Psalm 102:14
For your servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Stones . . . dust.—This touching description of the devotion of the Jews to their ruined city is best illustrated by the actual history in Nehemiah 3, 4, and by the scenes so often described by travellers at the “wailing place” in modern Jerusalem.

102:12-22 We are dying creatures, but God is an everlasting God, the protector of his church; we may be confident that it will not be neglected. When we consider our own vileness, our darkness and deadness, and the manifold defects in our prayers, we have cause to fear that they will not be received in heaven; but we are here assured of the contrary, for we have an Advocate with the Father, and are under grace, not under the law. Redemption is the subject of praise in the Christian church; and that great work is described by the temporal deliverance and restoration of Israel. Look down upon us, Lord Jesus; and bring us into the glorious liberty of thy children, that we may bless and praise thy name.For thy servants take pleasure in her stones - Those who profess to be thy servants; thy friends. This was the "evidence" to the mind of the psalmist that God was about to visit his people, and to rebuild Jerusalem. It was an "awakened interest" among the professed people of God, leading them to manifest their love for Zion, and for all that pertained to her - a love for the very stones that lay in undistinguished heaps where the city once stood - the piles of rubbish where the walls and dwellings had once been. The people of God in their captivity began to look with strong interest on these very ruins, and with an earnest wish that from these ruins the city may again arise, and the walls be rebuilt.

And favor the dust thereof - literally, pity - or, show compassion for. They no longer look with indifference on these ruins of Zion. They look with a tender heart on the very dust of those ruins. They feel that a wrong has been done to Zion; they ardently desire its restoration to its former splendor and glory. They long for a return to it as to their home. They are weary with their captivity, and they are anxiously waiting for the time when they may revisit their native land. This would seem to refer to an awakened interest on the subject, caused perhaps in part by the fact that it could be ascertained (see Daniel 9:2) that the period of the captivity was about to end, and partly by an influence on their hearts from on high, awakening in them a deeper love for Zion - a revival of pure religion. The practical truth taught here is, that an indication of a coming revival of religion is often manifested by the increased attention to the subject among its professed friends; by the desire in their hearts that it may be so; by tenderness, pity, compassion among them in view of abounding desolations, the coldness of the church, and the prevalence of iniquity; by their looking with interest on that which had before been neglected, like shapeless ruins - the prayer-meeting, the communion, the sanctuary; by a conscious returning love in their hearts for all that pertains to religion, however unimportant it may be in the eyes of the world, or however it may be despised. A surrounding world would look with unconcern on the ruins of Jerusalem; a friend of God, in whose heart religion was revived, would look with the most tender concern even on that rubbish, and those ruins. So it is in a revival of religion, when God is about to visit his church in mercy. Everything in regard to the church becomes an object of deep interest.

13, 14. Hence it is here adduced.

for—or, "when."

the set time, &c.—the time promised, the indication of which is the interest felt for Zion by the people of God.

Thy people value the dust and rubbish of the holy city more than all the palaces of the earth, and passionately desire that it may be rebuilt. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones,.... Meaning not Cyrus and Darius, who gave leave and orders for the rebuilding of the city and temple of Jerusalem, as some; nor Nehemiah, and Ezra, and others, who took more pleasure in the stones and rubbish of the temple, as it lay in ruins, than in all the stately palaces in Babylon; and who were very desirous of, and took delight in gathering these stones, and putting them together again, as others; but, the ministers of the Gospel, and other Christians, in the latter day, who will take pleasure in the great number of converts that there will then be, who, as lively stones, will be built up a spiritual house; and especially when those stones shall be laid with fair colours, and the headstone shall be brought in with acclamations, crying, Grace, grace unto it; see 1 Peter 2:5.

and favour the dust thereof; which sometimes designs multitudes, Numbers 23:10, perhaps here it may denote the meanest of the Lord's people, who will be regarded, and not despised by his servants; but they will show favour to them, do them all the good they can, and wish well to them, and pray for their prosperity, and for the peace of Zion; that God would make it the joy of the whole earth; and when there shall be such a delight in the stones and dust of Zion, and a spirit of grace and supplication poured forth upon the servants of the Lord, to pray for the promised glory and happiness of it, it will be a token for good, and an intimation that the set time to favour her is at hand; which seems to be the sense of the psalmist: such great reverence and respect have the greatest of the wise men among the Jews for the land of Israel, literally understood, that they kiss the borders, the stones of it, and roll themselves in its dust (a), having perhaps in mind this passage of Scripture.

(a) Maimon. Hilchot Melachim, c. 5. s. 10.

For thy servants take pleasure in her {l} stones, and favour the dust thereof.

(l) The more the Church is in misery and desolation, the more the faithful should love and pity it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. For thy servants have affection for her stones,

And for her dust are they moved with pity.

Another argument to move Jehovah’s compassion. His servants look with yearning love towards Zion in its ruin. Even the broken stones and scattered heaps of rubbish which are all that remain of it are very dear to them. The language resembles that of Sanballat’s contemptuous taunt: “Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish?” Heb. dust, Nehemiah 4:2; cp. Psalm 102:10, “there is much rubbish,” Heb. dust.Verse 14. - For thy servants take pleasure in her stones (comp. Isaiah 64:10, 11; Lamentations 4:1; Nehemiah 2:13; Nehemiah 4:2). To this day the same affection is shown by Israelite pilgrims at the "Jews' Wailing Place." And favour (rather, pity) the dust thereof. The rubbish in which the stones lay (Nehemiah 4:2) seems to be intended. קאת (construct of קאת or קאת from קאה, vid., Isaiah, at Isaiah 34:11-12), according to the lxx, is the pelican, and כּוס is the night-raven or the little horned-owl.

(Note: The lxx renders it: I am like a pelican of the desert, I am become as a night-raven upon a ruined place (οἰκοπέδῳ). In harmony with the lxx, Saadia (as also the Arabic version edited by Erpenius, the Samaritan Arabic, and Abulwald) renders קאת by Arab. qûq (here and in Leviticus 11:18; Deuteronomy 14:17; Isaiah 34:17), and כוס by Arab. bûm; the latter (bum) is an onomatopoetic name of the owl, and the former (k[uk[) does not even signify the owl or horned-owl (although the small horned-owl is called um kuéik in Egypt, and in Africa abu kuéik; vid., the dictionaries of Bocthor and Marcel s.v. chouette), but the pelican, the "long-necked water-bird" (Damiri after the lexicon el-‛Obâb of Hasan ben-Mohammed el-Saghani). The Graeco-Veneta also renders קאת with πελεκάν, - the Peshito, however, with Syr. qāqā'. What Ephrem on Deuteronomy 14:17 and the Physiologus Syrus (ed. Tychsen, p. 13, cf. pp. 110 f). say of Syr. qāqā', viz., that it is a marsh-bird, is very fond of its young ones, dwells in desolate places, and is incessantly noisy, likewise points to the pelican, although the Syrian lexicographers vary. Cf. also Oedmann, Vermischte Sammlungen, Heft 3, Cap. 6. (Fleischer after a communication from Rodiger.))

דּמה obtains the signification to be like, equal (aequalem esse), from the radical signification to be flat, even, and to spread out flat (as the Dutch have already recognised). They are both unclean creatures, which are fond of the loneliness of the desert and ruined places. To such a wilderness, that of the exile, is the poet unwillingly transported. He passes the nights without sleep (שׁקד, to watch during the time for sleep), and is therefore like a bird sitting lonesome (בּודד, Syriac erroneously נודד) upon the roof whilst all in the house beneath are sleeping. The Athnach in Psalm 102:8 separates that which is come to be from the ground of the "becoming" and the "becoming" itself. His grief is that his enemies reproach him as one forsaken of God. מהולל, part. Poal, is one made or become mad, Ecclesiastes 2:2 : my mad ones equals those who are mad against me. These swear by him, inasmuch as they say when they want to curse: "God do unto thee as unto this man," which is to be explained according to Isaiah 65:15; Jeremiah 29:22.

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