I said, O my God, take me not away in the middle of my days: your years are throughout all generations.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Take me not away.—The fear of not living to see the restoration of his race prompts the psalmist to this prayer to the God whose years are not, like man’s, for one generation, but endure from age to age.Psalm 102:24. But, I said, O my God, take me not away, &c. — I prayed most earnestly to him, and said, O my God, who hast so graciously begun our deliverance, take me not away before it be completely finished, but let me see thy promise fulfilled, which thou, who diest not, as we do, I am sure, wilt not fail to make good. Yes: “though I should not live to have any share in the public joy for that restoration, yet thou, who art an everlasting and immutable God, whose years are throughout all generations, wilt not fail to make those who survive me happy therein.” Those who consider the psalmist, as personating the captive Jews, interpret the verse as follows: O my God, take we not away in the midst of my days — Do not wholly cut off and destroy my people Israel before they come to a full age and stature in the plenary possession of thy promises, and especially of that great and fundamental promise of the Messiah, in and by whom alone their happiness is to be completed, and until whose coming thy church is in its nonage, Galatians 4:1-4. Thy years are throughout all generations — Though we successively die and perish, yet thou art the everlasting and unchangeable God, who art, and wilt ever be, able to deliver thy people, and faithful in performing all thy promises; and therefore we beseech thee to pity our frail and languishing state, and give us a more settled and lasting felicity than we have yet enjoyed.Psalm 30:9; Isaiah 38:1-3, Isaiah 38:9-18. The word used here means "to cause to ascend or go up" and the expression might have been translated, "Cause me not to ascend." The Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate render it, "Call me not away." Dr. Horsley," Carry me not off." In the word there may be an allusion - an obscure one, it is to be admitted - to the idea that the soul ascends to God when the body dies. The common idea in the Old Testament is that it would descend to the regions of the departed spirits - to Sheol. It is plain, however, that there was another idea - that the soul would ascend at once to God when death occurred. Compare Ecclesiastes 3:21; Ecclesiastes 12:7. The word rendered "in the midst" means properly in the half; as if life were divided into two portions. Compare Psalm 55:23.
Thy years are throughout all generations - Thou dost not die; thou art ever the same, though the generations of people are cut off. This seems to have been said here for two reasons:
(1) As a ground of consolation, that God was ever the same; that whatever might happen to people, to the psalmist himself, or to any other man, God was unchanged, and that his great plans would be carried forward and accomplished;
(2) As a reason for the prayer. God was eternal. He had an immortal existence. He could not die. He knew, in its perfection, the blessedness of "life" - life as such; life continued; life unending. The psalmist appeals to what God himself enjoyed - as a reason why life - so great a blessing - should be granted to him a little longer. By all that there was of blessedness in the life of God, the psalmist prays that that which was in itself - even in the case of God - so valuable, might yet a little longer be continued to "him."
in the way—of providence.
weakened—literally, "afflicted," and made fearful of a premature end, a figure of the apprehensions of the Church, lest God might not perform His promise, drawn from those of a person in view of the dangers of early death (compare Ps 89:47). Paul (Heb 1:10) quotes Ps 102:26-28 as addressed to Christ in His divine nature. The scope of the Psalm, as already seen, so far from opposing, favors this view, especially by the sentiments of Ps 102:12-15 (compare Isa 60:1). The association of the Messiah with a day of future glory to the Church was very intimate in the minds of Old Testament writers; and with correct views of His nature it is very consistent that He should be addressed as the Lord and Head of His Church, who would bring about that glorious future on which they ever dwelt with fond delightful anticipations.Take me not away; do not wholly cut off and destroy thy people of Israel. In the midst of my days; before they come to a full age and stature, and to the plenary possession of thy promises, and especially of that great and fundamental promise of the Messias, in and by whom alone their happiness is to be completed, and until whose coming thy church is in its nonage; of which see Galatians 4:1-4. Possibly the psalmist (whom some learned interpreters suppose to be Daniel) may have respect to that prophecy, Daniel 9:24,25, which probably was published before this time; for this time was almost precisely the midst of the days between the building of the material temple by Solomon, and the building of the spiritual temple, or the church, by the Messias; there being about a thousand years distance between those two periods, whereof seventy prophetical weeks, or four hundred and ninety years, were yet to come. And so he prays that God would not root them out in this Babylonish captivity, but would graciously restore them to their own land, and preserve them as a church and nation there until the coming of the Messias.
Thy years are throughout all generations: though we successively die and perish, yet thou art the everlasting and unchangeable God, and therefore art and wilt ever be able to deliver thy people, and faithful in performing all thy promises; and therefore we beseech thee to pity our frail and languishing state, and give us a more settled and lasting felicity than yet we have enjoyed; and therefore we trust that thy people shall continue and be established before thee, as he saith, Psalm 102:28, because as thou art the everlasting God, so thou hast made an everlasting covenant with them, Psalm 105:10 Isaiah 55:3 Jeremiah 32:40, to be their God for ever, and therefore thou wilt not now forsake or reject us. Psalm 55:23, in the Hebrew it is, "cause me not to ascend" (f); either as smoke, which ascends, and vanishes away; or rather it designs the separation of the soul from the body at death, when it ascends upwards to God that gave it; so Aben Ezra compares it with Ecclesiastes 12:7, the Targum is,
"do not take me out of the world in the midst of my days, bring me to the world to come:''
some, who think that Daniel was the penman of this psalm, or some other, about the time of the Babylonish captivity, curiously observe, that that period was much about the middle between the building of Solomon's temple and the coming of Christ, the antitype of it; which was about a thousand years, of which four hundred and ninety were to come, according to Daniel's weeks; so, representing the church, prays they might not be destroyed, as such; but be continued till the Messiah came:
thy years are throughout all generations; which are not as men's years, of the same measure or number; but are boundless and infinite: the phrase is expressive of the eternity of God, or Christ; which the psalmist opposes to his own frailty, and which he illustrates in the following verses, by setting it in contrast with the discontinuance and changeableness of the heavens and the earth; see Job 10:5.I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. I will say introduces the prayer which follows with additional emphasis. Cp. Job 10:2.
in the midst of my days] Cp. Psalm 55:23; Isaiah 38:10.
thy years &c.] The eternity of God is contrasted with the transitoriness of man as in Psalm 102:12; Psalm 102:11.Verse 24. - I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days. Compare the complaint of Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:10). A pious Israelite regarded himself as entitled to a fairly long life, which was promised him directly (Exodus 20:12) and by implication, since it was only the wicked that were "not to live out half their days" (Psalm 55:23). Thy years are throughout all generations. Dathe and Professor Cheyne translate, "O thou, whose years are eternal." But the Hebrew will scarcely admit of this rendering. Psalm 48:14; Psalm 78:4. עם נברא like עם נולד Psalm 22:32, perhaps with reference to deutero-Isaianic passages like Isaiah 43:17. On Psalm 102:20, cf. Isaiah 63:15; in Psalm 102:21 (cf. Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 61:1) the deutero-Isaianic colouring is very evident. And Psalm 102:21 rests still more verbally upon Psalm 79:11. The people of the Exile are as it were in prison and chains (אסיר), and are advancing towards their destruction (בּני תמוּתה), if God does not interpose. Those who have returned home are the subject to לספּר. בּ in Psalm 102:23 introduces that which takes place simultaneously: with the release of Israel from servitude is united the conversion of the world. נקבּץ occurs in the same connection as in Isaiah 60:4. After having thus revelled in the glory of the time of redemption the poet comes back to himself and gives form to his prayer on his own behalf.
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