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Psalm 105 - Give Thanks to the LORD

INTRODUCTION: The first fifteen verses of this psalm are recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:8-22, and they were spoken at the celebration as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Jerusalem by King David. The explanation of the disposition of the Ark of the Covenant in the years prior is summarized in the first two sections of this study. The balance of the verses in this psalm list some of the reasons Israel should remember to praise the LORD, and tell others of his marvelous works. Other verses of praise from that passage in 1 Chronicles chapter 16 can be found in Psalm 96, which is part of book five as is this psalm.

NOTE: All scripture passages are taken from the World English Bible.


The scripture PASSAGES that provided the information for the following summary ARE FOUND IN 1 Samuel, chapter 4 through chapter 6. During the closing months when Eli the priest judged Israel, The men of Israel decided to take the ark of God into battle after suffering many casualties. But the ark was captured by the Philistines and many more men of Israel died. A man escaped from the battle and brought news to Eli the priest. 1 Samuel "4:17 He who brought the news answered, "Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been also a great slaughter among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured." 18 It happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell from off his seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck broke, and he died; for he was an old man, and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years."

1 Samuel "6:1 The ark of Yahweh was in the country of the Philistines seven months. The Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, "What shall we do with the ark of Yahweh? Show us with which we shall send it to its place."" There had been much mysterious death and disease to them in each city where it stayed. The Philistines finally sent the ark of God back to Beth Shemesh in Israel on an unguided cart drawn by two milk cows. The men of Beth Shemesh split the wood of the cart, and offered up the cows for a burnt offering. But at some point they looked into the ark and many of them died before the LORD as a result. They entreated the men of Kiriath Jearim, and some of those men took the ark there where a priest was appointed to properly oversee its care. It remained there for several decades while Samuel judged Israel, and also through the reign of King Saul until after his death in battle with the Philistines. Then King David reigned over Judah for seven and a half years in Hebron until he became king over all Israel at Jerusalem.


King David wanted all of Israel to take part in making the ark of God the focus of the nation again as this had not been the case during the reign of King Saul. 1 Chronicles "13:2 David said to all the assembly of Israel, "If it seems good to you, and if it is of Yahweh our God, let us send abroad everywhere to our brothers who are left in all the land of Israel, with whom the priests and Levites are in their cities that have suburbs, that they may gather themselves to us; 3 and let us bring again the ark of our God to us. For we didn't seek it in the days of Saul." 4 All the assembly said that they would do so; for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people." The ark of God was not transported in the manner prescribed by the law, and there was a startling consequence that greatly affected King David. 1 Chronicles "13:9 When they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. 10 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Uzza, and he struck him, because he put forth his hand to the ark; and there he died before God. ... 13 So David didn't move the ark to him into the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 14 The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house three months: and Yahweh blessed the house of Obed-Edom, and all that he had." After that time, David started on a new course of action for bringing the ark of God to Jerusalem. 1 Chronicles "15:1 David made him houses in the city of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. 2 Then David said, "No one ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites. For Yahweh has chosen them to carry the ark of God, and to minister to him forever." 3 David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of Yahweh to its place, which he had prepared for it."

With great ceremony and joy, King David very respectfully moved the ark of God again. 1 Chronicles "16:1 They brought in the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God." 1 Chronicles "16:7 Then on that day David first ordained to give thanks to Yahweh, by the hand of Asaph and his brothers." The further verses of praise in 1 Chronicles that are not part of Psalm 105 end at verse 36. Then the scripture speaks of the original tabernacle and alter of sacrifice that remained at Gibeon. 1 Chronicles "16:37 So he left there, before the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, Asaph and his brothers, to minister before the ark continually, as every day's work required; 38 and Obed-Edom with their brothers, sixty-eight; Obed-Edom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be doorkeepers; 39 and Zadok the priest, and his brothers the priests, before the tabernacle of Yahweh in the high place that was at Gibeon, 40 to offer burnt offerings to Yahweh on the altar of burnt offering continually morning and evening, even according to all that is written in the law of Yahweh, which he commanded to Israel;"

It is good to consider that the LORD God cannot be manipulated even by his own people to bring a desired result in battle by such action as carrying the ark without his direction to do so. When desiring to worship the LORD we must remember that we our approaching a most holy God. This then may keep us from making the kind of mistake as represented by the men of Beth Shemesh who looked into the ark even after they had sacrificed to the LORD. Or in the case of Uzza who touched the ark, when it should have been carried with the poles inserted into the rings designed for that purpose. Even though it may have seemed Uzza was protecting the ark from damage, God alone decides the means of service for man before a holy God.


Psalm 105 "1 Give thanks to Yahweh! Call on his name! Make his doings known among the peoples. 2 Sing to him, sing praises to him! Tell of all his marvellous works. 3 Glory in his holy name. Let the heart of those who seek Yahweh rejoice. 4 Seek Yahweh and his strength. Seek his face forever more."

COMMENTS: Since the beginning when Cain killed his brother Abel, it has been demonstrated that not all men will call upon the LORD. But in the line of Seth the pattern was established to carry on as people surrender their hearts. Genesis "4:26 There was also born a son to Seth, and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on Yahweh's name." From the time when the LORD called Israel out of Egypt, and through the period leading to the first king of Israel, the significant leaders called upon the name of Yahweh. Psalm "99:6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel among those who call on his name; they called on Yahweh, and he answered them." One of God's prophets declared the way of salvation. Joel "2:32 It will happen that whoever will call on the name of Yahweh shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as Yahweh has said, and among the remnant, those whom Yahweh calls." Then at Pentecost after the Lord Jesus was resurrected, Peter made these comments. Acts "2:16 But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 'It will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams. 18 Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days, I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. 21 It will be, that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"

Down through the ages with those who called upon the name of the LORD, there have been many marvelous works to tell to each new generation so all who acknowledge him and "call upon" his name can rejoice with praise and adoration with much joy. Jesus brings us peace despite that in this world there will be much opposition for Christians. John "16:33 I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world."


Psalm 105 "5 Remember his marvellous works that he has done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth, 6 you seed of Abraham, his servant, you children of Jacob, his chosen ones. 7 He is Yahweh, our God. His judgments are in all the earth. 8 He has remembered his covenant forever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations, 9 the covenant which he made with Abraham, his oath to Isaac, 10 and confirmed the same to Jacob for a statute; to Israel for an everlasting covenant, 11 saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;" 12 when they were but a few men in number, yes, very few, and foreigners in it. 13 They went about from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people. 14 He allowed no one to do them wrong. Yes, he reproved kings for their sakes, 15 "Don't touch my anointed ones! Do my prophets no harm!""

COMMENTS: Both Abraham and Isaac were protected by the LORD from rulers in the land of Canaan who may have otherwise abused them. This next passage demonstrates the benefit to Abraham. Genesis "20:6 God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also withheld you from sinning against me. Therefore I didn't allow you to touch her. 7 Now therefore, restore the man's wife. For he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you will live. If you don't restore her, know for sure that you will die, you, and all who are yours." 8 Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ear. The men were very scared."

As Jacob was returning to Canaan with his wives, children, and accumulated wealth after serving his Uncle Laban in Paddan Aram, he met with an angel of the LORD and he was given the name Israel. After that there were a number of recorded events when the LORD protected Jacob and his family. When Levi and Simeon revenged the rape of their sister Dinah by killing the men of Shechem, there was the danger of reprisal by the people of the land that greatly outnumbered Jacob's family. Genesis "35:5 They travelled, and a terror of God was on the cities that were around them, and they didn't pursue the sons of Jacob. 6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7 He built an altar there, and called the place El Beth El; because there God was revealed to him, when he fled from the face of his brother." Jacob was under the protection of the LORD from the time he left Canaan to remain for about twenty years in Paddan Aram, and that protection continued with his return to Canaan. Jacob and his family were still few in number throughout this time period while they remained in Canaan.


Psalm 105 "16 He called for a famine on the land. He destroyed the food supplies. 17 He sent a man before them. Joseph was sold for a slave. 18 They bruised his feet with shackles. His neck was locked in irons, 19 until the time that his word happened, and Yahweh's word proved him true. 20 The king sent and freed him; even the ruler of peoples, and let him go free. 21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all of his possessions; 22 to discipline his princes at his pleasure, and to teach his elders wisdom."

COMMENTS: Some of Jacob's sons became so jealous of Joseph that they wanted to kill him. Genesis "37:26 Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, and let's sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not let our hand be on him; for he is our brother, our flesh." His brothers listened to him." Genesis "39:1 Joseph was brought down to Egypt. Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the hand of the Ishmaelites that had brought him down there." After Joseph was wrongly accused of molesting his master's wife, he was placed in prison. Through a series of events over a few years, Joseph had the opportunity from God to go before Pharaoh to interpret his dreams that no one else could interpret. Through this Joseph became second in Egypt only to Pharaoh. Genesis "41:38 Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?" 39 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Because God has shown you all of this, there is none so discreet and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and according to your word will all my people be ruled. Only in the throne I will be greater than you." 41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.""


Psalm 105 "23 Israel also came into Egypt. Jacob lived in the land of Ham. 24 He increased his people greatly, and made them stronger than their adversaries. 25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to conspire against his servants. 26 He sent Moses, his servant, and Aaron, whom he had chosen. 27 They performed miracles among them, and wonders in the land of Ham. 28 He sent darkness, and made it dark. They didn't rebel against his words. 29 He turned their waters into blood, and killed their fish. 30 Their land swarmed with frogs, even in the rooms of their kings. 31 He spoke, and swarms of flies came, and lice in all their borders. 32 He gave them hail for rain, with lightning in their land. 33 He struck their vines and also their fig trees, and shattered the trees of their country. 34 He spoke, and the locusts came, and the grasshoppers, without number, 35 ate up every plant in their land; and ate up the fruit of their ground. 36 He struck also all the firstborn in their land, the first fruits of all their manhood. 37 He brought them forth with silver and gold. There was not one feeble person among his tribes. 38 Egypt was glad when they departed, for the fear of them had fallen on them."

COMMENTS: The widespread famine caused Jacob to send his sons to Egypt for food, but after Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, he was able to secure a separate place in the land for them to thrive, with the blessing of Pharaoh. Genesis" 45:16 The report of it was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, "Joseph's brothers have come." It pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Tell your brothers, 'Do this. Load your animals, and go, travel to the land of Canaan. 18 Take your father and your households, and come to me, and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.'" After all of Jacob's family with their flocks had come into Egypt, Pharaoh gave them some choice land. Genesis "47:5 Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, saying, "Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6 The land of Egypt is before you. Make your father and your brothers dwell in the best of the land. Let them dwell in the land of Goshen. If you know any able men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.""

Joseph lived to be 110 years of age, but after he died the conditions for the children of Israel began to change dramatically. Exodus "1:8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who didn't know Joseph. 9 He said to his people, "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. 10 Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it happen that when any war breaks out, they also join themselves to our enemies, and fight against us, and escape out of the land."" At the time chosen by the LORD, he sent Moses and Aaron to bring out Israel by a series of miracles and wonders.

The LORD continued to harden Pharaoh's heart each time so all of the plagues would be brought upon the Egyptians, with the final one taking the firstborn, except in those lodgings that were marked for the Passover. Exodus "12:29 It happened at midnight, that Yahweh struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of livestock. 30 Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. 31 He called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel; and go, serve Yahweh, as you have said! 32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also!" 33 The Egyptians were urgent with the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, "We are all dead men." 34 The people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes on their shoulders. 35 The children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they asked of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing. 36 Yahweh gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. They despoiled the Egyptians." The children of Israel had been in Egypt for a long while. Exodus "12:40 Now the time that the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. 41 It happened at the end of four hundred thirty years, even the same day it happened, that all the armies of Yahweh went out from the land of Egypt."


Psalm 105 "39 He spread a cloud for a covering, fire to give light in the night. 40 They asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of the sky. 41 He opened the rock, and waters gushed out. They ran as a river in the dry places. 42 For he remembered his holy word, and Abraham, his servant. 43 He brought forth his people with joy, his chosen with singing. 44 He gave them the lands of the nations. They took the labour of the peoples in possession, 45 that they might keep his statutes, and observe his laws. Praise Yah!"

COMMENTS: The above scripture is a greatly condensed review of significant events until Israel entered into the promised land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. Exodus "16:35 The children of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate the manna until they came to the borders of the land of Canaan." While still in the wilderness they complained of lack of water. Exodus "17:3 The people were thirsty for water there; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?" 4 Moses cried to Yahweh, saying, "What shall I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me." 5 Yahweh said to Moses, "Walk on before the people, and take the elders of Israel with you, and take the rod in your hand with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb. You shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 He called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because the children of Israel quarrelled, and because they tested Yahweh, saying, "Is Yahweh among us, or not?""

When the supply of quail became a response by the LORD to a rebellious spirit in the people, there were severe consequences. Numbers "11:18 "Say to the people, 'Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow, and you will eat flesh; for you have wept in the ears of Yahweh, saying, "Who will give us flesh to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt." Therefore Yahweh will give you flesh, and you will eat. 19 You will not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it is loathsome to you; because that you have rejected Yahweh who is among you, and have wept before him, saying, "Why did we come out of Egypt?"'" The final consequence of rejection was exacted on those who had transgressed. Numbers "11:33 While the flesh was yet between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of Yahweh was kindled against the people, and Yahweh struck the people with a very great plague. 34 The name of that place was called Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who lusted."

After the land had been subdued by the LORD while Joshua was leading Israel, he reminded the children of Israel what the LORD had given them. Joshua "24:1 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God." ... "13 'I gave you a land whereon you had not laboured, and cities which you didn't build, and you live in them. You eat of vineyards and olive groves which you didn't plant.' 14 Now therefore fear Yahweh, and serve him in sincerity and in truth. Put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, in Egypt; and serve Yahweh."

Those who truly know the LORD God because they are familiar with his word can benefit most in this psalm by the highlights of the ways he continually provided for the needs of his people through his grace and mercy. But it is important to keep in mind that God does not ignore open rebellion, though judgment may not be immediately evident.

Reminders of his grace and mercy prompt his true followers to adore and praise the Savior and Lord. Paul had a message about conduct to the church at Ephesus, and it applies as well to the church today. Ephesians "5:17 Therefore don't be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 Don't be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father;"

--- Reflections in prayer ---

Any time I read through Psalm 105 Lord, may I keep in mind that you are a righteous and just God who has a reward for those who trust you, and an inescapable recompense for those who reject you as Savior and Lord. You showed yourself through mighty works before the people of Israel, but many of them were dissatisfied because they wanted fleshly comfort immediately and could not trust that you had so much more to provide for them in the developing history of those you had called out of bondage to glorify your name. May I keep their rebellion in mind as it is very evident that it is still an ever present trap for people in all ages, and I am not immune to such temptations. As one whom you have called out to eternal salvation, keep my heart set upon the things of heaven much more than on the passing pleasures of the world. You have done this for me only for your glory and purposes, and not in any way to my own credit. With all of this in mind, I can join in the joy of reviewing any portion of your mighty works with all the saints of the past and the present. Hallelujah and amen!

Published 15 January 2013