|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
73:21-28 God would not suffer his people to be tempted, if his grace were not sufficient, not only to save them from harm, but to make them gainers by it. This temptation, the working of envy and discontent, is very painful. In reflecting upon it, the psalmist owns it was his folly and ignorance thus to vex himself. If good men, at any time, through the surprise and strength of temptation, think, or speak, or act amiss, they will reflect upon it with sorrow and shame. We must ascribe our safety in temptation, and our victory, not to our own wisdom, but to the gracious presence of God with us, and Christ's intercession for us. All who commit themselves to God, shall be guided with the counsel both of his word and of his Spirit, the best counsellors here, and shall be received to his glory in another world; the believing hopes and prospects of which will reconcile us to all dark providences. And the psalmist was hereby quickened to cleave the closer to God. Heaven itself could not make us happy without the presence and love of our God. The world and all its glory vanishes. The body will fail by sickness, age, and death; when the flesh fails, the conduct, courage, and comfort fail. But Christ Jesus, our Lord, offers to be all in all to every poor sinner, who renounces all other portions and confidences. By sin we are all far from God. And a profession Christ, if we go on in sin, will increase our condemnation. May we draw near, and keep near, to our God, by faith and prayer, and find it good to do so. Those that with an upright heart put their trust in God, shall never want matter for thanksgiving to him. Blessed Lord, who hast so graciously promised to become our portion in the next world, prevent us from choosing any other in this.
Verse 22. - So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. I had no more intelligence than the brute beasts; I was wholly unable to reason aright (comp. Psalm 32:9; Psalm 92:7; Proverbs 30:2).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So foolish was I,.... To envy the prosperity of the wicked, which is of so short a continuance; to arraign the providence and perfections of God, and to conclude so hastily that there was nothing in religion:
and ignorant; or, "I knew not" (w); what he attempted to know, Psalm 73:16, nor the end of the wicked, till he went into the sanctuary of the Lord; nor the counsel and design of God, in his methods of providence towards wicked men:
I was as a beast before thee, or "with thee" (x); in the knowledge of the ways and works of God, even those of providence; see Psalm 92:5, unteachable, untractable, kicking against God and his providential dispensations; not behaving like a man, much, less like a saint; but even as the worst of brutes, as the behemoth in Job 40:15, for the same word is here used; he concluded that God, who saw all the wickedness of his heart, the workings and reasonings of his mind, which were so vain and foolish, could esteem him no other than as a beast; so the Targum,
"as a beast I am accounted with thee:''
the words may be rendered, "I was the veriest beast before thee"; there being no note of similitude in the text; the word for "beast" being in the plural number, may be used for a superlative; Plautus (y) uses the word "bellua", beast, for a stupid man.
(w) "nescivi", V. L. "non cognoscebam", Pagninus, Montanus; "nec sciebam", Piscator; "non noveram", Cocceius. (x) "apud te", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (y) Trinum. Acts 4. Sc. 2. v. 110.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. before thee—literally, "with Thee," in conduct respecting Thee.
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