Psalm 102:4
My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.
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(4) Smitten.—As by the sun. Exactly as in Hosea 9:16.

So that I forget.—Better, for I have forgotten, &c. For this mark of deep sorrow comp. 1Samuel 1:7; 1Samuel 20:34, &c. (Comp. Homer, Iliad, xxiv. 129.)

Psalm 102:4-7. My heart is withered like grass — Which is smitten and withered by the heat of the sun, either while it stands, or after it is cut down. So that I forget to eat my bread — Because my mind is wholly swallowed up with the contemplation of my own miseries. My bones cleave to my skin — My flesh being quite consumed with excessive sorrow. I am like a pelican in the wilderness — “There are two species of pelicans, one of which lives in the water on fish, the other in the wilderness, upon serpents and reptiles.” The word קאת, kaath, here used, is rendered cormorant, (which is a corruption of corvorant,) Isaiah 34:11; Zephaniah 2:14. “By the owl of the desert many understand the bittern, and by the bird that sits solitary on the house-top, the owl.” Dr. Waterland and Houbigant, instead of sparrow alone, read the solitary bird; and the latter, for pelican, reads onocrotalus.

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.My heart is smitten - Broken; crushed with grief. We now speak of "a broken heart." Even death is often caused by such excessive sorrow as to crush and break the heart.

And withered like grass - It is dried up as grass is by drought, or as when it is cut down. It loses its support; and having no strength of its own, it dies.

So that I forget to eat my bread - I am so absorbed in my trials; they so entirely engross my attention, that I think of nothing else, not even of those things which are necessary to the support of life. Grief has the effect of taking away the appetite, but this does not seem to be the idea here. It is that of such a complete absorption in trouble that everything else is forgotten.

4. (Compare Ps 121:6).

so that I forget—or, "have forgotten," that is, in my distress (Ps 107:18), and hence strength fails.

Like grass; which is smitten and withered by the heat of the sun, either whilst it stands, or after it is cut down.

I forget to eat my bread, because my mind is wholly swallowed up with the contemplation of my own miseries.

My heart is smitten, and withered like grass,.... Like grass in the summer solstice (d), which being smitten with the heat of the sun, or by some blast of thunder and lightning, is dried up, and withers away; so his heart was smitten with a sense of sin, and of God's wrath and displeasure at him, and with the heat of affliction and trouble, that it failed him, and he could not look up with joy and comfort:

so that I forget to eat my bread; sometimes, through grief and trouble, persons refuse to eat bread, as Jonathan and Ahab, which is a voluntary act, and purposely done; but here, in the psalmist, there was such a loss of appetite, through sorrow, that he forgot his stated meals, having no manner of inclination to food: some understand this of spiritual food, the bread of life, refusing to be comforted with it; so the Targum,

"for I forgot the law of my doctrine.''

(d) "Quasi solstitialis herba paulisper fui", Plauti Pseudolus, Acts 1. Sc. 1. v. 36.

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

(d) My sorrows were so great that I did not eat.

4. My heart is smitten like grass, and withered;

Yea, I forget to eat my bread.

His heart, the centre of vital force and vigour, is dried up like a plant struck by the fierce heat of the sun and withered (Psalm 121:6; Hosea 9:16). Sorrow and sickness have deprived him of all appetite for food. Cp. 1 Samuel 1:7-8; Job 33:20.

Verse 4. - My heart is smitten. As with a stroke from the sun (see Psalm 121:6; Hosea 9:16). And withered like grass. As grass upon the house tops (Psalm 129:6), or, indeed, in any exposed place under an Eastern sun. So that I forget to eat my bread; literally, for I forget, etc. The fact is adduced as a proof of the heart's condition (comp. Job 33:20; 1 Samuel 1:7; 1 Samuel 20:34, etc.). Psalm 102:4From 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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