Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
As he begins his comments on Psalm 106, Augustine enters a textual and interpretive debate based on the position of the word "Allelujah" (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337677, par. 1). He finds a comparison of manuscripts indicates the word normally comes at the beginning of a Psalm, not as the last word of the Psalm. He does observe a strong connection between Psalm 105 and 106. Both begin with a cry to God, the one who shows mecy (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337692, par. 2). Verse two sets the scene to describe God's acts more clearly (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337707, par. 3).
Augustine observes the distinction between God's works of judgment and righteousness (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337717, par. 4). While God's justice is righteous, and his judgment is also perfect, Augustine does think they can be distinguished.
Augustine considers Psalm 106:4 as a shift in emphasis caused by God's work of healing and justification. The prayer is in response to God's love (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337722, par. 5). The prayer also springs from an awareness of our failings, as Augustine notes in verses 6 and 7. The Israelites have sinned as their ancestors did, not recognizing God's wonders (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337742, par. 6). Regardless of the sins of the ancestors, God had still rescued them from trouble (v. 8). The context given for this rescue is the crossing of the Red Sea (v. 9) (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337762, par. 7). Verse 10 pictures this as an act of redemption. Augustine then draws a parallel with baptism, noting that it is a redemption of Christians from the devil, done at the price of Jesus' blood (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337772, par. 8).
The people of Israel forgot God's works (v. 13). Augustine sees this as a forgetting of the eternal nature of God's salvation. Rather, they became hasty and gave in to desires and complaining in the wilderness (vv. 14-15). Augustine repeatedly observes the discontent of Israel, considering God unable to care for them (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337782, par. 11). Their provocation of God resulted in his judgment, noted in verses 16-18. God opened the earth to swallow some and He consumed others with fire. Even this did not stop them from making a golden calf to worship (vv. 19-20). Augustine finds here the parallel to Romans chapter one, where people "changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image…: (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337798, par. 17).
In the end, the people of Israel had forgotten the God who saved them. He would rightly have destroyed them (vv. 21-23). Augustine recalls that it was through the prayers of Moses that God didn't destroy all Israel (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337808, par. 19). Not only did they scorn God, in verse 24, they had no care for the land promised to them. This was also through a lack of belief. Augustine reminds his readers that the Israelites in the wilderness had not seen the land. However, they had been told of God's promise (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337813, par. 20). Their fate, described in verses 25-33, spiraled from bad to worse. Even Moses fell into doubt (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337839, par. 26).
The pinnacle of Israel's disobedience is described in verses 34-39, as Israel mixed themselves with the pagan nations around them. Augustine, from a nation with a living pagan tradition, has a concept of how bad this is (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337848, par. 28).
God's punishing anger is aroused at last. In verses 40-43 he turns the people over for punishment, but not for destruction, to their enemies. Augustine sees this as a way God calls people back to himself (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337868, par. 30). Verses 44-45 make it clear that God intended to call his people back. When they cried out to him, he acted in accord with his covenant.
Augustine considers the concept of verse 45, which says, "he repented" (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337878, par. 31). It is not that God changed his overall attitude or character but that he changed the actions which had seemed about to destroy Israel. Augustine sees God's will to be unchanging, a will of favor to his people. The Psalm closes with pleas that God would remember his favor and save his people, that they may praise Him (Augustine Psalms, loc. 337903, par. 33).