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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
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PSALM 103

Ps 103:1-22. A Psalm of joyous praise, in which the writer rises from a thankful acknowledgment of personal blessings to a lively celebration of God's gracious attributes, as not only intrinsically worthy of praise, but as specially suited to man's frailty. He concludes by invoking all creatures to unite in his song.

1. Bless, &c.—when God is the object, praise.

my soul—myself (Ps 3:3; 25:1), with allusion to the act, as one of intelligence.

all … within me—(De 6:5).

his holy name—(Ps 5:11), His complete moral perfections.

2. forget not all—not any, none of His benefits.

3. diseases—as penal inflictions (De 29:22; 2Ch 21:19).

4. redeemeth—Cost is implied.

destruction—literally, "pit of corruption" (Ps 16:10).

crowneth—or, "adorneth" (Ps 65:11).

tender mercies—compassions (compare Ps 25:6; 40:11).

5. By God's provision, the saint retains a youthful vigor like the eagles (Ps 92:14; compare Isa 40:31).

6. Literally, "righteousness and judgments," denoting various acts of God's government.

7. ways—of providence, &c., as usual (Ps 25:4; 67:2).

acts—literally, "wonders" (Ps 7:11; 78:17).

8-10. God's benevolence implies no merit. He shows it to sinners, who also are chastened for a time (Ex 34:6).

keep (anger)—in Le 19:18, bear a grudge (Jer 3:5, 12).

11. great—efficient.

12. removed … from us—so as no longer to affect our relations to Him.

13. pitieth—literally, "has compassion on."

14. he—"who formed," Ps 94:9.

knoweth our frame—literally, "our form."

we are dust—made of and tending to it (Ge 2:7).

15, 16. So short and frail is life that a breath may destroy it.

it is gone—literally, "it is not."

know it no more—no more recognize him (Ps 90:6; Isa 40:6-8).

17, 18. For similar contrast compare Ps 90:2-6; 102:27, 28.

18. such … covenant—limits the general terms preceding.

righteousness—as usual (Ps 7:17; 31:1).

19. God's firm and universal dominion is a pledge that He will keep His promises (Ps 11:4; 47:8).

20-22. do his commandments … word—or, literally, "so as to hearken," &c., that is, their acts of obedience are prompt, so that they are ever ready to hear, and know, and follow implicitly His declared will (compare De 26:17; Lu 1:19).

21. ye his hosts—myriads, or armies, as corresponding to angels of great power [Ps 103:20], denoting multitudes also.

22. all his works—creatures of every sort, everywhere.

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