Psalm 102:11
My days are like a shadow that declines; and I am withered like grass.
Jump to: BarnesClarkeGillGSBJFBKADMHC
102:1-11 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.Man is like to vanity;

His days are as a shadowy that passeth away.

Psalm 102:11My days are like a shadow that declineth - The shadow made by the gnomon on a sun-dial, which marks the hours as they pass. See 2 Kings 20:10. The idea is that the shadow made by the descending sun was about to disappear altogether. It had become less distinct and clear, and it would soon vanish. It would seem from this, that the dial was so made that the shadow indicating the hour ascended when the sun ascended, and declined when the sun went down. See the notes at Isaiah 38:8.

And I am withered like grass - See the notes at Psalm 102:4.

My days are like a shadow that declineth,.... Or, "that is stretched out" (s), which, though it may appear long, is soon at an end; as it does appear longer when the sun sets (t), and departs from the earth: he reckons his life not by months and years, but by days; and these he compares to a "shadow", which has no substance in it; his age being as nothing before the Lord, and has much darkness and obscurity in it; his days being days of darkness, affliction, and trouble, and quickly gone, as man's life is; there is no abiding; see 1 Chronicles 29:15. Pindar (u) calls man the dream of a shadow:

and I am withered like grass; which in the morning is flourishing, is cut down at noon, and withered at evening: this is the case of all flesh, however beautiful and goodly it may look; it is weak, frail, and mortal; cannot stand before the force of afflictions, which quickly consume strength and beauty, and much less before the scythe of death; see Psalm 90:5.

(s) "inclinata", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Musculus, Cocceius; "extensa", Michaelis. (t) "Et sol crescentes decedens duplicat umbras", Virgil. Bacol. Eclog. 2.((u) Pyth. Ode 8.

My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.From this point onward the Psalm becomes original. Concerning the Beth in בעשׁן, vid., on Psalm 37:20. The reading כּמו קד (in the Karaite Ben-Jerucham) enriches the lexicon in the same sense with a word which has scarcely had any existence. מוקד (Arabic mauḳid) signifies here, as in other instances, a hearth. נחרוּ is, as in Psalm 69:4, Niphal: my bones are heated through with a fever-heat, as a hearth with the smouldering fire that is on it. הוּכּה (cf. יגודּוּ, Psalm 94:21) is used exactly as in Hosea 9:16, cf. Psalm 121:5. The heart is said to dry up when the life's blood, of which it is the reservoir, fails. The verb שׁכח is followed by מן of dislike. On the cleaving of the bones to the flesh from being baked, i.e., to the skin (Arabic bašar, in accordance with the radical signification, the surface of the body equals the skin, from בשׂר, to brush along, rub, scrape, scratch on the surface), cf. Job 19:20; Lamentations 4:8. ל (אל) with דּבק is used just like בּ. It is unnecessary, with Bttcher, to draw מקּול אנחתי to Psalm 102:5. Continuous straining of the voice, especially in connection with persevering prayer arising from inward conflict, does really make the body waste away.
11. shadow … declineth—soon to vanish in the darkness of night.My days are like a shadow that declineth - Or rather, My days decline like the shadow. I have passed my meridian, and the sun of my prosperity is about to set for ever. There may be here an allusion to the declination of the sun towards the south, which, by shortening their days, would greatly lengthen their nights. Similar to the exclamation of a contemporary prophet, Jeremiah 8:20 : "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." There is now scarcely any human hope of our deliverance.
Psalm 102:10
Top of Page
Top of Page