Psalm 102:1
Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come to you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.

PSALM 102

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. This is the "prince's Psalm,"

(Note: Eyring, in his Vita of Ernest the Pious Duke of Saxe-Gotha, v. 1601, d. 1675, relates that he sent an unfaithful minister a copy of the 101st Psalm, and that it became a proverb in the country, when an official had done anything wrong: He will certainty soon receive the prince's Psalm to read.)

or as it is inscribed in Luther's version, "David's mirror of a monarch." Can there be any more appropriate motto for it than what is said of Jahve's government in Psalm 99:4? In respect of this passage of Psalm 99:1-9, to which Psalm 100:1-5 is the finale, Psalm 101:1-8 seems to be appended as an echo out of the heart of David. The appropriateness of the words לדוד מזמור (the position of the words is as in Psalm 24:1-10; 40; 109:1-110:7; 139) is corroborated by the form and contents. Probably the great historical work from which the chronicler has taken excerpts furnished the post-exilic collector with a further gleaning of Davidic songs, or at least songs that were ascribed to David. The Psalm before us belongs to the time during which the Ark was in the house of Obed-Edom, where David had left it behind through terror at the misfortune of Uzzah. David said at that time: "How shall the Ark of Jahve come to me (the unholy one)?" 2 Samuel 6:8. He did not venture to bring the Ark of the Fearful and Holy One within the range of his own house. In our Psalm, however, he gives utterance to his determination as king to give earnest heed to the sanctity of his walk, of his rule, and of his house; and this resolve he brings before Jahve as a vow, to whom, in regard to the rich blessing which the Ark of God diffuses around it (2 Samuel 6:11.), he longingly sighs: "When wilt Thou come to me?!" This contemporaneous reference has been recognised by Hammond and Venema. From the fact that Jahve comes to David, Jerusalem becomes "the city of Jahve," Psalm 101:8; and to defend the holiness of this the city of His habitation in all faithfulness, and with all his might, is the thing to which David here pledges himself.

The contents of the first verse refer not merely to the Psalm that follows as an announcement of its theme, but to David's whole life: graciousness and right, the self-manifestations united ideally and, for the king who governs His people, typically in Jahve, shall be the subject of his song. Jahve, the primal source of graciousness and of right, it shall be, to whom he consecrates his poetic talent, as also his playing upon the harp. חסד is condescension which flows from the principle of free love, and משׁפּט legality which binds itself impartially and uncapriciously to the rule (norm) of that which is right and good. They are two modes of conduct, mutually tempering each other, which God requires of every man (Micah 6:8, cf. Matthew 23:23 : τὴν κρίσιν καὶ τὸν ἔλεον), and more especially of a king. Further, he has resolved to give heed, thoughtfully and with an endeavour to pursue it (השׂכּיל בּ as in Daniel 9:13), unto the way of that which is perfect, i.e., blameless. What is further said might now be rendered as a relative clause: when Thou comest to me. But not until then?! Hitzig renders it differently: I will take up the lot of the just when it comes to me, i.e., as often as it is brought to my knowledge. But if this had been the meaning, בּדבר would have been said instead of בּדרך (Exodus 18:16, Exodus 18:19; 2 Samuel 19:12 [11]); for, according to both its parts, the expression דוך תמים is an ethical notion, and is therefore not used in a different sense from that in Psalm 101:6. Moreover, the relative use of the interrogative מתי in Hebrew cannot be supported, with the exception, perhaps, of Proverbs 23:35. Athanasius correctly interprets: ποθῶ σου τὴν παρουσίαν, ὦ δέσποτα, ἱμείρομαί σου τῆς ἐπιφανείας, ἀλλὰ δὸς τὸ ποθούμενον. It is a question of strong yearning: when wilt Thou come to me? is the time near at hand when Thou wilt erect Thy throne near to me? If his longing should be fulfilled, David is resolved to, and will then, behave himself as he further sets forth in the vows he makes. He pledges himself to walk within his house, i.e., his palace, in the innocence or simplicity of his heart (Psalm 78:72; Proverbs 20:7), without allowing himself to be led away from this frame of mind which has become his through grace. He will not set before his eyes, viz., as a proposition or purpose (Deuteronomy 15:9; Exodus 10:10; 1 Samuel 29:10, lxx), any morally worthless or vile matter whatsoever (Psalm 41:8, cf. concerning בליּעל, Psalm 18:5). The commission of excesses he hates: עשׂה is infin. constr. instead of עשׂות as in Genesis 31:28; Genesis 50:20; Proverbs 21:3, cf. ראה Genesis 48:11, שׁתו Proverbs 31:4. סטים (like שׂטים in Hosea 5:2), as the object of עשׂה, has not a personal (Kimchi, Ewald) signification (cf. on the other hand Psalm 40:5), but material signification: (facta) declinantia (like זדים, Psalm 19:13, insolentia; הבלים, Zechariah 11:7, vincientia); all temptations and incitements of this sort he shakes off from himself, so that nothing of the kind cleaves to him. The confessions in Psalm 101:4 refer to his own inward nature: לב עקּשׁ (not עקּשׁ־לב, Proverbs 17:20), a false heart that is not faithful in its intentions either to God or to men, shall remain far from him; wickedness (רע as in Psalm 36:5) he does not wish to know, i.e., does not wish to foster and nurture within him. Whoso secretly slanders his neighbour, him will he destroy; it will therefore be so little possible for any to curry favour with him by uncharitable perfidious tale-bearing, of the wiliness of which David himself had had abundant experience in his relation to Saul, that it will rather call forth his anger upon him (Proverbs 30:10). Instead of the regularly pointed מלושׁני the Ker reads מלשׁני, melŏshnı̂, a Poel (לשׁן linguâ petere, like עין oculo petere, elsewhere הלשׁין, Proverbs 30:10) with ŏ instead of ō (vid., on Psalm 109:10; Psalm 62:4) and with Chirek compaginis (vid., on Psalm 113:1-9). The "lofty of eyes," i.e., supercilious, haughty, and the "broad of heart," i.e., boastful, puffed up, self-conceited (Proverbs 28:25, cf. Psalm 21:4), him he cannot endure (אוּכל, properly fut. Hoph., I am incapable of, viz., לשׂאת, which is to be supplied as in Isaiah 1:13, after Proverbs 30:21; Jeremiah 44:22).

(Note: In both instances the Masora writes אותו (plene), but the Talmud, B. Erachin 15b, had אתו before it when it says: "Of the slanderer God says: I and he cannot dwell together in the world, I cannot bear it any longer with him (אתּו).")

On the other hand, his eyes rest upon the faithful of the land, with the view, viz., of drawing them into his vicinity. Whoso walks in the way of uprightness, he shall serve him (שׁרת, θεραπεύειν, akin to עבד, δουλεύειν). He who practises deceit shall not stay within his house; he who speaks lies shall have no continuance (יכּון is more than equivalent to נכון) before (under) his eyes. Every morning (לבּקרים as in Psalm 73:14; Isaiah 33:2; Lamentations 3:23, and לבקרים, Job 7:18), when Jahve shall have taken up His abode in Jerusalem, will he destroy all evil-doers (רשׁעי as in Psalm 119:119), i.e., incorrigibly wicked ones, wherever he may meet them upon the earth, in order that all workers of evil may be rooted out of the royal city, which is now become the city of Jahve.

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