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The Geneva Bible Translation Notes, [1599], at

Psalms Chapter 78

Psalms 78:1

psa 78:1

"(a) Maschil of Asaph." Give ear, O my people, [to] my (b) law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

(a) Read (Psa 32:1).

(b) The prophet under the name of a teacher calls the people his, and the doctrine his, as Paul calls the gospel his, of which he was but the preacher, as in (Rom 2:16, Rom 16:25).

Psalms 78:3

psa 78:3

Which we have heard and known, and our (c) fathers have told us.

(c) Who were the people of God.

Psalms 78:5

psa 78:5

For he established a (d) testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:

(d) By the testimony and law, he means your law written, which they were commanded to teach their children, (Deu 6:7).

Psalms 78:6

psa 78:6

That the (e) generation to come might know [them, even] the children [which] should be born; [who] should arise and declare [them] to their children:

(e) He shows how the children would be like their father's: that is, in maintaining God's pure religion.

Psalms 78:7

psa 78:7

That they might (f) set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

(f) He shows where the use of this doctrine exists: in faith, in the meditation of God's benefits, and in obedience.

Psalms 78:8

psa 78:8

And might not be as their (g) fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation [that] set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.

(g) Though these fathers were the seed of Abraham and the chosen people, yet he shows by their rebellion, provocation, falsehood, and hypocrisy, that the children should not follow their examples.

Psalms 78:9

psa 78:9

The children of (h) Ephraim, [being] armed, [and] carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.

(h) By Ephraim he means also the rest of the tribes, because they were most in number: whose punishment declares that they were unfaithful to God, and by their multitude and authority had corrupted all others.

Psalms 78:12

psa 78:12

Marvellous things did he in the sight of their (i) fathers, in the land of Egypt, [in] the field of Zoan.

(i) He proves that not only the posterity but also their forefathers were wicked and rebellious to God.

Psalms 78:17

psa 78:17

And they (k) sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.

(k) Their wicked malice could be overcome by no benefits, which were great and many.

Psalms 78:18

psa 78:18

And they tempted God in their heart by (l) asking meat for their lust.

(l) Then to require more than is necessary, and to separate God's power from his will, is to tempt God.

Psalms 78:19

psa 78:19

Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God (m) furnish a table in the wilderness?

(m) Thus when we give place to sin, we are moved to doubt God's power, unless he is always ready to serve our lust.

Psalms 78:22

psa 78:22

Because they believed not in God, and (n) trusted not in his salvation:

(n) That is, in his fatherly providence, by which he cares for his, and provides sufficiently.

Psalms 78:23

psa 78:23

Though he had commanded the (o) clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,

(o) So that they had that which was necessary and sufficient: but their lust made them cover that which they knew God had denied them.

Psalms 78:26

psa 78:26

He caused an (p) east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.

(p) God used the wind to show them that all the elements were at his command, and that no distance could restrain his working.

Psalms 78:30

psa 78:30

They were not estranged from their (q) lust. But while their meat [was] yet in their mouths,

(q) Such is the nature of concupiscence, that the more it has the more it lusts.

Psalms 78:31

psa 78:31

The wrath of God came upon them, and slew (r) the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen [men] of Israel.

(r) Though others were not spared, yet chiefly they suffered, who trusted in their strength against God.

Psalms 78:32

psa 78:32

For all this they (s) sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.

(s) Thus sin by continuance makes man insensible, so that by no plagues they can be amended.

Psalms 78:34

psa 78:34

When he (t) slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God.

(t) Such was their hypocrisy, that they sought God out of fear of punishment, though in their heart they did not love him.

Psalms 78:37

psa 78:37

For their (u) heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.

(u) Whatever does not come from the pure fountain of the heart is hypocrisy.

Psalms 78:38

psa 78:38

But he, [being] full of compassion, (x) forgave [their] iniquity, and destroyed [them] not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.

(x) Because he would always have some remnant of a Church to praise his Name in earth, he did not permit their sins to overcome his mercy.

Psalms 78:41

psa 78:41

Yea, they (y) turned back and tempted God, and (z) limited the Holy One of Israel.

(y) That is, they often tempted him.

(z) As they all do who measure the power of God by their capacity.

Psalms 78:42

psa 78:42

They (a) remembered not his hand, [nor] the day when he delivered them from the enemy.

(a) The forgetfulness of God's benefits is the root of rebellion and all vice.

Psalms 78:45

psa 78:45

He sent (b) divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.

(b) This word signifies a confused mixture of flies and venomous worms. Some take it for all sorts of serpents: some for all wild beasts.

Psalms 78:46

psa 78:46

He (c) gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.

(c) He does not repeat here all the miracles that God did in Egypt, but certain which might be sufficient to convince the people of malice and ingratitude.

Psalms 78:49

psa 78:49

He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending (d) evil angels [among them].

(d) So called either for the effect, that is, of punishing the wicked: or else because they were wicked spirits, whom God permitted to vex men.

Psalms 78:51

psa 78:51

And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the (e) chief of [their] strength in the tabernacles of (f) Ham:

(e) The firstborn are so called, as in (Gen 49:3).

(f) That is, Egypt: for it was called Mizraim, or Egypt of Mizraim that was the son of Ham.

Psalms 78:53

psa 78:53

And he led them on safely, so that they (g) feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.

(g) That is, they had no opportunity to fear, even as God destroyed their enemies and delivered them falsely.

Psalms 78:54

psa 78:54

And he brought them to the border of his (h) sanctuary, [even to] this mountain, [which] his right hand had purchased.

(h) Meaning, Canaan, which God had consecrated to himself and appointed to his people.

Psalms 78:57

psa 78:57

But turned back, and dealt (i) unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.

(i) Nothing more displeases God in the children, than when they continue in that wickedness, which their fathers had begun.

Psalms 78:58

psa 78:58

For they (k) provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.

(k) By serving God other than he had appointed.

Psalms 78:60

psa 78:60

So that he (l) forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent [which] he placed among men;

(l) For their ingratitude he permitted the Philistines to take the Ark which was the sign of his presence, from among them.

Psalms 78:61

psa 78:61

And delivered his (m) strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.

(m) The Ark is called his power and beauty because by this he defended his people, and beautifully appeared to them.

Psalms 78:63

psa 78:63

The fire (n) consumed their young men; and their maidens were not (o) given to marriage.

(n) They were suddenly destroyed, (Sa1 4:10).

(o) They had no marriage songs: that is, they were not married.

Psalms 78:64

psa 78:64

Their priests fell by the sword; and their (p) widows made no lamentation.

(p) Either they were slain before or taken prisoner by their enemies, and so were forbidden.

Psalms 78:65

psa 78:65

Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, [and] like a mighty man that (q) shouteth by reason of wine.

(q) Because they were drunk in their sins, they judged God's patience to be slumbering, as though he were drunk, therefore he answering their beastly judgment, says, he will awake and take sudden vengeance.

Psalms 78:67

psa 78:67

Moreover he refused the tabernacle of (r) Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:

(r) Showing that he did not spare the Israelites altogether, though he punished their enemies.

Psalms 78:69

psa 78:69

And he (s) built his sanctuary like high [palaces], like the earth which he hath established for ever.

(s) By building the temple, and establishing the kingdom, he declares that the signs of his favour were among them.

Psalms 78:72

psa 78:72

So (t) he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.

(t) He shows where a kings charge stands: that is, to provide faithfully for his people, to guide them by counsel, and defend them by power.

Next: Psalms Chapter 79