Psalm 102:4
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread.

King James Bible
My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.

American Standard Version
My heart is smitten like grass, and withered; For I forget to eat my bread.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I am smitten as grass, and my heart is withered: because I forgot to eat my bread.

English Revised Version
My heart is smitten like grass, and withered; for I forget to eat my bread.

Webster's Bible Translation
My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.

Psalm 102:4 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

This is the "prince's Psalm,"

(Note: Eyring, in his Vita of Ernest the Pious Duke of Saxe-Gotha, v. 1601, d. 1675, relates that he sent an unfaithful minister a copy of the 101st Psalm, and that it became a proverb in the country, when an official had done anything wrong: He will certainty soon receive the prince's Psalm to read.)

or as it is inscribed in Luther's version, "David's mirror of a monarch." Can there be any more appropriate motto for it than what is said of Jahve's government in Psalm 99:4? In respect of this passage of Psalm 99:1-9, to which Psalm 100:1-5 is the finale, Psalm 101:1-8 seems to be appended as an echo out of the heart of David. The appropriateness of the words לדוד מזמור (the position of the words is as in Psalm 24:1-10; 40; 109:1-110:7; 139) is corroborated by the form and contents. Probably the great historical work from which the chronicler has taken excerpts furnished the post-exilic collector with a further gleaning of Davidic songs, or at least songs that were ascribed to David. The Psalm before us belongs to the time during which the Ark was in the house of Obed-Edom, where David had left it behind through terror at the misfortune of Uzzah. David said at that time: "How shall the Ark of Jahve come to me (the unholy one)?" 2 Samuel 6:8. He did not venture to bring the Ark of the Fearful and Holy One within the range of his own house. In our Psalm, however, he gives utterance to his determination as king to give earnest heed to the sanctity of his walk, of his rule, and of his house; and this resolve he brings before Jahve as a vow, to whom, in regard to the rich blessing which the Ark of God diffuses around it (2 Samuel 6:11.), he longingly sighs: "When wilt Thou come to me?!" This contemporaneous reference has been recognised by Hammond and Venema. From the fact that Jahve comes to David, Jerusalem becomes "the city of Jahve," Psalm 101:8; and to defend the holiness of this the city of His habitation in all faithfulness, and with all his might, is the thing to which David here pledges himself.

The contents of the first verse refer not merely to the Psalm that follows as an announcement of its theme, but to David's whole life: graciousness and right, the self-manifestations united ideally and, for the king who governs His people, typically in Jahve, shall be the subject of his song. Jahve, the primal source of graciousness and of right, it shall be, to whom he consecrates his poetic talent, as also his playing upon the harp. חסד is condescension which flows from the principle of free love, and משׁפּט legality which binds itself impartially and uncapriciously to the rule (norm) of that which is right and good. They are two modes of conduct, mutually tempering each other, which God requires of every man (Micah 6:8, cf. Matthew 23:23 : τὴν κρίσιν καὶ τὸν ἔλεον), and more especially of a king. Further, he has resolved to give heed, thoughtfully and with an endeavour to pursue it (השׂכּיל בּ as in Daniel 9:13), unto the way of that which is perfect, i.e., blameless. What is further said might now be rendered as a relative clause: when Thou comest to me. But not until then?! Hitzig renders it differently: I will take up the lot of the just when it comes to me, i.e., as often as it is brought to my knowledge. But if this had been the meaning, בּדבר would have been said instead of בּדרך (Exodus 18:16, Exodus 18:19; 2 Samuel 19:12 [11]); for, according to both its parts, the expression דוך תמים is an ethical notion, and is therefore not used in a different sense from that in Psalm 101:6. Moreover, the relative use of the interrogative מתי in Hebrew cannot be supported, with the exception, perhaps, of Proverbs 23:35. Athanasius correctly interprets: ποθῶ σου τὴν παρουσίαν, ὦ δέσποτα, ἱμείρομαί σου τῆς ἐπιφανείας, ἀλλὰ δὸς τὸ ποθούμενον. It is a question of strong yearning: when wilt Thou come to me? is the time near at hand when Thou wilt erect Thy throne near to me? If his longing should be fulfilled, David is resolved to, and will then, behave himself as he further sets forth in the vows he makes. He pledges himself to walk within his house, i.e., his palace, in the innocence or simplicity of his heart (Psalm 78:72; Proverbs 20:7), without allowing himself to be led away from this frame of mind which has become his through grace. He will not set before his eyes, viz., as a proposition or purpose (Deuteronomy 15:9; Exodus 10:10; 1 Samuel 29:10, lxx), any morally worthless or vile matter whatsoever (Psalm 41:8, cf. concerning בליּעל, Psalm 18:5). The commission of excesses he hates: עשׂה is infin. constr. instead of עשׂות as in Genesis 31:28; Genesis 50:20; Proverbs 21:3, cf. ראה Genesis 48:11, שׁתו Proverbs 31:4. סטים (like שׂטים in Hosea 5:2), as the object of עשׂה, has not a personal (Kimchi, Ewald) signification (cf. on the other hand Psalm 40:5), but material signification: (facta) declinantia (like זדים, Psalm 19:13, insolentia; הבלים, Zechariah 11:7, vincientia); all temptations and incitements of this sort he shakes off from himself, so that nothing of the kind cleaves to him. The confessions in Psalm 101:4 refer to his own inward nature: לב עקּשׁ (not עקּשׁ־לב, Proverbs 17:20), a false heart that is not faithful in its intentions either to God or to men, shall remain far from him; wickedness (רע as in Psalm 36:5) he does not wish to know, i.e., does not wish to foster and nurture within him. Whoso secretly slanders his neighbour, him will he destroy; it will therefore be so little possible for any to curry favour with him by uncharitable perfidious tale-bearing, of the wiliness of which David himself had had abundant experience in his relation to Saul, that it will rather call forth his anger upon him (Proverbs 30:10). Instead of the regularly pointed מלושׁני the Ker reads מלשׁני, melŏshnı̂, a Poel (לשׁן linguâ petere, like עין oculo petere, elsewhere הלשׁין, Proverbs 30:10) with ŏ instead of ō (vid., on Psalm 109:10; Psalm 62:4) and with Chirek compaginis (vid., on Psalm 113:1-9). The "lofty of eyes," i.e., supercilious, haughty, and the "broad of heart," i.e., boastful, puffed up, self-conceited (Proverbs 28:25, cf. Psalm 21:4), him he cannot endure (אוּכל, properly fut. Hoph., I am incapable of, viz., לשׂאת, which is to be supplied as in Isaiah 1:13, after Proverbs 30:21; Jeremiah 44:22).

(Note: In both instances the Masora writes אותו (plene), but the Talmud, B. Erachin 15b, had אתו before it when it says: "Of the slanderer God says: I and he cannot dwell together in the world, I cannot bear it any longer with him (אתּו).")

On the other hand, his eyes rest upon the faithful of the land, with the view, viz., of drawing them into his vicinity. Whoso walks in the way of uprightness, he shall serve him (שׁרת, θεραπεύειν, akin to עבד, δουλεύειν). He who practises deceit shall not stay within his house; he who speaks lies shall have no continuance (יכּון is more than equivalent to נכון) before (under) his eyes. Every morning (לבּקרים as in Psalm 73:14; Isaiah 33:2; Lamentations 3:23, and לבקרים, Job 7:18), when Jahve shall have taken up His abode in Jerusalem, will he destroy all evil-doers (רשׁעי as in Psalm 119:119), i.e., incorrigibly wicked ones, wherever he may meet them upon the earth, in order that all workers of evil may be rooted out of the royal city, which is now become the city of Jahve.

Psalm 102:4 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

heart

Psalm 6:2,3 Have mercy on me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed...

Psalm 42:6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember you from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites...

Psalm 55:4,5 My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen on me...

Psalm 69:20 Reproach has broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters...

Psalm 77:3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.

Psalm 143:3,4 For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has smitten my life down to the ground; he has made me to dwell in darkness...

Job 6:4 For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinks up my spirit...

Job 10:1 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint on myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

Lamentations 3:13,20 He has caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins...

Matthew 26:37,38 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy...

withered

Psalm 102:11 My days are like a shadow that declines; and I am withered like grass.

Psalm 37:2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Isaiah 40:7 The grass wither, the flower fades: because the spirit of the LORD blows on it: surely the people is grass.

so that

Psalm 102:9 For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.

1 Samuel 1:7,8 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat...

Ezra 10:6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither...

Acts 9:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

Cross References
James 1:11
For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

1 Samuel 1:7
So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.

2 Samuel 12:17
And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them.

Ezra 10:6
Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles.

Job 33:20
so that his life loathes bread, and his appetite the choicest food.

Psalm 6:2
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.

Psalm 37:2
For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.

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