The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Merciful and Gracious.—The original confession (Exodus 34:6) had become a formula of the national faith. In addition to the marginal references, see Joel 2:13, Psalm 145:8.Psalm 103:8-10. The Lord is merciful and gracious — See on Exodus 34:6. Slow to anger — Not speedily punishing sinners, but patiently waiting for their repentance. He will not always chide — Or contend by his judgments with sinners, but is ready to be reconciled to them, namely, upon their repentance, as is manifest from innumerable texts, and from the whole scope and design of the Scriptures. Neither will he keep his anger for ever — The word anger, though not in the original, is necessarily understood here, as it is also Jeremiah 3:5, and in many other places. He hath not dealt with us after our sins — He hath punished us less than our iniquities have deserved.Psalm 78:38. The idea here is derived evidently from Exodus 34:6-7 - that great and glorious statement of God himself in regard to his own character. Our world is a different world under that statement from what it would be if that and kindred declarations had not been made. There is here a "progression" of thought; an "advance" on the previous statements. At first the psalmist referred to his own individual experience Psalm 103:3-5; then he referred to the dealings of God toward the Hebrew people Psalm 103:6-7; and now he rises to the general contemplation of his character as it relates to all mankind. It was a characteristic of God in respect to all, that he was kind, compassionate, and forbearing.
And plenteous in mercy - Margin, "great of mercy." The Hebrew word means "much," or great;" and the idea is, that mercy is not manifested by him in small or stinted measure. It is rich; full; abundant; overflowing; free.
keep (anger)—in Le 19:18, bear a grudge (Jer 3:5, 12).Slow to anger; not speedily punishing sinners, but patiently waiting for their repentance. Exodus 34:6, and so David found him to be, and therefore calls upon his soul to bless his name. God is "merciful" in the most tender and affectionate manner; he has bowels of mercy, which yearn towards his people, as those of a tender parent to its child, as the word signifies; his mercy is free, without any motive or merit in men to engage it; he delights in showing it; he constantly bestows it; it is the source of all good things; it is communicated through Christ; all mercies temporal and spiritual come by him; and this lays a foundation for faith and hope: and he is gracious, as appears in the eternal choice of his people to salvation; in providing a Saviour and a ransom for them; in giving all grace and the blessings of it to them in his Son; in giving him for them, and all things to them with him; in justifying them by his righteousness; in pardoning their sins for his sake; in taking them into his family; in regenerating, calling, preserving, and saving them:
slow to anger, or "longsuffering" (d); even to wicked men, to the vessels of wrath, to the old world, yea, to Jezebel, to whom he gave space to repent; which longsuffering being abused and despised, is an aggravation of condemnation: but rather here it intends God's longsuffering to his people, as before conversion, waiting till the time comes that he is gracious to them; and after conversion, notwithstanding their backslidings and revoltings; and this longsuffering is their salvation:
and plenteous in mercy; large and abundant in it, as appears by the various instances of it, and ways and methods in which he shows it; in election, in the covenant, in redemption, in regeneration, in pardon and eternal life; and by the abundance of it which he bestows on every one of his people; and by the vast numbers which do partake of it.The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 8. - The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. This was a part of the revelation made to Moses (Exodus 34:6), whose words the psalmist closely echoes, both here and in Psalm 86:15 (comp. also Psalm 111:4; Psalm 112:4; Psalm 145:8). Psalm 103:1 the poet calls upon his soul to arise to praiseful gratitude for God's justifying, redeeming, and renewing grace. In such soliloquies it is the Ego that speaks, gathering itself up with the spirit, the stronger, more manly part of man (Psychology, S. 104f.; tr. p. 126), or even, because the soul as the spiritual medium of the spirit and of the body represents the whole person of man (Psychology, S. 203; tr. p. 240), the Ego rendering objective in the soul the whole of its own personality. So here in Psalm 103:3 the soul, which is addressed, represents the whole man. The קובים which occurs here is a more choice expression for מעים (מעים): the heart, which is called קרב κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν, the reins, the liver, etc.; for according to the scriptural conception (Psychology, S. 266; tr. p. 313) these organs of the cavities of the breast and abdomen serve not merely for the bodily life, but also the psycho-spiritual life. The summoning בּרכי is repeated per anaphoram. There is nothing the soul of man is so prone to forget as to render thanks that are due, and more especially thanks that are due to God. It therefore needs to be expressly aroused in order that it may not leave the blessing with which God blesses it unacknowledged, and may not forget all His acts performed (גּמל equals גּמר) on it (גּמוּל, ῥῆμα μέσον, e.g., in Psalm 137:8), which are purely deeds of loving-kindness), which is the primal condition and the foundation of all the others, viz., sin-pardoning mercy. The verbs סלח and רפא with a dative of the object denote the bestowment of that which is expressed by the verbal notion. תּחלוּאים (taken from Deuteronomy 29:21, cf. 1 Chronicles 21:19, from חלא equals חלה, root הל, solutum, laxum esse) are not merely bodily diseases, but all kinds of inward and outward sufferings. משּׁחת the lxx renders ἐκ φθορᾶς (from שׁחת, as in Job 17:14); but in this antithesis to life it is more natural to render the "pit" (from שׁוּח) as a name of Hades, as in Psalm 16:10. Just as the soul owes its deliverance from guilt and distress and death to God, so also does it owe to God that with which it is endowed out of the riches of divine love. The verb עטּר, without any such addition as in Psalm 5:13, is "to crown," cf. Psalm 8:6. As is usually the case, it is construed with a double accusative; the crown is as it were woven out of loving-kindness and compassion. The Beth of בּטּוב in Psalm 103:5 instead of the accusative (Psalm 104:28) denotes the means of satisfaction, which is at the same time that which satisfies. עדיך the Targum renders: dies senectutis tuae, whereas in Psalm 32:9 it is ornatus ejus; the Peshto renders: corpus tuum, and in Psalm 32:9 inversely, juventus eorum. These significations, "old age" or "youth," are pure inventions. And since the words are addressed to the soul, עדי cannot also, like כבוד in other instances, be a name of the soul itself (Aben-Ezra, Mendelssohn, Philippsohn, Hengstenberg, and others). We, therefore, with Hitzig, fall back upon the sense of the word in Psalm 32:9, where the lxx renders τάς σιαγόνας αὐτῶν, but here more freely, apparently starting from the primary notion of עדי equals Arabic chadd, the cheek: τὸν ἐμπιπλῶντα ἐν ἀγαθοῖς τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν σου (whereas Saadia's victum tuum is based upon a comparison of the Arabic gdâ, to nourish). The poet tells the soul (i.e., his own person, himself) that God satisfies it with good, so that it as it were gets its cheeks full of it (cf. Psalm 81:11). The comparison כּנּשׁר is, as in Micah 1:16 (cf. Isaiah 40:31), to be referred to the annual moulting of the eagle. Its renewing of its plumage is an emblem of the renovation of his youth by grace. The predicate to נעוּריכי (plural of extension in relation to time) stands first regularly in the sing. fem.
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