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Psalm 103

A Psalm of David.


King James Version

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
22 Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.1


Bible Commentary

Jehovah is worthy to be praised by us in the highest style of adoration. Nothing less than the use of all our faculties is sufficient to praise the Lord.2,3
2 We have need, again and again, to bestir ourselves when we are about to worship God, for it would be shameful to offer him anything less than the utmost our souls can render. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us in the past.2,3
3 Pardoned sin is the needful preparation for enjoying all that follows it. Till iniquity is forgiven, healing, redemption, and satisfaction are unknown blessings.2
4 By purchase and by power the Lord redeems us from the spiritual death into which we had fallen, and from the eternal death which would have been its consequence. The Lord provides more than cleansing, healing and redemption: He gives us a crown adorned with gems of grace and lined with the velvet of lovingkindness; it is decked with the jewels of mercy, but made soft for the head to wear by a lining of tenderness.2
5 Whilst God satisfies a man's mouth with good things, man needs more, and only God can satisfy a man's soul. When sins are forgiven, its power subdued, and its penalty averted, then we are honoured, supplied, and our very nature renovated, till we are as new-born children in the household of God.2
6 Our God is a God of justice, and by Him actions are weighed; He will mete out His portion to the proud and make the tyrant bite the dust, yea, often He visits the haughty persecutor even in this life.2
7 It is a great act of sovereign grace and condescending love when the Lord reveals himself to any people, and they ought to appreciate the distinguished favour shown to them. The children of Israel were privileged to witness the deeds or wonders of God.2
8 Mercy pardons sin, grace bestows favour: in both the Lord abounds. He can be angry and deal out righteous indignation upon the guilty, but He lingers long, with loving pauses, tarrying by the way to give space for repentance and opportunity for accepting His mercy.2

9 The Lord chides His children only while they harbour sin in their hearts. When they turn from their sins His anger abates. The Lord then presses His beloved one to His bosom as if nothing had happened; or if the offence lies too deep in the offender's nature to be thus overcome, He continues to correct, but he never ceases to love.2
10 We ought to praise the Lord for what he has not done as well as for what he has wrought for us. Because Christ mitigated the penalty for sin, our daily lot has not been apportioned upon the rule of what we merited, but on the far different measure of undeserved kindness.2
11 God's mercy or love toward them that fear Him is as immeasurable as the infinite distance between heaven and earth.3 However for obstinate rebels, they shall have justice without mercy measured out to them.2
12 Sin is removed so far from us that the distance is incalculable.2
13 To those who truly reverence His holy name, the Lord is a father and acts as such. These He pities or has compassion on.2
14 The Lord knows how we are made, for he made us. Our make and build, our constitution and temperament, our prevailing infirmity and most besetting temptation he well perceives, for he searches our inmost nature. Made of dust, dust still, and ready to return to dust. Our heavenly Father gives us strength equal to our day, and considers our frailty when apportioning to us our lot.2
15 The grass lives, grows, flowers, falls beneath the scythe, dries up, and is removed from the field. If man lives out his little day, he is cut down at last. However before he has fulfilled his time he may wither or be suddenly plucked away. Man's beauty and comeliness is like the flower. No sooner come than gone, a flash of loveliness and no more!2
16 The flower blooms no more after the wind blows over it. Its leaves are scattered, and its perfume will never again sweeten the evening air. Man also dies and is gone, gone from his old haunts, his dear home, and his daily labours, never to return.2
17 How vast the contrast between the fading flower and the everlasting God! How wonderful that his mercy should link our frailty with his eternity, and make us everlasting too! Never will those who fear him find that either their sins or their needs have exhausted the great deep of his grace.2
18 The truly godly keep the Lord's commands carefully. They observe them practically: moreover they do not pick and choose, but remember "his commandments" as such, without exalting one above another as their own pleasure or convenience may dictate.2
19 From the Lord's throne in the heavens He stretches out His sceptre over the whole universe. He reigns universally: yesterday, today and tomorrow. To us the world may seem rent with anarchy, but He brings order out of confusion.2
20 To the angels are given an exceeding might of intellect, voice, and force which they delight to use in sacred services for him. They are ever ready to hear, obey and implicitly follow God's declared will.2
21 The psalmist exhorts all the angelic hosts and those that minister to Him to praise their Creator.2
22 He calls upon the whole creation in heaven and on earth, animate and inanimate, to join in the chorus of thanksgiving. Conscious that the universe is now vocal with the praise of God he would also have his own voice heard.3

References and notes
1.  King James Authorized Version
2.  Charles H. Spurgeon, "The Treasury of David" -
3.  SDA Bible Commentary Vol. 3 pgs. 861-862
4.  Bible Study - King David -
5.  Easton Bible Dictionary -
6.  Walking Thru the Bible: Psalms -


Music Sample

Click on image for song preview of Psalm 103. The music was composed in 1982.  Psalm 103 features on the CD album Wings of the Morning.



Bible Author

A psalm of David; it is in his own style when at its best. We should attribute it to his later years when he had a higher sense of the preciousness of pardon, because a keener sense of sin, than in his younger days.2



David's Masterpiece

David's clear sense of the frailty of life indicates his weaker years, as also does the very fainess of his praiseful gratitude. As in the lofty Alps some peaks rise above all others so among even the inspired Psalms there are heights of song which overtop the rest. This one hundred and third Psalm has ever seemed to us to be the Monte Rosa of the divine chain of mountains of praise, glowing with a ruddier light than any of the rest. It is as the apple tree among the trees of the wood, and its golden fruit has a flavour such as no fruit ever bears unless it has been ripened in the full sunshine of mercy. It is man's reply to the benedictions of his God, his Song on the Mount answering to his Redeemer's Sermon on the Mount. There is too much in the Psalm, for a thousand pens to write, it is one of those all-comprehending Scriptures which is a Bible in itself, and it might alone almost suffice for the hymn-book of the church.2


To the chief Musician

This note is attached to fifty-five psalms. It refers to the leaders of the temple singers and so is translated "choirmaster" by the RSV. "To the Choirmaster" would mean instructions to the choirmaster as to how the particular psalms was to be sung. Thus in the RSV of Psa.4 we have a clear statement of directions: "To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments," i.e., this psalms is to be sung with stringed instruments. This shows the psalms was specially meant for the Temple (tabernacle) worship.4


Short Biography of David - Part 1

Short Biography of David - Part 2


David a Fugitive

When Saul made his first attempt to kill David, the young shepherd fled to Samuel in Ramah where he was given refuge for a time among the prophets (1 Samuel 19:12-18). Some are of the opinion that David composed the 6th, 7th and 11th Psalms while he was there. When Saul discovered David's whereabouts, David fled again, this time to Nob (1 Samuel 21:1-9), and then to Gath among the Philistines. The Philistine king refused him, so David continued over to Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1-4, 1 Chronicles 12:8-18) where 400 men joined him and accepted him as their leader. David and his men drove the Philistines from Keilah (1 Samuel 23:1-14) and then moved to the hill country of Judah to escape Saul. While there, David met with Jonathan, Saul's son, who had been, and always remained, a loyal friend with David (1 Samuel 23:16-18). Jonathan was killed in battle with the Philistines not long after. Although Saul would readily have killed David, David refused to lift his sword against Saul. David actually saved Saul's life on occasion during all the time that Saul was hunting him (1 Samuel 24:10, 26:9).4,5


Living among the Philistines

Harassed by the necessity of moving from place to place through fear of Saul, David once more sought refuge among the Philistines (1 Sam. 27). He was welcomed by the king, who assigned him Ziklag as his residence. Here David lived among his followers for some time as an independent chief engaged in frequent war with the Amalekites and other tribes on the south of Judah. Achish summoned David with his men to join his army against Saul; but the lords of the Philistines were suspicious of David's loyalty, and therefore he was sent back to Ziklag, which he found to his dismay had been pillaged and burnt during his brief absence. David pursued after the raiders, the Amalekites, and completely routed them. On his return to Ziklag tidings reached him of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1). An Amalekite brought Saul's crown and bracelet and laid them at his feet. David and his men rent their clothes and mourned for Saul, who had been defeated in battle near Mount Gilboa.5


Short Biography of David - Part 3

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