Psalm 37:25
Verse 25. - I have been young, and now am old. It is most natural to understand this literally, and to gather from it that the psalmist, whether David or another, composed this psalm in advanced life. It has certainly all the gravity, calmness, seriousness, and tone of authority which befit a teacher of many years and much experience. Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. The social condition of the Israelites was very unlike that of modern European communities. Though there were rich and poor among them, there could scarcely be any that were very poor. Where there was a general obligation upon all well-disposed persons to lend to such as were in need, and no interest could be asked upon loans, and in the year of jubilee all debts were remitted, and mortgaged lands returned to their original owners or their families, actual begging was scarcely possible, and at any rate could only be brought about by extreme and reckless misconduct. Many philanthropists believe that even at the present time in our own country mendicancy is nearly always the consequence of persistence in evil courses. Still more must this have been the case in Palestine in the time of the monarchy (see Proverbs 20:4).

37:21-33 The Lord our God requires that we do justly, and render to all their due. It is a great sin for those that are able, to deny the payment of just debts; it is a great misery not to be able to pay them. He that is truly merciful, will be ever merciful. We must leave our sins; learn to do well, and cleave to it. This is true religion. The blessing of God is the spring, sweetness, and security of all earthly enjoyments. And if we are sure of this, we are sure not to want any thing good for us in this world. By his grace and Holy Spirit, he directs the thoughts, affections, and designs of good men. By his providence he overrules events, so as to make their way plain. He does not always show them his way for a distance, but leads them step by step, as children are led. God will keep them from being ruined by their falls, either into sin or into trouble, though such as fall into sin will be sorely hurt. Few, if any, have known the consistent believer, or his children, reduced to abject, friendless want. God forsakes not his saints in affliction; and in heaven only the righteous shall dwell for ever; that will be their everlasting habitation. A good man may fall into the hands of a messenger of Satan, and be sorely buffeted, but God will not leave him in his enemy's hands.I have been young, and now am old,.... The psalmist makes mention of his age, which takes in the whole compass of his life, to command attention to what he was about to say; which was founded upon a long experience and observation of things, and was as follows;

yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken; though afflicted of God, and persecuted by men, yet not forsaken; though poor and needy, and often in necessitous circumstances, yet God in his providence appeared for them in one way or another; and so as Apollinarius paraphrases it,

"I never knew a just man entirely needy;''

for such might be forsaken by men, and even by their dearest friends and relations, yet not by the Lord: they might indeed, at times, think themselves forsaken of him, and their enemies might conclude and say they were, and yet this was not their case, Isaiah 49:14; and though they may be forsaken by him for a while, yet not utterly; he will not leave them and forsake them for ever, Isaiah 54:7;

nor his seed begging bread; they being righteous also, which must be supposed; otherwise, as good men have wicked children, these, through their wickedness, may come to poverty, to beggary, as they sometimes do; though a distinction may be made between being poor and beggars; the seed of the righteous may be the one, and not the other: besides, there is a difference between asking bread of others, in some few instances, and constantly begging bread from door to door, in which last sense the psalmist must be understood here; for otherwise he himself in some cases, had asked bread, as of Ahimelech at Nob, and of Nabal, &c. as did also Elijah of the widow of Sarepta: and though there might have been instances of some of the posterity of the righteous who got their bread by begging at the door, as in the case of Lazarus; yet David had never observed any such instance during the time of his life, which shows that such instances are very rare; whereas among wicked men and their offspring the case is frequent and common. Again, it may be observed, that the psalmist is speaking in the context of righteous men that are liberal, and give to the poor freely and largely; and it is seldom if ever known that they or their children come to want and poverty. Once more, the word "forsaken" may be repeated in this clause, thus; "nor his seed begging bread forsaken" (x); or seeking it in vain, and finally destitute of it; though they have been so reduced as to beg their bread, they have not been forsaken; they have find it, bread sufficient to support life, as Apollinarius paraphrases it; their bread has been given and their water sure; see Isaiah 41:17. In an ancient Midrash (y), or exposition of the Jews, the sense is thus given:

"although his seed and his sons are begging bread, yet I have not seen the righteous man, their father, forsaken, because of his fear of the blessed God.''

(x) "Justum non vidi derelictum, et semen justi quaerens panem non vidi derelictum"; so Hopfnerus, Titelmannus, Lorinus, Franzius apud Gejerum; "frustra quaerens panem, et finalitur destitutum", Michaelis. (y) Vajikra Rabba, s. 35. fol. 175. 2.

Psalm 37:24
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