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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 102

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

« A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD. » Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.

A Prayer of the afflicted — Or, for the afflicted, made by Daniel, or some other prophet, not long before the return out of Babylon, where they suffered much but prayed little, as Daniel confesseth, Daniel 9:13 . Here, therefore, they are taught to take unto them words, and say, "Hear my prayer, O Lord," … In greatest afflictions there is place left for prayer, Psalms 130:1 , and something God will yield to it, when most bitterly bent against a people, Matthew 24:20-21 .

When he is overwhelmed — Pressed out of measure above strength, 2 Corinthians 1:8 , ad deliquium animae, till heart faint and faith seem to fail, bowing down through weight of grief, ac si pars una corporis alia esset operta; for so the word here used signifieth, saith Kimchi, as if one part of the body were overcovered with another. Estque pulchra collatio in verbis gnataph et shaphac, quae naturam fidei depingunt, saith Mollerus; faith may be under a cloud for a season, but it will recover, and pour out its complaint before the Lord.

Hear my prayer, O Lord — O Lord Christ, for so this psalm is to be understood, as the apostle showeth, Hebrews 1:6

And let my cry — Which is, that thou wouldest be pleased to bring us poor exiles back to our own country; and so this prayer is answerable to that of Daniel 9:1-27

Verse 2

Hide not thy face from me in the day [when] I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day [when] I call answer me speedily.

Hide not thy face from me — For this would be worse than all the rest. See Jeremiah 16:13 , "I will cast you out of this land, and I will show you no favour." This last was a cutting speech, and far worse than their captivity; and yet,

Answer me speedilyFestina, responde. In our earnest prayers we may press for expedition in general, not tying God to any particular time, as those Bethulians did in the Book of Judith.

Verse 3

For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.

For my days are consumed like smoke — Which the higher it mounteth the sooner it vanisheth. Some read it, in the smoke. So Psalms 119:83 , "I am become like a bottle in the smoke," dried and withered, exsuccus et exsanguis.

And my bones are burnt as an hearthOssa mea quasi frixa contabuerunt. My strength is gone, Veluti sartagines (Arab.). Here, to the twelfth verse, is a most lively picture of a dejected person, such as can hardly be paralleled; teaching us to be deeply affected with the Church’s afflictions.

Verse 4

My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.

My heart is smitten — Blasted with thine indignation, that ventus urens et exsiccans.

So that I forget to eat my bread — I am stomachless, through want of that heat that my heart should supply.

Verse 5

By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.

By reason of the voice of my groaning — A broken spirit drieth the bones, Proverbs 17:22 , and, by drinking up the marrow and radical moisture, casteth all into a consumption.

Verse 6

I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.

I am like a pelican — Or bittern, which liveth in lonely places, and crieth out dolefully, Isaiah 34:11 Zephaniah 2:14 .

I am like an owl in the desertAvis lucifuga, a night bird, a night raven, the Vulgate hath it; others, a bat, a cuckoo, but mostly an owl, that noctis monstrum, as Pliny, lib. 10, cap. 12, speaketh of her, nec cantu aliquo vocales sed gemitu, hated of all other fowls, which never come near her, but to keep a wondering at her.

Verse 7

I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.

I watch — I can as little sleep as eat, Psalms 102:4 . That nurse of nature, and sweet parenthesis of men’s griefs and cares, sleep, departeth from me,

And am as a sparrow — That hath lost his mate, so have I mine associates, which is a sore loss, for optimum solatium sodalitium.

Verse 8

Mine enemies reproach me all the day; [and] they that are mad against me are sworn against me.

Mine enemies reproach me all the day — This is an evil that man’s nature is most impatient with. See Psal. cxxxvii.

And they that are mad against me — That let fly at me, or that once praised me, flattered me. So the Sept.

Are sworn against me — Have sworn my death, or do swear and curse by me, as the Turks do at this day, when, to confirm a truth, they say, Iudaeus sim si fallam, I would I were a Jew, it is so. See Zechariah 8:13 Isaiah 6:11-13 Jeremiah 29:22 . God make thee as Ahab, and as Zedekiah, …

Verse 9

For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping,

For I have eaten ashes like bread — Being cast on the ground as a mourner, I know not whether I eat bread or dust; this relisheth to me as well as that, my mouth is so out of taste.

And mingled my drink with weeping — I forbare not to weep, no, not while I drank; for tow is dry, and wine driveth away sorrow, we say; not so from me. Wine is called by Simonides in Athenaeus αμυντωρ δυσφροσυναων , an expeller of sadness.

Verse 10

Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.

Because of thine indignation — This lay heavier upon the good man’s heart than all the rest, God was displeased.

For thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down — That is, that I might fall with the greater poise. Significatur gravissima collisio. De coelo in terram (R. Solom.). Here the prophet accuseth not God of cruelty, but bewaileth his own misery. Miserum est fuisse felicem, It is no small unhappiness to have been happy.

Verse 11

My days [are] like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.

My days are like a shadow that declineth — As at sunset the shadows are at longest, but not longlasting.

And I am withered like grass — Mown down, and laid a drying.

Verse 12

But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.

But thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever — And therefore we, thy covenanters, shall be restored, Lamentations 5:19 .

And thy remembrance — Which thou hast of us, and we of thee.

Verse 13

Thou shalt arise, [and] have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.

Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion — This he speaketh with as much confidence as if he had been in God’s bosom; for he knew the promise of deliverance after 70 years’ captivity. See the like Habakkuk 1:12 .

For the time to favour her, … — This he understood by books, as Daniel 9:2 , and therefore presseth God to a speedy performance. God loveth to be burdened with his own word, to be sued upon his own bond, … But besides the promise, the psalmist had another ground of his confidence, and that is in the next.

Verse 14

For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.

For thy servants take pleasure in her stones — They pity her, and wish her welfare; much more then dost thou. He argueth from that sweet, tender, melting frame of spirit that was found in the faithful, which is but a reflex of that far sweeter that is in God.

And favour the dust thereof — The ruins and the rubbish, heartily desiring and expecting a re-edification and restoration, whereof they had a sweet promise, Amos 9:9 , and for the spiritual temple to be built of Jews and Gentiles, they had many more. See all that followeth.

Verse 15

So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.

So the heathen shall fear, … — By the restoration of Jerusalem, where the Messiah was to be born and manifested, the everlasting gospel shall be preached, and the Gentiles converted to the faith.

And all the kings of the earth — Caught by those fishermen, and their successors in the ministry.

Verse 16

When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.

When the Lord shall build up Zion — Isaiah had foretold that the second temple should be more glorious than the first, Isaiah 54:11 ; Isaiah 60:17 , the stones whereof were types of those living stones whereof that spiritual temple was to be built, 1 Peter 2:5 , and wherein God would manifest more of his glory than ever he had done in all the world besides.

Verse 17

He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.

He will regard the prayer of the destitute — Heb. of the poor shrub that is in the wilderness, trod upon by beasts, unregarded, worthless; heath, juniper, wild tamarisk, Humilesque myricae (Virg.). Tremellius rendereth it Nudatissimi; others Excitantis se, the prayer of one that stirreth up himself to take hold of God, and thereby prevaileth with him. I came for thy prayer, saith the angel to Daniel, Psalms 10:12 .

Verse 18

This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.

This shall be written for the generation to come — This, that the poor shrub hath sped so well in prayer, together with all other the particulars of this psalm, and indeed the whole Scripture, Romans 15:4 . So little truth is there in that assertion of the Jesuits, that the epistles of the apostles were intended only for the use of those Churches or persons to whom they were first written.

And the people which shall be created — "Created in Christ Jesus unto good works," Ephesians 2:10 , his regenerated people; for God planteth the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth, that he may "say to Zion, Thou art my people," Isaiah 51:16 .

Verse 19

For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;

For he hath looked down from the height, … — This is no small condescension, since he abaseth himself to look upon things in heaven, Psalms 113:6 .

From heaven did the Lord behold the earth — That is, his poor despised servants, that are in themselves no better than the earth they tread on.

Verse 20

To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;

To hear the groaning of the prisoner — Those prisoners of hope held so long captive in Babylon, the cruelty whereof is graphically described, Jeremiah 51:34 .

Verse 21

To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;

To declare the name of the Lord in Zion — This shall be the business of the converted Gentiles, to make up one catholic Church with the Christian Jews, and to bear a part in setting forth God’s worthy praises. See Psalms 102:18 .

Verse 22

When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

When the people are gathered togethersc. To the Lord Christ; for to "Shiloh shall be the gathering of the people," Genesis 49:10 .

And the kingdoms to serve the Lord — As they did under Constantine the Great, Valentinian, Theodosius, which three emperors called themselves vasallos Christi (as Socrates reporteth), the vassals of Christ: and the like may be said of other Christian kings and princes since, who have yielded professed subjection to the gospel, and cast their crowns at Christ’s feet.

Verse 23

He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.

He weakened my strength in the way — This is the complaint of the poor captives yet undelivered, In via, hoc est in vita, quia hic sumus viatores, in coelo comprehensores, here we are but on our way to heaven, and we meet with many discouragements.

He shortened my days — viz. According to my account; for otherwise in respect of God our days are numbered.

Verse 24

I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years [are] throughout all generations.

Take me not away in the midst of my days — Heb. Make me not to ascend, Serus in coelum redeam. Fain I would live to see those golden days of redemption. Abraham desired to see the day of Christ, John 8:56 ; Simeon did, and then sang out his soul. All the saints after the captivity looked hard for the consolation of Israel.

Thy years are throughout all generations — And that is the comfort of thy poor covenanters, who are sure to participate of all thy goods.

Verse 25

Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens [are] the work of thy hands.

Of old thou hast laid the foundation, … — Here is a clear proof of Christ’s eternity, Hebrews 1:10 , because he was before the creation of the world, and shall continue after the consummation thereof, Psalms 102:26-27 . So the saints a parte post. 1 John 2:17 , "The world passeth away, and the lusts thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

Verse 26

They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:

They shall perishi.e. They shall change form and state, being dissolved by the last fire, 2 Peter 3:7 ; 2 Peter 3:10 .

But thou shalt endure — Heb. stand, and with thee thy Church, Matthew 22:32 .

Yea, all of them shall wax old as a garment — Which weareth in the wearing; so do the visible heavens and the earth, whatever some write de constantia naturae. Isaiah saith it rotteth as a book (that is venerandae rubiginis ), and wasteth away as smoke, Isaiah 65:17 ; Isaiah 66:22 .

As a vesture shalt thou change them — The Greek hath roll them: confer Isaiah 34:4 , ελιξεις αλλαξεις .

Verse 27

But thou [art] the same, and thy years shall have no end.

But thou art the sameTu es tu (Arabic). Therefore immutable, because eternal, ut nihil tibi possit accedere vel decidere,

Verse 28

The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.

The children of thy servants shall continue — By virtue of the covenant, and that union with thee which is the ground of communion. If it could be said of Caesar, that he held nothing to be his own that he did not communicate to his friends, how much more of Christ! Propterea bene semper sperandum, etiamsi omnia ruant. The Church is immortal and immutable.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 102". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/psalms-102.html. 1865-1868.
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