Psalm 73:2
But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well near slipped.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Slipped.—Literally, were poured out. This metaphor for weakness and instability is obvious. Comp.

“Dissolvuntur enim turn demum membra fluuntque.”

LUCRETIUS, iv. 920.

Psalm 73:2-3. But as for me — Yet I must acknowledge with grief and shame, concerning myself, that notwithstanding all my knowledge of this truth, and my own experience and observation of God’s dealings with me and other good men; my feet were almost gone — My faith in God’s promises and providence was almost overthrown by the force of temptation; and I was almost ready to repent of my piety, Psalm 73:13, and to follow the example of ungodly men. My steps had well nigh slipped — Hebrew, שׁפכו, shuppechu, were almost poured forth, namely, like water upon the ground, which is unstable, and runs hither and thither with great disorder and uncertainty, till it be irrecoverably lost. So was I almost transported by my unruly fancies and passions into unworthy thoughts of God, and a sinful course of life. For I was envious at the foolish — I was vexed and murmured to see the wicked, notwithstanding their guilt and desert of punishment, in a very flourishing condition, and I thought it very hard that pious men should not equal, if not exceed, them in such happiness; especially when I saw no likelihood that it would end, but that they continued in their prosperity. With great propriety are the wicked, and those that live as if there were no God, called the foolish; for nothing can show greater folly.73:1-14 The psalmist was strongly tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked; a common temptation, which has tried the graces of many saints. But he lays down the great principle by which he resolved to abide. It is the goodness of God. This is a truth which cannot be shaken. Good thoughts of God will fortify against Satan's temptations. The faith even of strong believers may be sorely shaken, and ready to fail. There are storms that will try the firmest anchors. Foolish and wicked people have sometimes a great share of outward prosperity. They seem to have the least share of the troubles of this life; and they seem to have the greatest share of its comforts. They live without the fear of God, yet they prosper, and get on in the world. Wicked men often spend their lives without much sickness, and end them without great pain; while many godly persons scarcely know what health is, and die with great sufferings. Often the wicked are not frightened, either by the remembrance of their sins, or the prospect of their misery, but they die without terror. We cannot judge men's state beyond death, by what passes at their death. He looked abroad, and saw many of God's people greatly at a loss. Because the wicked are so very daring, therefore his people return hither; they know not what to say to it, and the rather, because they drink deep of the bitter cup of affliction. He spoke feelingly when he spoke of his own troubles; there is no disputing against sense, except by faith. From all this arose a strong temptation to cast off religion. But let us learn that the true course of sanctification consists in cleansing a man from all pollution both of soul and body. The heart is cleansed by the blood of Christ laid hold upon by faith; and by the begun works of the Lord's Spirit, manifested in the hearty resolution, purpose, and study of holiness, and a blameless course of life and actions, the hands are cleansed. It is not in vain to serve God and keep his ordinances.But as for me - literally, "And I." The meaning is, "And I, who so confidently now trust in God, and believe that he is good, was formerly in a far different state of mind; I was so hesitating, so troubled, and so doubtful, that I had almost entirely lost confidence in him as a wise and just moral governor."

My feet were almost gone - I was just ready to fall. Of course, this refers to his state of mind. In regard to his faith or confidence in God, he was like a man standing in a slippery place, and scarcely able to remain upright.

My steps had well nigh slipped - The expression rendered "well nigh" means "like nothing," or "as nothing;" that is, in reference to firmness it was as if there was "nothing" left. There was nothing which would keep him from slipping. The word rendered "slipped" means "poured out." That is, in his going he was like water poured out, instead of being like something solid and firm. The idea is, that his faith seemed to be all gone. He was like a falling man; a man who had no strength to walk.

2. The figures express his wavering faith, by terms denoting tottering and weakness (compare Ps 22:5; 62:3).2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.

5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.

8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.

9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.

11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?

12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.

14 For all the day long have I been plagued: and chastened every morning.

Psalm 73:2

continued...

Yet I must acknowledge this with grief and shame concerning myself; notwithstanding all my knowledge of this truth, and my own experience and observation of God’s gracious dealings with me, and other good men,

my feet were almost gone; my faith in God’s promises and providence was almost overthrown by the three of this temptation; and I was almost ready to repent of my piety, Psalm 73:13, and to follow the example of ungodly men.

Had well nigh slipped, Heb. were almost poured forth, like water upon the ground, which is unstable, and runs hither and thither, with great disorder and uncertainty, till it be irrecoverably lost. So was I almost transported by my own unruly passions into unworthy thoughts of God, and a sinful course of life. But as for me,.... Who am one of the Israel of God whose heart has been renewed and purified by the grace of God, and to whom he has been kind and good in a thousand instances; yet, ungrateful creature that I am,

my feet were almost gone; out of the good ways of God, the ways of truth and holiness just upon the turn, ready to forsake them, and give up all religion as a vain thing:

my steps had well nigh slipped, or "poured out" (c) like water; the allusion is to standing on wet and slippery ground, where a man can scarcely keep upon his feet. It may be observed, that good men are liable to slips and falls, to fall into sin, snares, and temptations, and from their steadfastness in the faith, but not totally and finally; their feet may be "almost", but not "altogether", gone: their steps may "well nigh" slip, but not "quite"; they may fall, but not be utterly cast down; at least they rise again, and are made to stand; for God is able to keep them, and does keep them, from a total and final falling away.

(c) "effusi sunt", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius; "effusi fuissent", Musculus, Gejerus, Michaelis.

But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. But the Psalmist had almost lost his faith in God’s goodness. He had as it were all but swerved from the right path (Psalm 44:18); all but lost his footing in the slippery places of life’s journey (Psalm 17:5).Verse 2. - But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. The psalmist had doubted God's goodness and righteousness, on account of the prosperity of the wicked. He feels now that his doubt had been a sin, and had almost caused him to give up his confidence and trust in the Almighty. He had well nigh slipped from the rock of faith into the abyss of scepticism. Here, where the futures again stand at the head of the clauses, they are also again to be understood as optatives. As the blessing of such a dominion after God's heart, not merely fertility but extraordinary fruitfulness may be confidently desired for the land פּסּה (ἁπ. λεγ..), rendered by the Syriac version sugo, abundance, is correctly derived by the Jewish lexicographers from פּסס equals פּשׂה (in the law relating to leprosy), Mishnic פּסה, Aramaic פּסא, Arabic fšâ, but also fšš (vid., Job, at Psalm 35:14-16), to extend, expandere; so that it signifies an abundance that occupies a broad space. בּראשׁ, unto the summit, as in Psalm 36:6; Psalm 19:5. The idea thus obtained is the same as when Hofmann (Weissagung und Erf׬llung, i. 180f.) takes פסּה (from פּסס equals אפס) in the signification of a boundary line: "close upon the summit of the mountain shall the last corn stand," with reference to the terrace-like structure of the heights. פּריו does not refer back to בארץ (Hitzig, who misleads one by referring to Joel 2:3), but to בּר: may the corn stand so high and thick that the fields, being moved by the wind, shall shake, i.e., wave up and down, like the lofty thick forest of Lebanon. The lxx, which renders huperarthee'setai, takes ירעשׁ for יראשׁ, as Ewald does: may its fruit rise to a summit, i.e., rise high, like Lebanon. But a verb ראשׁ is unknown; and how bombastic is this figure in comparison with that grand, but beautiful figure, which we would not willingly exchange even for the conjecture יעשׁר (may it be rich)! The other wish refers to a rapid, joyful increase of the population: may men blossom out of this city and out of that city as the herb of the earth (cf. Job 5:25, where צאצאיך also accords in sound with יציצוּ), i.e., fresh, beautiful, and abundant as it. Israel actually became under Solomon's sceptre as numerous "as the sand by the sea" (1 Kings 4:20), but increase of population is also a settled feature in the picture of the Messianic time (Psalm 110:3, Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 49:20, Zechariah 2:8 [4]; cf. Sir. 44:21). If, however, under the just and benign rule of the king, both land and people are thus blessed, eternal duration may be desired for his name. May this name, is the wish of the poet, ever send forth new shoots (ינין Chethib), or receive new shoots (ינּון Ker, from Niph. ננון), as long as the sun turns its face towards us, inasmuch as the happy and blessed results of the dominion of the king ever afford new occasion for glorifying his name. May they bless themselves in him, may all nations call him blessed, and that, as ויתבּרכוּ בו

(Note: Pronounce wejithbārchu, because the tone rests on the first letter of the root; whereas in Psalm 72:15 it is jebārachenu with Chateph. vid., the rule in the Luther. Zeitschrift, 1863, S. 412.)

implies, so blessed that his abundance of blessing appears to them to be the highest that they can desire for themselves. To et benedicant sibi in eo we have to supply in thought the most universal, as yet undefined subject, which is then more exactly defined as omnes gentes with the second synonymous predicate. The accentuation (Athnach, Mugrash, Silluk) is blameless.

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