Psalm 71:21
You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.
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(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.
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). In view of Psalm 40:15 (Psalm 70:3), Psalm 35:4, Psalm 35:26; Psalm 109:29, and other passages, the reading of יכּלמוּ, with the Syriac, instead of יכלוּ in Psalm 71:13 commends itself; but there are also other instances in this Psalm of a modification of the original passages, and the course of the thoughts is now climactic: confusion, ruin (cf. Psalm 6:11), and in fact ruin accompanied by reproach and shame. This is the fate that the poet desires for his deadly foes. In prospect of this he patiently composes himself, Psalm 71:14 (cf. 31:25); and when righteous retribution appears, he will find new matter and ground and motive for the praise of God in addition to all such occasion as he has hitherto had. The late origin of the Psalm betrays itself again here; for instead of the praet. Hiph. הוסיף (which is found only in the Books of Kings and in Ecclesiastes), the older language made use of the praet. Ka. Without ceasing shall his mouth tell (ספּר, as in Jeremiah 51:10) of God's righteousness, of God's salvation for he knows not numbers, i.e., the counting over or through of them (Psalm 139:17.);

(Note: The lxx renders οὐκ ἔγνων πραγματείας; the Psalterium Romanum, non cognovi negotiationes; Psalt. Gallicum (Vulgate), non cognovi literaturam (instead of which the Psalt. Hebr., literaturas). According to Bttcher, the poet really means that he did not understand the art of writing.)

the divine proofs of righteousness or salvation עצמוּ מסּפּר (Psalm 40:6), they are in themselves endless, and therefore the matter also which they furnish for praise is inexhaustible. He will tell those things which cannot be so reckoned up; he will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord Jahve, and with praise acknowledge His righteousness, Him alone. Since גּברות, like the New Testament δυνάμεις, usually signifies the proofs of the divine גּבוּרה (e.g., Psalm 20:7), the Beth is the Beth of accompaniment, as e.g., in Psalm 40:8; Psalm 66:13. בּוא בּ, vernire cum, is like Arab. j'â' b (atâ), equivalent to afferre, he will bring the proofs of the divine power, this rich material, with him. It is evident from Psalm 71:18. that בגברות does not refer to the poet (in the fulness of divine strength), but, together with צדקתך, forms a pair of words that have reference to God. לבדּך, according to the sense, joins closely upon the suffix of צדקתך (cf. Psalm 83:19): Thy righteousness (which has been in mercy turned towards me), Thine alone (te solum equals tui solius). From youth up God has instructed him, viz., in His ways (Psalm 25:4), which are worthy of all praise, and hitherto (עד־הנּה, found only in this passage in the Psalter, and elsewhere almost entirely confined to prose) has he, "the taught of Jahve" (למּוּד ה), had to praise the wonders of His rule and of His leadings. May God, then, not forsake him even further on עד־זקנה ושׂיבה. The poet is already old (זקן), and is drawing ever nearer to שׂיבה, silvery, hoary old age (cf. 1 Samuel 12:2). May God, then, in this stage of life also to which he has attained, preserve him in life and in His favour, until (עד equals עד־אשׁר, as in Psalm 132:5; Genesis 38:11, and frequently) he shall have declared His arm, i.e., His mighty interposition in human history, to posterity (דּור), and to all who shall come (supply אשׁר), i.e., the whole of the future generation, His strength, i.e., the impossibility of thwarting His purposes. The primary passage for this is Psalm 22:31.

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