Psalm 105

105:0Some Bible students think this was once a shorter psalm. Perhaps it started at verse 5. Then people made it longer. They put Isaiah 12:4 as a new beginning to the psalm. Then they put verses 3 and 4 to tell people to go to the house of the Lord. This house was the temple in Jerusalem. They believed that the Lord lived in it, when he was not in heaven (his home). Then the psalm started at verse 5, telling the people to remember their story. It started with Abraham, and ended (in this psalm) when they came to their own country.

Israel in Egypt

Verses: 1-6

1 Say ‘thank-you!’ to the Lord.

Tell everybody his name.

Tell people in every country what he has done.

2 Sing songs to him, make music for him.

Speak about all the great things that he has done.

3 Be proud of his holy name.

Everybody that goes to the Lord in his house, be very happy!

105:3‘Proud’ in verse 3 has a good meaning and a bad meaning. The bad meaning is this. Proud people think that they are more important than they really are. The good meaning is this. We are proud (or happy) when something good has happened. When our football team (group) wins a game, we are proud of them! The psalm tells us to be proud of God's holy name. His name means everything about God. This includes the fact that he is holy. This means that he has never done anything bad. He is so good that we all feel a bit afraid of him.

4 Visit the Lord, who is so powerful.

Always go to him in his house.

5 Remember the great things that he has done.

Remember his miracles and all the good things that he has decided.

105:5In verse 5, ‘his miracles’ are the things that he did. They were things that only God the Lord could do. Men could not do them. Jesus did many miracles, as when he made the storm quiet and when he gave life to the dead man Lazarus. Jesus could do this because he is God. But the miracles in Psalm 105 are the things that God did in Egypt and later. They include the things that he did to Pharaoh. Pharaoh was the king of Egypt. We call these things the ten ‘plagues’ or ‘bad things.’ Psalm 78 includes 6 of the plagues, but Psalm 105 has 8 of them. They are in verses 29-36.

6 Abraham your father was the Lord's servant.

The Lord chose Jacob and you are Jacob's sons.

Psalm 105: 6-11

7 He, the Lord, is our God.

What he decides to do will happen everywhere on the earth.

105:7‘What he said’ in verse 5 and ‘what he says’ in verse 7 is the same word in Hebrew. The person that wrote the psalm (the psalmist) wrote it in Hebrew, the language of the Jews. Bible students translate this Hebrew word with the word ‘judgements.’ These are words that God says. People must obey them.

8 He will always remember his covenant.

He will never, never forget his promises.

105:8The covenant in verses 8, 9 and 10 is what God and his people agreed. God agreed to protect them if they agreed to love and obey him. ‘Protect them’ means ‘stop people hurting them.’ This covenant was so special that God made it a law, or rule, (verse 10). You will find the promises to:

– Abraham in Genesis 12:7 and 17:8;

– His son Isaac in Genesis 26:3-4;

– Isaac's son Jacob in Genesis 28:13-14.

9 He will remember the covenant that he made with Abraham

and the special promises that he made to Isaac.

10 He made it sure to Jacob with a law

and to the people of Israel with a covenant

that will never have an end.

105:10Israel is another name for Jacob but, in verse 10, it means all the Jewish people that agreed with God. Sometimes Isaac and Jacob are names for all the people, but here they are the people themselves.

11 He said to Jacob, ‘I will give to you the land of Canaan.

It will belong to you, people of Israel.’

Psalm 105: 12-22

105:12This part of the psalm tells bits of the story of the people of Israel from Abraham to Joseph. At the start, there were only a few of them, (verse 12). They were strangers in Canaan. They did not have a place of their own. There were many countries in Canaan, some of them had kings that ruled over them. But they did not only move round Canaan. They also went to Egypt. One king that God was angry with was one of the Pharaohs of Egypt. Another was Abimelech, king of Gerar in South Canaan. The stories are in Genesis 12:17 and 20:1-8.

12 Once, there was only a small number of God's people.

They were strangers in Canaan.

13 They moved from country to country, from one kingdom to another.

14 The Lord did not let anyone hurt them.

He was angry with kings and gave help to his people.

15 He said, ‘Do not hurt my special servants.

Do not harm my prophets.’

105:15The ‘special servants’ in verse 15 is ‘my messiahs’ in Hebrew. Here it means the leaders of the people, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. ‘Harm’ is another word for ‘hurt.’ These leaders were also prophets. Prophets told people what God would do. A man put Joseph in prison until what he said would happen (prophesied) really did happen, (verse 19). What the Lord said is in Genesis 37:5-10, and 41:1-36. ‘Fetters’ are what they fixed people's feet in so they could not walk in the prison, (verse 18). They did the same with their necks in irons, or collars (circles) of iron. A famine, verse 16, is when there is no food to eat. The story of the famine is in Genesis 41:53-57.

16 The Lord sent a famine to the land of Canaan.

He destroyed all the food that they were storing.

17 But he sent a man into Egypt before them.

He was Joseph, that his brothers sold as a slave.

18 In Egypt they put his feet into fetters and his neck into irons.

19 They did this until what he prophesied really happened.

Until the word of the Lord showed that Joseph was right.

20 The king sent someone to let him out of prison.

The ruler of the people made him free.

21 He the king made him Joseph master of his house.

He made him ruler of all that he had.

22 He gave him power over his princes

and authority over the leaders of the country.

Psalm 105: 23-25

23 Then all Israel came into Egypt

and Jacob lived in the land of Ham.

105:23‘Then’, in verse 23, means after Joseph became leader of the government. The story is in Genesis 46:1-27. In this verse, Jacob now means ‘all the people of Israel.’ (Not the man Jacob as in verse 10.) They lived for 430 years in the land of Ham. This is another name for Egypt. This part of the story is in Exodus 1:7-2:25. Exodus 1:7 tells us ‘the people of Israel had many children, their numbers grew and they became very powerful.’ Verse 24 repeats some of this. The enemies were the Egyptians. They were not enemies at the start, but they became enemies. This was because the Egyptians were not kind to the Israelites. They were very cruel to them after Joseph died. Verse 25 tells us that the Lord made the Egyptians hate (or not like) the Israelites. This was because God wanted his people Israel to go home. He wanted the Egyptians to send Israel away. But the Egyptians did bad things to Israel instead!

24 The Lord gave many children to his people.

He made them more powerful than their enemies.

25 He made the Egyptians hate his people Israel.

They thought of bad things to do against the Lord's servants.

Psalm 105: 26-36

26 The Lord sent his servant Moses to Egypt.

Also, he chose Aaron.

27 Moses and Aaron told everybody the things that the Lord would do.

He would do miracles in the land of Ham.

105:27The Lord sent Moses and his brother Aaron to Pharaoh. They told Pharaoh what God would do if Pharaoh did not obey God. He would do miracles (things that only God could do). These were the plagues, or the bad things that happened in Egypt. They did not happen to God's people. They only happened to the Egyptians.

28 He sent darkness so that it was dark everywhere in the day-time.

But the Egyptians did not obey him.

29 He changed their rivers into blood and killed their fish.

30 Then frogs filled their land;

they even went into the bedrooms of their rulers!

31 The Lord spoke and there came millions of flies.

Insects called lice were everywhere in their country.

32 He changed their rain into hail

and there was lightning over all their land.

33 He attacked their vines and fig trees

and he destroyed the trees everywhere in their country.

34 The Lord spoke and many locusts came.

There were too many locusts to count!

35 They ate all the plants in their country,

they ate all their crops.

36 Then the Lord killed all the oldest sons in the land of Egypt.

He killed all the firstborn sons.

Psalm 105: 37-41

37 So the Lord led Israel out from Egypt.

They took valuable things made of silver and gold.

And nobody among the Israelites had any trouble.

38 The Egyptians were happy when they went,

because they were afraid of the Israelites.

105:38The Egyptian people were so happy when the Israelites went that they gave them gifts! These gifts were valuable things made from silver and gold. Silver is a valuable metal as gold is. We call these valuable things ‘jewellery.’ The Egyptians were afraid of the Israelites because of what the Lord had done.

39 The Lord made a cloud to cover them

and a fire to give them light at night.

40 They asked, and he sent birds called quails.

Also, he fed them with bread from the skies.

41 He opened the rock, and water poured out from it.

It moved as a river through the dry places.

105:41Verses 39-41 tell us what God did after his people left Egypt. He led them through a desert (very dry place) called Sinai. He kept them safe with a cloud (in the day) and a fire at night, (verse 39). The story is in Exodus 13:21-22. He gave them food to eat, (verse 40). He gave them water to drink, (verse 41). He gave them bread. They called it manna. ‘Manna’ is a Hebrew word that means ‘what is this?’ God gave it to them, but they did not know what it was! It fell from the sky every morning, so they called it ‘bread from heaven.’ Heaven is either the sky, or the place where God lives. The story is in Exodus 16. The story of water from the rock is in Exodus 17.

Psalm 105: 42-45

105:42These verses end the psalm. They tell us what happened:

– Verse 42: the Lord did what he promised in verses 7-11;

– Verse 43: the Lord took his people from Egypt, (verses 26-38);

– Verse 44: the Lord led them to the land of Canaan, (verses 39-41).

So now, God's people can obey his rules. Pharaoh cannot stop them! Hallelujah! This is a special word that Christians in every country still use. It means, ‘Praise the Lord’, or ‘tell the Lord that he is very great!’

42 This happened because the Lord remembered his holy promise.

He gave it to his servant Abraham.

43 So, he led the people that he had chosen out from Egypt.

They were so happy that they sang and they shouted!

44 The Lord gave them the land of the people that lived in Canaan.

They enjoyed the results of their work.

45 So his people could obey his rules and do what he told them to do.