Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.
For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.
My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.
4. (Compare Ps 121:6).
so that I forget—or, "have forgotten," that is, in my distress (Ps 107:18), and hence strength fails.
By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.
5. voice … groaning—effect put for cause, my agony emaciates me.
I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.
6, 7. The figures express extreme loneliness.
I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.
Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.
8. sworn against me—or literally, "by me," wishing others as miserable as I am (Nu 5:21).
For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping,
9. ashes—a figure of grief, my bread; weeping or tears, my drink (Ps 80:5).
Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.
10. lifted … cast me down—or, "cast me away" as stubble by a whirlwind (Isa 64:6).
My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
11. shadow … declineth—soon to vanish in the darkness of night.
But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
12. Contrast with man's frailty (compare Ps 90:1-7).
thy remembrance—that by which Thou art remembered, Thy promise.
Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.
13, 14. Hence it is here adduced.
the set time, &c.—the time promised, the indication of which is the interest felt for Zion by the people of God.
For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.
So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
15-17. God's favor to the Church will affect her persecutors with fear.
When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.
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.
He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.
18. people … created—(compare Ps 22:31), an organized body, as a Church.
For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;
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).
To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;
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.
When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.
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.
I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.
Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.