I have been young, and [now] am old
The psalmist makes mention of his age, which takes in the whole compass of his life, to command attention to what he was about to say; which was founded upon a long experience and observation of things, and was as follows;
yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken;
though afflicted of God, and persecuted by men, yet not forsaken; though poor and needy, and often in necessitous circumstances, yet God in his providence appeared for them in one way or another; and so as Apollinarius paraphrases it,
``I never knew a just man entirely needy;''for such might be forsaken by men, and even by their dearest friends and relations, yet not by the Lord: they might indeed, at times, think themselves forsaken of him, and their enemies might conclude and say they were, and yet this was not their case, ( Isaiah 49:14 ) ( Psalms 71:10 Psalms 71:11 ) ; and though they may be forsaken by him for a while, yet not utterly; he will not leave them and forsake them for ever, ( Isaiah 54:7 ) ( Hebrews 13:5 ) ;
nor his seed begging bread;
they being righteous also, which must be supposed; otherwise, as good men have wicked children, these, through their wickedness, may come to poverty, to beggary, as they sometimes do; though a distinction may be made between being poor and beggars; the seed of the righteous may be the one, and not the other: besides, there is a difference between asking bread of others, in some few instances, and constantly begging bread from door to door, in which last sense the psalmist must be understood here; for otherwise he himself in some cases, had asked bread, as of Ahimelech at Nob, and of Nabal as did also Elijah of the widow of Sarepta: and though there might have been instances of some of the posterity of the righteous who got their bread by begging at the door, as in the case of Lazarus; yet David had never observed any such instance during the time of his life, which shows that such instances are very rare; whereas among wicked men and their offspring the case is frequent and common. Again, it may be observed, that the psalmist is speaking in the context of righteous men that are liberal, and give to the poor freely and largely; and it is seldom if ever known that they or their children come to want and poverty. Once more, the word "forsaken" may be repeated in this clause, thus; "nor his seed begging bread forsaken" F24; or seeking it in vain, and finally destitute of it; though they have been so reduced as to beg their bread, they have not been forsaken; they have find it, bread sufficient to support life, as Apollinarius paraphrases it; their bread has been given and their water sure; see ( Isaiah 41:17 Isaiah 41:18 ) . In an ancient Midrash F25, or exposition of the Jews, the sense is thus given:
``although his seed and his sons are begging bread, yet I have not seen the righteous man, their father, forsaken, because of his fear of the blessed God.''
F24 "Justum non vidi derelictum, et semen justi quaerens panem non vidi derelictum"; so Hopfnerus, Titelmannus, Lorinus, Franzius apud Gejerum; "frustra quaerens panem, et finalitur destitutum", Michaelis.
F25 Vajikra Rabba, s. 35. fol. 175. 2.