Verse 6. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up. Blooming with abounding beauty till the meadows are all besprent with gems, the grass has a golden hour, even as man in his youth has a heyday of flowery glory.
In the evening it is cut down, and withereth. The scythe ends the blossoming of the field flowers, and the dews at flight weep their fall. Here is the history of the grass -- sown, grown, blown, mown, gone; and the history of man is not much more. Natural decay would put an end both to us and the grass in due time; few, however, are left to experience the full result of age, for death comes with his scythe, and removes our life in the midst of its verdure. How great a change in how short a time! The morning saw the blooming, and the evening sees the withering.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. In the morning. This can hardly mean "in early youth", as some of the Rabbis explain. The words, strictly speaking, are a part of the comparison ("they are as grass which springeth afresh in the morning"), and are only thus placed first to give emphasis to the figure. In the East, one night's rain works a change as if by magic. The field at evening was brown, parched, arid as a desert; in the morning it is green with the blades of grass. The scorching hot wind ( James 1:11 ) blows upon it, and again before evening it is withered. --J.J.S. Perowne.
Verse 6. Cut down.
Stout and strong today,
Tomorrow turned to clay.
This day in his bloom,
The next, in the tomb.
It is true that to some Death sends his grey harbingers before, and gives them timely warning of his approach. But in how many cases does he arrive unannounced, and, lifting up his scythe, mows down the lofty! On shipboard there is but a plank between us and death; on horseback, but a fall. As we walk along the streets, death stretches a threatening finger from every tile upon the roofs! "He comes up into our windows, and enters into our palaces; he cuts off the children from without, and the young men from the streets." Jer 9:21. Our life is less than an handbreadth. How soon and how insensibly we slip into the grave! --Augustus F. Tholuck.