Psalms 103

Listen to Psalms 103
1 1Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
2 2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and 3forget not all his benefits,
3 who 4forgives all your iniquity, who 5heals all your diseases,
4 who 6redeems your life from the pit, who 7crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who 8satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like 9the eagle's.
6 The LORD works 10righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his 11ways to Moses, his 12acts to the people of Israel.
8 The LORD is 13merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 14He will not always chide, nor will he 15keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us 16according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For 17as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his 18steadfast love toward 19those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he 20remove our transgressions from us.
13 As 21a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion 22to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;[a] he 23remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like 24grass; he flourishes like 25a flower of the field;
16 for 26the wind passes over it, and 27it is gone, and 28its place knows it no more.
17 But 29the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on 30those who fear him, and his righteousness to 31children's children,
18 to those who 32keep his covenant and 33remember to do his commandments.
19 The LORD has 34established his throne in the heavens, and his 35kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the LORD, O you 36his angels, you 37mighty ones who 38do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the LORD, all his 39hosts, his 40ministers, who do his will!
22 41Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. 42Bless the LORD, O my soul!

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Psalms 103 Commentary

Chapter 103

An exhortation to bless God for his mercy. (1-5) And to the church and to all men. (6-14) For the constancy of his mercy. (15-18) For the government of the world. (19-22)

Verses 1-5 By the pardon of sin, that is taken away which kept good things from us, and we are restored to the favor of God, who bestows good things on us. Think of the provocation; it was sin, and yet pardoned: how many the provocations, yet all pardoned! God is still forgiving, as we are still sinning and repenting. The body finds the melancholy consequences of Adam's offence, it is subject to many infirmities, and the soul also. Christ alone forgives all our sins; it is he alone who heals all our infirmities. And the person who finds his sin cured, has a well-grounded assurance that it is forgiven. When God, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, recovers his people from their decays, and fills them with new life and joy, which is to them an earnest of eternal life and joy, they may then be said to return to the days of their youth, ( Job 33:25 ) .

Verses 6-14 Truly God is good to all: he is in a special manner good to Israel. He has revealed himself and his grace to them. By his ways we may understand his precepts, the ways he requires us to walk in; and his promises and purposes. He always has been full of compassion. How unlike are those to God, who take every occasion to chide, and never know when to cease! What would become of us, if God should deal so with us? The Scripture says a great deal of the mercy of God, and we all have experienced it. The father pities his children that are weak in knowledge, and teaches them; pities them when they are froward, and bears with them; pities them when they are sick, and comforts them; pities them when they are fallen, and helps them to rise; pities them when they have offended, and, upon their submission, forgives them; pities them when wronged, and rights them: thus the Lord pities those that fear him. See why he pities. He considers the frailty of our bodies, and the folly of our souls, how little we can do, how little we can bear; in all which his compassion appears.

Verses 15-18 How short is man's life, and uncertain! The flower of the garden is commonly more choice, and will last the longer, for being sheltered by the garden-wall, and the gardener's care; but the flower of the field, to which life is here compared, is not only withering in itself, but exposed to the cold blasts, and liable to be cropt and trod on by the beasts of the field. Such is man. God considers this, and pities him; let him consider it himself. God's mercy is better than life, for it will outlive it. His righteousness, the truth of his promise, shall be unto children's children, who tread in the footsteps of their forefathers' piety. Then shall mercy be preserved to them.

Verses 19-22 He who made all, rules all, and both by a word of power. He disposes all persons and things to his own glory. There is a world of holy angels who are ever praising him. Let all his works praise him. Such would have been our constant delight, if we had not been fallen creatures. Such it will in a measure become, if we are born of God. Such it will be for ever in heaven; nor can we be perfectly happy till we can take unwearied pleasure in perfect obedience to the will of our God. And let the feeling of each redeemed heart be, Bless the Lord, O my soul.

Cross References 42

  • 1. ver. 22; Psalms 104:1
  • 2. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 3. Deuteronomy 6:12; Deuteronomy 8:11
  • 4. Exodus 34:7; Isaiah 33:24; Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; [Luke 7:47]
  • 5. Psalms 107:20; Psalms 147:3; Exodus 15:26; [Matthew 8:17]
  • 6. See Psalms 56:13
  • 7. [Psalms 5:12]
  • 8. Psalms 107:9
  • 9. Isaiah 40:31
  • 10. Psalms 146:7
  • 11. Exodus 33:13; [Psalms 25:4]
  • 12. [Psalms 78:11; Exodus 34:10]
  • 13. See Psalms 86:15
  • 14. Isaiah 57:16
  • 15. Psalms 30:5; Jeremiah 3:5, 12; Micah 7:18
  • 16. Ezra 9:13
  • 17. See Psalms 36:5
  • 18. Psalms 117:2
  • 19. ver. 13, 17; Luke 1:50
  • 20. [Isaiah 38:17; Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:19]
  • 21. Malachi 3:17
  • 22. [See ver. 11 above]
  • 23. Psalms 78:39
  • 24. Psalms 90:5
  • 25. See Job 14:2
  • 26. Isaiah 40:7
  • 27. Psalms 37:36
  • 28. See Job 7:10
  • 29. Psalms 25:6
  • 30. [See ver. 11 above]
  • 31. Exodus 20:5, 6
  • 32. Deuteronomy 7:9
  • 33. Psalms 19:8
  • 34. Psalms 11:4; Psalms 93:2
  • 35. Psalms 47:2; Daniel 4:17
  • 36. Psalms 148:2; [Luke 2:13]
  • 37. Psalms 78:25
  • 38. Matthew 6:10
  • 39. Genesis 32:2; Joshua 5:14; 1 Kings 22:19
  • 40. Psalms 104:4; Daniel 7:10; Hebrews 1:14
  • 41. Psalms 145:10
  • 42. ver. 1, 2

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or knows how we are formed

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 103

\\<>\\. The Targum adds, ``spoken in prophecy,'' as doubtless it was, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Some think it was written by David, after a fit of illness, and his recovery from it, since he speaks of his diseases being healed, and his youth renewed; for which reason the Syriac interpreter suggests it was written in his old age; for he makes the subject of the psalm to be, ``concerning coldness which prevailed upon him in old age;'' but rather he wrote it when his heart was warm with a sense of the love of God, and spiritual blessings of grace flowing from thence; and in it celebrates and sings the benefits of New Testament times; and it is a psalm suitable to be sung by every believer, under a quick sense of divine favours: wherefore the above interpreter better adds, ``also an instruction and thanksgiving by men of God;'' whom the psalmist may very well be thought to personate, even in Gospel times; and much rather than the Jews in captivity, as Kimchi thinks.

Psalms 103 Commentaries