Save us, O Lord our God, And gather us from among the heathen, To give thanks to Your holy name, To triumph in Your praise. Psalm 106:47
⇒ In NKJV, “the heathen” in KJV is changed to “the gentiles.” It makes the meaning less clear. The distinction is important. It is not “foreigners” whose nationality is different from the Israelites. It is “strangers” who do not belong to God nor His people.
Rebel Without Cause
Psalm 106 repeats much of the same history covered in Ps. 105. The two poems are companions, although their perspectives are different. Psalm 106 emphasizes the rebellion of the people despite the unflagging goodness of God. If Ps. 105 is about remembering, Ps. 106 is about forgetting – specifically God’s people forgetting his mercies. God’s people failed to respond to Him despite His miraculous works for them. This is a psalm of praise, in that it calls for the praise of God despite the short memories of His people.
Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.
106:8-12 God knew that His people would be faithless repeatedly, yet He saved them for His name’s sake. The crossing of the waters of the Red Sea was not mentioned in Ps. 105 but is included here. Then they believed: The people were often faithless; but they had moments of true faith and performed actions of true praise.
Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, That He might make His mighty power known. 9 He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it dried up; So He led them through the depths, As through the wilderness. 10 He saved them from the hand of him who hated them, And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. 11 The waters covered their enemies; There was not one of them left. 12 Then they believed His words; They sang His praise.
106:17 The rebellion of Dathan and Abiram is described in Num. 16.
17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan, And covered the faction of Abiram.
106:19, 20 The story of the gold calf is recorded in Ex. 32. Changed their glory: In exchange for the living God, the people accepted an image of an ox.
106:24 The fact that they despised the pleasant land is regarded as a result of their unbelief and rejection of God’s good gift, God’s judgment (Num. 13;14) was fully deserved.
106:28-30 Baal of Peor refers to the incident described in Num. 25, following the encounter of Balaam and Balak at Moab. However, this psalm adds a new detail to the story: eating sacrifices offered to the dead. Phinehas, one of the great champions of God in the OT, is celebrated in this poem. As Abraham’s faith was accounted to him for righteousness (Gen. 15:6), so was the action of Phinehas (Num. 25).
28 They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, And ate sacrifices made to the dead. 29 Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds, And the plague broke out among them. 30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, And the plague was stopped.
106:40 The wrath of the Lord must be viewed in the context of His long-standing mercy and forbearance. There was a long history of rebellion in the face of His gracious provision before God became enraged. Yet even in the midst of His wrath, God’s merciful nature was evident. He remained faithful to His covenant with His people, even during their rebellion.
40 Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people, So that He abhorred His own inheritance.
106:47 The words of appeal save us are buttressed with the words O Lord our God. Though the people had been faithless, the Lord was still their God. If they would return to Him, they would have a home in His mercy and a promise of eventual triumph.
47 Save us, O Lord our God, And gather us from among the Gentiles, To give thanks to Your holy name, To triumph in Your praise.
** Even those of us who have experienced God’s hands in our lives often forget Him. Let us not forget. Let us follow the narrow path created by God for us and rely on Him only. Otherwise, we will drown like our enemies.
The waters covered their enemies; There was not one of them left. Psalm 106:11
106 1 Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can declare all His praise? 3 Blessed are those who keep justice, And he who does righteousness at all times! 4 Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people; Oh, visit me with Your salvation, 5 That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance.
6 We have sinned with our fathers, We have committed iniquity, We have done wickedly. 7 Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, But rebelled by the sea–the Red Sea. 8 Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, That He might make His mighty power known. 9 He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it dried up; So He led them through the depths, As through the wilderness. 10 He saved them from the hand of him who hated them, And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. 11 The waters covered their enemies; There was not one of them left. 12 Then they believed His words; They sang His praise.
13 They soon forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel, 14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tested God in the desert. 15 And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul. 16 When they envied Moses in the camp, And Aaron the saint of the Lord, 17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan, And covered the faction of Abiram. 18 A fire was kindled in their company; The flame burned up the wicked. 19 They made a calf in Horeb, And worshiped the molded image. 20 Thus they changed their glory Into the image of an ox that eats grass. 21 They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt, 22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, Awesome things by the Red Sea. 23 Therefore He said that He would destroy them, Had not Moses His chosen one stood before Him in the breach, To turn away His wrath, lest He destroy them. 24 Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe His word, 25 But complained in their tents, And did not heed the voice of the Lord. 26 Therefore He raised up His hand in an oath against them, To overthrow them in the wilderness, 27 To overthrow their descendants among the nations, And to scatter them in the lands. 28 They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, And ate sacrifices made to the dead. 29 Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds, And the plague broke out among them. 30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, And the plague was stopped. 31 And that was accounted to him for righteousness To all generations forevermore. 32 They angered Him also at the waters of strife, So that it went ill with Moses on account of them; 33 Because they rebelled against His Spirit, So that he spoke rashly with his lips.
34 They did not destroy the peoples, Concerning whom the Lord had commanded them, 35 But they mingled with the Gentiles And learned their works; 36 They served their idols, Which became a snare to them. 37 They even sacrificed their sons And their daughters to demons, 38 And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with blood. 39 Thus they were defiled by their own works, And played the harlot by their own deeds. 40 Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people, So that He abhorred His own inheritance. 41 And He gave them into the hand of the Gentiles, And those who hated them ruled over them. 42 Their enemies also oppressed them, And they were brought into subjection under their hand. 43 Many times He delivered them; But they rebelled in their counsel, And were brought low for their iniquity. 44 Nevertheless He regarded their affliction, When He heard their cry; 45 And for their sake He remembered His covenant, And relented according to the multitude of His mercies. 46 He also made them to be pitied By all those who carried them away captive. 47 Save us, O Lord our God, And gather us from among the Gentiles, To give thanks to Your holy name, To triumph in Your praise. 48 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord!