Verse 10. And I said, This is my infirmity. He has won the day, he talks reasonably now, and surveys the field with a cooler mind. He confesses that unbelief is an infirmity, a weakness, a folly, a sin. He may also be understood to mean, "this is my appointed sorrow," I will bear it without complaint. When we perceive that our affliction is meted out by the Lord, and is the ordained portion of our cup, we become reconciled to it, and no longer rebel against the inevitable. Why should we not be content if it be the Lord's will? What he arranges it is not for us to cavil at.
But I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. Here a good deal is supplied by our translators, and they make the sense to be that the psalmist would console himself by remembering the goodness of God to himself and others of his people in times gone by: but the original seems to consist only of the words, "the years of the right hand of the most High," and to express the idea that his long continued affliction, reaching through several years, was allotted to him by the Sovereign Lord of all. It is well when a consideration of the divine goodness and greatness silences all complaining, and creates a childlike acquiescence.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. See Psalms on "Psalms 77:1" for further information.
Verse 10. This is my infirmity. Literally, this is my disease, -- which appears to mean, This is my lot and I must bear it; lo! it is a partial evil, for which the equity of God's government should not be questioned. The authorised version, This is my infirmity, suggests, perhaps advisedly, another signification, viz., These thoughts are but hallucinations of my agony, -- but to this gloss I should scruple to commit myself. C. B. Cayley.
Verse 10. It is the infirmity of a believer to be thinking of himself, and drawing false inferences (for all such inferences are necessarily erroneous), from what he sees or feels, as to the light in which he is beheld and estimated on the part of God. It is his strength, on the other hand, to remember the right hand of the Most High -- to meditate upon the changeless truth and mercy of that God who has committed himself in holiness to the believing sinner's sure salvation, by causing the Son of his love to suffer in our stead the dread reality of penal death. Arthur Pridham.
Verse 10. Infirmity. An infirmity is this, -- some sickness or indisposition of the soul, that arises from the weakness of grace. Or an infirmity is this, -- when the purpose and inclination of the heart is upright, but a man wants strength to perform that purpose; when "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" ( Matthew 26:41 ); when a man can say with the apostle, "To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not," Ro 7:18. When the bent and inclination of the soul is right, but either through some violence of corruption or strength of temptation, a man is diverted and turned out of the way. As the needle in the seaman's compass, you know if it be right it will stand always northwards, the bent of it will be toward the North Pole, but being jogged and troubled, it may sometimes be put out of frame and order, yet the bent and inclination of it is still northward; this is an infirmity. James Nalton. 1664.
Verse 10. It is unnecessary to state all the renderings which the learned have given of this verse. It is unquestionably ambiguous, as the word ytwlh may be derived from different roots, which have different significations. I derive it from lwx or llx which signifies to be in pain as a woman in labour, and as it is in the infinitive, I render it, "the time of my sorrow or pain." The next term, twgf, I derive from hgf to change, as the Chaldee does, Ainsworth, Hammond, and others; and I render it potentially. I consider the whole as a beautiful metaphor. The author considers himself as in distress, like a woman in travail; and like her, hopes soon to have his sorrow turned to joy. He confides in God's power to effect such a change; and hence naturally recollects the past instances of God's favour to his people. Benjamin Boothroyd.
Verse 10. I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. Not the moments, nor the hours, nor days of a few short afflictions, that his left hand hath dealt to me: but the years of his right hand; those long, large, and boundless mercies wherewith he hath comforted me. Thomas Adams.
Verse 10. I will remember the years, etc. The words in the Hebrew text are shenoth jemin gneljon, which I find to be variously rendered and translated by interpreters. I shall not trouble you with them all at this present time, but only take notice of two of them, which I conceive are the principal and most comprehensive; the one is our oldest English translation, and the other of our last and newest; the former reads the words thus: The right hand of the Most High can change all this. The latter reads the words thus, as we have it now before us, I will remember the years, etc. The main ground of this variation is the different exposition of the Hebrew word shenoth, which may be translated either to change, from the verb in the infinitive mood, or else may be translated years, from the noun in the plural number. This hath given the occasion to this difference and variety of translation, but the sense is very good and agreeable which way soever we take it -- First, take it according to the former translation, as it does exhibit to us the power of God. The right hand of the Lord can change all this. This was that whereby David did support himself in his present affliction; that the Lord was able to change and alter this his condition to him, and that for the better... For the second sense here before us, that's this: I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High; where the word remember is borrowed from the next following verse, to supply the sense of this, as otherwise being not in the text. Now here the prophet David fetches a ground of comfort from God's practice, as before he did from his power; there, from what God could do; here, from what he has done already in former time, and ages, and generations. Thomas Horton.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1,3,5,10. Note the wise man's progress out of his soul trouble.
I cried. I remembered. I considered. I said.
Verse 10. A confession applicable to many other matters. Such as, fear of death, fear of desertion, dread of public service, sensitiveness of neglect, etc.
Verse 10. My infirmity. Different meanings of this word. These would furnish a good subject. Some infirmities are to be patiently endured, others gloried in, others taken in prayer to God for his Spirit's help, and others lamented and repented of.
Verse 10-12. Remember, meditate, talk.