Psalm 102:24
I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.
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(24) 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.

102:23-28 Bodily distempers soon weaken our strength, then what can we expect but that our months should be cut off in the midst; and what should we do but provide accordingly? We must own God's hand in it; and must reconcile this to his love, for often those that have used their strength well, have it weakened; and those who, as we think, can very ill be spared, have their days shortened. It is very comfortable, in reference to all the changes and dangers of the church, to remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And in reference to the death of our bodies, and the removal of friends, to remember that God is an everlasting God. Do not let us overlook the assurance this psalm contains of a happy end to all the believer's trials. Though all things are changing, dying, perishing, like a vesture folding up and hastening to decay, yet Jesus lives, and thus all is secure, for he hath said, Because I live ye shall live also.I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days - This was the burden of my prayer, for this I earnestly pleaded. See 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."

23-28. The writer, speaking for the Church, finds encouragement in the midst of all his distresses. God's eternal existence is a pledge of faithfulness to His promises.

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.

I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days;.... Which was always reckoned as a judgment, as a token of God's sore displeasure, and as what only befell wicked men, 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.

(f) "ne ascendere facias me", Montanus, Gejerus.

I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.
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 102:24On the way (ב as in Psalm 110:7) - not "by means of the way" (ב as in Psalm 105:18), in connection with which one would expect of find some attributive minuter definition of the way - God hath bowed down his strength (cf. Deuteronomy 8:2); it was therefore a troublous, toilsome way which he has been led, together with his people. He has shortened his days, so that he only drags on wearily, and has only a short distance still before him before he is entirely overcome. The Chethb כחו (lxx ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ) may be understood of God's irresistible might, as in Job 23:6; Job 30:18, but in connection with it the designation of the object is felt to be wanting. The introductory אמר (cf. Job 10:2), which announces a definite moulding of the utterance, serves to give prominence to the petition that follows. In the expression אל־תּעלני life is conceived of as a line the length of which accords with nature; to die before one's time is a being taken up out of this course, so that the second half of the line is not lived through (Psalm 55:24, Isaiah 38:10). The prayer not to sweep him away before his time, the poet supports not by the eternity of God in itself, but by the work of the rejuvenation of the world and of the restoration of Israel that is to be looked for, which He can and will bring to an accomplishment, because He is the ever-living One. The longing to see this new time is the final ground of the poet's prayer for the prolonging of his life. The confession of God the Creator in Psalm 102:26 reminds one in its form of Isaiah 48:13, cf. Psalm 44:24. המּה in Psalm 102:27 refers to the two great divisions of the universe. The fact that God will create heaven and earth anew is a revelation that is indicated even in Isaiah 34:4, but is first of all expressed more fully and in many ways in the second part of the Book of Isaiah, viz., Isaiah 51:6, Isaiah 51:16; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22. It is clear from the agreement in the figure of the garment (Isaiah 51:6, cf. Psalm 50:9) and in the expression (עמד, perstare, as in Isaiah 66:22) that the poet has gained this knowledge from the prophet. The expressive אתּה הוּא, Thou art He, i.e., unalterably the same One, is also taken from the mouth of the prophet, Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 46:4; Isaiah 48:12; הוּא is a predicate, and denotes the identity (sameness) of Jahve (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, i. 63). In v. 29 also, in which the prayer for a lengthening of life tapers off to a point, we hear Isaiah 65:2; Isaiah 66:22 re-echoed. And from the fact that in the mind of the poet as of the prophet the post-exilic Jerusalem and the final new Jerusalem upon the new earth under a new heaven blend together, it is evident that not merely in the time of Hezekiah or of Manasseh (assuming that Isaiah 40:1 are by the old Isaiah), but also even in the second half of the Exile, such a perspectively foreshortened view was possible. When, moreover, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews at once refers Psalm 102:26-28 to Christ, this is justified by the fact that the God whom the poet confesses as the unchangeable One is Jahve who is to come.
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