Israel in Egypt

Psalm 105

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 105

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.

The notes explain words with a *star by them.

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Jesus lived in Egypt until Herod died. So, what the *Lord said to the *prophet really happened. He said, "I have brought my son out of Egypt". (Matthew 2:15)

Psalm 105: 1 - 6

v1   Say "thank-you!" to the *LORD.
  Tell (everybody) his name.
  Tell people in every country what he has done.

v2   Sing songs to him, make music for him.
  Speak about all the great things that he has done.

v3   Be *proud of his *holy name.
  Everybody that goes to the *LORD (in his house), be very happy!

v4   Visit the *LORD, who is so powerful.
  Always go to him (in his house).

v5   Remember the great things that he has done.
  (Remember) his *miracles and what he said (to Pharaoh).

v6   Abraham your *father was (the *LORDís) servant.
  (The *LORD) chose Jacob and you are (Jacobís) *sons.

The Story of Psalm 105

Some 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.

What Psalm 105: 1 - 6 means

LORD is a special name for God. His people use it. They are the people who love and obey him. They are his servants, as Abraham was, verse 6. He was their father, or forefather. This means that he lived long before them. But they were part of his family, even hundreds of years later! The *Hebrew words for "Abraham your father" mean "seed of Abraham". This gives us a picture. The seed that Abraham planted became the country of Israel! Jacob was Abrahamís grandson. The *LORD chose Jacob, but did not choose his brother Esau. The 12 sons of Jacob, and their children, and grandchildren, and so on, became the people we call Israel. Israel was another name for Jacob. The Bible often calls them "sons of Jacob", but they lived long after Jacob did. Today we call them Jews, because Judah (say it "Jewdar") was the last name for their country in the Bible. The word "Lord" in the verse at the start is a different word but it means the same. It means God.

"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 Godís *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.

In 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.

Psalm 105: 6 - 11

v7   He, the *LORD, is our God.
  What he says is to everyone (that lives) on the earth.

v8   He will always remember his *covenant.
  He will never, never forget his promises.

v9   (He will remember) the *covenant that he made with Abraham
  and the special promises that he made to Isaac.

v10   He made it sure to Jacob with a *law
  and to (the people of) Israel with a *covenant
  that will never have an end.

v11   He said, "I will give to you (Jacob) the land of Canaan.
  It will belong to you, (people of Israel).

What Psalm 105: 7 - 11 means

"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 it with the word "judgments". These are words that God says. People must obey them.

The 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;

    Isaacís son Jacob in Genesis 28:13-14.

Israel 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.

The land of Canaan was where the *Jews came to live. It belonged to them until 70 A.D. A.D. means "years after Jesus came to the earth". The war in Israel now is because of this promise. Some Bible students think that the promise is still true. Other students think that the Promised Land (of Canaan) means *heaven, where they will go when they die. You must decide for yourself what to believe. When you have decided, do not argue with other Christians about it! We will know who is right when we go to *heaven ourselves!

Psalm 105: 12 - 22

v12   Once, there was only a small number of them (the people of Israel).
  (There were) only a few of them and they were *nomads (in Canaan).

v13   They moved from country to country, from one *kingdom to another.

v14   (The *LORD) did not let anyone hurt them.
  He was angry with kings and gave help to (his people).

v15   He said, "Do not hurt my special servants.
  Do not *harm my *prophets".

v16   (The *LORD) sent a *famine to the land (of Canaan).
  He destroyed all the food that they were storing.

v17   But he sent a man (into Egypt) before them.
  (He was) Joseph, (that his brothers) sold as a slave.

v18   (In Egypt) they put his feet into *fetters and his neck into *irons.

v19   (They did this) until what he *prophesied really happened.
  Until the word of the *LORD showed that he (Joseph) was right.

v20   The king sent (someone) to let him out (of prison).
  The ruler of the peoples made him free.

v21   He (the king) made him (Joseph) master of his house.
  He made him ruler of all that he had.

v22   He gave him power over his *princes
  and authority over the leaders of the country.

What Psalm 105: 12 - 22 means

This 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 nomads in Canaan. Nomads move from place to place. They do not have a place of their own. There were many countries in Canaan, some of them kingdoms. This means that kings 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.

The "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 peopleís 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.

Then the king of Egypt (the Pharaoh) understood that Joseph was right. Joseph had prophesied (said there would be) a long *famine. So, the king took Joseph out of prison, (verse 20). He made him an important man. "His house" in verse 21 means "his government". "All that he had" is the country of Egypt and the other countries that Pharaoh ruled. "Princes" are the sons of kings, but here they mean "important people in the government". Some Bible students translate "power" and "authority" with words meaning "to teach the best thing to do".

Psalm 105: 23 - 25

v23   Then (all) Israel came into Egypt
  and Jacob lived in the land of Ham.

v24   (The *LORD) gave many children to his people.
  He made them more powerful than their enemies.

v25   He made the Egyptians *hate his people (Israel).
  They thought of bad things to do against (the *LORDís) servants.

What Psalm 105: 23 - 25 means

"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!

Psalm 105: 26 - 36

v26   (The *LORD) sent his servant Moses (to Egypt).
  (Also), he chose Aaron.

v27   (Moses and Aaron) told everybody the things that (the *LORD) would do.
  (He would do) *miracles in the land of Ham.

v28   He sent *darkness so that it was dark (everywhere in the day-time).
  But (the Egyptians) did not obey him.

v29   He changed their rivers into blood and killed their fish.

v30   Then *frogs filled their land;
  they even went into the bedrooms of their rulers!

v31   (The *LORD) spoke and there came millions of flies.
  Insects called lice were everywhere in their country.

v32   He changed their rain into *hail
  and there was *lightning over all their land.

v33   He attacked their *vines and *fig trees
  and he destroyed the trees (everywhere) in their country.

v34   (The *LORD) spoke and there came *locusts.
  There were too many *locusts to count!

v35   They ate all the plants in their country,
  they ate all their *crops.

v36   Then (the *LORD) killed all the oldest (sons) in the land (of Egypt).
  (He killed) all the *firstborn sons.

What Psalm 105: 26 - 36 means

The *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 Godís people. They only happened to the Egyptians. Here is a list of the ten plagues.



Where to Find in Exodus and Psalms





water to blood

Exodus 7:17-21; Psalm 105:29; Psalm 78:44



Exodus 8:1-7; Psalm 105:30; Psalm 78:45


*lice (insects)

Exodus 8:16-19; Psalm 105:31



Exodus 8:20-24; Psalm 105:31; Psalm 78:45


cows died

Exodus 9:1-7



Exodus 9:8-12


*hail and storm

Exodus 9:18-26; Psalm 105:32; Psalm 78:47



Exodus 10:1-20; Psalm 105:34; Psalm 78:46


(when there is no light)

Exodus 10:21-29; Psalm 105:28


death of first sons

Exodus 11 and 12; Psalm 105:36; Psalm 78:51

Psalm 78 includes 6 of the *plagues; Psalm 105 has 8 of them. Neither includes the death of their animals, or the boils. Boils are big red places on your skin that hurt you. Both *psalmists use some of the *plagues to show that God is very powerful. The frogs in verse 30 are small animals that can live on land or in water. *Hail and lightning in verse 32 come in storms. Hail is small bits of ice that fall as rain falls; lightning lights up the sky. The vines and fig trees in verse 33 gave them food and drink. The vines gave grapes that make a drink called wine. It has alcohol in it. People still eat figs. Locusts, (verses 33-34), are large insects. They eat all the green parts of plants. These plants were the crops that the Egyptians used to make food.

The last *plague was the worst. The *LORD killed all the oldest male children in Egypt, including animals. The terrible (very, very bad) story is in Exodus 11 and 12. But it made Pharaoh let Israel go back to their own country. Sometimes God lets bad things happen to make people do what is right.

Psalm 105: 37 - 41

v37   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.

v38   The Egyptians were happy when they went,
  because they were afraid of the Israelites.

v39   (The *LORD) made a cloud to cover them
  and a fire to give them light at night.

v40   They asked, and he sent (birds called) quails.
  Also, he fed them with bread from the skies.

v41   He opened the rock, and water poured out (from it).
  It moved as a river through the dry places.

What Psalm 105: 37 - 41 means

The 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.

Verses 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 now 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

v42   (This happened) because (the *LORD) remembered his *holy promise.
  He gave it to his servant Abraham.

v43   So, he led the people that he had chosen out (from Egypt).
  They were so happy that they sang and they shouted!

v44   (The *LORD) gave them the land of the people (that lived in Canaan.)
  They enjoyed the results of their work.

v45   So his people could obey his rules and do what he told them (to do).

What Psalm 105: 42 - 45 means

These 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!"

Something to do

1. Study Psalm 78 in this set of psalms.

2. If you have a Bible, read the story of the *plagues and the exodus (going-out) in the Book of Exodus 1-17.


© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

July 2002

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