New Defender's Study Bible Notes
78:1 O my people. This Maschil psalm by Asaph, the seer, is a heart-cry to the people of God, seeking to bring them back to a true love of God and obedience to His laws. Presumably written under either David’s or Solomon’s reign, when God’s blessings on Israel were more manifest than ever before or since, even then the people as a whole were in a low state spiritually. Psalm 78 is the second longest (to Psalm 119) of all the psalms, recounting God’s miraculous deliverances in the past as an incentive to serve Him in the present and future.
78:2 in a parable. This verse was quoted by Jesus (Matthew 13:35), in explanation of why He was speaking in parables.
78:12 field of Zoan. Note also Psalm 78:43. Zoan is first mentioned in Numbers 13:22 as a city in Egypt, well known to the Israelites at the time, although its identification now is uncertain. It is believed to have been in Egypt’s delta region, not far from the home of the children of Israel in Goshen. In this psalm, it is used essentially as a synonym for the whole land of Egypt.
78:25 angels’ food. Angels are spirits (Psalm 104:4), so would not need physical food. The reference here is metaphorical, emphasizing, the heavenly and miraculous origin of the manna. Nevertheless God’s angels can on occasion assume physical bodies and ingest physical food (Genesis 18:2,8; Hebrews 13:2).
78:41 Holy One of Israel. This unique name of God, frequently used in the writings of the prophets, was first used in II Kings 19:22, then again in Psalm 71:22. This is the third occurrence. Several other names for God are found in this psalm, in addition to “God.” These include: LORD (Jehovah, Psalm 78:4, 21); most High (Psalm 78:17); their rock (Psalm 78:35); the high God their redeemer (Psalm 78:35); the most high God (Psalm 78:56); and the Lord (Adonai, Psalm 78:65).
78:51 Ham. Mizraim, the son of Ham, is commonly identified as Egypt in the Bible. Here Ham also is assumed to be a founder of Egypt.
78:60 tabernacle of Shiloh. This “forsaking” of the tabernacle is a reference to the capture of the ark by the Philistines in the days of Eli (I Samuel 4:11). The tabernacle at Shiloh was apparently abandoned at this time, since Shiloh is never mentioned as the center of Israel’s worship after this tragic event.
78:69 established for ever. The earth, like all God’s creation, will continue forever (Ecclesiastes 1:44). God is the Creator—not a “de-Creator!” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). In “the day of the Lord” (II Peter 3:10), “the earth...shall be burned up,” but its mass will possibly be converted into other forms of energy (heat, sound, etc.). It will not be completely annihilated. God will then renew the earth as a “new earth” (II Peter 3:13) which will never pass away (Isaiah 66:22).