|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
103:6-14 Truly God is good to all: he is in a special manner good to Israel. He has revealed himself and his grace to them. By his ways we may understand his precepts, the ways he requires us to walk in; and his promises and purposes. He always has been full of compassion. How unlike are those to God, who take every occasion to chide, and never know when to cease! What would become of us, if God should deal so with us? The Scripture says a great deal of the mercy of God, and we all have experienced it. The father pities his children that are weak in knowledge, and teaches them; pities them when they are froward, and bears with them; pities them when they are sick, and comforts them; pities them when they are fallen, and helps them to rise; pities them when they have offended, and, upon their submission, forgives them; pities them when wronged, and rights them: thus the Lord pities those that fear him. See why he pities. He considers the frailty of our bodies, and the folly of our souls, how little we can do, how little we can bear; in all which his compassion appears.
Verse 11. - For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him (comp. Psalm 36:5, "Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds"). The metaphor is bold, yet inadequate; for God's mercy is infinite.
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For as the heaven is high above the earth,.... Which is the greatest distance known, or can be conceived of; the space between the heaven and the earth is seemingly almost infinite; and nothing can more illustrate the mercy of God, which reaches to the heavens, and is in heaven; though this is but a faint representation of the largeness and abundance of it, and which indeed is boundless and infinite:
so great is his mercy towards them that fear him, or, his mercy hath prevailed over them that fear him (a); as the waters of the flood prevailed upon the earth, and reached and overflowed the highest hills, Genesis 7:18, so abundant and superabundant is the grace of God over them that "fear" him. Which character is given, not as being the cause of their obtaining mercy, but as descriptive of the persons that partake of it; on whom it has such an effect, as to cause them to fear the Lord, and his goodness; and is mentioned to prevent obstinate and presumptuous sinners expecting it, or trusting to it.
(a) "praevalet super", Musculus; so Cocceius, Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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