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Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms Hengstenberg's Commentary
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 102". Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ heg/ psalms-102.html.
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 102". Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://studylight.org/
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Help me, O Lord, in my deep misery, Psalms 102:1-5, and in my state of complete abandonment, Psalms 102:6-10.
Near to perishing, I flee to thee, O thou who sittest on thy eternal throne in thy omnipotence and in thy mercy and faithfulness towards thy people: thou shalt have mercy upon Sion, for this the supplication of thy people ascends to thee, Psalms 102:11-14, and shalt thus spread abroad thy call over the whole earth, Psalms 102:15-17.
The salvation which Sion receives in her misery shall yet be praised by the most remote posterity, when the nations shall be assembled there to serve the Lord, Psalms 102:18-22. Being near to destruction I flee to the Eternal, to him who is the eternal God, the Saviour of his people, Psalms 102:23-27. The servants of the Lord are always victorious in the end, Psalms 102:28.
The whole is enclosed within an introductory verse, which announces the design, and a concluding one, which sums up the contents of the Psalm. These stand out of the arrangement. Of the three strophes, the first and last consist each of ten verses, and the middle strophe of seven. The ten is divided both times by a 5, and the seven by a 4 and a 3.
The title runs: a prayer of the afflicted when he is troubled, and pours out his complaint before the Lord. On the תפלה comp. at the title of Psalms 90. The remark there made, that תפלה is properly a supplicatory prayer, the entreaty of the miserable for help, is confirmed by the passage before us, which contains what is equivalent to a definition of תפלה ; in Psalms 102:1 it stands in parallel to the cry. On עטף comp. at Psalms 61:2. On “when he pours out,” comp. Psalms 62:8, “trust in him at all times, ye people, pour out your heart before him” with its cares and sorrows. On שיח comp. at Psalms 55:2, Psalms 64:1. The originality of the title appears from the correspondence with the concluding verse, from the reference of the beginning of the Psalm to it, and also of the conclusion of the second strophe, Psalms 102:17, from the Davidic character which it bears in common with all the rest of the Psalm (comp. the passages quoted from Davidic Psalms), and, finally, from its poetic character, by which it is manifested to be a constituent portion of the Psalm.
From this title it appears how inadmissible is the modern idea based upon a misunderstanding of the ( Psalms 102:13) 13th and following verses (see the exposition), according to which it is held to be a prayer of the people for deliverance from the captivity. The title is exclusive of every special historical occasion: according to it the Psalm is set apart for the existing condition of the miserable. As to the relation in which it stands to Psalms 101 and Psalms 103, comp at Psalms 101. The result there obtained is confirmed by the fact that the Psalm throughout is nearly connected with the Davidic Psalms (comp. the exposition)—a fact all the more striking as the Psalm throughout bears an independent and original character, and contains nowhere any trace of quotations from post-Davidic Psalms or from the later Scriptures;—by the circumstance that the absence of all acknowledgment of sin as the cause of the suffering which is very prominently brought forward as such, in other similar Psalms, admits of explanation by the connection with Psalms 101, but especially by the first verse, according to which this prayer is intended only for the pious and righteous posterity of David; and, finally, by the circumstance that the fundamental thought of the Psalm, the clinging of helplessness when near destruction to eternal omnipotence and love, occurs also in Psalms 103 Psalms 103:15-17.
The suppliant prays and hopes sometimes for himself and sometimes for Sion. The obvious explanation of this is, that the king is the personified aggregate of the people, and especially that the prosperity and sufferings of Israel were at all times bound up with the fate of the family of David. Comp. in reference to this the very characteristic passage, Lamentations 4:20, “Our breath, the anointed of the Lord was taken in their pits of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.”
The reference to the family of David is intentionally less prominent here and also in Psalms 103 than it is in Psalms 101. The title itself shows that next to its main design in connection with Psalms 101, it was generally designed for suffering righteousness.
The representation, which here lies at the bottom, of severe sufferings awaiting the royal family and Sion, must be considered as entirely natural to David. Behind him lay the painful events of the period of the Judges. He himself had on many occasions drunk the cup of suffering to the dregs, and every man’s prospects for the future are cast after the mould of his own personal experience.
Ver. 1. O Lord, hear my prayer and let my cry come to thee. Ver. 2. Hide not thy face from me, in the day when I am in trouble incline to me thine ear, in the day when I call hear me speedily. Ver. 3. For my days vanish like smoke and my bones glow like a firebrand. Ver. 4. My heart is smitten like grass and withered, for I forget to eat my bread. Ver. 5. On account of the voice of my sighing my bone cleaves to my flesh. Ver. 6. I am like the pelican in the wilderness, I am as an owl of ruins. Ver. 7. I keep watch and am like a solitary bird on the house top. Ver. 8. My enemies reproach me continually, and those that are mad against me are sworn against me. Ver. 9. For I eat ashes like bread, and mingle my drink with tears. Ver. 10. Because of thy wrath and anger, for thou hast lifted me up and cast me to the ground.
On “hear my prayer,” in Psalms 102:1, comp Psalms 4:1, Psalms 17:1. On “Let my cry come to thee,” comp. Psalms 101:2, and Psalms 18:6, “And my cry comes before him into his ear.” This prayer, bearing upon the future, has for its foundation what, according to that passage, David had already experienced. In the church of God, and particularly in the kingdom of David, the optative always rests on the preterite.
In Psalms 102:2, after “hide not thy face before me” (word for word from Psalms 27:9, comp. Psalms 13:1) there must be a point, because as “incline thine ear to me” (comp. Psalms 17:6, Psalms 31:2) corresponds to “answer me,” “in the day when I am troubled,” ( Psalms 59:16, comp. Psalms 18:6, Psalms 69:17), corresponds to “in the day when I call” ( Psalms 56:9). On “hear me speedily,” comp. Psalms 31:2. David designedly puts into the lips of his suffering family the same words which had already been heard when uttered by him in his own trouble. Behind the fore-ground of simple petitions there is everywhere concealed a rich back-ground of invitations to hope and confidence.
On the first half of Psalms 102:4 comp. Psalms 37:20, “For the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord vanish away as the joy of lambs, as smoke (properly “into smoke,” as here) they vanish away,” Psalms 68:2. There appears to be a decided reference to this passage: the sufferer complains that the lot which belongs only to the wicked appears to fall upon him notwithstanding his righteousness, Psalms 101. Where this last exists, God must necessarily remove this appearance. The point of comparison with the smoke is the fleeing past, the disappearing. In reality, the language does not refer to the personal existence of the life of the individual, but to the duration of the dominion of the seed of David. The מוקד signifies neither fire nor a hearth, but something that is burnt, a firebrand; the feminine מוקדה , Leviticus 6:2, used of the whole heap of fuel, corresponds to the plural, firebrands, in Isaiah 33:14. The נחר is burnt, has been kindled, Psalms 69:3. The bones,—as the foundation of corporeal frame, as the interior fortress of the body, to which the rest stands related as external work, comp. Psalms 6:2, Psalms 31:10; Psalms 42:10. The burning is not that of fever but of pain. There is an abbreviated comparison: deep pain penetrates my marrow and bones, as if there were kindled in them a burning fire, and destroys me, comp. Jeremiah 20 heart comes into notice, in ver. 4, as the seat of vital power. The sense is: my vital power is exhausted, for in my deep distress I loathe all food. As grass,—which is struck and injured by men or by the sun ( Psalms 121:6), or in any other way, comp. Jonah 4:7, “And the worm smote the gourd, and it withered.” What the sap is for plants, which is withdrawn when they are smitten, that nourishment is for the heart of men, comp. Psalms 104:15, “Bread strengtheneth man’s heart;” Genesis 18:5,—without nourishment, it is as if it were struck, and were withering away. The כי corresponding to the מן Psalms 102:5, is hence altogether suitable as an affirming particle, and we cannot translate with Luther; “so that I forget,” comp. 1 Samuel 28:20, where it is said of Saul, “There was no strength in him, for he had eaten no bread that whole day and that whole night.” On “I forget to eat my bread,” i.e., all pleasure in eating has left me, comp. Psalms 107:18, “Their soul abhorreth all manner of food,” 1 Samuel 20:34, where Jonathan eats nothing in consequence of distress about David, 1 Samuel 1:7, where it is said of Hannah, “she wept and ate nothing,” 1 Kings 21:4.
On “because of the voice of my sighing,” in Psalms 102:5, comp. Psalms 31:10, “For my life is spent with grief and my years with sighing,” Psalms 32:3, “When my bones wasted away through my howling continually.” The clause “My bone cleaves to my flesh,” is usually taken as descriptive of extreme emaciation, with reference to Psalms 22:17. But this is manifestly to accommodate not to expound. There, and in the dependant passage, Job 19:20, “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh,” that state of weakness and relaxation of the bones is manifestly described, which is brought on by severe pain and long continued distress, when they lose their force and vigorous power of motion; comp. the opposite in Isaiah 58:11; Isaiah 66:14, and the parallel passage: they cleave on, hang upon the flesh as the feeble and exhausted tongue does in a beast of burden, comp. also Psalms 137:6, (where דבק occurs also with ל ) and Psalms 22:15.
In the second half of the first strophe we have the loneliness of the sufferer—enemies all round, and nowhere in the whole world a helper—as in the first his misery.
As the שקד in Psalms 102:7 signifies to watch only in the sense of to keep watch, we must assume that there is an abbreviated comparison: I watch as constantly as one who stands upon the watch, comp. Psalms 77:6. The watching according to the connection and the comparison is introduced only by the discomfort arising from the loneliness. Like a lonely bird,—a poor helpless little bird, which has been deprived of its mate or its young, and is left alone in the wide world.
On “my enemies reproach me,” Psalms 102:8, comp. Psalms 42:10. The part in Poal מהולל , occurs in Ecclesiastes 2:2 in the sense of mad. Here “my mad ones,” with a word to be supplied from the first clause, stands instead of “my mad enemies.” They swear by me, inasmuch as they say: may God let it go with you or me as it does with that miserable man, comp. Numbers 5:21, Numbers 5:27, Jeremiah 29:22, Isaiah 65:15, Psalms 44:14.
In Psalms 102:8-9, we have the ground of the reproach of the enemies against the solitary one, his deep misery. [Note: Ven.: “As this most mournful condition appears contrary to the privileges of those who are favoured of God, there thence arises occasion for laughing at the pious.”] The mourner sits on the ground as descriptive of his low state and his being struck down, Isaiah 3:26, or lays himself upon it, Psalms 44:25, where are dust and ashes, ( Isaiah 47:1, Isaiah 52:2), which are swallowed by him who lies or sits there; comp. Isaiah 65:25, “the serpent, dust is its meat,” and the phrase “to lick the dust of the feet of any one,” for to throw one’s self down before him. The idea is a false one, that ashes, which come into notice only as they lie with other impurities on the dirty ground, have any special relation to grief. This is opposed by the fact, that ashes in such passages are partly joined with the dust, as Job 30:19, Job 42:6, partly interchanged with it, as Job 2:8 and Job 2:12. Instead of “I mingle my drink with weeping,” some read “I weep instead of eat,” comp. at Psalms 42:3, Psalms 80:5; here the tears fall into the drink.
On “because of thy wrath and anger,” in Psalms 102:10, comp. Psalms 38:1, Psalms 38:3. In the second clause the expression is taken from a storm of wind, which first lifts up the object which it seizes, and then dashes it to the ground; comp. Job 27:21, “an east wind carrieth him away, and it goes and storms him away from his place.”
Ver. 11. My days are as a shadow that declineth, and I am withered like grass. Ver. 12. And thou, O Lord, art enthroned for ever, and thy memorial from generation to generation. Ver. 13. Thou shalt arise, have mercy on Sion, for it is time that thou be gracious to her, for the point of time is come. Ver. 14. For thy servants have pleasure in her stones, and she mourns over her dust. Ver. 15. And the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all kings of the earth thy glory. Ver. 16. For the Lord builds Sion, he appears in his glory. Ver. 17. He turns to the prayer of the destitute, and despises not their prayer.
That Psalms 102:11 is not to be read along with the preceding verses, but like Psalms 102:23 forms the introduction of the new strophe is clear from this, that the discourse is not here as it is in the second half of the first strophe of the loneliness, but only of the misery of the miserable one, from the literal reference to Psalms 102:4—a reference so literal that it is suitable only for a repetition which resumes the subject, and finally from the אני to which the “thou,” in the beginning of Psalms 102:12 corresponds. The Psalmist here ties together in one bundle his whole misery, as described in the first strophe, and all his helplessness, and throws it with one mighty fling upon the Eternal. As a bent wall, in Psalms 62:3, is a wall which has already begun to sink, a bent shadow here is one which is already going to destruction. The figurative expression is just taken from a wall, Psalms 109:23, P 144:4. The discourse, according to the preceding context, does not relate “generally to the sudden destruction of the transitory life of man,” but to the destruction which specially threatens the family of David and the church of God in him, comp. especially Psalms 102:3, and also Psalms 102:23-24. The “thou” in Psalms 102:12 stands in strong opposition to the “I” in Psalms 102:11. The sitting is no empty remaining, but a sitting as king, a sitting on a throne, comp. at Psalms 29:10, “the Lord sitteth as King for ever,” and Psalms 9:7, “and the Lord is enthroned for ever.” Though the symptoms of the destruction of the family of David (the culminating point of which family was Christ), and of the church be ever so threatening, the eternal dominion of the Lord forms the sure guarantee for its maintenance. Whoever wishes to destroy it, must first put down God from his throne, which throughout eternity shall never be done. The consolation does not rest on the mere eternal dominion of God—in certain circumstances this may be as sure a pledge of the destruction of the sufferer—but on this truth that this eternally reigning God is the God of the miserable Psalmist, and has made himself known as such by word and by deed—a truth which is here taken for granted. On the memorial of God, his historically manifested attributes, compare at Psalms 30:4. Allusion is here made to the historical manifestations of the exceeding love of God towards his people and towards David, in whom the whole people were comprehended for eternity under one head. God can never disown his own manifested character. Lamentations 5:19 depends on our verse, “And thou, O Lord, sittest for ever, thy throne is from generation to generation.”
On “thou shalt rise,” in Psalms 102:13, comp. Psalms 3:7, Psalms 12:5, Psalms 68:1. On “thou shalt have mercy on Sion, Psalms 103:13. By the point of time (comp. at Psalms 75:2), those who refer the Psalm to the period of the captivity, suppose the seventy years of Jeremiah to be meant; but had these been meant, the expression would have been much more definite; the title, moreover, is against this view, as also is the character of the Psalm, according to which it is intended for no special historical occasion, but for the present state, whatever that may be, of the miserable. The point of time for having compassion upon Sion is rather that which is present when her sufferings have reached their height, and she herself stands at the brink of the abyss. This is evident from the prayer being based upon the greatness of God in Psalms 102:1-10, from the following verse beginning with the connecting particle “for,” in which the Psalmist expressly grounds his assertion, that the point of time has come. The רצה , in Psalms 102:13, with the accus. is to find pleasure in ally thing, Psalms 62:4; Job 14:6; Psalms 85:1. That the stones and the dust of Sion are not to be considered here as materials for its new erection (Luther, for thy servant would be glad that it were rebuilt, and would see with pleasure its stones and lime prepared) is manifest from the “mourned over.” We are hence by stones and dust to understand the ruins and the rubbish, comp. Neh. 3:34, Nehemiah 4:4. There lies at the foundation a comparison of the church of God in its low condition to a building in ruins, and probably there is a special allusion to Leviticus 14:45, where it is said of the leprous house, the type of the unclean church, “And he destroys the house, its stones, and its wood, and all the dust of the house, and brings it out before the city to an unclean place,” comp. Leviticus 14:41-42. That the stones and the dust belong here only to the figure, and that the real allusion is to the low condition and ruinous state of Sion (comp. at Psalms 69:35, vol. ii. 367), is clear from the title, according to which, the Psalm is to be used in any distress, and from the circumstance, that the descriptions of the miserable condition are throughout general and poetical, and that there are no traces whatever of the destruction of Jerusalem. The “for” at the beginning is not co-ordinate with the “for” in Psalms 102:13 (we must be on our guard against such co-ordinate “fors”), but it grounds the last position made there: the point of time has come, for Sion lies in ruins, to the pain of thy faithful ones to whom thou art a gracious God, and whom thou canst not turn away, when they come before thee, with a “when we in severest trouble are.” [Note: On “for thy servants have pleasure in her stones,” Calvin: “The more sad the desolation of the church is, the less ought we to be alienated from its love. This compassion ought rather to call forth from us groans and sighs.”]
In Psalms 102:15, we have the glorious consequences and fruit which flow from the divine compassion on Sion. The world shall be powerfully brought to the Lord when it sees how gloriously he takes up the cause of his church,—a hope which is fulfilled in Christ. What, in point of form, is expressed as a prophecy, has, at the same time, in reality, the force of an exhortation addressed to God, that, for the furtherance of his glory, he would cause the lowly state of Sion to be followed by one of exaltation; [Note: Calvin: The prophet describes the fruit of deliverance because the glory of God is by it rendered illustrious to nations and kings themselves, by which he tacitly declares, that the glory of God is impaired by the oppression of the church.] comp., in reference to the thought, Psalms 68:28 ss. Isaiah 59:19 depends on our passage. The preter., in Psalms 102:16-17, which represent the ground on which the heathen shall be moved to fear the Lord, relate not to an external, but to an inward sight. The ערער , probably a word of the Psalmist’s own formation, in Psalms 102:17, is properly one entirely naked, destitute of all human means of help; Ver.: “deprived of all good, help, and consolation.” And he despises not; Psalms 22:4, Psalms 69:33.
Ver. 18. This shall be written to the generation to come, and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord. Ver. 19. For he looks from his holy height, the Lord looks from heaven upon the earth. Ver. 20. That he may hear the groaning of the prisoners; that he may relieve the dying. Ver. 21. In order that they may make known to Sion the name of the Lord, and his praise in Jerusalem. Ver. 22. When the nations assemble all together and the kingdoms to serve the Lord.
Ver. 23. He has weakened in the way his strength, shortened my days. Ver. 24. I say: My God, take me not away at the half of my days, thy years continue for ever and ever. Ver. 25. Thou hast of old founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. Ver. 26. They shall perish “and thou remainest, and they shall all like a garment wax old, like to a vesture thou changest them, and they shall be changed. Ver. 27. And thou art he, and thy years have no end.
On Psalms 102:18, comp. Psalms 22:30, “it shall be told of the Lord to the (future) generation,” Psalms 48:13, Psalms 78:4, according to which parallel passages we cannot translate “may it,” but only “it shall be written.” The עם נברא is, according to the עם נולד in Psalms 22:31, to be explained; the people which is created then, i.e., in the time of the future generation. The preter. in Psalms 102:19 are either to be referred to doings of the Lord which are going on, as Psalms 33:13,— he looks, as the fore-mentioned fact, the glorious salvation shows which he has prepared for his anointed and for his people, or they refer directly to the last doing, he looked, as the preterites in Psalms 102:16-17. On the first clause comp. at Psalms 14:2. The fundamental passage is Deuteronomy 26:15, “look from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel.” On the מרום comp. at Psalms 18:16. The rarely used אנקה in Psalms 102:21, in all only four times, is probably a word of David’s own formation, comp. Psalms 12:5. In reference to the בני תמותה , the dying, comp. at Psalms 79:11. There can be the less doubt that it is borrowed from the passage before us, as the “sons of those bound” occurs also in that passage. To deliver— from the snares, of hell, from the dangers of death, Psalms 18:4-5.
On Psalms 102:21 compare Psalms 26:7. Those who make known are partly Israel, partly the heathen brought by the salvation of Israel to the Lord.
On Psalms 102:23 compare Psalms 22:27, Psalms 68:32, Psalms 2:11. The second half of the strophe begins, apparently only in Psalms 102:23, with a renewed complaint. This serves merely as the foundation and ascent to confidence. That this way is the way of life, is manifest from Psalms 102:24, compare Psalms 55:23. Allusion is made, as appears to Exodus 18:8, “and all the travel that had come upon them by the way, and how the Lord delivered them” (compare Num. 17:27, 28, Numbers 20:14); and the sense is, as on a former occasion, in the way through the wilderness. David and Israel were in the wilderness until they reached the glorious end set before them, viz., the dominion of the world, until the kingdom of glory was entered upon. It is a great trial when in this course strength seems to fail. Exhaustion and feebleness, however, will be always merely transitory; youthful vigour will infallibly returns, comp. Psalms 103:5. In the words “ his strength,” the difference between the Psalmist and the sufferer, between David and his posterity, becomes prominent. The Masorites were not able to understand the passage, all the less, as no further on than the second clause David again speaks from the soul of his posterity, and therefore they substituted כחי instead of כחו . On the second clause compare Psalms 102:3, Psalms 102:11. The shortening of the day exists only in appearance, a threatening sufficient to cause alarm that it may be so, compare Psalms 102:24, Psalms 103:5. The עלה in Hiph., in Psalms 102:24, should signify to hurry off; but for this sense there is no proof. The cause to ascend looks back to the figure of smoke which had been employed in Psalms 102:4; and עלה is used as referring to this in Genesis 19:28, Jeremiah 48:15, where it is used instead of to go away in smoke. To be hurried off in the middle of their days is the lot of the wicked (compare Psalms 55:23), from whose way of thinking the Psalmist had separated himself in Psalms 101, and on the ground of which he here prays that he may not be involved in their fate. The second clause in reality is connected with the first by a “for.” It contains the basis of the prayer uttered there: for thou art eternal, and therefore also thy mercy and grace towards thine own are eternal, thine anointed and thy people whom thou canst never give up to destruction; they must reach the goal of glory.
Psalms 102:25-27 expound the infinitely consolatory thought of the eternity of God—the God of Sion and of David never dies; David and Sion therefore can never die, for he has inseparably connected himself with them,—inasmuch as they render prominent his imperishable nature by contrasting it with the perishing nature of that which relatively is the most imperishable; in the second half of Psalms 102:27 the thought of the second half of Psalms 102:24 returns after having had its basis assigned it in the intermediate verses.
On Psalms 102:25 compare Psalms 8:3, Psalms 19:2, Psalms 24:2, Psalms 33:6. Reference is not made here to the fact of the creation of the world, in proof of the eternity of God—for the subject after Psalms 102:24 and Psalms 102:27 is not the eternity but the immutability of God—but as a basis on which to rest the announcement made in Psalms 102:26, as to the annihilation of the world, “what our God has made, that he can” not only “ maintain” but also annihilate; heaven and earth shall pass away as being things that have been created, but the Lord shall remain as being he who created them.
Isaiah 51:6 depends upon Psalms 102:26: there are other undoubted traces in the second part of Isaiah of use having been made of Psalms 101-103. They all—heaven and earth with their fulness, all that is in them. The comparison to a garment in the last clause refers to the ease with which a garment is laid aside. The חלף is to perish, as in Psalms 90:5-6, in Hiph. to change. The change refers not to the origin of a new heavens and a new earth, Isaiah 65:17, Isaiah 66:22, but as is shown by the relation of the changing to the perishing, of the cause to the effect, to transition from a state of existence to a state of non-existence. In accordance with the context it is only the perishing not the renovation ( Matthew 19:28), that is here contemplated, only death, not the resurrection and the glorification. Many expositors, on the ground of such passages as Job 14:12, where in popular language this last hidden event is overlooked, or apparently derived (similar passages occur also in the New Testament, comp. Matthew 5:18), have very foolishly attempted to set aside the fact that the doctrine of the future destruction of the present fabric of the world is taught in this passage, and refer to mere possibility, what is very expressly affirmed of reality. There is the less reason for this, as such a doctrine is very manifestly taught in other passages of Scripture; comp., besides the passages already quoted from Is., chap. Isaiah 54:10, Matthew 24:35, Luke 21:31, and the proper classical passage in the New Testament, 2 Peter 3:7, 2 Peter 3:10-11. The foundation of this doctrine, to which the Psalmist himself refers in Psalms 102:25, as such is laid at the very beginning of the Scriptures, in what is there taught as to the creation of all things out of nothing. If the Lord has created the heavens and the earth by the exercise of his omnipotence, he not only can but will change them when they no longer fulfil their destination: when in the church of God everything has become new, the announcement, “Behold I make all things new,” must be uttered in reference also to the place of habitation.
In Psalms 102:27, the translation usually given is: thou art the same. But this sense is not an ascertained one; it does not suit in the fundamental passage, Deuteronomy 32:39, “Behold now, I am he,” or in the parallel passage, Isaiah 43:10, and it does not answer very well even the connection here, for it is not so much the unchangeableness as the imperishable nature of God that is spoken. We must translate: “Thou art he to whom this appertains,—thou, and not the heavens and the earth, are imperishable,” exactly corresponding to “Thy years are through all generations,” and to the second clause.
In Psalms 102:28, we have the result of the whole.
The sons of thy servants shall dwell, and their seed be established before thee.
The servants of the Lord are the whole people, who, from their ancestry, serve God; the sons of thy servants, and their seed, are the present suffering generation; instead of “thy servants,” here we have “Jacob,” in Isaiah 65:9. The exposition, “if not we, yet, at least, our children,” is contrary to the fresh spirit of faith of Scripture, and without analogy. Shall dwell,—in opposition to those who wander about without roof or home, comp. at Psalms 68:6, more exactly, “dwell in the land of the Lord,” Psalms 37:29, Psalms 69:35-36, with which concluding verse, the one before us is very strikingly connected. On “before thee,” comp. Genesis 17:1, Psalms 89:36; the clause “shall be established,” Psalms 89:37, Psalms 101:7, forms the contrast to the perishing and the vanishing away, Psalms 102:3-4, Psalms 102:23-24. The “shall not be established” there forms the foundation of “it shall be established” here.