The author calls us to give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. And the LORD calls his people to stop child sacrifice in Canaan.
VERSE 1. Praise the LORD! Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his loving kindness endures forever.
VERSE 2. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD, or fully declare all his praise?
VERSE 3. Blessed are those who keep justice. Blessed is one who does what is right at all times.
VERSE 4. Remember me, LORD, with the favor that you show to your people. Visit me with your salvation,
VERSE 5. that I may see the prosperity of your chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory with your inheritance.
that I may see the prosperity of your chosen. The author wants to share in the prosperity of God’s chosen people.
that I may rejoice in the gladness. The author wants to rejoice in the joy of God’s people.
that I may glory with your inheritance. The author wants to praise God along with those who are God’s heritage.
VERSE 6. We have sinned with our fathers. We have committed iniquity. We have done wickedly.
VERSE 7. Our fathers didn’t understand your wonders in Egypt. They didn’t remember the multitude of your loving kindnesses, but were rebellious at the sea, even at the Sea of Suf.
VERSE 8. Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power known.
VERSE 9. He rebuked the Sea of Suf also, and it was dried up; so he led them through the depths, as through a desert.
VERSE 10. He saved them from the hand of him who hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
The Message translation: He saved them from a life of oppression, pried them loose from the grip of the enemy.
pried them loose. The LORD is very determined to free us from anyone who oppresses us.
VERSE 11. The waters covered their adversaries. There was not one of them left.
VERSE 12. Then they believed his words. They sang his praise.
VERSE 13. They soon forgot his works. They didn’t wait for his counsel,
VERSE 14. but gave in to craving in the desert, and tested God in the wasteland.
VERSE 15. He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.
VERSE 16. They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron, the LORD’s holy one.
VERSE 17. The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.
VERSE 18. A fire was kindled in their company. The flame burned up the wicked.
VERSE 19. They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped a molten image.
VERSE 20. Thus they exchanged their glory for an image of a bull that eats grass.
VERSE 21. They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,
VERSE 22. wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome things by the Sea of Suf.
VERSE 23. Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had Moses, his chosen, not stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, so that he wouldn’t destroy them.
VERSE 24. Yes, they despised the pleasant land. They didn’t believe his word,
VERSE 25. but murmured in their tents, and didn’t listen to the LORD’s voice.
VERSE 26. Therefore he swore to them that he would overthrow them in the wilderness,
VERSE 27. that he would overthrow their offspring among the nations, and scatter them in the lands.
VERSE 28. They joined themselves also to Baal Peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.
VERSE 29. Thus they provoked him to anger with their deeds. The plague broke in on them.
VERSE 30. Then Phinehas stood up, and executed judgment, so the plague was stopped.
VERSE 31. That was credited to him for righteousness, for all generations to come.
VERSE 32. They angered him also at the waters of Meribah, so that Moses was troubled for their sakes;
VERSE 33. because they were rebellious against his spirit, he spoke rashly with his lips.
VERSE 34. They didn’t destroy the peoples, as the LORD commanded them,
When we modern-day Bible readers encounter this verse, without knowing the historical setting, we assume the worst. We assume that God was violent. We assume that the people targeted for destruction were innocent and unworthy of attack. Without knowing the setting thousands of years ago, it’s all too easy to project our own worldview onto them and assume God acted with bloodlust.
But the actual setting was quite different from any of that.
The Canaanites murdered children. They slaughtered their own children, sacrificing them to their Canaanite gods. God had enough of that. It was time to end the atrocities. He commanded the Hebrews to destroy the Canaanites.
Unfortunately, the Hebrew people did not do as God commanded. Because they didn’t, they brought huge setbacks into their own lives:
- Verse 35: Instead of becoming leaders and influencing other nations, the chosen people became mere followers and imitated lesser nations.
- Verse 36: The chosen people fell into idolatry.
- Verse 37:The chosen people sacrificed their own children to demons.
- Verse 38: The chosen people murdered the innocent—their own offspring—by sacrificing them to the Canaanite gods.
- Verse 39: The actions of the chosen people defiled their own consciences.
- Verse 40: The chosen people became a stench in the nostrils of Almighty God.
- Verse 41:Other nations easily took over the chosen people and ruled them.
- Verse 42: These other nations oppressed them.
learned their works. Instead of becoming leaders and influencing other nations, the chosen people became mere followers and imitated lesser nations.
served their idols. The chosen people fell into idolatry.
they sacrificed … to demons. The chosen people sacrificed their own children to demons.
They shed innocent blood. The chosen people murdered the innocent—their own offspring—by sacrificing them to the Canaanite gods.
defiled with their works. The actions of the chosen people defiled their own consciences.
He abhorred his inheritance. The chosen people became a stench in the nostrils of Almighty God.
Those who hated them ruled over them. Other nations easily took over the chosen people and ruled them.
Their enemies also oppressed them. These other nations oppressed the chosen people.
VERSE 43. He rescued them many times, but they were rebellious in their counsel, and were brought low in their iniquity.
VERSE 44. Nevertheless he regarded their distress, when he heard their cry.
VERSE 45. He remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses.
VERSE 46. He made them also to be pitied by all those who carried them captive.
VERSE 47. Save us, LORD, our God, gather us from among the nations, to give thanks to your holy name, to triumph in your praise!
VERSE 48. Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting even to everlasting! Let all the people say, “Amen.” Praise the LORD!
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.