Psalm Chapter 106:Our ancestors sinned and so did we.


Psalm 105 remembered YHWH’s deliverance of his redemptive actions towards people. Psalm 106 chronicles the fact that the people ignored everything in Psalm 105 and sinned anyway. During the writer’s time, the rebellion that occurred was so similar to Israel’s rebellion that he is wanted to believe that YHWH will forgive them now as he did in the past. This is a psalm of lament. However, the psalmist also calls on YHWH to save his people now.

Offer up praises to the Lord
1 Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise? Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.  

The psalmist makes a coll worship for the congregation to offer up praise and thanks to YHWH. The psalmist also wants those praises to appeal to YHWH’s (loyalty; ḥ esed ) to His people (Longman 2014, 370). Next, the psalmist turns to the Torah’s historical record that indicates the times when YHWH.showed (loyalty; ḥ esed ) to His covenant people. The cement the thought into the people’s head the writer through the opening phrase “for his mercy endureth forever.” Verse three correlates what happens when the people are obedient covenant keep people. “Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.”

Remember me, Oh God
Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.

Why does the psalmist begin verses 4-5 with “remember me?” Is it possible that the sin that the people have committed is so egregious that they think that YHWH has abandoned them? Verses four and 5 brings to remembrance how glorious it was to be YHWH’s inheritance recipients. This implies that sin may well lie at the door, but the people want to return to the times when they had sweet communion with YHWH.

Even though our ancestors sinned – YOU saved them
We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly. 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. Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known. He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.10 And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.11 And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.

Verse 6 clarifies that Israel has been a sinful and backsliding nation that has sinned “wickedly.” As Christians, we either sin in thought, words, and or in our actions. The writer is not alone in this feeling of unworthiness. But thanks be to God, Jesus came. We now have direct access to the throne of grace. The first group of Israelites who were delivered from the hands of Pharoah quickly forgot who saved them. The cycle of sin and ungratefulness began at the red sea. “But provoked him at sea, even at the Red Sea” ( see Exodus 14:10-12; Exodus 13:18). However, YHWH is gracious, so, 10 ..he saved them from the hand of him that hated them and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.11 And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.” It is worth remembering that the Egyptians worshipped a God of the water. YHWH dispelled that god’s power and showed the Egyptians and his people that He is more powerful than the Egyptian Gods they were familiar with in Egypt. Then and only then did they begin to gain a glimpse of the saving power of YHWH. Did the gratefulness last for a long time? He saved them for his own name’s sake. See also Psalms 23:3; 25:11; 31;3; 79:9; 109:21; 143:11. The writer confesses that his generation had sinned, just like the generation of people who came out of Egypt. Did the rebellion end at the Red Sea?

Even so, they forgot, YHWH

13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: 14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness and tempted God in the desert.15 And he gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.

Case pointed out that “The miracles he wrought in Egypt, the deliverance of them from thence with a mighty hand and outstretched arm, and the leading them through the Red sea as on dry land. And destroying all their enemies. All these they soon forgot, for they had gone but three days’ journey into the wilderness after this, before they began to murmur and show distrust of the power and providence of God (Exodus 15:22). It is in the Hebrew text, “they made haste, they forgot his works”; as soon as they were out of Egypt, they were for entering into the land of Canaan at once and were much displeased that they were not immediately led into it.” According to Case, “They waited not for his counsel: They did not ask counsel of God, though it belongs to him, and he is wonderful in it and does all things after the counsel of his own will. Nor would they take it when given by Moses and Joshua. They did not choose to wait for his time and way of working. They were for limiting the Holy One of Israel to their time and way. They were for being in the land of Canaan before his time; and were for eating flesh when it was his counsel to feed on manna he provided for them every day” (Case 2009, Psalm 106).

They experienced judgment in the wilderness

Dathan and Abiram rebellion: 16 They envied Moses also in the camp and Aaron the saint of the Lord. 17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan and covered the company of Abiram. 18 And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked. The followers of Dathan and Abiram were consumed by God’s holy fire. I would be remiss not to mention that when we follow anyone to commit any kind of insurrection were are subject to God’s wrath. Read about the event in Num 16. 19 They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. 20 Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass. 21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; 22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea. 23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them. They reaped what they sowed. The earth was opened up and into the bowels of the earth did they do. I find it interesting that today we are so far removed from the anger of God that we think that we can say and do whatever we want to. But that is not really true. We do serve an avenging God. At some point, we will be held responsible for our blatant refusal to obey Him. However, that was not enough of a warning for them. They still whined and expected to continue whining all the way into the promised land. The psalmist chronicles the people’s behavior in verses 24-27 and their egregious sin in verses 28-33. Spies were sent out on a mission. See Num 13-14.

Oh how they grumbled

24 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: 25 But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord. 26 Therefore, he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:[This is similar to what people do today to make an oath. They raise their hands. It implies that YHWH was about to determine that His people just were not worth the effort anymore. The following verse implies that it was written during the time of the people’s exile from the land. This was not a prophetic word to Moses. 27 To overthrow their seed also among the nations and to scatter them in the lands. But even after all of the miracles they experienced, they did NOT believe that YHWH was their deliverer. They were looking at themselves as their deliverer, and rightly so, they were too weak. However, nothing is too difficult for God. The entire world is facing an unseen enemy right now. We can either pretend that the enemy is not real, or we can follow directions, obey them, and trust in God to guide and direct our leaders. Of course, we can also do what the leaders of Israel did. Case cryptically describes the events. It is something that we should remember today.

“And to scatter them in the lands; which Kimchi explains by the discomfiture of them by the Amalekites and Canaanites, when they presumed, contrary to the will of God, to go up to the top of the hill. And by Arad’s taking some of them prisoner, afterward (Num. 14:45). But this was not done, nor to be done, in the wilderness. But the meaning is that God lifted up his hand in the wilderness and sware there, as Ezekiel says (Ezek. 20:23). That he would scatter them and disperse them among the Heathen. At one time or another, he did in part at the Babylonish captivity and completely by the Romans. Which is now their case, and is a standing proof of this prophecy, and an accomplishment of the oath of God” (Case PS 106).


28 They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor and ate the sacrifices of the dead. [“Baal-peor”: Refers to Baal, a god of the Moabites.] 29 Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague broke in upon them. 30 Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague stayed. 31 And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations forevermore. See Numbers 25 it talks about Israel’s sin at Shittim. It records the bravery of “Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron.” An Israelite man violated the law and took a Midianite woman into his tent. It was a brazen affront to Moses and God. Phinehas- who was the priest at the time-responded immediately. Num. 25:6–9 records that he a spear and drove it through both the man and the woman, with one blow, while they were engaged in intercourse. As a priest, Phinehas was protecting the “holiness” of God. Phinehas and his children’s children functioned as priests all the way through the time of the conquest until the period judges ended. See Josh. 22:13, 30–31; Judg. 20:27–28; 33:9.

Then the people are reminded of Balaam-the pagan prophet and Balak-the King of Moab. The king wanted Balaam to curse Israel. Remember the story about Balaam ass? God prevented Balaam from cursing Israel. See Num 22 to 24; Deut. 23:4; Joshua 24:9-10; Neh. 13:2. Balaam knew that IMMORALITY and idolatry was Israel’s weakness. He told the King of Moab TO ENTICE THEM WITH IDOLATRY.  Balaam advised Balak to entice Israel with immorality and idolatry. (Do a comparative study of Num 31:16; 25:1; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14. Israel sinned, and God judged them. Balaam was later slain by Israel. See Joshua 13:22.

32 They angered him also at the waters of strife so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: 33 Because they provoked his spirit so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips. This is probably my most gut-wrenching scene in this chapter of Psalms and the Exodus of the people from Egypt. The writer looks back at Num. 20:1-13. It speaks to an incident when Moses, irked by the never-ending rebellion of Israel, became so angry that he wrongly struck the rock (see Exodus 11:8; 16:20). Moses ended up offending God. See Num. 20:12. Moses was told to speak to the rock. The result? Both Aaron Num. 20:22-29), and Moses Deut. 34:1-8 died before they were supposed to die, and they did NOT enter into the Promised Land.

He said don’t mingle, but they did: Now the lists of behaviors that grieved YHWH: Rebellion/disobedience
  • 34 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them:
  • 35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. 
  • 36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.
  • 37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,
  • 38 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.
  • 39 Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.

Have you ever heard of a teenager who did the opposite of what their parents told them to do? They were told to destroy the people when they entered the land. Just read about everything that they did about. That is why they were supposed to destroy them. They were not mingling with idol worshippers when Moses went up to the top of the mountain to receive the 10 Commandments. So, God knew what they would do if they mingled with idol worshippers. See Deut.7 for the commandment about driving out the people of the land and how God would bless them and their obedience to Him. Once again, they were about to reap what they had sown. We cannot deliberately sin and tempt God to deal with it. He will. He knows that we are weak. But when we choose to blatantly disobey Him, we will reap what we have sown. They ended up worshipping the Gods of the people of the land. See Deut. 18:10; 2 Kgs 16:3; 17:17; Jer. 7:30–31; Ezek. 20:31. The idols that they worshipped were not just wooden idols. They represented satanic powers. They also sacrificed their children to their gods. See Deut. 12:31; 2 Kings 17:17; Ezek. 16:20-21 It was like Sodom and Gomorrah all over again. The sin must have been so egregious that He must have wanted to end them. BUT!

YHWH remembered his covenant with Abraham

TIME OF OPPRESSION: 40 Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. 41 And he gave them into the hand of the heathen, and they that hated them ruled over them. See Lev. 26:17. 42 Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hands.

TIME OF DELIVERANCE: 43 Many times did he deliver them, but they provoked him with their counsel and were brought low for their iniquity. HIS GRACE WAS GREATER when He remembered his faithful servant Abraham and the promise that He made to him. See Genesis 12:1–3.  Longman reminds us that “Even before their deliverance, the psalmist points out that it is only because of God that they experience mercy from their captors as Solomon prayed in 1 Kgs 8:33–34 (Longman 2014, 375).

TIME OF HELP: 44 Nevertheless, he regarded their affliction when he heard their cry: 45 And he remembered for them his covenant and repented according to the multitude of his mercies. 46 He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.

YHWH please help us

47 Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise. This verse is the reason why it is probably that this psalm was written during the period of “the exile.” If they were delivered from where they were then they would have been able to worship him. Christians today are reminded that God’s most marvelous act of deliverance was placing the sins of the entire world upon His one and only son Jesus Christ.

The Doxology: This doxology is not the end of the Book of Psalms. However, it is the end of the fourth section of the Book of Psalms. 48 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord.  Case iterates that “Even though the tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned to Israel in Ezra and Nehemiah, this text looks ahead to the regathering of Israel at the time when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to rule over the promised Davidic (2 Sam 7), millennial kingdom (Rev. chapter 20), on earth (compare Ezek. 37:11-28; Hosea 14:4-8; Joel 3:18:21; Amos 9:7-15; Micah 7:14-20; Zeph. 3:8-20; Zech. 12-14). Those of us who are waiting for all of the mayhem in this world to end are saying, “Even so – come Lord Jesus come!”


Case, Ken, 2002. Discover the Bible. Psalm 106.

Longman, Tremper, III. Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary, InterVarsity Press, 2014. Google Books.

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