|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
34:11-22 Let young persons set out in life with learning the fear of the Lord, if they desire true comfort here, and eternal happiness hereafter. Those will be most happy who begin the soonest to serve so good a Master. All aim to be happy. Surely this must look further than the present world; for man's life on earth consists but of few days, and those full of trouble. What man is he that would see the good of that where all bliss is perfect? Alas! few have this good in their thoughts. That religion promises best which creates watchfulness over the heart and over the tongue. It is not enough not to do hurt, we must study to be useful, and to live to some purpose; we must seek peace and pursue it; be willing to deny ourselves a great deal for peace' sake. It is the constant practice of real believers, when in distress, to cry unto God, and it is their constant comfort that he hears them. The righteous are humbled for sin, and are low in their own eyes. Nothing is more needful to true godliness than a contrite heart, broken off from every self-confidence. In this soil every grace will flourish, and nothing can encourage such a one but the free, rich grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The righteous are taken under the special protection of the Lord, yet they have their share of crosses in this world, and there are those that hate them. Both from the mercy of Heaven, and the malice of hell, the afflictions of the righteous must be many. But whatever troubles befal them, shall not hurt their souls, for God keeps them from sinning in troubles. No man is desolate, but he whom God has forsaken.
Verse 12. - What man is he that desireth life? Like most moralists, David begins with asking men - Do they wish for happiness? If so, and he assumes that it is so (comp. Arist., 'Eth. Nic.,' I. 1. - 7.), then he will point them out the way to it. And loveth many days, that he may see good? Mere life, mere length of days, would not suffice for men, would be no object of desire, unless it were assumed that the days would bring them "good" - in other words, that they would be happy days.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
What man is he that desireth life?.... Every man desires life, even a natural life; it is more desirable than all things in it; especially an healthful life, without which the blessings and mercies of life cannot be comfortably enjoyed; and still more a life of prosperity; life, with an affluence of good things, and even a long one: though it may be rather that a spiritual life is here meant, and a comfortable one; a life free from the remorses of a guilty conscience, from the fear of hell, damnation, and wrath; from the bondage of the law, and the dread of death; a life of faith on Christ, and communion with him; and a life of sobriety, righteousness, and holiness; and perhaps it may be best of all to understand it of eternal life, which is life eminently and emphatically; it follows,
and loveth many days; that is, good ones; as they are interpreted in 1 Peter 3:10; not of this life, for the days of it are evil, and especially when they are lengthened out; the days of old age, Ecclesiastes 12:1; unless the days of the son of man, the days of enjoying the presence of God in his house and ordinances, should be intended; though rather the good and many days of eternity, even length of days, for ever and ever, in which will be fulness of joy, and never ceasing and never fading pleasures;
that he may see good; there is good to be seen and enjoyed in this life, which if the saints did not believe they should see and enjoy, they would often faint; and this good lies in the participation of the blessings of grace, and in fellowship with Father, Son, and Spirit: but the great and lasting good to be seen and enjoyed is in the world to come, when God shall be all in all, be seen as he is, and the saints shall inherit all things.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. What man—Whoever desires the blessings of piety, let him attend.
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