Psalm 143:5
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all your works; I muse on the work of your hands.
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(5) See Psalm 77:5-6.

Psalm 143:5-6. I remember the days of old — That is, but still, upon a more calm reflection, I consider what thou hast done for thy servants in former times, and likewise what thou hast done for me during the persecutions of Saul, and long before that time, in my younger days, when thou didst deliver me from the greatest danger: see 1 Samuel 17:34, &c. I stretch forth my hands, &c. — I pray to thee fervently. My soul thirsteth after thee — After thy favour and help; as a thirsty land — For rain.143:1-6 We have no righteousness of our own to plead, therefore must plead God's righteousness, and the word of promise which he has freely given us, and caused us to hope in. David, before he prays for the removal of his trouble, prays for the pardon of his sin, and depends upon mercy alone for it. He bemoans the weight upon his mind from outward troubles. But he looks back, and remembers God's former appearance for his afflicted people, and for him in particular. He looks round, and notices the works of God. The more we consider the power of God, the less we shall fear the face or force of man. He looks up with earnest desires towards God and his favour. This is the best course we can take, when our spirits are overwhelmed. The believer will not forget, that in his best actions he is a sinner. Meditation and prayer will recover us from distresses; and then the mourning soul strives to return to the Lord as the infant stretches out its hands to the indulgent mother, and thirsts for his consolations as the parched ground for refreshing rain.I remember the days of old - Former times.

(1) as contrasted with my present condition.

(2) as times when I called upon thee, and thou didst interpose.

(3) as encouraging me now to come to thee, and spread out my case before thee. See Psalm 77:5-11, note; Psalm 42:4, note.

I meditate on all thy works ... - On what thou hast done; on thy gracious interpositions in the time of trial; on the manifestations of thy power in my behalf, and in behalf of thy people. I call all this to mind, remembering that thou art an unchangeable God; that thou hast the same power still; that thou canst interpose now as thou didst then; and that, as an unchangeable God, thou wilt do it in the same circumstances. I, therefore, come to thee, and pray that thou wilt interpose in my behalf.

5, 6. The distress is aggravated by the contrast of former comfort (Ps 22:3-5), for whose return he longs.

a thirsty land—which needs rain, as did his spirit God's gracious visits (Ps 28:1; 89:17).

I remember the days of old, i.e. what thou hast done for thy servants in former times; which he mentions either,

1. As matter of terror, to consider how unlike God now was unto himself and to his former dealings; or,

2. As matter of support from former experience, because God was still the same. Either way it drives him to his prayers, which here follow. I remember the days of old,.... Former times he had read and heard of, in which the Lord appeared for his people that trusted in him; or the former part of his own life, his younger days, when the Lord delivered him from the lion and bear, and from the uncircumcised Philistine, whom he slew; and made him victorious in battles, and preserved him from the rage and malice of Saul. If this was written on account of Absalom, those times of deliverance he called to mind, in order to encourage his faith and hope, and cheer his drooping spirits;

I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands; the works of creation and providence, in order to observe the instances of divine power, wisdom, and goodness in them; and from thence fetch arguments, to engage his trust and confidence in the Lord: he both thought of these things within himself, and he "talked" (w) of them to his friends that were with him, as the last of these words used may signify; and all this he did to cheer his own spirit, and the spirits of the men that were with him, in the time of distress and danger.

(w) "loquor", Piscator; "sermocinatus sum", Cocceius; "aut colloquor", Gejerus, Michaelis.

I remember the {f} days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.

(f) That is, your great benefits of old, and the manifold examples of your favour towards your own.

5. Cp. Psalm 77:5; Psalm 77:11-12. The recollection of God’s wonderful works of old time deepens his despondency, as he ponders on the contrast; “a sorrow’s crown of sorrow is remembering happier things”: yet it emboldens him to fresh prayer.

thy works … the work of thy hands] Thy work … the doing of thy hands, as in Psalm 92:4.

5, 6. The thought of all that God wrought in ancient times makes him long for a fresh manifestation of His power.Verse 5. - I remember the days of old. Still, in the midst of all my troubles, I do not despair - "I remember the days of old" - the great things which God has done for me in the past (comp. Psalm 77:5, 10, 11). I meditate on all thy works; or, "on all thy doings." I muse on the work of thy hands (comp. Psalm 77:12). His request now ascends all the more confident of being answered, and becomes calm, being well-grounded in his feebleness and the superiority of his enemies, and aiming at the glorifying of the divine Name. In Psalm 142:7 רנּתי calls to mind Psalm 17:1; the first confirmation, Psalm 79:8, and the second, Psalm 18:18. But this is the only passage in the whole Psalter where the poet designates the "distress" in which he finds himself as a prison (מסגּר). V. 8b brings the whole congregation of the righteous in in the praising of the divine Name. The poet therefore does not after all find himself so absolutely alone, as it might seem according to Psalm 142:5. He is far from regarding himself as the only righteous person. He is only a member of a community or church whose destiny is interwoven with his own, and which will glory in his deliverance as its own; for "if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it" (1 Corinthians 12:26). We understand the differently interpreted יכתּירוּ after this "rejoicing with" (συγχαίρει). The lxx, Syriac, and Aquilaz render: the righteous wait for me; but to wait is כּתּר and not הכתּיר. The modern versions, on the other hand, almost universally, like Luther after Felix Pratensis, render: the righteous shall surround me (flock about me), in connection with which, as Hengstenberg observes, בּי denotes the tender sympathy they fell with him: crowding closely upon me. But there is no instance of a verb of surrounding (אפף, סבב, סבב, עוּד, עטר, הקּיף) taking בּ; the accusative stands with הכתּיר in Habakkuk 1:4, and כּתּר in Psalm 22:13, in the signification cingere. Symmachus (although erroneously rendering: τὸ ὄνομά σου στεφανώσονται δίκαιοι), Jerome (in me coronabuntur justi), Parchon, Aben-Ezra, Coccejus, and others, rightly take יכתּירוּ as a denominative from כּתר, to put on a crown or to crown (cf. Proverbs 14:18): on account of me the righteous shall adorn themselves as with crowns, i.e., shall triumph, that Thou dealest bountifully with me (an echo of Psalm 13:6). According to passages like Psalm 64:11; Psalm 40:17, one might have expected בּו instead of בּי. But the close of Psalm 22 (Psalm 22:23.), cf. Psalm 140:12., shows that בי is also admissible. The very fact that David contemplates his own destiny and the destiny of his foes in a not merely ideal but foreordainedly causal connection with the general end of the two powers that stand opposed to one another in the world, belongs to the characteristic impress of the Psalms of David that come from the time of Saul's persecution.
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