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16

You open your hand,

satisfying the desire of every living thing.


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16. Thou openest thine hand, etc. The figure is a beautiful one. Most men pass over without observation the singular goodness of God apparent in this admirable ordering of things in nature, and David therefore represents him as stretching out his hand to distribute to the animals their food. We sinfully confine our attention to the earth which yields us our food, or to natural causes. To correct this error David describes God as opening his hands to put the food into our mouths. The word רצון, ratson, some render desire, as though he meant that God supplied each kind of animal with food according to its wish. And a little afterwards we do indeed find it used in that sense. Others, however, refer it rather to God’s feeding them of his mere good pleasure and kindness; it not being enough to say that our food is given us by God, unless we add, as in the second clause of the verse, that his kindness is gratuitous, and that there is no extrinsic cause whatever moving him to provide so liberally for every living creature. In that case the cause is put for the effect; the various kinds of provision being effects of his good pleasure — χαρισματα της χάριτος. If it be found that men and others of his creatures often suffer and die from want, this is to be traced to the change which has come upon nature by sin. The fair order which subsisted in it by God’s original appointment often fails since the fall through our sins, and yet in what remains of it, though marred, we may see the kindness of God referred to by David, for in the severest failures of crop, there is no year so barren and unproductive, that God may not be said to open his hand in it.




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