The Fifth Book of the Psalms
Psalms 107 – 150
Psalms 107 – 150
The Fifth Book of the Psalms (107 – 150). From a prophetic standpoint, the fifth book of the Psalms views Israel as already restored in their land. Many expressions found in the first four books such as “Return, O Lord” and “How long?” are not found in the fifth book (except once, Psa. 132), because Christ has already appeared.1 The fifth book of the Psalms corresponds with the fifth book of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy; i.e. Israel’s history recounted and precepts laid down in view of possession of the land. This parallels the character of the fifth book of the Psalms, which presents Israel in their land, and reviewing God’s ways with them in grace. There is more about the ten returning tribes in the fifth book than the earlier books. The fifth book is a crescendo of praise, culminating in the last few Psalms which are the highest notes. Read more…
Restored Israel Celebrates the Goodness of Jehovah
Restored Israel Celebrates the Goodness of Jehovah
Psalm 107. This Psalm serves as an introduction to the fifth book. It gives the thanksgiving of restored Israel for the goodness of Jehovah, both in delivering them in the land, and bringing the ten tribes back to their land. It is an answer to the last verses of Psalm 106! In the body of the Psalm (vv.1-32) Israel is pictured under four figures: as a wanderer (vv.1-9), as a prisoner (vv.10-16), as a sick person (vv.17-22), and as a sailor in a storm (vv.23-32). From each of these circumstances, which pictures Israel’s troublesome history, Jehovah delivers them!
1 Give ye thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; for his loving-kindness endureth for ever.
2 Let the redeemed of Jehovah say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the oppressor,
3 And gathered out of the countries, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the sea.
4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desert way, they found no city of habitation;
5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them:
6 Then they cried unto Jehovah in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses,
7 And he led them forth by a right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.
8 Let them give thanks unto Jehovah for his loving-kindness, and for his wondrous works to the children of men;
9 For he hath satisfied the longing soul and filled the hungry soul with good.
vv.1-9 For Satisfying Every Need of Israel. The first three verses give us the double theme of the Psalm: thanks for redeeming Israel, and thanks for regathering Israel. The redeeming of Israel from “the hand of the oppressor” will take place when Christ appears (the king of the north put down). We know the regathering of Israel (the ten scattered tribes) will take place after the great tribulation, and following the appearing of Christ. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days… they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24:29-31; Ezek. 20:33-38). We have the four winds here: east, west, north, and south. In the first nine verses, Israel is viewed as a wanderer, outside of their land, hungry and thirsty. God does a work in Israel giving them life (Ezek. 37), so that they cry out for deliverance. But the Lord hears their cry, and delivers them, and guides them home “to a city of habitation”. Restored in their land, the Lord will satisfy every need of His once scattered people. The call to give thanks is in vv.8-9, for satisfying the needs of Israel.
10 Such as inhabit darkness and the shadow of death, bound in affliction and iron,
11 Because they had rebelled against the words of GOD, and had despised the counsel of the Most High; …
12 And he bowed down their heart with labour; they stumbled, and there was none to help:
13 Then they cried unto Jehovah in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses;
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their bands in sunder.
15 Let them give thanks unto Jehovah for his loving-kindness, and for his wondrous works to the children of men;
16 For he hath broken the gates of bronze, and cut asunder the bars of iron.
vv.10-16 For Setting Israel Free from Bondage. In these verses Israel is pictured as prisoners in spiritual bondage; “darkness and the shadow of death, bound in affliction and iron”. The reason is “because they had rebelled against the words of GOD, and had despised the counsel of the Most High”. Sin leads to bondage. So the captivity of Israel was a result of their sin. But the Lord delivers them from this bondage, breaking their bands. The call to praise is in vv.15-16, for setting Israel free from bondage.
17 Fools, because of their way of transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted;
18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of food, and they draw near unto the gates of death:
19 Then they cry unto Jehovah in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses;
20 He sendeth his word, and healeth them, and delivereth them from their destructions.
21 Let them give thanks unto Jehovah for his loving-kindness, and for his wondrous works to the children of men,
22 And let them offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works in joyful song.
vv.17-22 For Mercy Toward a Transgressing People. In these verse Israel is seen as a sick person, having transgressed Jehovah’s ways, and afflicted as a result with judgment so that “they draw near unto the gates of death”. This is because “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). But even in this trouble, Jehovah delivers them and heals them from the consequences of their sins. The call to give thanks is in vv.21-22, for Jehovah’s wonderful acts of mercy.
23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters,
24 These see the works of Jehovah, and his wonders in the deep.
25 For he speaketh, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof:
26 They mount up to the heavens, they go down to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble;
27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and they are at their wits’ end:
28 Then they cry unto Jehovah in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses;
29 He maketh the storm a calm, and the waves thereof are still:
30 And they rejoice because they are quiet; and he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks unto Jehovah for his loving-kindness, and for his wondrous works to the children of men;
32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the session of the elders.
vv.23-32 For Deliverance from a Great Storm. In these verses Israel is presented as a sailor in a storm, which represents generally the times of the Gentiles, but more specifically the great tribulation. They find themselves tossed up high, then brought low again by the waves. Through the turmoil of the great tribulation, Israel is brought to the end of themselves; “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and they are at their wits’ end”. But even there, when their cry reaches Jehovah, He delivers them out of that storm; “He maketh the storm a calm, and the waves thereof are still”. The One who has the power to do this is Jehovah, and Christ demonstrated that He had this power when He was here (Matt, 8:23-27; 14:22-33). The sea of the nations will cease their raging when Christ appears, because He will exercise His power. Israel will be brought safely to their land, and blessed in the kingdom; “they rejoice because they are quiet; and he bringeth them unto their desired haven”. The call to give thanks is in vv.31-32, for Jehovah’s wonderful acts of loving-kindness.
33 He maketh rivers into a wilderness, and water-springs into dry ground;
34 A fruitful land into a plain of salt, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
35 He maketh the wilderness into a pool of water, and the dry land into water-springs;
36 And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, and they establish a city of habitation;
37 And sow fields, and plant vineyards, which yield fruits of increase;
38 And he blesseth them, so that they are multiplied greatly; and he suffereth not their cattle to decrease.
39 And they are diminished and brought low, through oppression, adversity, and sorrow:
40 He poureth contempt upon nobles, and causeth them to wander in a pathless waste;
41 But he secureth the needy one on high from affliction, and maketh him families like flocks.
42 The upright shall see it, and rejoice; and all unrighteousness shall stop its mouth.
vv.33-42 Jehovah’s Power to Change Circumstances. These verses show the vast power of Jehovah to intervene in the circumstances of men, and “turn the tables” so to speak, and make things right. In vv.33-34 the Lord will cancel the prosperity of the wicked. In vv.35-38 the Lord will bless the righteous; specifically the restored nation of Israel. Their land will flourish, their people will be fed and warmed, their crops will grow, and they will be multiplied along with their possessions! But the wicked will come into judgment, and the Lord’s power will be used in some instances for judgment, such as turning “a fruitful land into a plain of salt” (e.g. Ezek. 47:11The Lord takes up the cause of the oppressed in vv.39-42, bringing low those who oppress and blessing the needy. The result of this righteous judgment, both positive and negative, is twofold. First, it will be a source of praise for the righteous; “The upright shall see it, and rejoice”. Second, it will have a deterring effect on unrighteousness; “all unrighteousness shall stop its mouth”.
43 Whoso is wise, let him observe these things, and let them understand the loving-kindnesses of Jehovah.
v.43 Conclusion. The conclusion of the Psalm is that the wise, restored Israel who fear the Lord, will observe His ways down through history, and by it “understand the loving-kindnesses of Jehovah”. The theme of Jehovah’s ways with Israel is mercy! This serves as an introduction to the fifth book of the Psalms.