As we saw in yesterday’s study, in order to understand the plagues against Egypt we need to know that they were intended to show the superiority of the God of Israel to the Egyptian gods. The first two plagues were against the gods of the Nile. The next four were against the land gods. The final four plagues, which we will look at today, were directed against the gods of the sky.

For some reason—we do not know why—Psalm 105 changes the order of the plagues somewhat and omits two. This listing begins with the ninth plague (the great darkness). Then it reverts to the original sequence, except that it inverts the order of the third and fourth plagues (gnats and flies, here flies and gnats) and omits the fifth and sixth plagues entirely (the death of the livestock and the boils).

The most interesting part of the historical section of Psalm 105 is the fourth stanza (vv. 16-36), for it tells us about Israel's time in Egypt and the exodus from it. In telling about Joseph it introduces details that we do not find in Genesis. Genesis emphasizes Joseph's character and spirit of service. In Psalm 105 the stress is on his cruel treatment.

Important as the opening stanza may be for identifying Psalm 105 as a thanksgiving psalm, it is really not until stanza two (vv. 7-11) that we find out what the theme of the psalm is to be. It is God's covenant with his people, particularly his covenant with Abraham, which he confirmed with his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. It is hard to miss this point since the word "covenant" occurs three times (in vv. 8, 9 and 10).

In our study of the Psalms we are coming to the end of the fourth book of the Psalter (Psalms 90 to 106), where we find two psalms that form a striking pair: Psalms 105 and 106. The first deals with the faithfulness of God to Israel from the time of his initial covenant with them through Abraham to their entering into the Promised Land. The second deals with their unfaithfulness to him during the same time period.