Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
<<A Psalm of David.>> Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Ps 103:1-22. A Psalm of joyous praise, in which the writer rises from a thankful acknowledgment of personal blessings to a lively celebration of God's gracious attributes, as not only intrinsically worthy of praise, but as specially suited to man's frailty. He concludes by invoking all creatures to unite in his song.
1. Bless, &c.—when God is the object, praise.
my soul—myself (Ps 3:3; 25:1), with allusion to the act, as one of intelligence.
all … within me—(De 6:5).
his holy name—(Ps 5:11), His complete moral perfections.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
2. forget not all—not any, none of His benefits.
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
3. diseases—as penal inflictions (De 29:22; 2Ch 21:19).
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
4. redeemeth—Cost is implied.
destruction—literally, "pit of corruption" (Ps 16:10).
crowneth—or, "adorneth" (Ps 65:11).
tender mercies—compassions (compare Ps 25:6; 40:11).
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
5. By God's provision, the saint retains a youthful vigor like the eagles (Ps 92:14; compare Isa 40:31).
The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
6. Literally, "righteousness and judgments," denoting various acts of God's government.
He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
7. ways—of providence, &c., as usual (Ps 25:4; 67:2).
acts—literally, "wonders" (Ps 7:11; 78:17).
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
8-10. God's benevolence implies no merit. He shows it to sinners, who also are chastened for a time (Ex 34:6).
keep (anger)—in Le 19:18, bear a grudge (Jer 3:5, 12).
He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
12. removed … from us—so as no longer to affect our relations to Him.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
13. pitieth—literally, "has compassion on."
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
14. he—"who formed," Ps 94:9.
knoweth our frame—literally, "our form."
we are dust—made of and tending to it (Ge 2:7).
As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
15, 16. So short and frail is life that a breath may destroy it.
it is gone—literally, "it is not."
know it no more—no more recognize him (Ps 90:6; Isa 40:6-8).
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
17, 18. For similar contrast compare Ps 90:2-6; 102:27, 28.
To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
18. such … covenant—limits the general terms preceding.
righteousness—as usual (Ps 7:17; 31:1).
The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
19. God's firm and universal dominion is a pledge that He will keep His promises (Ps 11:4; 47:8).
Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
20-22. do his commandments … word—or, literally, "so as to hearken," &c., that is, their acts of obedience are prompt, so that they are ever ready to hear, and know, and follow implicitly His declared will (compare De 26:17; Lu 1:19).
Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
21. ye his hosts—myriads, or armies, as corresponding to angels of great power [Ps 103:20], denoting multitudes also.
Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.
22. all his works—creatures of every sort, everywhere.