Note: This psalm celebrates the history of God’s mighty and redemptive acts on behalf of Israel. Spurgeon called this psalm the “Song of the Exodus.”
114:1 When Israel [synonymous with Jacob] came out of Egypt [the Exodus is “the birthday of Israel” (Kirkpatrick)], Jacob [synonymous with Israel] from a people of foreign tongue [spoken in the land of their oppression],
114:2 [the divided kingdom existed from the time of Solomon’s death (922 BC) to the Assyrian conquest of Israel (722 BC)] Judah [possible that the southern kingdom is intended here] became God’s sanctuary, Israel [possible that the northern kingdom is intended here] his dominion.
114:3 The sea looked and fled [a reference to crossing the Red Sea; Ex. 14:21-22], the Jordan turned back [a reference to crossing the Jordan; Josh. 3:14-16];
114:4 the mountains [a reference to the phenomena at Mount Sinai] leaped like rams, the hills like lambs.
114:5 [in verses 5 and 6 the psalmist calls upon nature, through a series of rhetorical questions, to testify about God’s redemptive work on behalf of His people] Why was it, sea, that you fled? Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
114:6 [God rules over nature] Why, mountains, did you leap like rams, you hills, like lambs?
114:7 Tremble, earth, at the presence of [this repeated phrase introduces the answer to the questions asked in the preceding verses] the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
114:8 [God provided water from the rock at Meribah (Ex. 17:6-7; Num. 20:11-13) during Israel’s time in the wilderness] who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water [cf. Isa. 41:18].