Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) I will dwell.—As the text stands it must be translated I will return (and abide) in the house of Jehovah.

The house of the Lord can hardly be anything but the Temple; though some commentators treat this even as figurative of membership in the Divine family.

Psalm 23:6. Surely goodness and mercy — That is, God’s favour, and the blessed and comfortable effects of it; shall follow me — Hebrew, ירדפוני, jirdepuni, shall pursue me, by which emphatical expression he signifies God’s wonderful freeness and readiness to do good to his people, and that his blessings not only prevent us, but even pursue them who flee from them, or that they follow us in our journey through life, as the water out of the rock followed the camp of Israel through the wilderness. All the days of my life — From the former instances of God’s favour to him, he justly concludes that he would continue to show him favour in a similar way; for nothing can separate us from the love of God, if we do not separate ourselves from it: and the experience we have had of his goodness and mercy, already so often vouchsafed, naturally tends to beget an assurance of their being continued to the end. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever — Whereas I have formerly been driven from God’s house, I rest assured that I shall now constantly enjoy that blessed privilege of worshipping and enjoying God in his sanctuary, which I prize more than all my dominions. David’s words here, however, look still further, even to a perfection of bliss in a future state: as if he had said, The divine goodness and mercy having followed me all the days of my life, when that is ended, I shall remove to a better world, to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever, the house of my heavenly Father, in which there are many mansions, where the church of God will constitute one fold, under one shepherd, “the fold into which no enemy enters, and from which no friend departs; where the servants of God rest from all their labours, and see a period to all their sorrows; where the voice of praise and thanksgiving is heard continually; where all the faithful, from Adam to his last-born son, shall meet together, to behold the face of Jesus, and to be blessed with the vision of the Almighty; where they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, or any heat. But the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and lead them to living fountains of waters, Revelation 7:16-17.” — Horne. 23:1-6 Confidence in God's grace and care. - "The Lord is my shepherd." In these words, the believer is taught to express his satisfaction in the care of the great Pastor of the universe, the Redeemer and Preserver of men. With joy he reflects that he has a shepherd, and that shepherd is Jehovah. A flock of sheep, gentle and harmless, feeding in verdant pastures, under the care of a skilful, watchful, and tender shepherd, forms an emblem of believers brought back to the Shepherd of their souls. The greatest abundance is but a dry pasture to a wicked man, who relishes in it only what pleases the senses; but to a godly man, who by faith tastes the goodness of God in all his enjoyments, though he has but little of the world, it is a green pasture. The Lord gives quiet and contentment in the mind, whatever the lot is. Are we blessed with the green pastures of the ordinances, let us not think it enough to pass through them, but let us abide in them. The consolations of the Holy Spirit are the still waters by which the saints are led; the streams which flow from the Fountain of living waters. Those only are led by the still waters of comfort, who walk in the paths of righteousness. The way of duty is the truly pleasant way. The work of righteousness in peace. In these paths we cannot walk, unless. God lead us into them, and lead us on in them. Discontent and distrust proceed from unbelief; an unsteady walk is the consequence: let us then simply trust our Shepherd's care, and hearken to his voice. The valley of the shadow of death may denote the most severe and terrible affliction, or dark dispensation of providence, that the psalmist ever could come under. Between the part of the flock on earth and that which is gone to heaven, death lies like a dark valley that must be passed in going from one to the other. But even in this there are words which lessen the terror. It is but the shadow of death: the shadow of a serpent will not sting, nor the shadow of a sword kill. It is a valley, deep indeed, and dark, and miry; but valleys are often fruitful, and so is death itself fruitful of comforts to God's people. It is a walk through it: they shall not be lost in this valley, but get safe to the mountain on the other side. Death is a king of terrors, but not to the sheep of Christ. When they come to die, God will rebuke the enemy; he will guide them with his rod, and sustain them with his staff. There is enough in the gospel to comfort the saints when dying, and underneath them are the everlasting arms. The Lord's people feast at his table, upon the provisions of his love. Satan and wicked men are not able to destroy their comforts, while they are anointed with the Holy Spirit, and drink of the cup of salvation which is ever full. Past experience teaches believers to trust that the goodness and mercy of God will follow them all the days of their lives, and it is their desire and determination, to seek their happiness in the service of God here, and they hope to enjoy his love for ever in heaven. While here, the Lord can make any situation pleasant, by the anointing of his Spirit and the joys of his salvation. But those that would be satisfied with the blessings of his house, must keep close to the duties of it.Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me - God will bestow them upon me. This is the "result" of what is stated in the previous verses. The effect of God's merciful dealings with him had been to lead his mind to the assurance that God would always be his shepherd and friend; that He would never leave him to want.

All the days of my life - Through all its changes; in every variety of situation; until I reach its close. Life indeed would end, and he does not venture to conjecture when that would be; but as long as life should continue, he felt confidently assured that everything needful for him would be bestowed upon him. The language is the utterance of a heart overflowing with joy and gratitude in the recollection of the past, and full of glad anticipation (as derived from the experience of the past) in regard to the future.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever - Margin, as in Hebrew: "to length of days." The expression, I think, does not refer to eternity or to heaven, but it is parallel with the former expression "All the days of my life;" that is, he would dwell in the house of the Lord as long as he lived - with the idea added here, which was not in the former member of the sentence, that his life would be long, or that he hoped and anticipated that he would live long on the earth. The phrase used here, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord," is one that is several times employed in the Psalms as indicative of the wish of the psalmist. Thus, in Psalm 27:4, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." Psalm 26:8, "lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honor dwelleth." Psalm 65:4, "blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts."

Psalm 84:4, "blessed are they that dwell in thy house." (Compare also Psalm 87:1, Psalm 87:3,10). The "language" here is obviously taken from the employment of those who had their habitation near the tabernacle, and afterward the temple, whose business it was to attend constantly on the service of God, and to minister in his courts. We are not to suppose of David that he anticipated such a residence in or near the tabernacle or the house of God; but the meaning is, that he anticipated and desired a life as if he dwelt there, and as if he was constantly engaged in holy occupations. His life would be spent as if in the constant service of God; his joy and peace in religion would be as if he were always within the immediate dwelling-place of the Most High. This expresses the desire of a true child of God. He wishes to live as if he were always engaged in solemn acts of worship, and occupied in holy things; he desires peace and joy in religion as if he were constantly in the place where God makes his abode, and allowed to partake of his smiles and friendship. In a very important sense it is his privilege so to live even on earth; it will certainly be his privilege so to live in heaven: and, full of grateful exultation and joy, every child of God may adopt this language as his own, and say confidently, "Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life here, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever," for heaven, where God dwells, will be his eternal home.

5, 6. Another figure expresses God's provided care.

a table—or, "food," anointing

oil—the symbol of gladness, and the overflowing

cup—which represents abundance—are prepared for the child of God, who may feast in spite of his enemies, confident that this favor will ever attend him. This beautiful Psalm most admirably sets before us, in its chief figure, that of a shepherd, the gentle, kind, and sure care extended to God's people, who, as a shepherd, both rules and feeds them. The closing verse shows that the blessings mentioned are spiritual.

Goodness and mercy, i.e. God’s favour, and the blessed and comfortable effects and benefits of it.

Shall follow me; by which emphatical expression he signifies God’s admirable freeness and readiness to do good to his people, and his preventing them with blessings.

All the days of my life; which he justly concludes from the former instances of God’s favour to him because of the unchangeableness of God’s nature, and the stability of his covenant and promises. Whereas I have formerly been driven from God’s house, I rest assured that I shall now constantly enjoy that blessed privilege of serving and enjoying God in his sanctuary, which I prize more than all my dominions Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me,.... Either the free grace, love, favour, and mercy of God in Christ, which endures continually, and is always the same from everlasting to everlasting; or the effects of it; and these either temporal good things, which flow from the goodness and mercy of God, and not the merits of men; and which are in great mercy and loving kindness bestowed on his people, and which follow them: they do not anxiously seek after them; but seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness, these are added to them, they trusting in the Lord, and he caring for them: or spiritual good things, which arise from the mere grace and mercy of God; such as the blessings of the covenant, the sure mercies of David, the discoveries and instances of the love of God, and the provisions of his house, which follow them, being undeserving of them; and even when they have backslidden from the Lord, and in times of distress, when his grace is sufficient for them; and of all this the psalmist had a comfortable assurance, depending upon the promise of God, arguing from the blessings he had already bestowed, and from the constant care he takes of his people, having in view his unchangeableness and faithfulness, the firmness of his covenant, and the irreversibleness of the blessings of it: the words may be rendered "only goodness and mercy", &c. (c) nothing but mere mercy and kindness; for though afflictions do attend the children of God, yet these are in mercy and love; there is no fury in the Lord against them; there is nothing comes in wrath to them, throughout the whole course of their lives; wherefore it is added,

all the days of my life; the mercies of God are new every morning, they continue all the day long; temporal goodness abides as long as life lasts, and ends with it; and spiritual blessings are for ever, they are the gifts of God, which are without repentance;

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever; which may denote his constant attendance on the public worship of God, of which he had been deprived in time past, being driven out from it, but now he enjoyed it, and believed he ever should; or it may design his being a member of the church of God, and a pillar in the house and temple of the Lord, that should never go out; see Revelation 3:12; or it may regard the assurance he had of dwelling in the house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens, Christ's Father's house, in which are many mansions, sure dwellings, and quiet resting places for his people, and that to all eternity. The Targum interprets it of the house of the sanctuary; and Kimchi expounds the whole verse in a petitionary way, "may goodness and mercy", &c.

(c) "nil nisi", Junius & Tremellius; "certe vel tantum", Cocceius.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the {g} house of the LORD for ever.

(g) He does not set his happiness in the pleasures of this world, but in the fear and service of God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. Surely] Or, as R.V. marg., only. Nothing but goodness and mercy shall pursue me. What a contrast to the lot of the wicked man, pursued by the angel of judgment (Psalm 35:6), hunted by calamity (Psalm 140:11).

And I will dwell] The text as it stands would mean, and I will return [to dwell] in the house of the Lord. But a comparison of Psalm 27:4 leaves no doubt that we should read shibhtî or regard shabhtî as an exceptional form for it, and explain, and my dwelling shall be &c. Clearly the words are to be understood figuratively, and not of actual residence within the precincts of the temple. Cp. Psalm 36:8.

for ever] Lit. for length of days. The blessing of long life (Psalm 21:4) is crowned by the still greater blessing of the most intimate fellowship with God.Verse 6. - Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. The past is an earnest of the future, As God's "goodness and mercy" have always followed him hitherto, David has no doubt that they will continue to cling to him while his life continues. And I will dwell. in the house of the Lord for ever (comp. Psalm 27:4, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple"). Such passages are, of course, not to be understood literally; they express the longing of the soul for a sense of the continual presence of God, and a realization of constant communion with him.



The eating is here again brought to mind. The perfect, אכלוּ, and the future of sequence, ויּשׁתּחווּ, stand to one another in the relation of cause and effect. It is, as is clear from Psalm 22:27, an eating that satisfies the soul, a spiritual meal, that is intended, and in fact, one that is brought about by the mighty act of rescue God has wrought. At the close of Psalm 69, where the form of the ritual thank-offering is straightway ignored, ראוּ (Psalm 22:23) takes the place of the אכלוּ. There it is the view of one who is rescued and who thankfully glorifies God, which leads to others sharing with him in the enjoyment of the salvation he has experienced; here it is an actual enjoyment of it, the joy, springing from thankfulness, manifesting itself not merely in words but in a thank-offering feast, at which, in Israel, those who long for salvation are the invited guests, for with them it is an acknowledgment of the mighty act of a God whom they already know; but among the heathen, men of the most diversified conditions, the richest and the poorest, for to them it is a favour unexpectedly brought to them, and which is all the more gratefully embraced by them on that account. So magnificent shall be the feast, that all דּשׁני־ארץ, i.e., those who stand out prominently before the world and before their own countrymen by reason of the abundance of their temporal possessions (compare on the ascensive use of ארץ, Psalm 75:9; Psalm 76:10; Isaiah 23:9), choose it before this abundance, in which they might revel, and, on account of the grace and glory which the celebration includes within itself, they bow down and worship. In antithesis to the "fat ones of the earth" stand those who go down to the dust (עפר, always used in this formula of the dust of the grave, like the Arabic turâb) by reason of poverty and care. In the place of the participle יורדי we now have with ונפשׁו ( equals ואשׁר נפשׁו) a clause with ולא, which has the value of a relative clause (as in Psalm 49:21; Psalm 78:39, Proverbs 9:13, and frequently): and they who have not heretofore prolonged and could not prolong their life (Ges. 123, 3, c). By comparing Philippians 2:10 Hupfeld understands it to be those who are actually dead; so that it would mean, His kingdom extends to the living and the dead, to this world and the nether world. But any idea of a thankful adoration of God on the part of the dwellers in Hades is alien to the Old Testament; and there is nothing to force us to it here, since יורד עפר, can just as well mean descensuri as qui descenderunt, and נפשׁו dna ,tnuredne חיּה (also in Ezekiel 18:27) means to preserve his own life, - a phrase which can be used in the sense of vitam sustentare and of conservare with equal propriety. It is, therefore, those who are almost dead already with care and want, these also (and how thankfully do these very ones) go down upon their knees, because they are accounted worthy to be guests at this table. It is the same great feast, of which Isaiah, Isaiah 25:6, prophesies, and which he there accompanies with the music of his words. And the result of this evangel of the mighty act of rescue is not only of boundless universality, but also of unlimited duration: it propagates itself from one generation to another.

Formerly we interpreted Psalm 22:31 "a seed, which shall serve Him, shall be reckoned to the Lord for a generation;" taking יספּר as a metaphor applying to the census, 2 Chronicles 2:16, cf. Psalm 87:6, and לדּור, according to Psalm 24:6 and other passages, as used of a totality of one kind, as זרע of the whole body of those of the same race. But the connection makes it more natural to take דור in a genealogical sense; and, moreover, with the former interpretation it ought to have been לדּור instead of לדּור. We must therefore retain the customary interpretation: "a seed (posterity) shall serve Him, it shall be told concerning the Lord to the generation (to come)." Decisive in favour of this interpretation is לדּור with the following יבאוּ, by which דור acquires the meaning of the future generation, exactly as in Psalm 71:18, inasmuch as it at once becomes clear, that three generations are distinctly mentioned, viz., that of the fathers who turn unto Jahve, Psalm 22:30, that of the coming דור, Psalm 22:31, and עם נולד, to whom the news of the salvation is propagated by this דור, Psalm 22:31 : "They shall come (בּוא as in Psalm 71:18 : to come into being), and shall declare His righteousness to the people that shall be born, that He hath finished." Accordingly זרע is the principal notion, which divides itself into (יבאו) דור and עם נולד; from which it is at once clear, why the expression could be thus general, "a posterity," inasmuch as it is defined by what follows. עם נולד is the people which shall be born, or whose birth is near at hand (Psalm 78:6); the lxx well renders it: λαῷ τῷ τεχθησομένῳ (cf. Psalm 102:19 עם נברא populus creandus). צדקתו is the dikaiosu'nee of God, which has become manifest in the rescue of the great sufferer. That He did not suffer him to come down to the very border of death without snatching him out of the way of his murderous foes and raising him to a still greater glory, this was divine צדקה. That He did not snatch him out of the way of his murderous foes without suffering him to be on the point of death - even this wrathful phase of the divine צדקה, is indicated in Psalm 22:16, but then only very remotely. For the fact, that the Servant of God, before spreading the feast accompanying the shelamim (thank-offering) in which He makes the whole world participants in the fruit of His suffering, offered Himself as an asham (sin-offering), does not become a subject of prophetic revelation until later on, and then under other typical relationships. The nature of the עשׂה, which is in accordance with the determinate counsel of God, is only gradually disclosed in the Old Testament. This one word, so full of meaning (as in Psalm 52:11; Psalm 37:5; Isaiah 44:23), implying the carrying through of the work of redemption, which is prefigured in David, comprehends everything within itself. It may be compared to the לעשׂות, Genesis 2:3, at the close of the history of the creation. It is the last word of the Psalm, just as τετέλεσται is the last word of the Crucified One. The substance of the gospel in its preparatory history and its fulfilment, of the declaration concerning God which passes from generation to generation, is this, that God has accomplished what He planned when He anointed the son of Jesse and the Son of David as mediator in His work of redemption; that He accomplished it by leading the former through affliction to the throne, and making the cross to the latter a ladder leading up to heaven.

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