Psalm 102:12
But you, O LORD, shall endure for ever; and your remembrance to all generations.
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(12) For ever.—The eternity of God, which must survive the world itself, is a pledge of the truth of the national hopes, in spite of the vicissitudes of individuals, and the swift succession of generations. For the word “remembrance,” see Psalm 30:4. It is explained by Exodus 3:15, “This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial through all generations.” The generations come and go, and the memory of man perishes, but the name “Jehovah” endures still, the object of adoration and praise.

102:12-22 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.But thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever - Though my condition has been changed, though I have been cast down from an exalted position, though kingdoms rise and fall, yet thou art unchanged. Thy purposes will abide. Thy promises will be fulfilled. Thy character is the same. As thou hast been the hearer of prayer in past times, so thou art now. As thou hast interposed in behalf of thy people in other ages, so thou wilt now. As thy people in affliction have been permitted to come to thee, so they may come to thee now. The psalmist here brings to his own mind, as an encouragement in trouble, as we may at all times, the fact that God is an unchanging God; that he always lives; that he is ever the same. We could have no ground of hope if God changed; if he formed purposes only to abandon them; if he made promises only to disregard them; if today he were a Being of mercy and goodness, and tomorrow would be merely a Being of justice and wrath. This argument is enlarged upon in Psalm 102:25-28.

And thy remembrance unto all generations - Thy memory; or, the remembrance of thee. My days are like a shadow. I shall pass away, and be forgotten. No one will recollect me; no one will feel any interest in remembering that I have ever lived (see the notes at Psalm 31:12). But while one knows that this must be so in regard to himself and to all other people - that he and they are alike to be forgotten - he may also feel that there is One who will never be forgotten. God will never pass away. He will be always the same. All the hopes of the church - of the world - are based on this. It is not on man - on any one individual - on any number of people - for they will all alike pass away and be forgotten; but one generation of people after another, to the end of time, may call on God, and find him an ever-living, an unchanged and unchangeable protector and friend.

12. Contrast with man's frailty (compare Ps 90:1-7).

thy remembrance—that by which Thou art remembered, Thy promise.

12 But thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.

13 Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.

14 For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.

15 So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.

16 When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.

17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.

18 This shall be written for the generation to come; and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.

19 For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth;

20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;

21 To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;

22 When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.

23 He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.

24 I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days; thy years are throughout all generations.

25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands.


But this is my comfort, although we die and our hopes vanish, yet our God is everlasting and unchangeable, and therefore invincible by all his and our enemies, constant in his counsels and purposes of mercy to his church, stedfast and faithful in the performance of all his promises; and therefore he both can and will deliver his people.

Thy remembrance; either,

1. The fame and memory of thy wonderful works. Or rather,

2. Thy name, Jehovah, mentioned in the former clause, which is called by this very word, God’s

remembrance or memorial, and that unto all generations, Exodus 3:15. Thus this clause exactly answers to the former; and both of them describe the eternity of God’s existence, whereby the psalmist relieves and supports himself under the consideration of his own and his people’s frailty and vanity. But thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever,.... This address is made to Christ, as is clear from Psalm 102:25, compared with Hebrews 1:10, who is a divine Person, endures for ever, is from everlasting to everlasting, unchangeably the same in his love, power, wisdom, faithfulness, &c. and though he died as man, he will die no more; he is alive, and lives for evermore; and because he lives, his people shall live also; and he will come again to take them to himself: and, as Mediator, he is King for ever; always continues, as such, to rule over, protect, and defend his people; and is a Priest for ever, and ever lives to make intercession for them; and his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, have a constant virtue in them, to take away sin, and secure from it: the consideration of the perpetuity of Christ, in his person and offices, was a comfort to the psalmist under his troubles, and in a view of his own declining state: the Targum is,

"but thou, O Lord, thy habitation continues for ever in heaven:''

and thy remembrance to all generations; the remembrance of his name Jehovah, or Jesus, or Immanuel, or any other, is sweet and precious to his saints in all ages; and so the remembrance of his works, of what he has done and suffered, especially the great work of redemption; for the remembrance of which the ordinance of the Lord's supper is appointed to be continued till his second coming; and his Gospel is an everlasting one, which will transmit the memory of him to men in every age, to the end of the world; and though all flesh is as grass, and every man dies, even the ministers of the word, yet that itself lives for ever. Aben Ezra reads "thy throne", as agreeing with Lamentations 5:19, but Kimchi observes that this reading is owing to a bad copy.

But thou, O LORD, shalt {i} endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.

(i) Though we are frail, yet your promise is sure, and the remembrance of it will confirm us forever.

12. But thou, Jehovah, shalt sit enthroned for ever;

And thy memorial shall be for generation after generation.

The verse is taken from Lamentations 5:19, with the substitution of memorial for throne. The thought in which the Psalmist takes refuge is not merely Jehovah’s eternity (‘shalt abide’), but Jehovah’s eternal sovereignty (Psalm 9:7). The name which is His memorial to one generation after another (Exodus 3:15) is the pledge and expression of that sovereign rule. “I will be that I will be,” ever revealing Myself as the Living God, working out My plan in the history of the world. Such as He revealed Himself to be in the Exodus, He must continue to be for all time.

12–22. From the thought of his own frailty and transitoriness he turns to the eternal sovereignty of Jehovah, which is the sure pledge for Zion’s restoration.Verse 12. - The second part of the psalm here begins. Against the complaint is to be set the confident hope and consolation. But thou, O Lord, shalt endure forever. God does not "wither" or decay - God and God's purposes "endure forever." It matters not that Israel is brought so low, and seems at the last gasp; God can raise up his people, and will do so in his own good time (vers. 13-17). And thy remembrance unto all generations; or, thy memorial (Revised Version); see Exodus 3:15. God's "remembrance," or "memorial," consists in the recollection, that his faithful ones have, of his historically manifested attributes. If this recollection is never to pass away, his faithful ones must remain also, to keep it up. קאת (construct of קאת or קאת from קאה, vid., Isaiah, at Isaiah 34:11-12), according to the lxx, is the pelican, and כּוס is the night-raven or the little horned-owl.

(Note: The lxx renders it: I am like a pelican of the desert, I am become as a night-raven upon a ruined place (οἰκοπέδῳ). In harmony with the lxx, Saadia (as also the Arabic version edited by Erpenius, the Samaritan Arabic, and Abulwald) renders קאת by Arab. qûq (here and in Leviticus 11:18; Deuteronomy 14:17; Isaiah 34:17), and כוס by Arab. bûm; the latter (bum) is an onomatopoetic name of the owl, and the former (k[uk[) does not even signify the owl or horned-owl (although the small horned-owl is called um kuéik in Egypt, and in Africa abu kuéik; vid., the dictionaries of Bocthor and Marcel s.v. chouette), but the pelican, the "long-necked water-bird" (Damiri after the lexicon el-‛Obâb of Hasan ben-Mohammed el-Saghani). The Graeco-Veneta also renders קאת with πελεκάν, - the Peshito, however, with Syr. qāqā'. What Ephrem on Deuteronomy 14:17 and the Physiologus Syrus (ed. Tychsen, p. 13, cf. pp. 110 f). say of Syr. qāqā', viz., that it is a marsh-bird, is very fond of its young ones, dwells in desolate places, and is incessantly noisy, likewise points to the pelican, although the Syrian lexicographers vary. Cf. also Oedmann, Vermischte Sammlungen, Heft 3, Cap. 6. (Fleischer after a communication from Rodiger.))

דּמה obtains the signification to be like, equal (aequalem esse), from the radical signification to be flat, even, and to spread out flat (as the Dutch have already recognised). They are both unclean creatures, which are fond of the loneliness of the desert and ruined places. To such a wilderness, that of the exile, is the poet unwillingly transported. He passes the nights without sleep (שׁקד, to watch during the time for sleep), and is therefore like a bird sitting lonesome (בּודד, Syriac erroneously נודד) upon the roof whilst all in the house beneath are sleeping. The Athnach in Psalm 102:8 separates that which is come to be from the ground of the "becoming" and the "becoming" itself. His grief is that his enemies reproach him as one forsaken of God. מהולל, part. Poal, is one made or become mad, Ecclesiastes 2:2 : my mad ones equals those who are mad against me. These swear by him, inasmuch as they say when they want to curse: "God do unto thee as unto this man," which is to be explained according to Isaiah 65:15; Jeremiah 29:22.

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