Psalms 103

Of David.

1 Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, 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 44

  • 1. Psalms 28:6
  • 2. Psalms 104:1
  • 3. S Psalms 30:4
  • 4. Psalms 106:1; Psalms 117:1
  • 5. S Deuteronomy 6:12; Psalms 77:11
  • 6. S Exodus 34:7; Psalms 130:8
  • 7. S Exodus 15:26; Colossians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 1:9
  • 8. Psalms 34:22; Psalms 56:13; Isaiah 43:1
  • 9. S Psalms 8:5; Psalms 23:6
  • 10. S Psalms 90:14; S Psalms 104:28
  • 11. Job 33:25; Psalms 119:25,93; 2 Corinthians 4:16
  • 12. S Exodus 19:4; Isaiah 40:31
  • 13. Psalms 9:8; Psalms 65:5; Isaiah 9:7
  • 14. S Psalms 74:21; S Luke 4:19
  • 15. Psalms 99:7; Psalms 147:19
  • 16. S Exodus 33:13
  • 17. Psalms 106:22
  • 18. Exodus 34:6; S Exodus 22:27; S Psalms 86:15; Micah 7:18-19; James 5:11
  • 19. Psalms 30:5; Psalms 79:5; Isaiah 57:16; Jeremiah 3:5,12; Micah 7:18
  • 20. S Ezra 9:13; Romans 6:23
  • 21. Psalms 13:5; Psalms 57:10; Psalms 100:5; Psalms 106:45; Psalms 117:2; Lamentations 3:22; Ephesians 3:18
  • 22. S 2 Chronicles 6:31
  • 23. S 2 Samuel 12:13; Romans 4:7; Ephesians 2:5
  • 24. Malachi 3:17; 1 John 3:1
  • 25. Psalms 119:73; Psalms 139:13-15; Isaiah 29:16
  • 26. S Genesis 2:7; S Psalms 146:4
  • 27. Psalms 37:2; Psalms 90:5; Psalms 102:11; Isaiah 40:6
  • 28. S Job 14:2; James 1:10; 1 Peter 1:24
  • 29. Isaiah 40:7; Haggai 1:9
  • 30. S Job 7:8; Job 7:10
  • 31. S Genesis 48:11; S Ezra 9:12
  • 32. S Deuteronomy 29:9
  • 33. Psalms 119:52
  • 34. S Numbers 15:40; John 14:15; Deuteronomy 7:9
  • 35. Psalms 47:8; Psalms 80:1; Psalms 113:5
  • 36. Psalms 22:28; Psalms 66:7; Daniel 4:17; Psalms 47:2
  • 37. Psalms 28:6
  • 38. S Nehemiah 9:6; Psalms 148:2; Luke 2:13; Hebrews 1:14
  • 39. S Psalms 29:1
  • 40. Psalms 107:25; Psalms 135:7; Psalms 148:8
  • 41. S 1 Kings 22:19
  • 42. S Nehemiah 7:73
  • 43. Psalms 19:1; Psalms 67:3; Psalms 145:10; Psalms 150:6
  • 44. ver 1; Psalms 104:1

Chapter Summary


\\<>\\. 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

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