A PRAYER OF THE AFFLICTED, WHEN HE BE
OVERWHELMED, AND POURETH
OUT HIS COMPLAINT BEFORE THE LORD.
The Commentator Seforno (Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno ca. 1475-1550, Italy) says
this prayer is to be said by they who fear the coming Wars of Gog and Magog and
the Trials that will come upon the world before the Coming of the Messiah.
[Psalms 102:1] HEAR MY PRAYER, O LORD,
AND LET MY CRY COME UNTO THEE.
[Psalms 102:2] HIDE NOT THY FACE FROM ME
IN THE DAY WHEN I AM IN TROUBLE; INCLINE
EAR UNTO ME: IN THE DAY WHEN I CALL ANSWER ME SPEEDILY.
<<INCLINE THINE EAR UNTO ME. Seforno: Even though my prayer is not worthy to
be received, hear me.
[Psalms 102:3] FOR MY DAYS ARE CONSUMED
LIKE SMOKE, AND MY BONES ARE BURNED AS AN HEARTH.
The Hebrew word "ashen" (smoke) is spelt with an ayin but is related to "aesh"
(with an aleph) meaning fire. The English word "ash" (result of fire) derives
from the same root.
SMOKE. Hebrew "ashen". This word could also conceivably be applied to
CONSUMED LIKE SMOKE. Seforno: "In Exile".
The Jews were gassed to death and then burnt up in the
Holocaust. Babies that because they had been feeding at their mothers breast did
not dies from the gas were thrown alive into the furnaces.
A recent book describes the history of the Jews in Germany. It is aptly titled
"The Pity of it all". The Jews in Germany frantically attempted to assimilate
and be accepted by their German neighbors as equal citizens. The result was that
they literally went up in smoke. The family of my mother was among these people.
[Psalms 102:4] MY HEART IS SMITTEN, AND
WITHERED LIKE GRASS; SO THAT I FORGET TO EAT MY BREAD.
People who are depressed and/or under stress should eat. Breakfast
especially is important. Most of us think that we eat too much and maybe we do.
Nevertheless this should not be an excuse for us not to look after ourselves in
[Psalms 102:5] BY REASON OF THE VOICE OF
MY GROANING MY BONES CLEAVE TO MY SKIN.
This is also appropriate to the Holocaust experience where the starved
and tormented victims looked like walking clumps of bone.
[Psalms 102:6] I AM LIKE A PELICAN OF
THE WILDERNESS: I AM LIKE AN OWL OF THE DESERT.
A PELICAN. Hebrew "Kaat". Perhaps another type of owl.
[Psalms 102:7] I WATCH, AND AM AS A
SPARROW ALONE UPON THE HOUSE TOP.
In Hebrew "tsipor" meaning bird in general. On the other hand
(as mentioned by Isaac Mozeson in "The Word") the English word "sparrow" is
derived from the Hebrew "tsippor". It is also possible in Biblical Hebrew that
the common sparrow being the most common bird was named simply "Tsippor".
Similarly we have Ten Nations of Canaan with one of them simply receiving the
name "Canaan" whereas the others were given different appellations.
[Psalms 102:8] MINE ENEMIES REPROACH ME
ALL THE DAY; AND THEY THAT ARE MAD AGAINST ME ARE SWORN AGAINST ME.
This is a trait of anti-Semitism. They hate the Jews and reproach the Jews for
crimes they did not commit and for faults they did not have. They are mad with
hatred and evil imaginations. Hatred amongst the Heathens of the British and
Americans also has aspects of anti-Semitism. It is always possible to find Jews
who are not perfect or aspects of US policy that are criminally irresponsible
and even harmful. Nevertheless the hatred of the Jews and of the Americans (in
our day; in the past it was the British who were most hated) far far exceeds any
real faults that might be there.
[Psalms 102:9] FOR I HAVE EATEN ASHES
LIKE BREAD, AND MINGLED MY DRINK WITH WEEPING.
[Psalms 102:10] BECAUSE OF
INDIGNATION AND THY WRATH: FOR THOU HAST LIFTED ME UP, AND CAST ME
[Psalms 102:11] MY DAYS ARE LIKE A SHADOW THAT
AND I AM WITHERED LIKE GRASS.
[Psalms 102:12] BUT THOU, O LORD, SHALL ENDURE FOR EVER; AND THY REMEMBRANCE
UNTO ALL GENERATIONS.
[Psalms 102:13] THOU SHALT
ARISE, AND HAVE MERCY UPON ZION: FOR THE TIME TO
HER, YEA, THE SET TIME, IS COME.
Seforno: Even though they are not worthy when the set time comes they will be
[Psalms 102:14] FOR THY SERVANTS TAKE
PLEASURE IN HER STONES, AND
FAVOUR THE DUST THEREOF.
The Jews began their return to the Land when it was under the heel of the
Turks. Everything was in ruins. There was very little to remember of the past
except stones and dust. They began to come back even though this usually meant
a life of hardship, poverty, and oppression. Their Arab neighbors would rob and
oppress them because they were Jews and also because this was the Arab way and
they would do the same thing to reach other. From these beginnings the Jewish
settlement grew. After WW1 the British replaced the Turks and on the whole
(despite notable exceptions) helped the Jews develop what became the foundations
of the State of Israel.
[Psalms 102:15] SO THE HEATHEN SHALL
FEAR THE NAME OF THE LORD, AND ALL THE KINGS OF THE EARTH THY GLORY.
When God does miracles for Israel all the heathen are in fear. There were times
when even the little State of Israel frightened all the Arab Nations and even
made the then-mighty USSR tread carefully. Nowadays because of our sins virtual
nonentities like the Hisbullah and the Mickey Mouse Arab clowns etc have begun
to frighten us.
[Psalms 102:16] WHEN THE LORD SHALL
BUILD UP ZION, HE SHALL APPEAR IN HIS GLORY.
God in HIS own time will redeem us and give us the strength to redeem
[Psalms 102:17] HE WILL REGARD THE
PRAYER OF THE DESTITUTE, AND NOT DESPISE THEIR PRAYER.
The Almighty does not despise the prayers of anybody. Anything is possible for
God. It is not always easy to prayer but it always helps even if we ourselves do
not see immediate results in every matter.
[Psalms 102:18] THIS SHALL BE WRITTEN
FOR THE GENERATION TO COME: AND THE PEOPLE WHICH SHALL BE CREATED SHALL PRAISE
[Psalms 102:19] FOR HE HATH LOOKED DOWN FROM THE HEIGHT OF HIS SANCTUARY; FROM
HEAVEN DID THE LORD BEHOLD THE EARTH;
[Psalms 102:20] TO HEAR THE GROANING OF THE PRISONER; TO LOOSE THOSE THAT ARE
APPOINTED TO DEATH;
[Psalms 102:21] TO DECLARE THE NAME OF
THE LORD IN ZION, AND HIS PRAISE IN JERUSALEM;
The rebuilding of the State of Israel, "Zionism" is the will of God. The
Almighty is a Zionist. It may be that the citizens of Israel are not always
perfect. [On the other hand, relatively speaking, when compared to others, most
of them cannot be considered that bad either.] It may be that a time of disaster
will come upon the State of Israel and it may not. Even if [God forbid] it does,
eventually the Almighty will once again have mercy and re-establish the Old-New
Jewish State of Judah. All they who opposed will be punished for they went
against the will of the Almighty.
[Psalms 102:22] WHEN THE PEOPLE ARE
GATHERED TOGETHER, AND THE KINGDOMS, TO SERVE THE LORD.
THE PEOPLE. Hebrew "amim" in the plural meaning "PEOPLES". To our mind
this verse indicates the regathering of the Lost Ten Tribes and their
reconciliation and re-unification with Judah.
[Psalms 102:23] HE WEAKENED MY STRENGTH
IN THE WAY; HE SHORTENED MY DAYS.
This could be an expression of David. The King of Israel passed away at
the age of seventy. This was relatively short for great men even though seventy
years of age in the Bible is considered the "normal" life-span allocated to a
person. THE DAYS OF OUR YEARS ARE THREESCORE YEARS AND TEN [Psalms 90:10]. It
would also appear that just before the end of his life a kind of weakness
"jumped" upon David. In addition there were periods before that when David
contracted various illnesses but threw them off him after prayers and fastings.
[In the past fasting was recommended; the Rabbis say that in our time the nature
of man has changed slightly and fasting in most cases is no longer advisable.]
It was the way of David in writing the Psalms (as we have noted before) to
project his personal experiences into his pleas for and descriptions of Judah
and Israel in general.
[Psalms 102:24] I SAID, O MY GOD, TAKE
ME NOT AWAY IN THE MIDST OF MY DAYS: THY YEARS ARE THROUGHOUT ALL
God has plenty of time available. David asks to be given a little more of
[Psalms 102:25] OF OLD HAST THOU LAID
THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH: AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORK OF THY
[Psalms 102:26] THEY SHALL PERISH, BUT THOU
ENDURE: YEA, ALL OF THEM SHALL WAX OLD LIKE A GARMENT; AS A VESTURE
THOU CHANGE THEM, AND THEY SHALL BE CHANGED:
[Psalms 102:27] BUT THOU ART THE SAME,
AND THY YEARS SHALL HAVE NO END.
God continues on the same for eternity. He has given us time and placed
us in a time-limited framework. David asks that he personally and Israel in
general be enabled to place their imprint on the time given.
[Psalms 102:28] THE CHILDREN OF THY
SERVANTS SHALL CONTINUE, AND THEIR SEED SHALL BE ESTABLISHED BEFORE