Verse 25. This was David's observation, I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. It is not my observation just as it stands, for I have relieved the children of undoubtedly good men, who have appealed to me as common mendicants. But this does not cast a doubt upon the observation of David. He lived under a dispensation more outward, and more of this world than the present rule of personal faith. Never are the righteous forsaken; that is a rule without exception. Seldom indeed do their seed beg bread; and although it does occasionally occur, through dissipation, idleness, or some other causes on the part of their sons, yet doubtless it is so rare a thing that there are many alive who never saw it. Go into the union house and see how few are the children of godly parents; enter the gaol and see how much rarer still is the case. Poor minster's sons often become rich. I am not old, but I have seen families of the poor godly become rich, and have seen the Lord reward the faithfulness of the father in the success of the son, so that I have often thought that the best way to endow one's seed with wealth is to become poor for Christ's sake. In the Indian mission of the "Baptist Missionary Society," this is abundantly illustrated.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 25. I have been young, and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken (he doth not say, In my experience I never saw the righteous afflicted, but, I never saw him left or forsaken in his affliction), and I never saw his seed begging their bread: he puts in that, because begging of bread, especially in the commonwealth of Israel, and in the state of the Jews, was a note of utter dereliction! for though God had told them that they should have the poor always with them, yet he had given an express law that there should be no beggar among them; therefore, saith he, I have not seen the righteous so forsaken, that they should be forced to live by begging. If any say, that David himself begged, he asked bread of Abimelech and of Nabal; I answer, it is a good rule, and it resolves the case; transitory cases, and sudden accidents, make no beggars: we must not say, David was a beggar, or begged his bread, because once he was in a strait and asked bread of Abimelech; and in a second strait sent to Nabal: in such sudden cases, the richest man in the world may be put to ask a piece of bread. A good man may fall into such wants, but good men are rarely, if ever or at all, left in them. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 25. Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Perhaps it will be objected that their have been many righteous men poor: but the place speaketh of a righteous charitable man, for so the following verse showeth, which saith, "He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed." And who hath seen such a one or his seed to be brought to such poverty as to beg his bread? When our Saviour Christ had fed four thousand with seven loaves and a few fishes, all being filled, seven baskets full of fragments were gathered up: and it is Saint Austin's note upon it, crescit dum impenditur victus, sic eleemosyna si indigentibus erogetur, the victuals in expending were augmented, and so is the alms which is given to the poor. Michael Jermin.
Verse 25. Yet have I not seen, etc. I believe this to be literally true in all cases. I am now grey headed myself; I have travelled in different countries, and have had many opportunities of seeing and conversing with religious people in all situations in life; and I have not, to my knowledge, seen one instance to the contrary. I have seen no righteous man forsaken, nor any children of the righteous begging their bread. God puts honour upon all that fear him; and thus careful is he of them, and of their posterity. Adam Clarke.
Verse 25. Begging bread. This is not meant of an occasional seeking relief in want (for so David himself desired bread of Abimelech, 1 Samuel 21:3 , and he and his soldiers desired some supply of victuals from Nabal, 1 Samuel 25:8 ); but of living in a continual way of begging from door to door, which is denounced as a curse against the wicked Psalms 109:10 , "Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg." Nor doth it hence follow, that neither the righteous man, not his seed, are ever brought to this sad degree of misery; but only that it doth so rarely happen, that David in all his time had never seen it. Arthur Jackson.
Verse 25. This observation of the psalmist will be found generally verified. We find indeed exceptions, as in the case of Eli's family. But this was the result of his defect of character as a righteous man. And we know that the promises must fail, if they neglect the means necessary to their accomplishment (see Genesis 18:19 ). But some think that this verse admits of an explanatory supplement; and render the last clause thus, "Nor his seed (forsaken, though) begging bread." David Davidson, in "The Pocket Commentary, 1836."
Verse 25. These words must be taken as a general observation, not absolutely verified in every case; yet the strict fact is, I apprehend, that the immediate descendants of truly pious persons are very seldom, if ever, reduced to such extremities, unless by their own great imprudence, or their abandoned practices. William Walford.
Verse 25. Here he records an experiment of his (such as whereof Psalm 119 is mostly made up), and if other men's experiences agree not altogether with his, it is no wonder: kings use not to mind beggars. John Trapp.
Verse 25-26. Many persons are solicitously perplexed how their children shall do when they are dead; yet they consider not, how God provided for them when they were children. Is the Lord's arm shortened? Did he take thee from thy mothers breasts; and when thy parents forsook thee (as the psalmist saith), became thy Father? And cannot this experienced mercy to thee, persuade thee that he will not forsake thine? Is not "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever?" "I have been young," saith David, "and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken," that is granted, nay, "not his seed begging bread."
Many distrustful fathers are so carking for their posterity, that while they live they starve their bodies, and hazard their souls, to leave them rich. To such a father it is said justly, Dives es haeredi, pauper inopsque tibi. Like an over kind hen, he feeds his chickens, and famishes himself. If usury, circumvention, oppression, extortion, can make them rich, they shall not be poor. Their folly is ridiculous; they fear lest their children should be miserable, yet take the only course to make them miserable; for they leave them not so much heirs to their goods as to their evils. They do as certainly inherit their fathers' sins as their lands: "God layeth his iniquity for his children: and his offspring shall want a morsel of bread." Job 21:19 .
On the contrary, the good man is merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. What the worldling thinks shall make his posterity poor, God saith shall make the good man's rich. The precept gives a promise of mercy to obedience, not confined to the obedient man's self, but extended to his seed, and that even to a thousand generations, Exodus 20:6 . Trust, then, Christ with thy children; when thy friends shall fail, usury bear no date, oppression be condemned to hell, thyself rotten to the dust, the world itself turned and burned into cinders, still "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever." Thomas Adams.
NOTES TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER
Verse 25. Memorandum of an aged observer.