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Psalm 102

Prayer to the Eternal King for Help

A prayer of one afflicted, when faint and pleading before the Lord.

1

Hear my prayer, O Lord;

let my cry come to you.

2

Do not hide your face from me

in the day of my distress.

Incline your ear to me;

answer me speedily in the day when I call.

 

3

For my days pass away like smoke,

and my bones burn like a furnace.

4

My heart is stricken and withered like grass;

I am too wasted to eat my bread.

5

Because of my loud groaning

my bones cling to my skin.

6

I am like an owl of the wilderness,

like a little owl of the waste places.

7

I lie awake;

I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.

8

All day long my enemies taunt me;

those who deride me use my name for a curse.

9

For I eat ashes like bread,

and mingle tears with my drink,

10

because of your indignation and anger;

for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.

11

My days are like an evening shadow;

I wither away like grass.

 

12

But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;

your name endures to all generations.

13

You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,

for it is time to favor it;

the appointed time has come.

14

For your servants hold its stones dear,

and have pity on its dust.

15

The nations will fear the name of the Lord,

and all the kings of the earth your glory.

16

For the Lord will build up Zion;

he will appear in his glory.

17

He will regard the prayer of the destitute,

and will not despise their prayer.

 

18

Let this be recorded for a generation to come,

so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:

19

that he looked down from his holy height,

from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,

20

to hear the groans of the prisoners,

to set free those who were doomed to die;

21

so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion,

and his praise in Jerusalem,

22

when peoples gather together,

and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

 

23

He has broken my strength in midcourse;

he has shortened my days.

24

“O my God,” I say, “do not take me away

at the midpoint of my life,

you whose years endure

throughout all generations.”

 

25

Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,

and the heavens are the work of your hands.

26

They will perish, but you endure;

they will all wear out like a garment.

You change them like clothing, and they pass away;

27

but you are the same, and your years have no end.

28

The children of your servants shall live secure;

their offspring shall be established in your presence.


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Ps 102:1-28. A Prayer of the afflicted, &c.—The general terms seem to denote the propriety of regarding the Psalm as suitably expressive of the anxieties of any one of David's descendants, piously concerned for the welfare of the Church. It was probably David's composition, and, though specially suggested by some peculiar trials, descriptive of future times. Overwhelmed—(compare Ps 61:2). Poureth out—pouring out the soul—(Ps 62:8). Complaint—(Ps 55:2). The tone of complaint predominates, though in view of God's promises and abiding faithfulness, it is sometimes exchanged for that of confidence and hope.

1-3. The terms used occur in Ps 4:1; 17:1, 6; 18:6; 31:2, 10; 37:20.

4. (Compare Ps 121:6).

so that I forget—or, "have forgotten," that is, in my distress (Ps 107:18), and hence strength fails.

5. voice … groaning—effect put for cause, my agony emaciates me.

6, 7. The figures express extreme loneliness.

8. sworn against me—or literally, "by me," wishing others as miserable as I am (Nu 5:21).

9. ashes—a figure of grief, my bread; weeping or tears, my drink (Ps 80:5).

10. lifted … cast me down—or, "cast me away" as stubble by a whirlwind (Isa 64:6).

11. shadow … declineth—soon to vanish in the darkness of night.

12. Contrast with man's frailty (compare Ps 90:1-7).

thy remembrance—that by which Thou art remembered, Thy promise.

13, 14. Hence it is here adduced.

for—or, "when."

the set time, &c.—the time promised, the indication of which is the interest felt for Zion by the people of God.

15-17. God's favor to the Church will affect her persecutors with fear.

16. When the Lord shall build—or better, "Because the Lord hath built," &c., as a reason for the effect on others; for in thus acting and hearing the humble, He is most glorious.

18. people … created—(compare Ps 22:31), an organized body, as a Church.

19-22. For—or, "That," as introducing the statement of God's condescension. A summary of what shall be written.

to loose … appointed—or, "deliver" them (Ps 79:11).

21. To declare, &c.—or, that God's name may be celebrated in the assemblies of His Church, gathered from all nations (Zec 8:20-23), and devoted to His service.

23-28. The writer, speaking for the Church, finds encouragement in the midst of all his distresses. God's eternal existence is a pledge of faithfulness to His promises.

in the way—of providence.

weakened—literally, "afflicted," and made fearful of a premature end, a figure of the apprehensions of the Church, lest God might not perform His promise, drawn from those of a person in view of the dangers of early death (compare Ps 89:47). Paul (Heb 1:10) quotes Ps 102:26-28 as addressed to Christ in His divine nature. The scope of the Psalm, as already seen, so far from opposing, favors this view, especially by the sentiments of Ps 102:12-15 (compare Isa 60:1). The association of the Messiah with a day of future glory to the Church was very intimate in the minds of Old Testament writers; and with correct views of His nature it is very consistent that He should be addressed as the Lord and Head of His Church, who would bring about that glorious future on which they ever dwelt with fond delightful anticipations.




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