|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
102:23-28 Bodily distempers soon weaken our strength, then what can we expect but that our months should be cut off in the midst; and what should we do but provide accordingly? We must own God's hand in it; and must reconcile this to his love, for often those that have used their strength well, have it weakened; and those who, as we think, can very ill be spared, have their days shortened. It is very comfortable, in reference to all the changes and dangers of the church, to remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And in reference to the death of our bodies, and the removal of friends, to remember that God is an everlasting God. Do not let us overlook the assurance this psalm contains of a happy end to all the believer's trials. Though all things are changing, dying, perishing, like a vesture folding up and hastening to decay, yet Jesus lives, and thus all is secure, for he hath said, Because I live ye shall live also.
Verses 23-28. - The third strophe begins with an acknowledgment of weakness - a sort of "renewed complaint" (Hengstenberg). But from this there is an ascent to a higher confidence than any displayed previously - a confidence that God, who is everlasting (vers. 24-27), will perpetually protect his people, and, whatever becomes of the existing generation, will establish their seed before him forever (ver. 28). Verse 23. - He weakened my strength in the way. The reading "my strength" (כחי) is greatly to be preferred to that of "his strength" (כחו), which cannot be made to yield a tolerable meaning. It is judiciously adopted by Professor Cheyne, who translates, "He has brought down my strength in the way," and explains "the way" as "the journey of life." So also Rosenmuller and Hengstenberg. He shortened my days; i.e. "made me grow old prematurely" (comp. ver.] 1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He weakened my strength in the way,.... The psalmist here returns to his complaint of his afflictions, weakness, and frailty, which ended Psalm 102:11, after which some hints are given of the latter day glory, which though he despaired of seeing, by reason of his frailty and mortality, yet comforts himself with the eternity and immutability of Christ, and that there would be a succession of the church, a seed of true believers, who would see and enjoy it: as for himself, he says that God (for he is that "He", and not the enemy, as some) had "weakened" his "strength in the way", by afflictions, as the word (e) signifies; which weakens the strength and vigour of the mind, and discourages and dispirits it, and enfeebles the body: many are the afflictions which the people of God meet with in the course of their life, in their way to heaven, which have such an effect upon them; through many tribulations they pass to enter the kingdom, as the Israelites in their way to Canaan, and Christ to glory: some think the psalmist represents the Jews in their return from the Babylonish captivity, meeting with difficulties and discouragements in the way; rather the church of God, in the expectation of the Messiah, who, because his coming was delayed, grew feeble in their faith and hope, had weak hands and feeble knees, which needed strengthening by fresh promises: though it may be, best of all, the people of God, waiting for latter day glory, enfeebled by the persecutions of antichrist, or grown weak in the exercises of their grace, faith, hope, and love; which will be their case before these glorious times, and now is, see Revelation 3:2,
he shortened my days; which he thought he should live, and expected he would; and which, according to the course of nature, and the common term of man's life, he might, in all human appearance, have lived; otherwise, with respect to the decree of God, which has fixed the bounds of man's days, they cannot be shorter or longer than they are, Job 14:5.
(e) "afflixit", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Musculus, Piscator, Gejerus, Schmidt; so Ainsworth.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
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