Verse 23. I am gone like the shadow when it declineth. I am a mere shadow, a shadow at the vanishing point, when it stretches far, but is almost lost in the universal gloom of evening which settles over all, and so obliterates the shadows cast by the setting sun. Lord, there is next to nothing left of me, wilt thou not come in before I am quite gone?
I am tossed up and down as the locust, which is the sport of the winds, and must go up or down as the breeze carries it. The psalmist felt as powerless in his distress as a poor insect, which a child may toss up and down at its pleasure. He entreats the divine pity, because he had been brought to this forlorn and feeble condition by the long persecution which his tender heart had endured. Slander and malice are apt to produce nervous disorders and to lead on to pining diseases. Those who use these poisoned arrows are not always aware of the consequences; they scatter fire brands and death and say it is sport.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 23. I am gone like the shadow when it declineth. -- Bishop Horsley renders, "I am just gone, like the shadow stretched to its utmost length"; and remarks: -- "The state of the shadows of terrestrial objects at sunset, lengthening every instant, and growing faint as they lengthen; and in the instant that they shoot to an immeasurable length disappearing."
Verse 23. I am tossed up and down as the locust. Although the locusts have sufficient strength of flight to remain on the wing for a considerable period, and to pass over great distances, they have little or no command over the direction of their flight, always travel with the wind, in the same way as the quail. So entirely are they at the mercy of the wind, that if a sudden gust arises the locusts are tossed about in the most helpless manner; and if they should happen to come across one of the circular air currents that are so frequently found in the countries which they inhabit, they are whirled round and round without the least power of extricating themselves. --J.G. Wood.
Verse 23. I am tossed up and down as the locust. This reference is to the flying locust. I have had frequent opportunities to notice how these squadrons are tossed up and down, and whirled round and round by the ever varying currents of the mountain winds. -- W.M. Thomson.