Psalm 102:1
A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.
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(1) Prayer.—Like love and all emotion, prayer has its own language, and this assumes here the forms of expression that meet us in other psalms. (See, e.g., in addition to the reference in margin, Psalm 31:2; Psalm 39:12; Psalm 56:9; Psalm 59:16; Psalm 143:7.)

Title. A prayer of the afflicted, &c. — It was composed by one who was himself afflicted, afflicted with the church of God, and for it; and it is calculated for an afflicted state, and intended for the use of others that maybe in similar distress. It is the fifth of those Psalms styled Penitential.

Psalm 102:3. My days are consumed like smoke — Which passeth away in obscurity, and swiftly, and irrecoverably. Hebrew, בעשׁן, into, or, in smoke. As wood, or any combustible matter put into the fire, wasteth away in smoke and ashes, so are my days wasted away. Or, as some interpret the words, “My afflictions have had the same effect on me as smoke has on things which are hung up in it, that is, have dried me up, and deformed me.” And my bones — The most strong and solid parts of my body, which seemed least likely to suffer any injury by my trouble; are burned as a hearth — Either as a hearth is heated, or burned up by the coals which are laid upon it; or, as the hearth, being so heated, burns up that Which is put upon it. But כמוקד, here translated, as a hearth, may be rendered, (as it is by many,) as a fire-brand, or, as dry wood, which seems most applicable to the subject here spoken of. For, as Dr. Horne observes, “The effects of extreme grief on the human frame are here compared to those which fire produces upon fuel. It exhausts the radical moisture, and by so doing consumes the substance. A man’s time and his strength evaporate in melancholy, and his bones, those pillars and supports of his body, become like wood, on which the fire hath done its work, and left it without sap, and without cohesion.”

102:1-11 The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but here, is often elsewhere, the Holy Ghost has put words into our mouths. Here is a prayer put into the hands of the afflicted; let them present it to God. Even good men may be almost overwhelmed with afflictions. It is our duty and interest to pray; and it is comfort to an afflicted spirit to unburden itself, by a humble representation of its griefs. We must say, Blessed be the name of the Lord, who both gives and takes away. The psalmist looked upon himself as a dying man; My days are like a shadow.Hear my prayer, O Lord - The prayer which I offer in view of my personal trials; the prayer which I offer as one of an afflicted people. Compare Psalm 4:1; Psalm 17:1; Psalm 18:6.

And let my cry come unto thee - My prayer, accompanied with an outward expression of my earnestness. It was not a silent, or a mental prayer; it was a loud and earnest cry. Psalm 5:2; Psalm 18:6, Psalm 18:41; Psalm 30:2; Psalm 72:12; Job 35:9; Job 36:13.


Ps 102:1-28. A Prayer of the afflicted, &c.—The general terms seem to denote the propriety of regarding the Psalm as suitably expressive of the anxieties of any one of David's descendants, piously concerned for the welfare of the Church. It was probably David's composition, and, though specially suggested by some peculiar trials, descriptive of future times. Overwhelmed—(compare Ps 61:2). Poureth out—pouring out the soul—(Ps 62:8). Complaint—(Ps 55:2). The tone of complaint predominates, though in view of God's promises and abiding faithfulness, it is sometimes exchanged for that of confidence and hope.

1-3. The terms used occur in Ps 4:1; 17:1, 6; 18:6; 31:2, 10; 37:20.

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.

2 Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me; in the day when I call answer me speedily.

3 For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.

4 My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.

5 By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.

6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.

7 I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.

8 Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.

9 For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.

10 Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.

11 My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.

Psalm 102:1

"Hear my prayer, O Lord." Or O Jehovah. Sincere suppliants are not content with praying for praying's sake, they desire really to reach the ear and heart of the great God. It is a great relief in time of distress to acquaint others with our trouble, we are eased by their hearing our lamentations, but it is the sweetest solace of all to have God himself as a sympathizing listener to our plaint. That he is such is no dream or fiction, but an assured fact. It would be the direst of all our woes if we could be indisputably convinced that with God there is neither hearing nor answering; he who could argue us into so dreary a belief would do us no better service than if he had read us our death-warrants. Better die than be denied the mercy-seat. As well be atheists at once as believe in an unhearing, unfeeling God. "And let my cry come unto thee." When sorrow rises to such a height that words become too weak a medium of expression, and prayer is intensified into a cry, then the heart is even more urgent to have audience with the Lord. If our cries do not enter within the veil, and reach to the living God, we may as well cease from prayer at once, for it is idle to cry to the winds; but, blessed be God, the philosophy which suggests such a hideous idea is disproved by the facts of everyday experience, since thousands of the saints can declare, "Verily, God hath heard us."

Psalm 102:2

continued...This Psalm contains a form of prayer and expostulation with God, composed for the use of all true Israelites, in the name and behalf of their mother the church of Israel. It seems to have been composed in the time of their captivity, and near the end of it, Psalm 102:13,14. But as the literal Jerusalem was a type of the spiritual, or of the church of God and of Christ, and the rebuilding of the former a type of the reviving and edification of the latter; so the psalmist looks through that mercy of the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the temple to the further progress and to the end and perfection of that work, which was in the coming of the Messiah, by whom it was to be completed, and by whom the Gentiles were to be brought to the knowledge and worship of the true God.

The church prayeth for audience, Psalm 102:1,2; and maketh a grievous complaint of her heavy afflictions, Psalm 102:3-11; comforteth herself in the eternal mercy of God, Psalm 102:12-17; which is to be recorded for future generations, Psalm 102:18. Deliverance from the Babylonian captivity and the restoration of Jerusalem predicted, Psalm 102:19-28.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Hear my prayer, O Lord,.... The prayer of a poor, destitute, and afflicted one; his own, and not another's; not what was composed for him, but composed by him; which came out of his own heart, and out of unfeigned lips, and expressed under a feeling sense of his own wants and troubles; and though dictated and inwrought in his heart by the Spirit of God, yet, being put up by him in faith and fervency, it is called his own, and which he desires might be heard:

and let my cry come unto thee; he calls his prayer cry, because it was uttered in distress, and with great vehemency and importunity; and he prays that it might come unto God, even into his ears, and be regarded by him, and not shut out: prayer comes aright to God, when it comes through Christ, and out of his hands, perfumed with the incense of his mediation.

(e) "pauperis", V. L. Pagninus, Vatablus, Amama; "inopis", Cocceius. (f) "convolveretur", Munster; "obtegitur", Gejerus, so Michaelis. (g) "meditationem suam", Junius & Tremellius, Gejerus, so Ainsworth.

<{a} of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.>> Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my {b} cry come unto thee.

(a) By which is signified, that even though we are in great misery, yet there is always room for prayer.

(b) He declares that in our prayer we must lively feel that which we desire, and steadfastly believe to obtain.

1, 2. The Psalmist’s prayer is not the less real because it is expressed in familiar phrases from older Psalms. Hear my prayer, Jehovah, is from Psalm 39:12; and let my cry for help come unto thee is suggested by Psalm 18:6. Hide not thy face from me is taken from Psalm 27:9, in the day of my distress from Psalm 59:16; incline thine ear unto me from Psalm 31:2; in the day when I call from Psalm 56:9, answer me speedily from Psalm 69:17.

1–11. The Psalmist supplicates for a speedy hearing, pleading the extremity of his distress.

Verse 1. - Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee (comp. Psalm 27:7; Psalm 39:12; Psalm 54:2; Psalm 55:1, etc.). "Stereotyped expressions," but the fittest to express a sufferer's urgent need. Psalm 102:1The Psalm opens with familiar expressions of prayer, such as rise in the heart and mouth of the praying one without his feeling that they are of foreign origin; cf. more especially Psalm 39:13; Psalm 18:7; Psalm 88:3; and on Psalm 102:3 : Psalm 27:9 (Hide not Thy face from me); Psalm 59:17 (ביום צר לי); Psalm 31:3 and frequently (Incline Thine ear unto me); Psalm 56:10 (ביום אקוא); Psalm 69:8; Psalm 143:7 (מהר ענני).
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