New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

Psa 105:1

Give thanks to Yahweh! Call on His name! Make His doings known among the peoples-
This is an appeal to the Gentile "peoples" to hear about God's work and praise Him; and to praise a deity in those days meant to accept that deity. Not because they were forced to by military conquest, but because they had considered God's work which had now been told to them. 1 Chron. 16:8-22 is the Psalm written by David when the ark was brought to Zion, but it reappears within Ps. 105:1-15, which is clearly an appeal for the exiles to repent so that God's salvation history might continue with them. So we see how David's original Psalms were reworked and reapplied in later contexts, under Divine inspiration. By the time of the exiles in Babylon, it seems the ark had been lost. But such external religious symbolism was unimportant; the essence was that the people of God were to come to Zion, just as the ark had done.

David knew his sinfulness, he knew his reliance upon the grace of God, more and more as he got older. One would have thought that after the Bathsheba incident, David would have kept his mouth shut so far as telling other people how to live was concerned. But instead, we find an increasing emphasis in the Psalms (chronologically) upon David's desire to teach others of God's ways- particularly the surrounding Gentile peoples, before whom David had been disgraced over Bathsheba, not to mention from his two faced allegiance to Achish (1 Sam. 27:8-12). There is real stress upon this evangelistic fervour of David (Ps. 4:3; 18:49; 22:25,31; 35:18; 40:9,10; 57:9; 62:8; 66:5,16; 95:1,8; 96:5-8,10; 100:1-4; 105:1,2; 119:27; 145:5,6,12). Indeed, Ps.71:18 records the "old and greyheaded" David pleading with God not to die until he had taught "thy strength unto this generation". As with Paul years later, the only reason he wanted to stay alive was in order to witness the Gospel of grace to others. David therefore coped with his deep inner traumas by looking out of himself to those around him, eagerly desiring to share with them the pureness of God's grace. He didn't do this as some kind of self-help psychiatry; it came naturally from a realization of his own sinfulness and God's mercy, and the wonderful willingness of God to extend this to men.

Psa 105:2

Sing to Him, sing praises to Him! Tell of all His marvellous works-
David was very much involved in Israel his people. He saw himself as their representative. When he sung Psalms, he invited them to come and sing along with him (Ps. 105:2; 107:22; 111:1). And yet this can also be read as an appeal to the Gentile peoples of :1 to hear of Yahweh's works, believe them, accept Him as their God, and then in turn tell others of "His marvellous works". See on :45.

Psa 105:3

Glory in His holy name, let the heart of those who seek Yahweh rejoice-
The Bible continually stresses the critical importance of the heart, the mind. Our minds should glory in God's Name which is His characteristics, as articulated in His "works" (:2) in history. And this leads us to "seek" Him and His face, which I suggest on :4 refers to repentance.

Psa 105:4

Seek Yahweh and His strength, seek His face forever more-
To seek Yahweh's face is an idiom for repentance (Hos. 5:15), and is specifically used by Daniel in the context of the exiles (2 Chron. 7:14; Dan. 9:3). This is therefore an appeal for the exiles to repent, so that God may continue to lavish His saving grace upon them, as He had upon their forefathers.

Psa 105:5

Remember His marvellous works that He has done; His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth-
The Hebrew idea of 'remembering' is not necessarily related to 'remembering' as opposed to 'forgetting'; rather does it have the flavour of celebrating, and thus being aware of in gratitude and praise.

Psa 105:6

you seed of Abraham His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones-
David was clearly the "chosen one... My servant" (Ps. 89:3), but these very terms are applied to Israel as a whole (Ps. 105:6,43; 106:5) and to the "servant" of later Isaiah, who refers to both Israel and their Messiah as their embodiment (Is. 42:1; 45:4). David's path of sin, repentance and restoration was intended to be that of all God's people, as he himself recognizes in Ps. 32. But the exiles refused to repent and therefore their restoration was precluded. They were not therefore treated as His "chosen one".

Psa 105:7

He is Yahweh, our God; His judgments are in all the earth-
The exiles were to believe the prophetic word, that all the nations in the eretz promised to Abraham were to experience God's judgments; the judgments of "our God", Yahweh, the God of Israel.

Psa 105:8

He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations-
Jeremiah, Zechariah, Hosea and Ezekiel point out to Judah that they had broken the old covenant; their only basis of connection with God was therefore on the basis of the new covenant He was offering, which was based upon the promises to Abraham. That word of promise was unconditional, to all who wanted to believe it. It was therefore eternal, "to a thousand generations". It would therefore be abrogated, unlike the old covenant based on the law of Moses.

Psa 105:9

the covenant which He made with Abraham, His oath to Isaac-
The "oath to Isaac" must refer to the repetition of the promises to Abraham to Isaac in Gen. 26:3, where the same word for "oath" is used. But the context of that repetition of the covenant oath to Isaac was in commanding him not to seek material prosperity in Egypt, but rather to remain in the famished land of Israel, then experiencing famine. This was relevant to the exiles, many of whom preferred to remain in Babylon, seeing that Malachi, Ezra and others record serious famine in the land of Judah at that time.  

Psa 105:10

and confirmed the same to Jacob for a statute; to Israel for an everlasting covenant-
The "statute" doesn't refer to the law of Moses, but to the covenant with Abraham of :9. The covenant with Abraham was an unconditional offer of eternal inheritance of the land; all that was and is required is that this great salvation be believed. But it became and becomes a "statute" or "law" in the same way as grace reigns or is a ruler over us (Rom. 5:21). If we believe in God's unconditional covenant of salvation, then this becomes a law of our lives, the guiding principle in all our thinking, worldviews and perceptions. It is in this sense that "the grace of God... teaches us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and Godly lives" (Tit. 2:11,12). Grace is grace, but the wonder of it, when believed, is such that it naturally elicits changed behaviour, and in this sense is a "statute" or law.

Psa 105:11

saying, To you I will give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance-
As discussed on :10, the promise of eternal inheritance of Canaan was unconditional, by grace. It just had to be believed.

Psa 105:12

when they were but a few men in number, yes, very few, and foreigners in it-
God rejoices to work with the small and feeble. The "few men" must refer to how Jacob's family only numbered about 70 people when they went into Egypt. The same phrase "few men in number" is exactly that used by Jacob in lamenting how very small his tribe was compared to the aggressive tribes amongst whom they lived in Canaan (Gen. 34:30). And it is the phrase used of how when Israel were to be judged for their sins in exile, they would be left "few men in number" (Dt. 4:27). The exiles are being encouraged to see the similarities between them and Jacob's family in Egypt, the original 'Israel' at its first beginnings.

Psa 105:13

They went about from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people-
This seems to refer, in the context, to the journeyings of the patriarchs amongst the peoples of Canaan, Philistia and Egypt. Although they suffered at the hands of those peoples, they were miraculously preserved; and so would God's people be despite their current exile in Babylon / Persia.

Psa 105:14

He allowed no one to do them wrong. Yes, He reproved kings for their sakes-
In this we see God's absolute grace. For both Abraham and Isaac were rightly reproved by the Abimelech kings for lying about their wives, and yet God reproved those kings. He was openly showing His passionate love and preference for His people; they were rightly reproved by the kings (Gen. 20:16), but those kings were reproved by God for their sins of ignorance. And it was this same grace which was available to the exiles. "Wrong" was indeed done to the exiles (s.w. Jer. 50:33; Hos. 5:11), as it was done to the historical Jacob; but the point is being made that it was not ultimately allowed because there was the final restoration of Jacob's fortunes, as there would be ultimately for God's people- but in God's own way and time. 

Psa 105:15

Don’t touch my anointed ones! Do my prophets no harm!-
This refers to how Abraham and Isaac were not harmed despite lying to Abimelech (see on :14). It definitely doesn't mean that God's visible public servants are beyond criticism; for Abraham and Isaac most definitely are reproved for their actions in the Biblical record. The point is that they, weak as they were and deserving of "harm", were preserved from ultimate harm by God's grace. And they are cited as an example to the exiles, who were all "anointed ones" (Lam. 4:21), they had a special purpose before God; just as all in Christ, the anointed one, are likewise "anointed ones"  (2 Cor. 1:21). So this doesn't give pastors or church leaders special privilege of being beyond criticism, as this verse is misused to teach.

Psa 105:16

He called for a famine on the land, He destroyed the piles of food-
This verse must be understood in its context within this chronological account of God's grace towards His people at the time of the patriarchs. The Joseph story begins in the next verse, and so we are to understand that God gave a prophetic word about the famine before Joseph was sold into Egypt (:17). This theme is continued in :19; God made a prophetic word about Joseph, but it took time to come to fulfilment. And during that time, he suffered. But although God foresaw the time of famine, He had made plans right from the start of it to also save His people from it- even it involved factoring in their sinfulness within those plans. This was exactly the situation with the exiles; God's word had sent them into captivity, but that word had also arranged a salvation from it, even though they were suffering whilst that was brought about.

Psa 105:17

He sent a man before them- Joseph, who was sold for a slave-
See on :16. In the context of the Psalm, God is comforting Israel that all their sufferings had been experienced by Joseph. The exiles are often spoken of as being in prison in a Gentile world (Ps. 79:11; 102:20; Is. 42:7,22; 49:9); just as Joseph was. Prison and death are often associated because a spell in prison was effectively a death sentence, so bad were the conditions. Israel being in prison is therefore a symbol of a living death. The Lord Jesus as the suffering servant experienced all the sufferings of the exiled people of God, as their representative. On the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ was the great, supreme prisoner (Ps. 69:33- this is an intensive plural, referring to a singular great prisoner). Like Joseph, He went through all the emotions of the prisoner; the shame, depression, introspection. As Israel were comforted in their living death by the fact that there was an individual in the past who had gone through all they were going through as a group; so the new Israel ought to take comfort together in contemplating the experiences of the Lord Jesus. He bore our communal sorrows, griefs and sins. In this sense He was "sent before" both the exiles and ourselves.

Psa 105:18

They bruised his feet with shackles; his soul was locked in iron-
This highlights the mental aspects of Joseph's suffering. The verse is badly translated in the AV: "Whose feet (the same word is translated ability, endurance, journey) they hurt (Heb. 'to browbeat or depress') with fetters: (i.e.) his soul (AVmg.) came into iron". His very soul was in iron, trapped, oppressively boxed in as he lay in the darkness. As the Lord Jesus Christ hung in the darkness He too was depressed by the weight of His mental burden, a burden so great it must have pushed His brain to maximum neurological capacity. The spirit of the crucified Christ is also in Ps. 142:7: "Bring my soul out of prison... the righteous shall compass me about" (cp. Ps. 22:22). The Lord Jesus poured out His soul unto death; "He was taken away by distress" (Is. 53:12,8 AVmg.) suggests that it was the mental crisis in the Lord's heart on the cross which resulted in His death. This is why Pilate marvelled that He died so quickly. It is evident from this that the physical process of crucifixion did not kill the Lord, but rather the heart burst (both figurative and literal) which it brought upon Him. Do we not sense that striving in our minds as we fellowship His sufferings? Here is the challenge of the Joseph record and seeing Joseph as a type of Christ; to just begin to capture the mental anguish of the Son of God as He hung there.

 Psa 105:19

until the time that His word came true, and Yahweh’s word proved Him true-
Just as the prophetic word for Joseph came true when it appeared at times to have no chance of fulfilment, so the word of restoration would come true for the exiles. See on :16. God has arranged our lives according to a pattern; we have specific times in our lives for various situations. Looking back at the Biblical record of Joseph and Moses, whose life was divided clearly into three periods of 40 years, we see this clearly; but it’s of course harder to discern in our own lives as we are still living through it. But God is in control and has a plan for us, desiring only our eternal good in our latter end. Joseph was in this situation until the determined time came for God to suddenly deliver him thanks to the unexpected word from a king; and so Judah, depressed in Babylon, were being comforted that when the predicted 70 years captivity were ended, they too would be likewise delivered- which came true in the decree of king Cyrus for them to return to their land with his every blessing.

Psa 105:20

The king sent and freed him; even the ruler of peoples, and let him go free-
The deliverance of Joseph by the edict of a powerful king looked forward to the deliverance of the captives by the decree of Cyrus. Pharaoh's behaviour is recorded in terms appropriate to Cyrus, e.g. describing him as "ruler of peoples". "Freed" is AV "loosed" (s.w. Ps. 146:7). The exiles were prisoners who could have been loosed from Babylon- had they wished. The book of Esther makes clear that the Jews were far from impoverished prisoners. The imagery of being in prison and slavery is therefore in spiritual terms; and most of the exiles refused that great deliverance because they didn't perceive their condition. And that's exactly why folks today turn down the great offer of freedom made to them in Christ.

Psa 105:21

He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all of his possessions-
As explained on :22, this could imply that such a situation was potentially possible at the time of the restoration under Cyrus. The allusion to Joseph continues; he was in a prison "house" under a "lord" (Gen. 39:2; 40:7), but there was a sudden, radical inversion of everything. He was exalted from that position to be lord of Pharaoh's "house" (Gen. 45:8). This sudden inversion could potentially have happened with the decree of Cyrus.

Psa 105:22

to discipline his princes at his pleasure, and to teach his elders wisdom-
"Discipline" is AV "bind" and maybe continues the theme of :21, of sudden inversion. Instead of being bound by princes, Joseph bound princes. This isn't recorded of Pharaoh and Joseph; but I have suggested in commentary on the Joseph story that there are hints that the worship of Yahweh and the acceptance of His principles was established by Joseph at a high level in Egypt. Perhaps the idea is that potentially, Cyrus could have allowed a Joseph figure at the time of the restoration to teach the entire Persian leadership of Yahweh's wisdom. And thus the Kingdom of God would have spread throughout the entire eretz promised to Abraham. But these things were precluded by Judah's impenitence, no such Joseph figure arising, and Cyrus also failing to live up to his potential. All these things come to their reapplied fulfilment in the Lord Jesus and the things of His Kingdom.

Psa 105:23

Israel also came into Egypt, Jacob lived in the land of Ham-
The force of "also" is that as the exiles had gone into Babylon, so also had Israel gone into Egypt, and been blessed there and delivered from it.

Psa 105:24

He increased his people greatly, and made them stronger than their adversaries-
The hope was that a small minority nation like Judah could have become stronger than "Babylon" and arisen from their exile in supernatural strength given by God. But the majority of them preferred to remain there, and initially, as Ezekiel laments, they worshipped the gods of Babylon. This is also hinted at in the book of Esther.

Psa 105:25

He turned their heart to hate His people, to conspire against His servants-
This is further evidence that God can work directly upon the hearts of people, including those like the Egyptians who are not His people. The heart of Saul was likewise turned (s.w. 1 Sam. 10:9). This is effected today by the work of the Holy Spirit directly upon human spirits / hearts.

Psa 105:26

He sent Moses His servant, and Aaron whom He had chosen-
The phrase "chosen... servant" is used of David (Ps. 78:70). But it is particularly used of the people of God whilst exiled (Is. 41:8,9; 43:10; 44:1 etc.), and of Zerubbabel, the potential Messiah at the time of the restoration (Hag. 2:23). Zerubbabel could have been David redivivus, a Messiah figure who was the Davidic ruler, representative of God's people, who were also the chosen servant. Just as Moses and Aaron had delivered the people from Egypt, so this individual could have delivered the exiles from Babylon and led them to a restored Kingdom of God in the land. But he failed, as did the people; and so these things were reapplied to the ultimate "chosen servant", the Lord Jesus (Mt. 12:18).

Psa 105:27

They performed miracles among them, and wonders in the land of Ham-
Mizraim or Egypt was the descendant of Ham (Gen. 10:6; Ps. 105:23,27; 106:22). There may be an allusion to Khem, one of the main Egyptian gods. For the purpose of all the plagues was to demonstrate that Yahweh was the only God, and the Egyptian gods had no real existence. The "signs" performed by Moses and Aaron (:26) could have been matched by the "signs" performed by the two "men of sign" at the restoration (Zech. 3:8).

Psa 105:28

He sent darkness, and made it dark. They didn’t rebel against His words-
It is possible to see in the ten plagues brought about by God's word to Moses an echo of the ten times it is recorded that "God said" in Gen. 1. Ps. 105:28-36 describes the plagues on Egypt as a reversal of creation - starting with darkness (cp. "let there be light") and ending with the slaying of the firstborn to match the creation of man last of all. The words which were not rebelled against would then refer to the words of creation. But the point may simply be that Moses and Aaron (:26) weren't rebellious but performed the miracles and thereby delivered the people from Egypt; whereas as noted on :26, Zerubbabel and other potential Messiahs failed in this.

Psa 105:29
He turned their waters into blood, and killed their fish-
The miracles upon the waters were in a sense repeated upon Babylon when the waters were dried up from around the city so that the Medes could take the city. This admittedly was not by miraculous means; but perhaps the idea is that potentially, there could have been similar miraculous acts to cause Babylon to fall and enable the exodus of the exiles.

Psa 105:30
Their land swarmed with frogs, even in the rooms of their kings-
Potentially, there could have been similar miraculous acts to cause Babylon to fall and enable the exodus of the exiles. The descriptions of the fall of Babylon never came about as was potentially possible. Babylon decayed rather than being struck with the supernatural plagues envisioned in the "fall of Babylon" prophecies; they will come true in the last days, however, for they are alluded to in Rev. 18.

Psa 105:31
He spoke, and swarms of beetles came, and lice in all their borders-
As noted on :28, the plagues came about by the word of Yahweh, alluding to His creative words which brought about creation in the first place. The same prophetic word had been spoken about the restoration and recreation of God's Kingdom in the land.

Psa 105:32
He gave them hail for rain, with lightning in their land-
Hail and lightning (AV "flaming fire") are the words used for the destruction of Assyria / Babylon (Is. 30:30). They are also associated with theophany (Ps. 18:12,13). Hail and lightning could have been used to destroy Babylon and thereby fulfil God's prophetic word of restoration for the exiles (Ps. 148:8). But these great potentials were not realized because the Jews didn't repent and didn't for the most part actually want the restoration of the Kingdom. They preferred the good life in Persia.

Psa 105:33
He struck their vines and also their fig trees, and shattered the trees of their country-
Not recorded in the Exodus record. The language of vines and figs is more relevant to Babylon (Is. 36:17) rather than Egypt; but the plagues upon Egypt are being described as being potentially possible upon Babylon, if Judah repented and really wanted restoration. We therefore read of Babylon's latter day plagues (Jer. 50:13; Rev. 18:4,8). These things have been reapplied to Babylon of the last days seeing they didn't happen as potentially possible at the restoration.

Psa 105:34
He spoke, and the locusts came, and the grasshoppers without number-
As noted on :28,31, the plagues came about by the word of Yahweh, alluding to His creative words which brought about creation in the first place. The same prophetic word had been spoken about the restoration and recreation of God's Kingdom in the land. The language of creation is used about the destruction of Babylon; because the idea was that the fall of Babylon would presage the new creation of God's people and land. But this was conditional upon their repentance. Because they didn't repent and preferred Babylon, Babylon didn't therefore fall at the time in the dramatic way which the prophecies show was potentially possible.

Psa 105:35
ate up every plant in their land and devoured the fruit of their ground-
The prophets envisage the fall of Babylon meaning that her land would be damaged by supernatural visitation. But Babylon fell slowly, the prophetic picture didn't come about at the time of the restoration, but is reinterpreted to the latter day Babylon; see on :34.

Psa 105:36
He struck also all the firstborn in their land, the first fruits of all their manhood-
The death of the firstborn was because either the individuals or their parents refused to be obedient to God's offer of salvation. It was therefore a result of human sin; and part of "sin" is that it hurts others. "The chief of all their strength" (AV) is another way of saying 'the firstborn' (s.w. Gen. 49:3). The idea is that human strength was to be taken away, because Egypt was not trusting in God's strength. But God did the same to His own "strength", His people (Ps. 78:61).

Psa 105:37
He brought them forth with silver and gold, there was not one feeble person among His tribes-
Amazingly, there was nobody sick amongst the three million or so who left Egypt that night. At our exodus from this world through our Red Sea baptism into Christ, we are made spiritually strong- and must abide in that strength. "There was not one feeble person among His tribes" (Ps. 105:37), but prior to this the Israelites had indeed been "feeble" before their Egyptian captors (s.w. Ps. 107:12). This means that the feeble were made strong; and this was exactly the promise to the exiles, that they who were "feeble" in Babylonian exile would be strengthened so that they could  leave Babylon and be restored to the land (s.w. Is. 35:3). The word for "feeble" is often translated "cast down" and is used of how Judah had been at the time of their exile into Babylon (Jer. 6:21; 8:12; 18:15; Lam. 1:14; Hos. 5:5 and often). But they would be led out of Babylon in a straight way and without stumbling / being feeble (s.w. Jer. 31:9); the "feeble" would be strengthened (Zech. 12:8 s.w.). Yet when they returned to the land, they were "feeble" (s.w. Neh. 4:10 "decayed"; Mal. 2:8 "stumbled"). The potential strengthening wasn't used by them. 
Psa 105:38
Egypt was glad when they departed, for the fear of them had fallen on them-
"Glad" is a word nearly always used of rejoicing "before the Lord", of a spiritual nature; it has been used in :3 of God's people rejoicing in His Name. The word is used of rejoicing along with God's people in Ps. 106:5. The fear which fell upon Egypt may simply be a reference to that of Ex. 15:16. But fear falling upon people is the phrase used of what happened in Persia when the Jews were exalted (Esther 8:17; 9:2,3), with the result that many became Jews. So the idea may be that many in Egypt accepted the God of Israel after the Hebrews departed; and this was the envisaged outcome in Babylon too. But the potential was marred by the fact that Judah didn't give glory to God, remained for the most part in Persia / Babylon, and therefore the intended repentance of Babylon didn't happen.

Psa 105:39
He spread a cloud for a covering, fire to give light in the night-
The sensitivity of God is revealed here. The cloud kept the heat of the sun off them in the day time, and the fire kept them warm at night when the temperatures plunged in the desert. This same care was potentially available to the exiles (Ps. 121:6); but most didn't even want to make the journey, and remained in Babylon. These promises are therefore reapplied to the new Israel (Rev. 7:16), As Yahweh provided a pillar of fire to give light in the night to His people in the wilderness, so Israel were to arrange for a fire to be burning throughout the night in the tabernacle. They were to give light in response to God’s giving light to them. 

Psa 105:40

They asked, and He brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of the sky-
We note here how God works. They weren't given the quails until they asked for meat. There is no mention here of how the fattest of them were struck down at this time (Ps. 78:31). The point is made that God made concessions to their weakness and went along with their requests because by all means He wanted His rescue operation to succeed; and so it could have been with the restoration of the exiles from Babylon. But most didn't even want to start the wonderful journey.

Psa 105:41

He opened the rock-
As the rock was "opened", so Babylon, the apparently invincible prison house, would be opened for the exiles (s.w. Is. 14:17; 45:1); the graves would be opened and the dry bones of the exiles would come forth to restore the Kingdom (s.w. Ez. 37:13). 

And waters gushed out; they ran as a river in the dry places-
The language of Is. 41:18; 45:8 about what God would do for the returning exiles. In the restored Zion, a fountain would be "opened" (s.w. Zech. 13:1). But all this was precluded  by the exiles refusing to rebuild Zion according to the specifications in Ez. 40-48.

Psa 105:42

For He remembered His holy word, and Abraham His servant-
The deliverance from Egypt was in fulfilment of the prophetic word to Abraham. And the prophetic word was likewise given to the exiles, that they too would be delivered and restored. The phrase "His holy word" is specifically used of the prophetic word to the exiles in Jer. 23:9. 

Psa 105:43

He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen with singing-
See on :6. The allusion is to the songs of Moses and Miriam after the Red Sea deliverance. The song of Moses could have been sung again at the deliverance of the exiles. But it wasn't; and so the prophecy and the promise is recalculated and reapplied to the deliverance of the last days (Rev. 15:3).

Psa 105:44

He gave them the lands of the nations. They took the labour of the peoples in possession-
The scale of the potential for the exiles was huge. The tiny Jewish minority, one of many minorities within the Babylonian / Persian empires, could have not only had their own capital city restored, but also have received all the lands within the eretz promised to Abraham. Likewise the potentials offered in the Gospel of the Kingdom are enormous; but most prefer to be satisfied with the things of this life, as the exiles were with life in Babylon.

Psa 105:45

that they might keep His statutes, and observe His laws. Praise Yah!-
This forms an inclusio with the opening invitation to the Gentile peoples to praise Yah in :1,2. This was what Israel were intended to do, and the Gentiles were being asked to join repentant Israel in a new multiethnic people of God.