Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Father.—This anticipation of Christ’s revelation of the paternal heart of God, is found also in the prophets.Matthew 7:7-11. God often compares himself with a father, and it is by carrying out our ideas of what enters into the parental character that we get our best conceptions of the character of God. See the notes at Matthew 6:9. That which is referred to here, is the natural affection of the parent for the child; the tender love which is borne by the parent for his offspring; the disposition to care for its needs; the readiness to forgive when an offence has been committed. Compare Luke 15:22-24. Such, in an infinitely higher degree, is the compassion - the kindness - which God has for those that love him.
So the Lord pitieth them that fear him; not with a servile fear, which is unsuitable to the relation of children; but with reverence and godly fear, with a fear of him and his goodness, and on account of that; a filial fear, such a reverence as children should have of a father: and this character belongs to all the saints of all nations, Jews or Gentiles; and seems to be here given an purpose to include all; and that the divine pity and compassion might not be thought to be restrained to any particular nation. And, as the fruit of his tender mercy, he looks upon his children in their lost estate, and brings them out of it; he succours them under all their temptations; he sympathizes with them under all their afflictions: being full of compassion, he forgives their iniquities; and in the most tender manner receives them when they have backslidden, and heals their backslidings. The Targum in the king of Spain's Bible is,
"so the Word of the Lord pities,''
&c. See Hebrews 4:15.Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. Cp. Psalm 27:10; Isaiah 49:15; Luke 15:20.
pitieth] Hath compassion on. The A.V. misses the connexion with “full of compassion” in Psalm 103:8.Verse 13. - Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him (comp. Deuteronomy 32:6; Job 10:8; Isaiah 29:16; Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:8, etc.). (For the nature of the "fear" spoken of, both here and in ver. 11, see the description in vers. 17, 18.) It must be a fear that produces obedience, or, in New Testament phrase, that is a "godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28). Psalm 103:6 describes God's gracious and fatherly conduct towards sinful and perishing men, and that as it shines forth from the history of Israel and is known and recognised in the light of revelation. What Psalm 103:6 says is a common-place drawn from the history of Israel. משׁפּטים is an accusative governed by the עשׂה that is to be borrowed out of עשׂה (so Baer after the Masora). And because Psalm 103:6 is the result of an historical retrospect and survey, יודיע in Psalm 103:7 can affirm that which happened in the past (cf. Psalm 96:6.); for the supposition of Hengstenberg and Hitzig, that Moses here represents Israel like Jacob, Isaac, and Joseph in other instances, is without example in the whole Israelitish literature. It becomes clear from Psalm 103:8 in what sense the making of His ways known is meant. The poet has in his mind Moses' prayer: "make known to me now Thy way" (Exodus 33:13), which Jahve fulfilled by passing by him as he stood in the cleft of the rock and making Himself visible to him as he looked after Him, amidst the proclamation of His attributes. The ways of Jahve are therefore in this passage not those in which men are to walk in accordance with His precepts (Psalm 25:4), but those which He Himself follows in the course of His redemptive history (Psalm 67:3). The confession drawn from Exodus 34:6. is become a formula of the Israelitish faith (Psalm 86:15; Psalm 145:8; Joel 2:13; Nehemiah 9:17, and frequently). In Psalm 103:9. the fourth attribute (ורב־חסד) is made the object of further praise. He is not only long (ארך from ארך, like כּבד from כּבד) in anger, i.e., waiting a long time before He lets His anger loose, but when He contends, i.e., interposes judicially, this too is not carried to the full extent (Psalm 78:38), He is not angry for ever (נטר, to keep, viz., anger, Amos 1:11; cf. the parallels, both as to matter and words, Jeremiah 3:5; Isaiah 57:16). The procedure of His righteousness is regulated not according to our sins, but according to His purpose of mercy. The prefects in Psalm 103:10 state that which God has constantly not done, and the futures in Psalm 103:9 what He continually will not do.
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