Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 102-103

Psa 102.1-28 is a psalm about the afflicted and the heading tells us the purpose where it says, “A Prayer of the Afflicted, when he is faint, and he pours out his complaint to the Lord.” There is no author named so there is much speculation about who wrote it. Some say it was David and others believe it was written by someone in the Babylonian Captivity, or just after it. Some see this psalm as alluding to Messiah who was afflicted of God, but it can be applied to anyone under affliction.

Psa 10.1-7 is a cry for the Lord to come to his aid and he wants the Shekinah to manifest and help him in the day of his distress (v 1-2). His days have been consumes with smoke (quickly disappears) and his bones (the strong part of him) have been scorched (consumed like fuel) in a hearth (v 3). His heart has been smitten (dried up of strength) and withers like grass so that he forget to even eat )no appetite and preoccupied with sorrow-v 4). Because of his groaning his bones cling to his flesh meaning he is losing weight (v 5). He resembles a “pelican” (an undomesticated bird called a “kiyk” that lives in the wilderness and it gives a “signing” sound) of the wilderness; he has become like an owl (“Cos”) of the waste places meaning he is staying at a distance and is solitary (v 6). He stays awake at night (passing the night) like a lonely bird on a rooftop (v 7).

Psa 102.8-11 talks about the affliction of his enemies in that they have surrounded him all day long. He not only had to deal with poor health possibly, but his enemies mock and curse him (v 8). He has “eaten ashes like bread” meaning in great mourning and adversity and his drinks are mingled with weeping (v 9). He perceives his affliction as God’s indignation and wrath and feels that God has cast him away (v 10). His days are like a lengthened shadow (death was coming) and he is withered like grass (losing life) and becoming dry (v 11).

Psa 102.12-22 summarizes the future time when Israel will know the Lord. Yehovah will be enthroned (sit) forever (l’olam); and “your memory” (zik’reach a form of “zekor” or remembrance) will be to all generations (v 12). God will arise (Messiah is coming to do battkle with his enemies) and have compassion on Zion; it is a time to be “gracious” to Zion for the appointed time (the moed of Yom Kippur) has come (Matt 24.29-31, a Yom Ha Din or Day of Judgmnent-v 13). God’s servants find pleesure in Zion’s stones (a desire for the history and archeology; to study the past and make preparations for the Temple) and and feel pity for the dust of the ruined city (v 14). The nations will fear the name of the Lord (his reputation) and all the kings (non-Jewish rulers) Yehovah’s glory when they see the restoration of the Israel (v 15). Yehovah has built Zion and he has appeared in his glory, which is the high point of the Messianic Redemption (v 16). He has regarded the prayer of the destitute (the exiles all over the world) and has not despised their (the Jewish people praying for the coming of the Messiah) prayer (v 17). This will be written for the “generation to come” (Hebrew “achan” a form of “acharit” meaning “last” generation which is the one that will see the coming of Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom-Prov 31.25; Matt 24.34; Isa 2.3; Mic 4.1) that a people yet to be created (physically and spiritually born again) may praise Yehovah (v 18). God looked down from his holy (has a kedusha) height (in heaven) and gazed upon the earth, meaning the inhabitants of it, both righteous and unrighteous (v 19) to hear the groaning of the prisoner (the exiles, those in bondage), to set free those who were doomed to death (the exiles were always at the mercy of their captors, but this also alludes to the second death-v 20). Men will tell of the name of Yehovah in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem because they have been set free. When the peoples (nations) are gathered together and the kingdoms they will serve Yehovah (v 22).

Psa 102 23-28 goes back to the original complaints and weaknesses of the author. His vigor has been weakened and God has shortened “my days” he thought he should live, but they are numbered (Job 14.5). His frailty has taken its toll on him (v 23). He says, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days (in judgment), thy years are throughout all generations.” God’s eternity is contrasted with the weakness of man’s years (v 24). God lays the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of his hands (v 25). Even they are subject to change because they are his creations and they will be renovated, but God endures and never changes; all of them will wear out like a garment, like clothing and Yehovah will change them, and they will be changed as in 2 Pet 3.10-13 (v 26). But the the contrast is clear, God will remain the same (eternal) and not come to an end, unlike aspects of the creation (v 27). The children of thy servants (the original servants) will continue (return to the land and be settled there) and their descendants will be established before Yehovah, never to be uprooted again. God does not change and that is a guarantee that his kingdom will go on forever among men (v 28).

Psa 103.1-22 is a psalm of David as he expresses his love for Yehovah and all his benefits. This is a psalm of personal gratitude and that is seen in Psa 103.1-5).

David begoins by saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy (has a kedusha) name.” He is encouraging himself to praise God (v 1). He then goes on to say he will bless the Lord for all his benefits and then tells us what he means (v 2). God pardons all our iniquities and heals all our diseases, physical and spiritual (v 3). He redeems our life from the pit (the verge of death) and crowns us with kindness and mercy as if they were precious jewels (v 4). Who satisfies our mouths with good things, and the picture here is of a sick person who is disgusted with food like Job in Job 33.19-20 but his appetite returns), so that our youth is renewed, meaning we are healthier than before, like an eagle (v 5).

Psa 103.6-12 tells us how God has shown to Israel the same mercy he showed them in the days of Moses. God performs (with care) righteous deeds, and judgments (against those who oppress) for all who are oppressed (v 6). He made his ways (the Torah-Exo 33.13; Rom 9.1-5, 11.18), his acts to the sons of Israel (v 7). Yehovah is compassionate and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness, which is part of the Midot in Exo 34.6-7 (v 8). He will not always strive (quarrel) with Israel, nor will he keep his anger forever, meaning bear a grudge (v 9). He does not deal with us according to our sins or he would have destroyed us, nor has he rewarded us according to our iniquities (harshly). This is a Hebrew parallelism (v 10). For as high as the heavens are above the earth (seems limitless), so great is his kindness towards those who fear him (v 11)

Psa 103.12-18 speaks of his mercy to all generations. As far as the east (sunrise and purity) is from the west (sunset, darkness and sin), so far has he removed our transgressions from us (v 12). Just as a father has compassion on his children, so Yehovah has compassion on those who fear him (v 13). God knows what we are made of and how we are put together, including our weaknesses. He is mindful that we are but dust, out of which Adam was formed (v 14). As for man, his days are like grass (temporary and perishable) and as a flower of the field, so he flourishes very briefly (v 15). When the wind has passed over it, it is no more and withered by the hot wind. And the place where it once existed in the ground doesn’t even acknowledge it any longer. You can’t even tell where it was (v 16). But the mercy of Yehovah is from everlasting (the “olam/forever” before the 7000 years) to everlasting (the Olam Haba after the 7000 years) on those who fear him, or trust him by emunah (faith, confidence, action), and his righteousness unto children’s children, or who believe and follow Yehovah and the Torah like their parents did (v17), to those who keep his covenant (the Torah), and who remember his precepts to do them, and this applies to believers in Yeshua, as in Matt 7.21-23; Acts 21.15-24; 1 John 2.3-4; Jam 1.23-25 (v 18).

Psa 103.19-22 is a praise to God and calling all others to join in. Yehovah has established his throne in the heavens (1 Tim 6.15-16) and his sovereignty rules over all (v 19). Then David calls on the angels, his messengers and invisible leaders, mighty in strength (to do his bidding) and who perform his word (obedient) obeying the voice (immediately) of his word (v 20). Then David goes on to say that all of the “hosts” (armies) should bless Yehovah, those who serve him, doing his will (v 21). Then all of creation called his “works” are called on to bless the Lord, in all places of his dominion (kingdom). David then ends this psalm the same way he started, with “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” David and all believers have many reasons to bless the Lord (v 22).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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