Psalm 102:11
My days are like a shadow that declines; and I am withered like grass.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) A shadow that declineth.—Rather, a lengthening shadow, growing longer as the day declines, and therefore soon to vanish altogether. (Comp. Psalm 109:23.)

“And now the sun had stretched out all the hills.”

MILTON: Lycidas,

See also Note, Song of Solomon 2:17.

Psalm 102:11-12. My days are like a shadow — Which “never continueth in one stay, but is still gliding imperceptibly on, lengthening as it goes, and at last vanisheth into darkness. The period of its existence is limited to a day at farthest. The rising sun gives it birth, and in the moment when the sun sets it is no more.” — Horne. And just so, the psalmist intimates, the hopes which they had sometimes entertained of a restitution were quickly cut off and disappointed. But thou shalt endure for ever — But this is my comfort, although we die, and our hopes vanish, yet our God is unchangeable and everlasting, and therefore not to be conquered by his and our enemies, however numerous and powerful, but is constant in his counsels and purposes of mercy to his church, steadfast and faithful in the performance of all his promises; and therefore he both can and will deliver his people. And thy remembrance unto all generations — To the end of time, nay, to eternity: thou shalt be known and honoured; and “the remembrance of thy former works and mercies comforts our hearts, and encourages us to hope, nay, even to rejoice, in the midst of our sorrow and tribulation.”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.Man is like to vanity;

His days are as a shadowy that passeth away.

Psalm 102:11My days are like a shadow that declineth - The shadow made by the gnomon on a sun-dial, which marks the hours as they pass. See 2 Kings 20:10. The idea is that the shadow made by the descending sun was about to disappear altogether. It had become less distinct and clear, and it would soon vanish. It would seem from this, that the dial was so made that the shadow indicating the hour ascended when the sun ascended, and declined when the sun went down. See the notes at Isaiah 38:8.

And I am withered like grass - See the notes at Psalm 102:4.

11. shadow … declineth—soon to vanish in the darkness of night. My days; my hopes, and comforts, and happiness; days being oft put for happy days, or a happy state, as Psalm 37:18 Lamentations 5:21, as elsewhere they are put more generally for the events which happen in those days; in both which cases it is a metonymy of the adjunct.

That declineth; or, that is extended or stretched out to its utmost length, as it is when the sun is setting, when it speedily and totally vanisheth. And just so the hopes of our restitution, which sometimes we have, are quickly cut off and disappointed. My days are like a shadow that declineth,.... Or, "that is stretched out" (s), which, though it may appear long, is soon at an end; as it does appear longer when the sun sets (t), and departs from the earth: he reckons his life not by months and years, but by days; and these he compares to a "shadow", which has no substance in it; his age being as nothing before the Lord, and has much darkness and obscurity in it; his days being days of darkness, affliction, and trouble, and quickly gone, as man's life is; there is no abiding; see 1 Chronicles 29:15. Pindar (u) calls man the dream of a shadow:

and I am withered like grass; which in the morning is flourishing, is cut down at noon, and withered at evening: this is the case of all flesh, however beautiful and goodly it may look; it is weak, frail, and mortal; cannot stand before the force of afflictions, which quickly consume strength and beauty, and much less before the scythe of death; see Psalm 90:5.

(s) "inclinata", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Musculus, Cocceius; "extensa", Michaelis. (t) "Et sol crescentes decedens duplicat umbras", Virgil. Bacol. Eclog. 2.((u) Pyth. Ode 8.

My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. like a shadow that declineth] Or, like a shadow stretched out (Jeremiah 6:4) towards evening, and about to disappear altogether as the sun sinks below the horizon.

I am withered like grass] Rather, I am withering away like grass. The common emblem for frail and transitory mortality. Cp. Isaiah 40:7; James 1:11.Verse 11. - My days are like a shadow that declineth; literally, that lengthens, as shadows do when the day declines (comp. ver. 24). The psalmist, like his nation, is old before his time; the shades of evening have come upon him, when he should have been in his midday brightness. And I am withered like grass (comp. ver. 4). The "I" here is emphatic (אני) - not only is the psalmist's heart withered, but he himself is altogether scorched and dried up. From this point onward the Psalm becomes original. Concerning the Beth in בעשׁן, vid., on Psalm 37:20. The reading כּמו קד (in the Karaite Ben-Jerucham) enriches the lexicon in the same sense with a word which has scarcely had any existence. מוקד (Arabic mauḳid) signifies here, as in other instances, a hearth. נחרוּ is, as in Psalm 69:4, Niphal: my bones are heated through with a fever-heat, as a hearth with the smouldering fire that is on it. הוּכּה (cf. יגודּוּ, Psalm 94:21) is used exactly as in Hosea 9:16, cf. Psalm 121:5. The heart is said to dry up when the life's blood, of which it is the reservoir, fails. The verb שׁכח is followed by מן of dislike. On the cleaving of the bones to the flesh from being baked, i.e., to the skin (Arabic bašar, in accordance with the radical signification, the surface of the body equals the skin, from בשׂר, to brush along, rub, scrape, scratch on the surface), cf. Job 19:20; Lamentations 4:8. ל (אל) with דּבק is used just like בּ. It is unnecessary, with Bttcher, to draw מקּול אנחתי to Psalm 102:5. Continuous straining of the voice, especially in connection with persevering prayer arising from inward conflict, does really make the body waste away.
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