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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Writings

Psalms 103

Verses 1-22


Praise to Jehovah from restored Israel for the blessings into which they are brought in the ways of God.

(vv. 1-3) The psalmist calls upon his soul to praise the Lord for all the blessings into which the nation is brought. He presents a millennial picture of Israel blessed in their circumstances by the benefits of the Lord, with their sins forgiven and their diseases healed. In the days of His presentation to Israel, the Lord has forgiven sins and healed diseases, and thus, by putting forth the powers of the world to come, showed that the kingdom had drawn nigh. Alas! the King was rejected and for the time the blessedness of the kingdom was lost.

(vv. 4-6) Now at length, the nation redeemed from destruction renews its life. The righteous judgment of the Lord will end the long centuries of oppression to which the Jew has been subjected under the rule of the Gentiles, as the result of their rejection of their Messiah.

(vv. 7-12) The blessing of restored Israel will be brought about by the ways of God as made known to Moses. To Israel His outward acts were revealed; to Moses was revealed the principles on which God acted. These ways are now declared to the restored nation. In His ways God is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. Thus He revealed Himself to Moses on the Mount ( Exo_34:6-7 ). In accordance with these ways God had ever acted in the long history of the nation. Because of their sins God had to chasten them, yet, “He will not always chide; neither will He keep His anger for ever.”

Their sins and iniquities had become the occasion of showing that His mercy and grace is greater than man's sin, even “as the heaven is high above the earth.” Thus it is seen that God is not indifferent to the sins of His people. He shows mercy to His people, but He deals with them on account of their sins and removes their sins “as far as the east is from the west.”

(vv. 13-16) In all these ways God had acted in tender condescension towards the God-fearing remnant, even as an earthly father pities his children. God remembered their frailty - that like a flower blown away by the wind, so His people if left to the storms of this world would be utterly destroyed and have no more place as a nation.

(vv. 17-18) In contrast to weak man, whose beauty flourishes like a flower, and is then withered by a storm of wind, the “mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and His righteousness unto children's children.” Neither the frailty of man nor the adverse wind of the enemy can change either “the mercy” or “righteousness” of the Lord. This mercy and righteousness is towards such as keep His covenant and do His commands. Is not this the unconditional covenant made with Abraham, under which the nation being brought into blessing can at last keep Jehovah's commands ( Rom_8:4 )?

(vv. 19-20) The end of all God's ways with man is to make manifest that His throne is established in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.

His kingdom displayed as over all calls for the praise of all, both in heaven and earth. Thus all spiritual beings are summoned to bless the Lord. All His “hosts” - every providential force in nature - are called to bless the Lord. All His created works are called to bless the Lord. And let every individual of the redeemed say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 103". "Smith's Writings". 1832.