|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
119:81-88 The psalmist sought deliverance from his sins, his foes, and his fears. Hope deferred made him faint; his eyes failed by looking out for this expected salvation. But when the eyes fail, yet faith must not. His affliction was great. He was become like a leathern bottle, which, if hung up in the smoke, is dried and shrivelled up. We must ever be mindful of God's statutes. The days of the believer's mourning shall be ended; they are but for a moment, compared with eternal happiness. His enemies used craft as well as power for his ruin, in contempt of the law of God. The commandments of God are true and faithful guides in the path of peace and safety. We may best expect help from God when, like our Master, we do well and suffer for it. Wicked men may almost consume the believer upon earth, but he would sooner forsake all than forsake the word of the Lord. We should depend upon the grace of God for strength to do every good work. The surest token of God's good-will toward us, is his good work in us.
Verse 83. - For I am become like a bottle in the smoke. Keble's paraphrase brings out the true sense -
"As wine-skin in the smoke,
My heart is sere and dried." Wine-skins were smoked to toughen and harden them. Yet do I not forget thy statutes. The severity of the discipline does not alienate me from thee, or cause me to depart from thy Law (comp. vers. 23, 51, 161).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke,.... Like a bottle made of the skins of beasts, as was usual in those times and countries: hence we read of old and new bottles, and of their rending, Judges 9:13, Matthew 9:17. Now such a bottle being hung up in a smoky chimney, would be dried and shrivelled up, and be good for nothing; so Jarchi's note is,
"like a bottle made of skin, which is dried in smoke;''
and the Targum is,
"like a bottle that hangs in smoke.''
It denotes the uncomfortable condition the psalmist was in, or at least thought himself to be in; as to be in the midst of smoke is very uncomfortable, so was he, being in darkness, and under the hidings of God's face; black and sooty, like a bottle in smoke, with sin and afflictions; like an empty bottle, had nothing in him, as he was ready to fear; or was useless as such an one, and a vessel in which there was no pleasure; like a broken one, as he elsewhere says, despised and rejected of men. It may also have respect unto the form of his body, as well as the frame of his mind; be who before was ruddy, and of a beautiful countenance, now was worn out with cares and old age, was become pale and wrinkled, and like a skin bottle shrivelled in smoke;
yet do I not forget thy statutes; he still attended to the word, worship, ways and ordinances of the Lord; hoping in due time to meet with comfort there, in which he was greatly in the right.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
83. bottle in the smoke—as a skin bottle dried and shriveled up in smoke, so is he withered by sorrow. Wine bottles of skin used to be hung up in smoke to dry them, before the wine was put in them [Maurer].
Psalm 119:83 Parallel Commentaries
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