Psalms 106 Commentary

Psalm 106 Israel’s faithlessness to God

Like the previous psalm, this psalm recounts the history of Israel. But whereas Psalm 105 emphasized God’s faithfulness, Psalm 106 emphasizes Israel’s unfaithfulness and the punishments it suffered as a result.

Since God is good, people should praise and obey him. Then they will enjoy, as individuals and as a nation, the full blessings God desires for them (1-5). The psalmist admits, however, that he and those of his generation have sinned as did their ancestors (6).

The psalmist gives many examples of Israel’s sin. God saved his people from Egypt by his mighty power, but they had gone only as far as the Red Sea when they rebelled against him (7; see Exod 14:1- 13). God again saved them and destroyed their enemies (8-12), but in their selfishness and greed they rebelled again (13-15; see Exod 16:1-17:7; Num 11:1-35). On another occasion they rejected their divinely-given leaders (16-18; see Num 16:1-50). At Sinai they rejected God himself (19-23; see Exod 32:1-35). They gave a further demonstration of their lack of faith when they refused to believe that God could lead them victoriously into Canaan (24-27; see Num 13:1-14:35).

After forty years in the wilderness, the people again showed their stubborn disobedience when they fell into idolatry and immorality (28-31; see Num 25:1-13). Throughout those forty years their bitter complaining spirit was a constant cause for God’s displeasure (32-33; see Num 20:2-13).

When at last they entered Canaan, the people forgot God and copied the idolatrous practices of their heathen neighbours (34-39; see Judg 3:6; 10:6). God used the surrounding nations to punish his people, but when they cried to him he turned in mercy and freed them from their oppressors (40-46; see Judg 2:11-23). On the basis of his unfailing mercy, the distressed people call on God to save them again (47- 48).

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