Verse 6. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children. This is a great pleasure. Men live their young lives over again in their grandchildren. Does not Solomon say that "children's children are the crown of old men?" So they are. The good man is glad that a pious stock is likely to be continued; he rejoices in the belief that other homes as happy as his own will be built up wherein altars to the glory of God shall smoke with the morning and evening sacrifice. This promise implies long life, and that life rendered happy by its being continued in our offspring. It is one token of the immortality of man that he derives joy from extending his life in the lives of his descendants.
And peace upon Israel. With this sweet word Psalm 126 was closed. It is a favourite formula. Let God's own heritage be at peace, and we are all glad of it. We count it our own prosperity for the chosen of the Lord to find rest and quiet. Jacob was sorely tossed about; his life knew little of peace; but yet the Lord delivered him out of all his tribulations, and brought him to a place of rest in Goshen for a while, and afterwards to sleep with his fathers in the cave of Machpelah. His glorious Seed was grievously afflicted and at last crucified; but he has risen to eternal peace, and in his peace we dwell. Israel's spiritual descendants still share his chequered conditions, but there remains a rest for them also, and they shall have peace from the God of peace. Israel was a praying petitioner in the days of his wrestling, but he became a prevailing prince, and therein his soul found peace. Yes, all around it is true -- "Peace upon Israel! Peace upon Israel."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. Lord, let thy blessing so accompany my endeavours in their offspring, that all my sons may be Benaiahs, the Lord's building, and then they will all be Abners, their father's light; and that all my daughters may be Bethins, the Lord's daughters, and then they will all be Abigails, their father's joy. --George Swinnock.
Verse 6. Religion is as favourable for long life as for happiness. She promotes long life by destroying those evils, the tendency of which is to limit the duration of human existence. War sweeps millions into a premature grace. Men live longer in Christian than in heathen countries. They live longer in Protestant than in Roman Catholic countries. The direct effect of true religion is to increase the period of human life. "Length of days is in her right hand." --N. M' Michael.
Verse 6. Connecting this with the next Psalm we find the following in a famous Scotch divine: -- "Peace upon Israel." The great blessing of peace, which the Lord bath promised to his people even in this life, (for where the Lord gives mercy to any, he gives them peace also, peace and grace are inseparably joined together), this peace, I say, does not consist in this, that the people of God shall have no enemies; no, for there is an immortal and endless enmity against them. Neither does their peace consist in this, that their enemies shall not assault them; neither does it consist in this, that their enemies shall not molest or afflict them. We do but deceive ourselves if so be that we imagine, so long as we are in this our pilgrimage, and in our warfare here, if we promise to ourselves a peace of this kind; for while we live in this world, we shall still have enemies, and these enemies shall assault us, and persecute and afflict us." --Alexander Henderson.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 6. Old age blessed when
- Life has been spent in the fear of God.
- When it is surrounded to its close by human affection.
- When it maintains its interest in the cause of God.
--W. H. J. P.
Verse 6. (last clause). Church peace -- its excellence, its enemies, its friends, its fruits.