|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
90:12-17 Those who would learn true wisdom, must pray for Divine instruction, must beg to be taught by the Holy Spirit; and for comfort and joy in the returns of God's favour. They pray for the mercy of God, for they pretend not to plead any merit of their own. His favour would be a full fountain of future joys. It would be a sufficient balance to former griefs. Let the grace of God in us produce the light of good works. And let Divine consolations put gladness into our hearts, and a lustre upon our countenances. The work of our hands, establish thou it; and, in order to that, establish us in it. Instead of wasting our precious, fleeting days in pursuing fancies, which leave the possessors for ever poor, let us seek the forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance in heaven. Let us pray that the work of the Holy Spirit may appear in converting our hearts, and that the beauty of holiness may be seen in our conduct.
Verse 17. - And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us (comp. Psalm 45:24, "Thou art fairer than the children of men;" Psalm 27:4, "To behold the beauty of the Lord;" Isaiah 33:17, "Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty"). The "beauty of God" is upon us when we see and realize the loveliness of his character. And establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. The repetition adds nothing, except it be emphasis. God is asked, finally, to "establish the work" in which his servants are engaged - to bless it; that is, to advance it and prosper it. The nature of the "work" is not mentioned.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,.... Either the grace and favour of God, his gracious presence vouchsafed in his ordinances, which makes his tabernacles amiable and lovely, and his ways of pleasantness; or the righteousness of Christ, which is that comeliness he puts upon his people, whereby they become a perfection of beauty; or the beauty of holiness, which appears on them, when renewed and sanctified by the Spirit; every grace is beautiful and ornamental: or Christ himself may be meant; for the words may be rendered, "let the beauty of the Lord be with us" (k); he who is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand altogether lovely, fairer than the children of men, let him appear as the Immanuel, God with us:
and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it; or "direct it" (l); though God works all works of grace for us, and in us, yet there is a work of duty and obedience to him for us to do; nor should we be slothful and inactive, but be the rather animated to it by what he has done for us: our hands should be continually employed in service for his honour and glory; and, whatever we find to do, do it with all the might of grace we have; and in which we need divine direction and strength, and also establishment, that we may be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord: and this petition is repeated, to show the sense he had of the necessity of it, and of the vehemence and strength of desire after it. Jarchi interprets this of the work of the tabernacle, in which the hands of the Israelites were employed in the wilderness; so Arama of the tabernacle of Bezaleel.
(k) "adsis nobis", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius; Heb. "sit apud nos", Piscator; "super nobis et apud nos", Michaelis. (l) Sept. "dirige", V. L. Musculus; "dirige et confirma", Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. let the beauty—or sum of His gracious acts, in their harmony, be illustrated in us, and favor our enterprise.
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