Psalm 34:20
He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Broken.—See John 19:36, N. Test. Commentary.

34:11-22 Let young persons set out in life with learning the fear of the Lord, if they desire true comfort here, and eternal happiness hereafter. Those will be most happy who begin the soonest to serve so good a Master. All aim to be happy. Surely this must look further than the present world; for man's life on earth consists but of few days, and those full of trouble. What man is he that would see the good of that where all bliss is perfect? Alas! few have this good in their thoughts. That religion promises best which creates watchfulness over the heart and over the tongue. It is not enough not to do hurt, we must study to be useful, and to live to some purpose; we must seek peace and pursue it; be willing to deny ourselves a great deal for peace' sake. It is the constant practice of real believers, when in distress, to cry unto God, and it is their constant comfort that he hears them. The righteous are humbled for sin, and are low in their own eyes. Nothing is more needful to true godliness than a contrite heart, broken off from every self-confidence. In this soil every grace will flourish, and nothing can encourage such a one but the free, rich grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The righteous are taken under the special protection of the Lord, yet they have their share of crosses in this world, and there are those that hate them. Both from the mercy of Heaven, and the malice of hell, the afflictions of the righteous must be many. But whatever troubles befal them, shall not hurt their souls, for God keeps them from sinning in troubles. No man is desolate, but he whom God has forsaken.He keepeth all his bones - That is, he preserves or guards the righteous.

Not one of them is broken - Perhaps there is a direct and immediate allusion here to what the psalmist had himself experienced. In His dangers God had preserved him, so that he had escaped without a broken bone. But the statement is more general, and is designed to convey a truth in respect to the usual and proper effect of religion, or to denote the advantage, in reference to personal safety in the dangers of this life, derived from religion. The language is of a general character, such as often occurs in the Scriptures, and it should, in all fairness, be so construed. It cannot mean that the bones of a righteous man are never broken, or that the fact that a man has a broken bone proves that he is not righteous; but it means that, as a general principle, religion conduces to safety, or that the righteous are under the protection of God. Compare Matthew 10:30-31. Nothing more can be demanded in the fair interpretation of the language than this.

20. bones—framework of the body. All his bones, i.e. all the parts and members of their bodies, which are synecdochically expressed by the bones, which are the stay and strength of the rest. God will not suffer any mischief to befall him; though he may be oft afflicted, yet he shall not be destroyed. But these words, though they are here spoken of the righteous men in general, of whom they are true in a metaphorical sense; yet they had a further meaning in them, being designed by the Spirit of God (which dictated to David, not only the matter, but the very words and expressions) to signify a great mystery, that none of Christ’s bones should be broken; to which purpose they are alleged, John 19:36. He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken. This is literally true of Christ, in whom the type of the passover lamb had its accomplishment, and this passage also; see Exodus 12:46; and seems better to agree with him than with any of his members, since the bones of many of them have been broken by one accident or another; and especially many of the martyrs of Jesus have had all their bones broken upon the rack or wheel; wherefore, to understand these words of them might tend to create uneasiness and despondency in the minds of such who by any means have their bones broken; as if they were not righteous persons, this promise not being fulfilled in them: and to interpret this of the Lord's keeping the bones of his people in the grave, and in the resurrection putting them together again; this is no other than what will be done to the wicked; it seems therefore best to understand the whole of Christ; and it looks as if this passage was had in view as fulfilled in John 19:36; since a Scripture is referred to; but if it is interpreted of the righteous in general, it must be with a limitation; as that their bones are all kept by the Lord, and not one is broken without his knowledge and will; and that they are not broken finally, but restored again perfect and whole in the resurrection, and so will continue to all eternity: the phrase, without entering into particulars, may in general design the care of Providence over the righteous; with this compare Matthew 10:29. {m} He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

(m) And as Christ says, all the hairs of his head.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. As breaking the bones is a forcible metaphor for the torture of pain that racks the bodily framework (Psalm 51:8; Isaiah 38:13), or for cruel oppression (Micah 3:3), so keeping them denotes the safe preservation of the man’s whole being. See note on Psalm 6:2. This passage as well as Exodus 12:46 may have been present to the Evangelist’s mind as fulfilled in Christ (John 19:36). The promise to the righteous man found an unexpectedly literal realisation in the passion of the perfectly Righteous One.Verse 20. - He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. The "bones" are put for the entire frame, or body, of a man (comp. Psalm 6:2; Psalm 31:10; Psalm 32:3; Psalm 38:3; Psalm 42:10; Psalm 102:3). God "keepeth," i.e. watches over, keeps from harm, the entire persons of the righteous, letting no hurt touch them, but such as he permits and sees to be needful. In using the phrase, "not one of them is broken," the psalmist probably alludes to Exodus 12:46 and Numbers 9:12, taking the Paschal lamb as a type of innocence, and so of godliness. (Heb.: 34:12-15) The first main division of the Psalm is ended; the second (much the same as in Psalm 32:1-11) assumes more the tone of a didactic poem; although even Psalm 34:6, Psalm 34:9 have something of the didactic style about them. The poet first of all gives a direction for fearing God. We may compare Psalm 32:8; Psalm 51:15 - how thoroughly Davidic is the turn which the Psalm here takes! בּנים are not children in years or in understanding; but it is a tender form of address of a master experienced in the ways of God to each one and to all, as in Proverbs 1:8, and frequently. In Psalm 34:13 he throws out the question, which he himself answers in Psalm 34:14. This form of giving impressiveness to a truth by setting it forth as a solution of some question that has been propounded is a habit with David. Psalm 14:1; Psalm 24:8, Psalm 24:10; Psalm 25:12. In the use made of this passage from the Psalms in 1 Peter 3:10-12 ( equals Psalm 34:13 of the Psalm) this form of the question is lost sight of. To חפץ חיּים, as being just as exclusive in sense, corresponds אהב ימים, so that consequently לראות is a definition of the purpose. ימים signifies days in the mass, just as חיּים means long-enduring life. We see from James 3:2., where Psalm 34:13 also, in its form, calls to mind the Psalm before us, why the poet gives the pre-eminence to the avoiding of sins of the tongue. In Psalm 34:15, from among what is good peace is made prominent, - peace, which not only are we not to disturb, but which we are to seek, yea, pursue it like as the hunter pursues the finest of the herds. Let us follow, says the apostle Paul also, Romans 14:19 (cf. Hebrews 12:14), after those things which make for peace. שׁלום is a relationship, harmonious and free from trouble, that is well-pleasing to the God of love. The idea of the bond of fellowship is connected with the corresponding word eiree'nee, according to its radical notion.
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