise and prayer.

Psa 107:2

THOSE HE REDEEMED FROM THE HAND OF THE FOE: The unique deliverance from Assyrian captivity of the considerable body of prisoners who were marched away during the course of Sennacherib's campaign. Thanks to the angel of the Lord (Isa 37:36), these were hastily given their freedom and were home again in a matter of months.

The response to the prayer of Psa 106:46,47.

Psa 107:3

Besides the captives taken away by Sennacherib, there were also numerous refugees who must have fled in all directions, esp to Egypt.

Psa 107:4

Vv 4-7: Generally suggestive of Hagar, when she fled with Ishmael from the jealousy of Sarah (Gen 21:14-20).

All of those uprooted from their homes would have a desperately trying time of it (v 5), even in their eager homecoming.

FINDING NO WAY TO A CITY WHERE THEY COULD SETTLE: Suggests also Heb 13:14. Though there is no such city now, there will be one in the future. God is preparing for His people a city to dwell in (v 7 here; Heb 11:13-16).

Psa 107:6

Vv 6,7: Quotes Num 20:16.

Psa 107:7

A CITY WHERE THEY COULD SETTLE: Jerusalem, whether it be understood lit or fig -- as the "city" which is at once a "Bride" and the church (Gal 4:26; Eph 2:20; Heb 11:10,16; 12:22,23; Rev 21; 22).

Psa 107:8

"If we complained less, and praised more, we should be happier, and God would be more glorified. Let us daily praise God for common mercies -- common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when deprived of them we are ready to perish. Let us bless God for the eyes with which we behold the sun, for the health and strength to walk abroad, for the bread we eat, for the raiment we wear. Let us praise Him that we are not cast out among the hopeless, or confined amongst the guilty; let us thank Him for liberty, for friends, for family associations and comforts; let us praise Him, in fact, for everything which we receive from His bounteous hand, for we deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed. But, beloved, the sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming love. God's redeeming acts towards His chosen are for ever the favourite themes of their praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our sonnets of thanksgiving" (CHS).

Psa 107:9

Vv 9,10: // Luk 1:53 (Mary); Luk 1:79 (Zechariah). Zechariah seems to complete the thought previously uttered by Mary.

If it were not for the extraordinary fertility of the Year of Jubilee (Isa 37:30,31; cp Isa 35:8,9; 40:3), vast numbers of these struggling travelers would have died along the way.

Psa 107:10

This quotes Isa 9:2, which is prob about the overrunning of the northern tribes by Tiglath-pileser III and the ensuing captivity from that area (2Ki 15:29). These also would unexpectedly find their early freedom after the Assyrian destruction at Jerusalem. The idea of "the lost ten tribes" is a myth. Only a small fraction of them were taken away, and most of those returned within a few years.

(NT) Vv 10-16: Healing of Gadarene demoniacs (Mat 8:28-34).

Psa 107:14

After the Exodus, such a sudden and unexpected change of fortune as this v describes happened only at the time suggested (see note on v 10). By ct, at the time of Cyrus the Jews were comfortably settled in Babylon (Jer 29:4-7) and did not suffer the oppression described here.

Psa 107:16

See Isa 45:2. Isa 45 is not about Cyrus, but about the deliverance from the Assyrians in the days of Hezekiah, and secondarily (and most importantly) about Christ himself. Through misreading Isa 44:28; 45:1 as being prophetic of the Medo-Persian ruler, many have committed themselves, unwisely and unnecessarily, to the modern critic's best "evidence" for a "Second" -- or post-exilic -- Isaiah. This ought not to have been. (WIsa 393-412 for an excellent analysis of Isa 45, and a satisfying solution of the "Cyrus" problem. For further detail along the same general lines, see JWT, OT Prob 244-264.)

BRONZE: Used as sym of what is firm, strong, and lasting (Mic 4:13; Jer 1:18; 15:20; Dan 2:35). Also sym stubbornness (Isa 48:4; Jer 6:28; Eze 22:18).

Psa 107:20

Isaiah's commission to tell the stricken king of certain recovery and the addition of 15 years to his life (2Ki 20:4,5). Why "them"? Because Hezekiah was intended to be seen as the sin-bearing representative of his nation, as Isa 52:13--53:12 clearly shows. It was Hezekiah who first bore the griefs of a threatened nation, who was first stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Hezekiah was first brought to face death at an early age -- "cut off from the land of the living" (Isa 53:8; 38:10-12). And Hezekiah first "prolonged his days" (though only for fifteen years) and "saw his seed" Manasseh, who would follow him upon the throne. By his steadfast faith before the twin enemies -- death and the Assyrian -- Hezekiah mediated for the righteous remnant before the throne of God, bolstered their faith in the promised deliverance, and (so we might say) "justified [or healed] many" (Isa 53:11) by his worthy example.

(NT) Cp Mat 8:5-13: Healing of centurion's servant, by a word at a distance! Notice other connections to Mat 8 in Psa 107:23-30,10-16.

Psa 107:23

Vv 23-32. An expansion of Psa 48:7: "You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind." This detail, coming in the middle of a psalm about the destruction of the Assyrian army, suggests that that mighty judgment was accompanied by a devastating whirlwind of the Lord.

(NT) Jesus calms storm on Sea of Galilee (Mat 8:23-27).

Psa 107:27

THEY WERE AT THEIR WITS' END: "And their seamanship was all in vain" (NEB).

Psa 107:30

HE GUIDED THEM TO THEIR DESIRED HAVEN: Was Paul reluctant to forsake The Fair Havens (sw in LXX) so soon and in such a dangerous situation, because he believed that God had providentially brought them to such a place (Act 27:8-10)?

Psa 107:33

Vv 33,34: The hard discipline of God's retribution, followed (in vv 35-38) by a sequence of redeeming blessings, out of pity for the people's sufferings and in response to their pathetic prayers. The blessings of fruitfulness of the Year of Jubilee (2Ki 19:29; Isa 60:3,4; Psa 96:12, notes).

Psa 107:36

Isa 61:4 describes the necessary feverish activity when the captives and refugees came home again. {The last phrase should be seen as (1) hyperbole, or (2) awaiting absolute fulfillment in the LD.}

Psa 107:39

Vv 39,40: Another look back at the trials for Israel of the Assyrian invasion. Princes of Judah, fleeing for their lives from the advancing hordes (Isa 30:15-17), lose their way and wander in the desert.

Psa 107:41

The poor man, Hezekiah, is lifted up out of his personal affliction, and is promised the family which he had hoped for but (due to his disabling illness?) had not as yet known.

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