Psalm 103:3
Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Forgiveth.—The first “benefit” to one who aims at the higher life is the knowledge of the Divine readiness to forgive and renew, and this, as Augustine remarks, implies a quick moral sense: “God’s benefits will not be before our eyes unless our sins are also before our eyes.”

Diseases.—Here chiefly in a moral sense, as the parallelism “iniquity” shows, even if the next verse, taken literally, implies an allusion to physical suffering as well.

103:1-5 By the pardon of sin, that is taken away which kept good things from us, and we are restored to the favor of God, who bestows good things on us. Think of the provocation; it was sin, and yet pardoned: how many the provocations, yet all pardoned! God is still forgiving, as we are still sinning and repenting. The body finds the melancholy consequences of Adam's offence, it is subject to many infirmities, and the soul also. Christ alone forgives all our sins; it is he alone who heals all our infirmities. And the person who finds his sin cured, has a well-grounded assurance that it is forgiven. When God, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, recovers his people from their decays, and fills them with new life and joy, which is to them an earnest of eternal life and joy, they may then be said to return to the days of their youth, Job 33:25.Who forgiveth all thine iniquities - Pardoning all thy sins. That is, It is a characteristic of God to pardon sin, and I have evidence that he has done it in my own case, and this is a ground for praise. It is observable that this is the first thing in view of the psalmist - the first of the "benefits" which he had received from God, or the first thing in importance among his acts or his dealings, which called for praise. Properly considered, this is the first thing which calls for praise. That God is a merciful God - that he has declared his willingness to pardon sin - that he has devised and revealed a way by which this can be done, and that he has actually done it in our own case, is the most important matter for which we should praise him. When we understand all the things which most affect our welfare, and which enter most deeply into our happiness here and hereafter, we shall find that this is a blessing compared with which all other favors are comparative trifles.

Who healeth all thy diseases - Perhaps, in the case of the psalmist, referring to some particular instance in which he had been recovered from dangerous sickness. The word rendered "diseases" - תחלואים tachălû'iym - occurs only in the plural form. It is translated "sicknesses," in Deuteronomy 29:22; "diseases," as here, in 2 Chronicles 21:19; "them that are sick," in Jeremiah 14:18; and "grievous (deaths)" in Jeremiah 16:4. It does not elsewhere occur. It is applicable to all forms of sickness; or in this place it may refer to some particular diseases with which David had been afflicted. We have several allusions in the Psalms to times when the authors of the psalms were afflicted with sickness. So in the Psalms of David. Compare Psalm 6:2; Psalm 38:7; Psalm 41:8. The thought here is, that it is a proper ground of praise to God that he has the power of healing disease. All instances of restoration to health are illustrations of this, for whatever may be the skill of physicians, or the wise adaptation of means, healing virtue comes from God alone.

3. diseases—as penal inflictions (De 29:22; 2Ch 21:19). Either,

1. Spiritual diseases, lusts or corruptions, which he subdues and purgeth out by his grace; as this phrase is used, Psalm 41:4 Isaiah 6:10 53:5. Or,

2. Corporal diseases or miseries, of which this word is used, 2 Chronicles 21:18,19 Jer 14:18 16:4. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities,.... The psalmist explains here what he means by benefits, and gives a particular enumeration of them; and begins with the blessing of pardon, which is a special and peculiar benefit; it is according to the riches of divine grace, and the multitude of tender mercies; without which all outward blessings signify nothing; and, without a sense of this, a man is not in a suitable and proper frame to bless the Lord; and this being the first benefit a soul sensible of sin, its guilt and is concerned for, and seeks after; so enjoying it, it is the first he is thankful for: this is rightly ascribed to God; for none can forgive sins but he; and what he forgives are not mere infirmities, peccadillos, the lesser sins of life; but "iniquities", grosser sins, unrighteousnesses, impieties, the most enormous crimes, sins of a crimson and scarlet die; yea, "all" of them, though they are many, more than the hairs of a man's head; he abundantly pardons, multiplies pardons, as sins are multiplied, and leaves none unforgiven; original sin, actual sins, sins of heart, lip, and life, of omission and commission, all are forgiven for Christ's sake: and the special mercy is when a man has an application of this to himself, and can say to his soul, as David to his, God has forgiven "thine" iniquities; for though it may be observed with pleasure, and it is an encouragement to hope in the Lord, that he is a forgiving God, and has forgiven others, yet what would this avail a man, if his sins should not be forgiven? the sweetness of the blessing lies in its being brought home to a man's own soul: and it may be further observed, that this is a continued act; it is not said who has forgiven, and will forgive, though both are true; but "forgiveth", continues to forgive; for as there is a continual virtue in the sacrifice of the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, and in his blood to cleanse from all sin, so there is a continual flow of pardoning grace in the heart of God, which is afresh applied to the consciences of his people by his Spirit; and this is a blessing to be thankful for:

who healeth all thy diseases; not bodily ones, though the Lord is the physician of the bodies as well as of the souls of men, and sometimes heals the diseases of soul and body at once, as in the case of the paralytic man in the Gospel; but spiritual diseases, or soul maladies, are here meant; the same with "iniquities" in the preceding clause: sin is a natural, hereditary, epidemical, nauseous, and mortal disease; and there are many of them, a complication of them, in men, which God only can cure; and he heals them by his word, by means of his Gospel, preaching peace, pardon, and righteousness by Christ; by the blood, wounds, and stripes of his Son; by the application of pardoning grace and mercy; for healing diseases, and forgiving iniquities, are one and the same thing; see Isaiah 33:24, and this the Lord does freely, fully, and infallibly, and for which thanks are due unto him; and it would be very ungrateful, and justly resented, should they not be returned to him; see Luke 17:15.

Who {b} forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

(b) That is, the beginning and chiefest of all benefits, remission of sin.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. The Psalmist may have had in mind Exodus 15:26, “I am Jehovah that healeth thee”; and Deuteronomy 29:22, where the somewhat rare word for ‘diseases’ is used of the judgements with which the land is to be punished for Israel’s sins. The word need not be limited to bodily sickness, but may include all suffering. The removal of the punishment of sin is the proof of its forgiveness. Cp. Psalm 85:1-3; Psalm 147:3.Verse 3. - Who forgiveth all thine iniquities. This is the first and greatest of "benefits," and is therefore placed first, as that for which we ought, above all else, to bless God. God's forgiveness of sin is a frequent topic with the psalmists (see Psalm 25:11, 18; Psalm 32:1; Psalm 51:9; Psalm 85:2; Psalm 86:5, etc.). Who healeth all thy diseases. This is best understood literally - not as mere "parallelism." Among the greatest blessings which we receive of God is recovery from sickness. On the way (ב as in Psalm 110:7) - not "by means of the way" (ב as in Psalm 105:18), in connection with which one would expect of find some attributive minuter definition of the way - God hath bowed down his strength (cf. Deuteronomy 8:2); it was therefore a troublous, toilsome way which he has been led, together with his people. He has shortened his days, so that he only drags on wearily, and has only a short distance still before him before he is entirely overcome. The Chethb כחו (lxx ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ) may be understood of God's irresistible might, as in Job 23:6; Job 30:18, but in connection with it the designation of the object is felt to be wanting. The introductory אמר (cf. Job 10:2), which announces a definite moulding of the utterance, serves to give prominence to the petition that follows. In the expression אל־תּעלני life is conceived of as a line the length of which accords with nature; to die before one's time is a being taken up out of this course, so that the second half of the line is not lived through (Psalm 55:24, Isaiah 38:10). The prayer not to sweep him away before his time, the poet supports not by the eternity of God in itself, but by the work of the rejuvenation of the world and of the restoration of Israel that is to be looked for, which He can and will bring to an accomplishment, because He is the ever-living One. The longing to see this new time is the final ground of the poet's prayer for the prolonging of his life. The confession of God the Creator in Psalm 102:26 reminds one in its form of Isaiah 48:13, cf. Psalm 44:24. המּה in Psalm 102:27 refers to the two great divisions of the universe. The fact that God will create heaven and earth anew is a revelation that is indicated even in Isaiah 34:4, but is first of all expressed more fully and in many ways in the second part of the Book of Isaiah, viz., Isaiah 51:6, Isaiah 51:16; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22. It is clear from the agreement in the figure of the garment (Isaiah 51:6, cf. Psalm 50:9) and in the expression (עמד, perstare, as in Isaiah 66:22) that the poet has gained this knowledge from the prophet. The expressive אתּה הוּא, Thou art He, i.e., unalterably the same One, is also taken from the mouth of the prophet, Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 46:4; Isaiah 48:12; הוּא is a predicate, and denotes the identity (sameness) of Jahve (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, i. 63). In v. 29 also, in which the prayer for a lengthening of life tapers off to a point, we hear Isaiah 65:2; Isaiah 66:22 re-echoed. And from the fact that in the mind of the poet as of the prophet the post-exilic Jerusalem and the final new Jerusalem upon the new earth under a new heaven blend together, it is evident that not merely in the time of Hezekiah or of Manasseh (assuming that Isaiah 40:1 are by the old Isaiah), but also even in the second half of the Exile, such a perspectively foreshortened view was possible. When, moreover, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews at once refers Psalm 102:26-28 to Christ, this is justified by the fact that the God whom the poet confesses as the unchangeable One is Jahve who is to come.
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