Psalm 71:21
Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Comfort me on every side.—Literally, either thou wilt compass with comfort, or wilt turn with comfort. The LXX. adopts the latter.

71:14-24 The psalmist declares that the righteousness of Christ, and the great salvation obtained thereby, shall be the chosen subject of his discourse. Not on a sabbath only, but on every day of the week, of the year, of his life. Not merely at stated returns of solemn devotion, but on every occasion, all the day long. Why will he always dwell on this? Because he knew not the numbers thereof. It is impossible to measure the value or the fulness of these blessings. The righteousness is unspeakable, the salvation everlasting. God will not cast off his grey-headed servants when no longer capable of labouring as they have done. The Lord often strengthens his people in their souls, when nature is sinking into decay. And it is a debt which the old disciples of Christ owe to succeeding generations, to leave behind them a solemn testimony to the advantage of religion, and the truth of God's promises; and especially to the everlasting righteousness of the Redeemer. Assured of deliverance and victory, let us spend our days, while waiting the approach of death, in praising the Holy One of Israel with all our powers. And while speaking of his righteousness, and singing his praises, we shall rise above fears and infirmities, and have earnests of the joys of heaven. The work of redemption ought, above all God's works, to be spoken of by us in our praises. The Lamb that was slain, and has redeemed us to God, is worthy of all blessing and praise.Thou shalt increase my greatness - Thou wilt not merely restore me to my former condition, but wilt enlarge my happiness, and wilt do still greater things for me.

And comfort me on every side - literally, "Thou wilt turn thyself; thou wilt comfort me." The word also means to surround; to encompass Genesis 2:11, Genesis 2:13; 1 Kings 7:24; Psalm 18:5; and the idea here may be that God would "go around him," or encircle him, and would thus comfort him. This idea is expressed in our common version. It was the confident assurance of entire, or complete consolation.

21. increase, &c.—that is, the great things done for me (Ps 71:19; compare Ps 40:5). I am assured that thou wilt not only restore to me that royal majesty which my son hath invaded, but also increase my honour and power.

Thou shalt increase my greatness,.... His temporal greatness, as he did, by crushing the rebellion of his son; returning him to his palace and family; and giving him rest from his enemies all around: and his spiritual greatness, by favouring him with his presence; by shedding abroad his love in his heart; by enlarging his experience; increasing his faith, causing his love to abound, and him to grow in every grace, and in the knowledge of Christ;

and comfort me on every side; by his Spirit, word, and ordinances; by his truths and promises; with his rod and staff; and with mercy, grace, and lovingkindness. The phrase denotes the abundance of comfort, which should come as it were from every quarter, and encompass him about.

Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. O mayest thou increase my greatness,

And turn again and comfort me.

Except in the Book of Esther the word for greatness is used of God’s greatness or great deeds (Psalm 145:3; Psalm 145:6); and the LXX reads thy righteousness, or, according to some MSS. and the Vulg., thy greatness. This may be right; but if the text is correct, the Psalmist thinks of himself as sharing in the honour of the resuscitated nation. He can hardly refer to personal dignity only. For comfort cp. Isaiah 12:1; Isaiah 40:1. The past tenses of the P.B.V. in this and the preceding verse are due to the influence of the Vulg.

21–24. Repeated prayers and vows of thanksgiving.

Verse 21. - Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. The psalmist feels that the trial now laid upon him is the last - that henceforth his greatness and majesty will increase instead of diminishing, and that God will turn and comfort him (comp. 1 Chronicles 29:28). Psalm 71:21The thought of this proclamation so thoroughly absorbs the poet that he even now enters upon the tone of it; and since to his faith the deliverance is already a thing of the past, the tender song with its uncomplaining prayer dies away into a loud song of praise, in which he pictures it all to himself. Without Psalm 71:19-21 being subordinate to עד־אגיד in Psalm 71:18, וצדקתך is coupled by close connection with בגורתך. Psalm 71:19 is an independent clause; and עד־מרום takes the place of the predicate: the righteousness of God exceeds all bounds, is infinite (Psalm 36:6., Psalm 57:11). The cry כמוך מי, as in Psalm 35:10; Psalm 69:9, Jeremiah 10:6, refers back to Exodus 15:11. According to the Chethb, the range of the poet's vision widens in Psalm 71:20 from the proofs of the strength and righteousness of God which he has experienced in his own case to those which he has experienced in common with others in the history of his own nation. The Ker (cf. on the other hand Psalm 60:5; Psalm 85:7; Deuteronomy 31:17) rests upon a failing to discern how the experiences of the writer are interwoven with those of the nation. תּשׁוּב in both instances supplies the corresponding adverbial notion to the principal verb, as in Psalm 85:7 (cf. Psalm 51:4). תּהום, prop. a rumbling, commonly used of a deep heaving of waters, here signifies an abyss. "The abysses of the earth" (lxx ἐκ τῶν ἀβύσσων τῆς γῆς, just as the old Syriac version renders the New Testament ἄβυσσος, e.g., in Luke 8:31, by Syr. tehūmā') are, like the gates of death (Psalm 9:14), a figure of extreme perils and dangers, in the midst of which one is as it were half hidden in the abyss of Hades. The past and future are clearly distinguished in the sequence of the tenses. When God shall again raise His people out of the depth of the present catastrophe, then will He also magnify the גּדלּה of the poet, i.e., in the dignity of his office, by most brilliantly vindicating him in the face of his foes, and will once more (תּסּוב, fut. Niph. like תּשׁוּב ekil .h above) comfort him. He on his part will also (cf. Job 40:14) be grateful for this national restoration and this personal vindication: he will praise God, will praise His truth, i.e., His fidelity to His promises. בּכלי נבל instead of בּנבל sounds more circumstantial than in the old poetry. The divine name "The Holy One of Israel" occurs here for the third time in the Psalter; the other passages are Psalm 78:41; Psalm 89:19, which are older in time, and older also than Isaiah, who uses it thirty times, and Habakkuk, who uses it once. Jeremiah has it twice (Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:5), and that after the example of Isaiah. In Psalm 71:23, Psalm 71:24 the poet means to say that lips and tongue, song and speech, shall act in concert in the praise of God. תּרנּנּה with Dagesh also in the second Nun, after the form תּקוננּה, תּשׁכּנּה, side by side with which we also find the reading תּרנּנּה, and the reading תּרנּנה, which is in itself admissible, after the form תּאמנה, תּעגנה, but is here unattested.

(Note: Heidenheim reads תּרנּנּה with Segol, following the statement of Ibn-Bil'am in his טעמי המקרא and of Mose ha-Nakdan in his דרכי הנקוד, that Segol always precedes the ending נּה, with the exception only of הנּה and האזנּה. Baer, on the other hand, reads תונּנּה, following Aben-Ezra and Kimchi (Michlol 66b).)

The cohortative after כּי (lxx ὅταν) is intended to convey this meaning: when I feel myself impelled to harp unto Thee. In the perfects in the closing line that which is hoped for stands before his soul as though it had already taken place. כי is repeated with triumphant emphasis.

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