The Treasury of David

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The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.

 

Psalm 78

Exposition
Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher
Other Works

 


TITLE. Maschil of Asaph. This is rightly entitled an instructive Psalm. It is not a mere recapitulation of important events in Israelitish history but is intended to be viewed as a parable setting forth the conduct and experience of believers of all ages. It is a singular proof of the obtuseness of mind of many professors that they will object to sermons and expositions upon the historical parts of Scripture as if they contained no instruction in spiritual matters: were such persons truly enlightened by the Spirit of God, they would perceive that all Scripture is profitable, and would blush at their own folly in undervaluing any portion of the inspired volume.

DIVISION. The unity is well maintained throughout, but for the reader’s convenience, we may note that Ps 78:1-8 may be viewed as a preface, setting forth the psalmist’s object in the epic he is composing. From Ps 78:9-41 the theme is Israel in the wilderness; then an account of the Lord’s preceding goodness towards his people in bringing them out of Egypt by plagues and wonders, Ps 78:42-52. The history of the tribes is resumed at Ps 78:53 and continued to Ps 78:66, where we reach the time of the removal of the ark to Zion and the transference of the leadership of Israel from Ephraim to Judah, which is rehearsed in a song from Ps 78:67-72.

 

Verse 55. He cast out the heathen also before them, or “he drove out the nations.” Not only were armies routed, but whole peoples were displaced. The iniquity of the Canaanites was full; their vices made them rot above ground; therefore, the land ate up its inhabitants, the hornets vexed them, the pestilence destroyed them, and the sword of the tribes completed the execution to which the justice of long provoked heaven had at length appointed them. The Lord was the true conqueror of Canaan; he cast out the nations as men cast out filth from their habitations, he uprooted them as noxious weeds are extirpated by the husbandman. And divided them an inheritance by line. He divided the land of the nations among the tribes by lot and measure, assigning Hivite, Perizzite, and Jebusite territory to Simeon, Judah, or Ephraim, as the case might be. Among those condemned nations were not only giants in stature but also giants in crime: those monsters of iniquity had too long defiled the earth; it was time that they should no more indulge the unnatural crimes for which they were infamous; they were, therefore, doomed to forfeit life and lands by the hands of the tribes of Israel. The distribution of the forfeited country was made by divine appointment; it was no scramble, but a judicial appointment of lands which had fallen to the crown by the attainder of the former holders. And made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents. The favored people entered upon a furnished house: they found the larder supplied, for they fed upon the old corn of the land, and the dwellings were already built in which they could dwell. Thus another race often enters into the lot of a former people, and it is sad indeed when the change that judgment decrees does not turn out to be much for the better, because the incomers inherit the evils as well as the goods of the ejected. Such a case of judicial visitation ought to have had a salutary influence upon the tribes; but, alas, they were incorrigible, and would not learn even from examples so near at home and so terribly suggestive.

Singing Psalms 78

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