Psalm 102:3
For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.
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(3) Like smoke.—Or, in smoke. (See margin. Comp. Psalm 37:20.)

Hearth.—Better, a brand or fuel; so LXX. and Vulgate, Aquila, and this meaning suits Isaiah 33:14. (For the image see Psalm 22:15; Psalm 31:10; Psalm 32:3.)

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.For my days are consumed like smoke - Margin, "into smoke." Literally, "in smoke." That is, They vanish as smoke; they pass away and become nothing; they are spent in affliction, and seem to accomplish nothing. The idea is, that in his affliction he seemed to accomplish none of the ends of life. His life seemed to be wasted. This is often the feeling in trial: and yet in trial a man may be more useful, he may do more to accomplish the real ends of life, he may do more to illustrate the power and excellence of religion, than he ever did in the days of prosperity.

And my bones are burned as an hearth - Or rather, as faggots or fuel. Literally, "They are burned as a burning." The idea is, that in his troubles, his very bones, the most solid and substantial part of himself, seemed to be consumed and to waste away. See the notes at Psalm 31:10.


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.

Like smoke; which passeth away in obscurity, and swiftly, and irrecoverably. Or, into smoke; as wood or any combustible matter put into the fire wasteth away in smoke and ashes.

My bones; the most strong and solid parts of my body, which seemed safest from the fire.

Are burnt as an hearth; either as an hearth is heated or burnt up by the coals which are laid upon it; or as the hearth, being so heated, burns up that which is put upon it.

For my days are consumed like smoke,.... Which suddenly rises up, is easily dissipated, and quickly disappears; so sudden, short, and transient, are the days of man's life; see James 4:14 or "in smoke" (c), as the Syriac version; his days were spent in great obscurity, in the darkness of affliction, temptation, and desertion; and in so much vexation, trouble, and uneasiness, as if he had lived in smoke all his time: and

my bones are burnt as an hearth; on which fire is continually made for the preparation of food, and other uses: or as a "trivet", or "gridiron": so the Targum: or as a frying pan; so the Arabic version: the meaning is, that, through trouble and grief, his bones, the strongest parts of his body, the props and supports of it, were so weakened and enfeebled, the strength of them so exhausted, that they were as if they had been parched and burnt up, as the hearth by fire; see Proverbs 17:22.

(c) "in fumo", Montanus.

For my days are {c} consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.

(c) These excessive kinds of speech show how much the affliction of the Church should wound the hearts of the godly.

3. like smoke] Or, in smoke, a natural figure for speedy and complete disappearance. Cp. Psalm 37:20; James 4:14.

are burnt as a hearth] Rather (cp. P.B.V. and R.V.), burn as a firebrand. He compares himself to a sick man whose strength is being consumed by the burning heat of fever. Cp. Psalm 22:15; Jeremiah 20:9.

Verse 3. - For my days are consumed like smoke; or, according to another reading (בעשׁר, instead of כעשׁר), "are consumed into smoke," i.e. "disappear, pass away into nothingness." And my bones are burned as an hearth. Dr. Kay translates, "My bones smoulder like a firebrand," which is better (compare the Prayer book Version, and see Leviticus 6:2 and Isaiah 33:14). (For the sentiment, see Psalm 31:10; Psalm 32:3; Psalm 42:10.) Psalm 102:3From 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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