Psalm 78:30
They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,
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(30, 31) Evidently from Numbers 11:33, They did not yet loath in consequence of their lusts, the meat was yet in their mouths when, &c. For the expression, comp. the Latin alienari ab aliqua re, to be disinclined to a thing, and our own “stranger to fear,” &c

Psalm 78:30-31. They were not estranged from their lust, &c. — Green translates the verse, But before they were averse to what they had desired, and while their meat was still in their mouths, the wrath of God, &c. The sense is, either, 1st, While their greedy appetite yet continued, and was not fully satisfied; before they began to loathe the meat, as they did afterward, Numbers 11:20. Or, 2d, Before they were deprived of their desired food; while they enjoyed it, and were still feeding upon it, as the next clause explains this, the wrath of God came upon them — His patience did not wait till that food was spent, but he instantly let loose his wrath to punish them; and slew the fattest of them — The Hebrew word is rendered by Green, the wealthiest of them. Or, it may mean, the most healthy and strong, who probably were most desirous of this food, fed most eagerly upon it, and least suspected their own danger. And smote down — By a very great pestilence, the chosen men of Israel — The strongest and goodliest persons that were in Israel.

78:9-39. Sin dispirits men, and takes away the heart. Forgetfulness of God's works is the cause of disobedience to his laws. This narrative relates a struggle between God's goodness and man's badness. The Lord hears all our murmurings and distrusts, and is much displeased. Those that will not believe the power of God's mercy, shall feel the fire of his indignation. Those cannot be said to trust in God's salvation as their happiness at last, who can not trust his providence in the way to it. To all that by faith and prayer, ask, seek, and knock, these doors of heaven shall at any time be opened; and our distrust of God is a great aggravation of our sins. He expressed his resentment of their provocation; not in denying what they sinfully lusted after, but in granting it to them. Lust is contented with nothing. Those that indulge their lust, will never be estranged from it. Those hearts are hard indeed, that will neither be melted by the mercies of the Lord, nor broken by his judgments. Those that sin still, must expect to be in trouble still. And the reason why we live with so little comfort, and to so little purpose, is, because we do not live by faith. Under these rebukes they professed repentance, but they were not sincere, for they were not constant. In Israel's history we have a picture of our own hearts and lives. God's patience, and warnings, and mercies, imbolden them to harden their hearts against his word. And the history of kingdoms is much the same. Judgments and mercies have been little attended to, until the measure of their sins has been full. And higher advantages have not kept churches from declining from the commandments of God. Even true believers recollect, that for many a year they abused the kindness of Providence. When they come to heaven, how will they admire the Lord's patience and mercy in bringing them to his kingdom!They were not estranged from their lust - literally, "They were not made strangers to;" that is, in regard to their lusts or desires they were not in the condition of "foreigners" or aliens; they were not separated from them. The word "lusts" here means "desires, wishes." It is not used here in the restricted sense in which it is now with us. The reference is to their desire for food different from manna - for flesh; and the idea is, that they did not restrain their intense desire even when it should have been fully satisfied. They indulged to excess, and the consequence was that many of them perished.

But while their meat was yet in their mouths - Even while they were eating, and were indulging in this unrestrained manner.

30, 31. not estranged … lust—or, "desire"—that is, were indulging it. The sense is either,

1. Whilst their greedy appetite yet continued, and was not fully satisfied, before, they began to loathe it, as they did afterwards, Numbers 11:20. Or,

2. Before they were deprived or destitute of their desired food, whim they enjoyed it, and were still feeding upon it, as the next clause explains this. God’s patience did not wait upon them till that food was spent, but fell upon them instantly.

They were not estranged from their lust,.... By the goodness and liberality of God unto them, they were not brought to repentance for their sin of lusting; nor did they abstain from their fleshly lusts, or deny themselves of them, which the grace of God teaches to do; or else the sense is, what they lusted after, flesh, was not withheld from them, or they restrained from eating it; they were indulged with it for a whole month together; to which agrees what follows:

but while their meat was yet in their mouths; the meat of the quails, while it was between their teeth, ere it was chewed, and before it was swallowed down, while they were rolling this sweet morsel under their tongues, and were gorging themselves with it, destruction came upon them, as follows; just as Belshazzar, while he was feasting with his nobles, in the midst of his mirth and jollity, was slain by the Persians, Daniel 5:1.

They were not estranged from their {q} lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,

(q) Such is the nature of concupiscence, that the more it has the more it lusts.

30. They were not estranged from their lust,

Their food was yet in their mouth,

Verse 30. - They were not estranged from their lust; i.e. their lust was not yet satiated - they were still indulging it. The meat was yet in their mouths, still undergoing mastication, when - Psalm 78:30Passing over to the giving of the quails, the poet is thinking chiefly of the first occasion mentioned in Exodus 16, which directly preceded the giving of the manna. But the description follows the second: יסּע (He caused to depart, set out) after Numbers 11:31. "East" and "south" belong together: it was a south-east wind from the Aelanitic Gulf. "To rain down" is a figurative expression for a plentiful giving of dispensing from above. "Its camp, its tents," are those of Israel, Numbers 11:31, cf. Exodus 16:13. The תּעוה, occurring twice, Psalm 78:29-30 (of the object of strong desire, as in Psalm 21:3), points to Kibroth-hattaavah, the scene of this carnal lusting; הביא is the transitive of the בּוא in Proverbs 13:12. In Psalm 78:30-31 even in the construction the poet closely follows Numbers 11:33 (cf. also זרוּ with לזרא, aversion, loathing, Numbers 11:20). The Waw unites what takes place simultaneously; a construction which presents the advantage of being able to give special prominence to the subject. The wrath of God consisted in the breaking out of a sickness which was the result of immoderate indulgence, and to which even the best-nourished and most youthfully vigorous fell a prey. When the poet goes on in Psalm 78:32 to say that in spite of these visitations (בּכל־זאת) they went on sinning, he has chiefly before his mind the outbreak of "fat" rebelliousness after the return of the spies, cf. Psalm 78:32 with Numbers 14:11. And Psalm 78:33 refers to the judgment of death in the wilderness threatened at that time to all who had come out of Egypt from twenty years old and upward (Numbers 14:28-34). Their life devoted to death vanished from that time onwards בּהבל, in breath-like instability, and בּבּהלה, in undurable precipitancy; the mode of expression in Psalm 31:11; Job 36:1 suggests to the poet an expressive play of words. When now a special judgment suddenly and violently thinned the generation that otherwise was dying off, as in Numbers 21:6., then they inquired after Him, they again sought His favour, those who were still preserved in the midst of this dying again remembered the God who had proved Himself to be a "Rock" (Deuteronomy 32:15, Deuteronomy 32:18, Deuteronomy 32:37) and to be a "Redeemer" (Genesis 48:16) to them. And what next? Psalm 78:36-37

(Note: According to the reckoning of the Masora this Psalm 78:36 is the middle verse of the 2527 verses of the Psalter (Buxtorf, Tiberias, 1620, p. 133).)

tell us what effect they gave to this disposition to return to God. They appeased Him with their mouth, is meant to say: they sought to win Him over to themselves by fair speeches, inasmuch as they thus anthropopathically conceived of God, and with their tongue they played the hypocrite to Him; their heart, however, was not sincere towards Him (עם like את in Psalm 78:8), i.e., not directed straight towards Him, and they proved themselves not stedfast (πιστοί, or properly βέβαιοι) in their covenant-relationship to Him.

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