Psalms 102

Prayer of an Afflicted Man for Mercy on Himself and on Zion.

1 1Hear my prayer, O LORD! And let my cry for help 2come to You.
2 3Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; 4Incline Your ear to me; In the day when I call 5answer me quickly.
3 For my days 6have been consumed in smoke, And my 7bones have been scorched like a hearth.
4 My heart 8has been smitten like grass and has 9withered away, Indeed, I 10forget to eat my bread.
5 Because of the loudness of my groaning My 11bones cling to my flesh.
6 I resemble a 12pelican of the wilderness; I have become like an owl of the waste places.
7 I 13lie awake, I have become like a lonely bird on a housetop.
8 My enemies 14have reproached me all day long; Those who 15deride me have used my name as a 16curse.
9 For I have eaten ashes like bread And 17mingled my drink with weeping
10 18Because * of Your indignation and Your wrath, For You have 19lifted me up and cast me away.
11 My days are like a 20lengthened shadow, And I 21wither away like grass.
12 But You, O LORD, 22abide forever, And Your 23name to all generations.
13 You will 24arise and have 25compassion on Zion; For 26it is time to be gracious to her, For the 27appointed time has come.
14 Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones And feel pity for her dust.
15 So the 28nations will fear the name of the LORD And 29all the kings of the earth Your glory.
16 For the LORD has 30built up Zion; He has 31appeared in His glory.
17 He has 32regarded the prayer of the destitute And has not despised their prayer.
18 This will be 33written for the 34generation to come, That 35a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.
19 For He 36looked down from His holy height; 37From heaven the LORD gazed upon the earth,
20 To hear the 38groaning of the prisoner, To 39set free those who were doomed to death,
21 That men may 40tell of the name of the LORD in Zion And His praise in Jerusalem,
22 When 41the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
23 He has weakened my strength in the way; He has 42shortened my days.
24 I say, "O my God, 43do not take me away in the midst of my days, Your 44years are throughout all generations.
25 "Of old You 45founded the earth, And the 46heavens are the work of Your hands.
26 "Even they will 47perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
27 "But You are 48the same, And Your years will not come to an end.
28 "The 49children of Your servants will continue, And their 50descendants will be established before You."

Psalms 102 Commentary

Chapter 102

A sorrowful complaint of great afflictions. (1-11) Encouragement by expecting the performances of God's promises to his church. (12-22) The unchangeableness of God. (23-28)

Verses 1-11 The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but here, is often elsewhere, the Holy Ghost has put words into our mouths. Here is a prayer put into the hands of the afflicted; let them present it to God. Even good men may be almost overwhelmed with afflictions. It is our duty and interest to pray; and it is comfort to an afflicted spirit to unburden itself, by a humble representation of its griefs. We must say, Blessed be the name of the Lord, who both gives and takes away. The psalmist looked upon himself as a dying man; My days are like a shadow.

Verses 12-22 We are dying creatures, but God is an everlasting God, the protector of his church; we may be confident that it will not be neglected. When we consider our own vileness, our darkness and deadness, and the manifold defects in our prayers, we have cause to fear that they will not be received in heaven; but we are here assured of the contrary, for we have an Advocate with the Father, and are under grace, not under the law. Redemption is the subject of praise in the Christian church; and that great work is described by the temporal deliverance and restoration of Israel. Look down upon us, Lord Jesus; and bring us into the glorious liberty of thy children, that we may bless and praise thy name.

Verses 23-28 Bodily distempers soon weaken our strength, then what can we expect but that our months should be cut off in the midst; and what should we do but provide accordingly? We must own God's hand in it; and must reconcile this to his love, for often those that have used their strength well, have it weakened; and those who, as we think, can very ill be spared, have their days shortened. It is very comfortable, in reference to all the changes and dangers of the church, to remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And in reference to the death of our bodies, and the removal of friends, to remember that God is an everlasting God. Do not let us overlook the assurance this psalm contains of a happy end to all the believer's trials. Though all things are changing, dying, perishing, like a vesture folding up and hastening to decay, yet Jesus lives, and thus all is secure, for he hath said, Because I live ye shall live also.

Cross References 50

  • 1. Psalms 39:12; Psalms 61:1
  • 2. Exodus 2:23; 1 Samuel 9:16
  • 3. Psalms 69:17
  • 4. Psalms 31:2
  • 5. Psalms 69:17
  • 6. Psalms 37:20; James 4:14
  • 7. Job 30:30; Lamentations 1:13
  • 8. Psalms 90:5, 6
  • 9. Psalms 37:2; Isaiah 40:7
  • 10. 1 Samuel 1:7; 2 Samuel 12:17; Ezra 10:6; Job 33:20
  • 11. Job 19:20; Lamentations 4:8
  • 12. Isaiah 34:11; Zephaniah 2:14
  • 13. Psalms 77:4
  • 14. Psalms 31:11
  • 15. Acts 26:11
  • 16. 2 Samuel 16:5; Isaiah 65:15; Jeremiah 29:22
  • 17. Psalms 42:3; Psalms 80:5
  • 18. Psalms 38:3
  • 19. Job 27:21; Job 30:22
  • 20. Job 14:2; Psalms 109:23
  • 21. Psalms 102:4
  • 22. Psalms 9:7; Psalms 10:16; Lamentations 5:19
  • 23. Exodus 3:15; Psalms 135:13
  • 24. Psalms 12:5; Psalms 44:26
  • 25. Isaiah 60:10; Zechariah 1:12
  • 26. Psalms 119:126
  • 27. Psalms 75:2; Daniel 8:19
  • 28. 1 Kings 8:43; Psalms 67:7
  • 29. Psalms 138:4
  • 30. Psalms 147:2
  • 31. Isaiah 60:1, 2
  • 32. Nehemiah 1:6; Psalms 22:24
  • 33. Deuteronomy 31:19; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11
  • 34. Psalms 22:30; Psalms 48:13
  • 35. Psalms 22:31; Psalms 78:6
  • 36. Deuteronomy 26:15; Psalms 14:2; Psalms 53:2
  • 37. Psalms 33:13
  • 38. Psalms 79:11
  • 39. Psalms 146:7
  • 40. Psalms 22:22
  • 41. Psalms 22:27; Psalms 86:9; Isaiah 49:22, 23; Isaiah 60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23
  • 42. Psalms 39:5
  • 43. Psalms 39:13; Isaiah 38:10
  • 44. Job 36:26; Psalms 90:2; Psalms 102:12; Habakkuk 1:12
  • 45. Genesis 1:1; Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:10-12
  • 46. Psalms 96:5
  • 47. Isaiah 34:4; Isaiah 51:6; Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 20:11
  • 48. Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 43:10; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17
  • 49. Psalms 69:36
  • 50. Psalms 89:4

Footnotes 26

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 102

\\<>\\; Whether this psalm was written by David, under a prophetic spirit, concerning future times; or whether by one of the Babylonish captivity, as Daniel, Nehemiah, Ezra, or any other; either just at the close of it, or upon their return from it; since it is said that "the set time to favour Zion was come", is not certain: however, since Zion was a type of the Gospel church, it may be very well applied to Gospel times; and the rather, since some passages in it are cited by the apostle in Heb 1:10-12 as to be understood of Christ: see Ps 102:25-27. The Syriac version calls it, ``a prophecy concerning the new people, namely, the Gentiles in the faith:'' it is entitled, "a prayer of the afflicted", or "poor" {e}; which Austin understood of Christ, who became poor for our sakes, and was afflicted of God and men. Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi, interpret it of the Jews suffering affliction in the Babylonish captivity; the former observes, that it was the opinion of some of their interpreters that this prayer was composed by some wise and understanding man that fell into the hand of his enemies. It may very well be applied to any afflicted person; all the people of God are more or less a poor and afflicted people; outwardly afflicted in body, in estate, and in their good name and character; inwardly with the corruptions of their own hearts, the temptations of Satan, and divine desertions; when it is a very proper time for prayer, Jas 5:13, and it is their privilege that they have a God of grace and mercy to pray unto, a throne of grace to come to at all times, a spirit of grace and supplication to assist them, and Christ their Advocate and High Priest, to present their petitions for them: and this everyone may do, "when he is overwhelmed"; pressed with the burden of sin, without a view of pardon, covered, as the word {f} signifies, with shame and sorrow for it; almost overset with, and ready to faint and sink under, afflictions, which like waves and billows roll over him; and at the same time is attended with much darkness and unbelieving frames of soul: "and poureth out his complaint before the Lord"; concerning his trials and afflictions, especially concerning the badness and haughtiness of his heart, the hardness of it, being so unaffected with providences, and under the word, and at the ordinances; concerning his leanness, barrenness, and unfruitfulness under the means of grace; his lukewarmness and indifference, his deadness and dulness in duty; his unbelief, distrust, and dejection of mind; as well as of the low estate of Zion, the little success of the Gospel, the few instances of conversion, and the unbecoming walk of many professors. Such a "complaint" as this, or "meditation" {g}, which he has thought of and digested in his mind; or all that is in his heart, as Aben Ezra observes, "he pours out" which denotes enlargement in prayer, the abundance of his heart, out of which his mouth speaketh; the fulness of his petition, as also freedom of expression it signifies a parrhsia, a telling all one's mind, speaking out with great liberty; laying it in an humble manner before the Lord, before whom all things are naked and open, and leaving it with him, in entire submission and resignation to his will, to do as seems good in his sight.

Psalms 102 Commentaries