Psalms 78:41 MEANING

Psalm 78:41
(41) Limited.--A verb used in Ezekiel 9:4 for putting a mark on the forehead, which has been very variously explained. Some render branded or cast a stigma on--i.e., brought discredit on the Divine name. The LXX. and Vulg. have "exasperated," and so some moderns "crossed," "thwarted." Gratz emends to "asked signs from," but perhaps the ideas of marking something that has been tried, and that of trying or tempting are sufficiently near to allow us to render tempted.

Verse 41. - Yea, they turned back and tempted God; rather, again and again they tempted God (Hengstenberg, Kay, Cheyne); see Exodus 17:2, 7; Deuteronomy 6:16. And limited the Holy One of Israel (comp. Numbers 34:7, 8). This may mean either "they set limits to his power in their own minds" (see ver. 20), or "they actually limited his power to help and succour them by their want of faith" (comp. Mark 6:5, "He could there do no mighty work," explained in Matthew 13:58 to have been "because of their unbelief"). The other meanings suggested - "disgraced" and" provoked" - are less probable.

78:40-55. Let not those that receive mercy from God, be thereby made bold to sin, for the mercies they receive will hasten its punishment; yet let not those who are under Divine rebukes for sin, be discouraged from repentance. The Holy One of Israel will do what is most for his own glory, and what is most for their good. Their forgetting former favours, led them to limit God for the future. God made his own people to go forth like sheep; and guided them in the wilderness, as a shepherd his flock, with all care and tenderness. Thus the true Joshua, even Jesus, brings his church out of the wilderness; but no earthly Canaan, no worldly advantages, should make us forget that the church is in the wilderness while in this world, and that there remaineth a far more glorious rest for the people of God.Yea, they turned back, and tempted God,.... They talked of going back to Egypt, and of choosing a captain to lead them back thither, Numbers 14:3, and they turned back from the Lord, and from his good ways, and chose their own ways, and followed after idols; or the sense is, they again tempted God, not only at Meribah, but elsewhere; they tempted him again and again, even ten times, as before observed:

and limited the Holy One of Israel; or "signed" (d) him; signed him with a sign, so the Targum; they tempted him by asking a sign of him, as Jarchi interprets it; insisting that a miracle be wrought, by which it might be known whether the Lord was among them or not, Exodus 17:7, with which compare Matthew 16:1, or they set bounds, so Kimchi; to his power and goodness, saying, this he could do, and the other he could not; see Psalm 78:19, and so men limit the Lord when they fix on a blessing they would have, even that, and not another; and the measure of it, to what degree it should be bestowed on them, as well as set the time when they would have it; whereas the blessing itself, and the degree of it, and the time of giving it, should be all left with the Lord; who knows which and what of it is most convenient for us, and when is the best time to bestow it on us.

(d) "signaverunt", Pagninus.

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