הוֹדוּ לַיהוָה קִרְאוּ בִּשְׁמוֹ הוֹדִיעוּ בָעַמִּים עֲלִילוֹתָיו׃ 105:1
Psal. 105:1 Give thanks to the Lord,
call in His name,
make His deeds known among the peoples.
This psalm, after a number of verses praising and extolling the Lord, summarizes some of the early history of the Jews. For this reason, scholars have concluded that the psalm was probably written in the period following the return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile. The assumption is that it was feared that the people might have forgotten about the wonders wrought by the Almighty. So the psalmist retold the story. I ask, though, didn’t the returnees (or those who had remained in Jerusalem through the exile) possess the Torah? If so, why would they need to be reminded of what was contained there? I believe this psalm could have been written at any time by a psalmist who simply loved the story and enjoyed retelling it. See more of my remarks about this at the beginning of Psalm 107.
שִׁירוּ־לֹו זַמְּרוּ־לֹו שִׂיחוּ בְּכָל־נִפְלְאֹותָיו׃ 105:2
Psal. 105:2 Sing to Him,
sing praises to Him,
talk about all His marvels.
הִתְהַלְלוּ בְּשֵׁם קָדְשֹׁו יִשְׂמַח לֵב מְבַקְשֵׁי יְהוָה׃ 105:3
Psal. 105:3 Glory in His holy name.
Let the heart of the seekers of the Lord rejoice.
דִּרְשׁוּ יְהוָה וְעֻזֹּו בַּקְּשׁוּ פָנָיו תָּמִיד׃ 105:4
Psal. 105:4 Need the Lord and His strength,
seek His presence continually.
זִכְרוּ נִפְלְאֹותָיו אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה מֹפְתָיו וּמִשְׁפְּטֵי־פִיו׃ 105:5
Psal. 105:5 Remember His marvels that He has done,
His miracles and the justice of His “mouth,”
זֶרַע אַבְרָהָם עַבְדֹּו בְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב בְּחִירָיו׃ 105:6
Psal. 105:6 O seed of Abraham, His servant,
O children of Jacob, His chosen ones.
הוּא יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּכָל־הָאָרֶץ מִשְׁפָּטָיו׃ 105:7
Psal. 105:7 He is the Lord, our God.
His judgments are throughout all the earth.
זָכַר לְעֹולָם בְּרִיתֹו דָּבָר צִוָּה לְאֶלֶף דֹּור׃ 105:8
Psal. 105:8 He remembers forever His covenant,
the word He appointed to a thousand generations,
אֲשֶׁר כָּרַת אֶת־אַבְרָהָם וּשְׁבוּעָתֹו לְיִשְׂחָק׃ 105:9
Psal. 105:9 that He made with Abraham,
and His oath to Isaac,
וַיַּעֲמִידֶהָ לְיַעֲקֹב לְחֹק לְיִשְׂרָאֵל בְּרִית עֹולָם׃ 105:10
Psal. 105:10 that He established it for Jacob as a statute,
for Israel a covenant of long duration,
לֵאמֹר לְךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת־אֶרֶץ־כְּנָעַן חֶבֶל נַחֲלַתְכֶם׃ 105:11
Psal. 105:11 saying, “I will give the land of Canaan,
the lot of your inheritance, to you.”
בִּהְיֹותָם מְתֵי מִסְפָּר כִּמְעַט וְגָרִים בָּהּ׃ 105:12
Psal. 105:12 With their being few of number,
as if too few, and strangers in it,
וַיִּתְהַלְּכוּ מִגֹּוי אֶל־גֹּוי מִמַּמְלָכָה אֶל־עַם אַחֵר׃ 105:13
Psal. 105:13 when they moved about from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to a different people,
לֹא־הִנִּיחַ אָדָם לְעָשְׁקָם וַיֹּוכַח עֲלֵיהֶם מְלָכִים׃ 105:14
Psal. 105:14 He did not permit anyone to oppress them,
and He rebuked kings on their behalf:
אַל־תִּגְּעוּ בִמְשִׁיחָי וְלִנְבִיאַי אַל־תָּרֵעוּ׃ 105:15
Psal. 105:15 “You will not make contact with My anointed ones,
and you will not do harm to My prophets.”
וַיִּקְרָא רָעָב עַל־הָאָרֶץ כָּל־מַטֵּה־לֶחֶם שָׁבָר׃ 105:16
Psal. 105:16 And He called a famine over the land,
shattered the entire staff of bread.
שָׁלַח לִפְנֵיהֶם אִישׁ לְעֶבֶד נִמְכַּר יֹוסֵף׃ 105:17
Psal. 105:17 He sent a man before them:
Joseph was sold for a slave.
עִנּוּ בַכֶּבֶל (רַגְלָיו) [רַגְלֹו] בַּרְזֶל בָּאָה נַפְשֹׁו׃ 105:18
Psal. 105:18 They afflicted his feet with chain,
irons came in his soul.
The word in the parentheses is assumed to be misspelled. I disagree with that assessment. In fact, I can’t understand how that conclusion was reached. The word as spelled is plural, his feet. The correction in the brackets makes the word singular, his foot. The latter doesn’t fit the context.
עַד־עֵת בֹּא־דְבָרֹו אִמְרַת יְהוָה צְרָפָתְהוּ׃ 105:19
Psal. 105:19 Until the time His word was to come to pass,
the saying of the Lord tested him.
שָׁלַח מֶלֶךְ וַיַתִּירֵהוּ מֹשֵׁל עַמִּים וַיְפַתְּחֵהוּ׃ 105:20
Psal. 105:20 The king sent and let him loose;
a ruler of peoples, and he freed him.
שָׂמֹו אָדֹון לְבֵיתֹו וּמֹשֵׁל בְּכָל־קִנְיָנֹו׃ 105:21
Psal. 105:21 He made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his wealth,
לֶאְסֹר שָׂרָיו בְּנַפְשֹׁו וּזְקֵנָיו יְחַכֵּם׃ 105:22
Psal. 105:22 harnessing his princes to his desire,
that he would instruct his elders.
וַיָּבֹא יִשְׂרָאֵל מִצְרָיִם וְיַעֲקֹב גָּר בְּאֶרֶץ־חָם׃ 105:23
Psal. 105:23 And Israel entered Egypt,
and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
See Psal. 78:51 for the reference to Ham.
וַיֶּפֶר אֶת־עַמֹּו מְאֹד וַיַּעֲצִמֵהוּ מִצָּרָיו׃ 105:24
Psal. 105:24 And He made His people very fruitful
and made it mightier than its adversaries.
הָפַךְ לִבָּם לִשְׂנֹא עַמֹּו לְהִתְנַכֵּל בַּעֲבָדָיו׃ 105:25
Psal. 105:25 He turned their heart to hate His people,
to deal craftily with His servants.
שָׁלַח מֹשֶׁה עַבְדֹּו אַהֲרֹן אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר־בֹּו׃ 105:26
Psal. 105:26 He sent Moses, His servant,
Aaron, whom He had chosen.
שָׂמוּ־בָם דִּבְרֵי אֹתֹותָיו וּמֹפְתִים בְּאֶרֶץ חָם׃ 105:27
Psal. 105:27 They directed among them the things of His miracles,
and the wonders in the land of Ham.
שָׁלַח חֹשֶׁךְ וַיַּחְשִׁךְ וְלֹא־מָרוּ אֶת־(דְּבָרָוו) [דְּבָרֹו]׃ 105:28
Psal. 105:28 He sent darkness, and it was black,
as they did not disobey His word.
Who didn’t disobey His word? Many believe it was Moses and Aaron. Others believe it was the Egyptians, and the word was not God’s, but that of Moses. But what does the phrase then mean? Did the Lord send blackness because the Egyptians didn’t disobey Moses’ word? That makes little sense to me. So I opt for the first interpretation. Because Moses and Aaron were servants carrying out the instructions of the Lord, their obedience to the Lord’s word brought about the blackness. By the way, the error in the parentheses (an extra vav) is corrected in the brackets.
הָפַךְ אֶת־מֵימֵיהֶם לְדָם וַיָּמֶת אֶת־דְּגָתָם׃ 105:29
Psal. 105:29 He turned their waters to blood
and slew their fish.
שָׁרַץ אַרְצָם צְפַרְדְּעִים בְּחַדְרֵי מַלְכֵיהֶם׃ 105:30
Psal. 105:30 He infested their land -- frogs
-- in the chambers of their kings!
אָמַר וַיָּבֹא עָרֹב כִּנִּים בְּכָל־גְּבוּלָם׃ 105:31
Psal. 105:31 He spoke, and a swarm of gnats came in all their territory.
נָתַן גִּשְׁמֵיהֶם בָּרָד אֵשׁ לֶהָבֹות בְּאַרְצָם׃ 105:32
Psal. 105:32 He delivered up their showers of hail,
the fire of flames in their land.
וַיַּךְ גַּפְנָם וּתְאֵנָתָם וַיְשַׁבֵּר עֵץ גְּבוּלָם׃ 105:33
Psal. 105:33 And He smote their vine and their fig tree,
and smashed the wood of their territory.
אָמַר וַיָּבֹא אַרְבֶּה וְיֶלֶק וְאֵין מִסְפָּר׃ 105:34
Psal. 105:34 He spoke, and the locust came, and the caterpillar,
that were without number,
וַיֹּאכַל כָּל־עֵשֶׂב בְּאַרְצָם וַיֹּאכַל פְּרִי אַדְמָתָם׃ 105:35
Psal. 105:35 and it devoured every green plant in their land,
and it devoured the fruit of their ground.
וַיַּךְ כָּל־בְּכֹור בְּאַרְצָם רֵאשִׁית לְכָל־אֹונָם׃ 105:36
Psal. 105:36 Then He smote every first born in their land,
the best of all their generative power.
וַיֹּוצִיאֵם בְּכֶסֶף וְזָהָב וְאֵין בִּשְׁבָטָיו כֹּושֵׁל׃ 105:37
Psal. 105:37 And He brought them forth with silver and gold,
and none among His tribes stumbled.
שָׂמַח מִצְרַיִם בְּצֵאתָם כִּי־נָפַל פַּחְדָּם עֲלֵיהֶם׃ 105:38
Psal. 105:38 Egypt was glad about their departure,
for a dread of them had fallen upon them.
פָּרַשׂ עָןָן לְמָסָךְ וְאֵשׁ לְהָאִיר לָיְלָה׃ 105:39
Psal. 105:39 He spread a cloud for a screen
and a fire to light the night.
שָׁאַל וַיָּבֵא שְׂלָו וְלֶחֶם שָׁמַיִם יַשְׂבִּיעֵם׃ 105:40
Psal. 105:40 He was asked, and He brought quail,
and of the bread of heaven He gave them their fill.
פָּתַח צוּר וַיָּזוּבוּ מָיִם הָלְכוּ בַּצִּיֹּות נָהָר׃ 105:41
Psal. 105:41 He opened the rock and water gushed out,
ran, in the dry places, a river.
כִּי־זָכַר אֶת־דְּבַר קָדְשֹׁו אֶת־אַבְרָהָם עַבְדֹּו׃ 105:42
Psal. 105:42 For He remembered His holy word,
Abraham, His servant,
וַיֹּוצִא עַמֹּו בְשָׂשֹׂון בְּרִנָּה אֶת־בְּחִירָיו׃ 105:43
Psal. 105:43 and He brought forth His people with joy,
His chosen ones, with ringing cry.
וַיִּתֵּן לָהֶם אַרְצֹות גֹּויִם וַעֲמַל לְאֻמִּים יִירָשׁוּ׃ 105:44
Psal. 105:44 And He gave the lands of nations to them,
that they could possess the labor of the peoples,
בַּעֲבוּר יִשְׁמְרוּ חֻקָּיו וְתֹורֹתָיו יִנְצֹרוּ הַלְלוּ־יָהּ׃ 105:45
Psal. 105:45 so that they would keep His statutes
and observe His laws.
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