Psalm 103:5
Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
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(5) Mouth.—On the Hebrew word thus rendered, see Psalm 32:9. The word there adopted (“trappings,” or “ornaments”) would Commend itself here, from the evident allusion in the next clause to the moulting of the bird, and its appearance in new plumage, if the expression “to satisfy ornament with good” were in any way intelligible. The LXX. and Vulg. have “desire; the Syriac “body;” but the Chaldee, “age,” which is supported (Gesenius) by the derivation, gives the best sense:—

Who satisfleth thine age with good, so that

Thy youth renews itself like the eagle.

The eagle’s.—Heb., nesher; properly, the griffon, or great vulture. See Exodus 19:4; and Note to Obadiah 1:4.

The rendering of the Prayer Book, “like the eagle’s,” follows the LXX. The idea that the eagle renewed its youth formed the basis of a Rabbinical story, and no doubt appears also in the myth of the Phœnix. But the psalmist merely refers to the fresh and vigorous appearance of the bird with its new plumage.

103:1-5 By the pardon of sin, that is taken away which kept good things from us, and we are restored to the favor of God, who bestows good things on us. Think of the provocation; it was sin, and yet pardoned: how many the provocations, yet all pardoned! God is still forgiving, as we are still sinning and repenting. The body finds the melancholy consequences of Adam's offence, it is subject to many infirmities, and the soul also. Christ alone forgives all our sins; it is he alone who heals all our infirmities. And the person who finds his sin cured, has a well-grounded assurance that it is forgiven. When God, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, recovers his people from their decays, and fills them with new life and joy, which is to them an earnest of eternal life and joy, they may then be said to return to the days of their youth, Job 33:25.Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things - The word translated "thy mouth" here is rendered in the Chaldee "thy age;" in the Arabic, the Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate, "thy desire;" in the Syriac, "thy body;" DeWette renders it, "thy age." So also Tholuck. The Hebrew word - עדי ‛ădı̂y - is rendered "ornaments" in Exodus 33:4-6; 2 Samuel 1:24; Isaiah 49:18; Jeremiah 2:32; Jeremiah 4:30; Ezekiel 7:20; Ezekiel 16:11, Ezekiel 16:17 (margin,); Ezekiel 23:40; and "mouth" in Psalm 32:9, as here. These are the only places in which it occurs. Gesenius renders it here "age," and supposes that it stands in contrast with the word "youth" in the other part of the verse. The connection would seem to demand this, though it is difficult to make it out from any usage of the Hebrew word. Professor Alexander renders it "thy soul" - from the supposition that the Hebrew word "ornament" is used as if in reference to the idea that the "soul" is the chief glory or ornament of man. This seems, however, to be a very forced explanation. I confess myself unable to determine the meaning.

So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's - Compare Isaiah 40:31. The allusion, to which there is supposed to be a reference here, is explained in the notes at that passage. Whatever may be true in regard to the supposed fact pertaining to the eagle, about its renewing its strength and vigor in old age, the meaning here is simply that the strength of the psalmist in old age became like the strength of the eagle. Sustained by the bounty of God in his old age he became, as it were, young again.

5. By God's provision, the saint retains a youthful vigor like the eagles (Ps 92:14; compare Isa 40:31). Who satisfieth all thy just desires and necessities.

Like the eagle’s; either,

1. As the eagle reneweth her youth by casting all her old feathers, and getting new ones, whereby it seems to grow young again. But this, being common to all birds, would not have been appropriated to the eagle. Or rather,

2. Like the youth of an eagle. As the eagle lives long in great strength and vigour, so that the

old age of an eagle is used proverbially for a lively and vigorous old age; so this is a promise of a long and comfortable life. Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things,.... With the good things in the heart of God, with his favour and lovingkindness, as with marrow and fatness; with the good things in the hands of Christ, with the fulness of grace in him, with pardon, righteousness, and salvation by him; with the good things of the Spirit of God, his gifts and graces; and with the provisions of the Lord's house, the goodness and fatness of it; these he shows unto his people, creates hungerings and thirstings in them after them, sets their hearts a longing after them, and then fills and satisfies them with them: hence the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions render it, "who filleth thy desire with good things": the word used has sometimes the signification of an ornament; wherefore Aben Ezra interprets it of the soul, which is the glory and ornament of the body, and renders it, "who satisfieth thy soul with good things"; which is not amiss: "so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's"; not the youth of the body, or the juvenile vigour of it; nor the outward prosperity of it; but the youth of grace, or a renewal of spiritual love and affection to divine and heavenly persons and things; of holy zeal for God, his ways and worship; for Christ, his Gospel, truths, and ordinances; of spiritual joy and comfort, strength, liveliness, and activity, as formerly were in the days of espousals, in the youth of first conversion, or when first made acquainted with the best things; so that though the outward man may decay, yet the inward man is renewed day by day: and this is said to be "like the eagle's", whose youth and strength are renewed, as some observe (a), by dropping their feathers, and having new ones, by feeding upon the blood of slain creatures; and whereas, when they are grown old, the upper part of their bill grows over the lower part (b), so that they are not able, to eat, but must die through want; Austin (c) says, that by rubbing it against a rock, it comes to its use of eating, and so recovers its strength: but there is no need to have recourse to any of these things; for as the old age of au eagle is lively and vigorous, like the youth of another creature; so it is here signified, that saints through the grace of God, even in old age, become fat and flourishing, and fruitful, and are steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, run and are not weary, walk and faint not, Isaiah 40:31, all which are inestimable mercies, and the Lord is to be praised for them.

(a) Ambrosii Opera, tom. 5. p. 78. (b) Aristot. de Animal. l. 9. c. 32. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 3.((c) Opera, tom. 8. in Psal. 102. fol. 474. c.

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy {d} youth is renewed like the eagle's.

(d) As the eagle, when her beak overgrows, sucks blood and so is renewed in strength, even so God miraculously gives strength to his Church above all man's expectations.

5. thy mouth] So the A.V. for the same word in Psalm 32:9, and the R.V. has retained the rendering here, though it rests on no sure basis. The Ancient Versions are at fault. The LXX gives thy desire; the Targ. the days of thine old age; the Syr. thy body; Aq. and Jer. thy adornment. The latter is the regular meaning of the word; and it has been suggested that, like glory in Psalm 16:9, it may mean soul. But this is improbable, as the soul itself is addressed; and it seems better to suppose that the verb has an unusual construction (but cp. Psalm 145:16), and to render:

Who adorneth thee to the full with goodliness;

(So that) thy youth is renewed like an eagle.

In Israel’s resurrection from the grave of exile each Israelite is as it were endowed with a fresh accession of youthful vigour. Cp. Isaiah 40:31, where, as here, the point of comparison is the strength of the eagle, which might well seem to enjoy perpetual youth. There is no need to suppose an allusion to the fable that the eagle periodically renewed its strength by soaring sunwards and then plunging into the sea. Coverdale’s paraphrase in the P.B.V., “making thee young and lusty as an eagle,” gives the sense rightly.Verse 5. - Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things. So Dean Johnson and our Revisers. But the rendering of עדי by "mouth" is very doubtful. The original meaning of the word seems to have been "gay ornament," whence it passed to "gaiety," "desire of enjoyment," "desire" generally (τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν σου, LXX.). Dr. Kay translates, "thy gay heart;" Professor Cheyne, "thy desire." God satisfies the reasonable desires of his servants, giving them "all things richly to enjoy" (1 Timothy 6:17), and "satisfying the desire of every living thing" (Psalm 145:16). So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's; rather, like an eagle (comp. Isaiah 40:31). The meaning is, not "thy youth is renewed as an eagle's youth is," for an eagle's youth is not renewed; but "thy youth is renewed, and is become in its strength like an eagle." On the way (ב as in Psalm 110:7) - not "by means of the way" (ב as in Psalm 105:18), in connection with which one would expect of find some attributive minuter definition of the way - God hath bowed down his strength (cf. Deuteronomy 8:2); it was therefore a troublous, toilsome way which he has been led, together with his people. He has shortened his days, so that he only drags on wearily, and has only a short distance still before him before he is entirely overcome. The Chethb כחו (lxx ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ) may be understood of God's irresistible might, as in Job 23:6; Job 30:18, but in connection with it the designation of the object is felt to be wanting. The introductory אמר (cf. Job 10:2), which announces a definite moulding of the utterance, serves to give prominence to the petition that follows. In the expression אל־תּעלני life is conceived of as a line the length of which accords with nature; to die before one's time is a being taken up out of this course, so that the second half of the line is not lived through (Psalm 55:24, Isaiah 38:10). The prayer not to sweep him away before his time, the poet supports not by the eternity of God in itself, but by the work of the rejuvenation of the world and of the restoration of Israel that is to be looked for, which He can and will bring to an accomplishment, because He is the ever-living One. The longing to see this new time is the final ground of the poet's prayer for the prolonging of his life. The confession of God the Creator in Psalm 102:26 reminds one in its form of Isaiah 48:13, cf. Psalm 44:24. המּה in Psalm 102:27 refers to the two great divisions of the universe. The fact that God will create heaven and earth anew is a revelation that is indicated even in Isaiah 34:4, but is first of all expressed more fully and in many ways in the second part of the Book of Isaiah, viz., Isaiah 51:6, Isaiah 51:16; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22. It is clear from the agreement in the figure of the garment (Isaiah 51:6, cf. Psalm 50:9) and in the expression (עמד, perstare, as in Isaiah 66:22) that the poet has gained this knowledge from the prophet. The expressive אתּה הוּא, Thou art He, i.e., unalterably the same One, is also taken from the mouth of the prophet, Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 46:4; Isaiah 48:12; הוּא is a predicate, and denotes the identity (sameness) of Jahve (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, i. 63). In v. 29 also, in which the prayer for a lengthening of life tapers off to a point, we hear Isaiah 65:2; Isaiah 66:22 re-echoed. And from the fact that in the mind of the poet as of the prophet the post-exilic Jerusalem and the final new Jerusalem upon the new earth under a new heaven blend together, it is evident that not merely in the time of Hezekiah or of Manasseh (assuming that Isaiah 40:1 are by the old Isaiah), but also even in the second half of the Exile, such a perspectively foreshortened view was possible. When, moreover, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews at once refers Psalm 102:26-28 to Christ, this is justified by the fact that the God whom the poet confesses as the unchangeable One is Jahve who is to come.
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