PSALMS 103      Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  meaning  -  Psalms  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

PSALM 103

A Psalm of David.

  1. Bless jehovah, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
  2. Bless jehovah, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
  3. Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;
  4. Who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with mercy and tender compassions;
  5. Who satisfies your mouth with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
  6. jehovah does justice and judgement for all the oppressed.
  7. He made known his ways to Moses, his doings to the sons of Israel.
  8. jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and of great mercy.
  9. He will not chide to eternity, neither will he keep his anger for ever.
  10. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor recompensed us according to our iniquities.
  11. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his mercy towards them that fear him.
  12. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
  13. Like as a father pities his children, so jehovah pities them that fear him.
  14. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
  15. As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field so he flourishes.
  16. For the wind passes over it, and it is no more, and the place thereof shall know it no longer.
  17. But the mercy of jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his justice to children's children.
  18. To those who keep his covenant, and to those who remember his commandments to do them,
  19. jehovah has established his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom rules over all.
  20. Bless jehovah, you, his angels, you mighty in strength, who execute his Word, hearkening to the voice of his Word.
  21. Bless jehovah, all you, his hosts! you, his ministers, who do his pleasure.
  22. Bless jehovah all you his works, in all places of his dominion: bless jehovah, O my soul!

The Internal Sense

Celebration of the lord for redemption and reformation, verses 1 to 7; out of mercy because he knows the infirmities of man, verses 8 to 18; that the heavens and the earth are his, wherefore he is to be celebrated, verses 19 to 22.

Exposition

Verse 1. Bless jehovah, O my soul. As the Psalmist here addresses his soul, or his internal man, it may be well to state in this place the true doctrine concerning the Internal and the External man, or mind. Man is so created as to be, at one and the same time, in the spiritual world, and in the natural world: the spiritual world is that in which angels are, and the natural world is that in which men are. And because man is so created, therefore he is endowed with an internal and an external; an internal by which he may be in the spiritual world, and an external by which he may be in the natural world. His internal is what is called the internal man, and his external is what is called the external man.

Every man has an internal and an external; but there is a difference in this respect between the good and the evil. The internal with the good is in heaven and its light, and the external is in the world and its light, which light with them is illuminated by the light of heaven, so that with them the internal and the external act in unity, as the efficient cause and the effect, or as what is prior and what is posterior. But with the evil the internal is in the world and its light, as is also the external; wherefore they see nothing from the light of heaven, but only from the light of the world, which light they call the light of nature: hence it is that the things of heaven are to them in darkness, whilst the things of the world are in light. It is therefore manifest that the good have an internal man and an external man, but that the evil have no internal man, but only an external.

The internal man is what is called the spiritual man because it is in the light of heaven, which light is spiritual; and the external man is what is called the natural man because it is in the light of the world, which light is natural. The man whose internal is in the light of heaven, and his external in the light of the world, is a spiritual man as to each: but the man whose internal is not in the light of heaven, but only in the light of the world, in which is also his external, is a natural man as to each. The spiritual man is what is called in the Word alive, but the natural man is what is called dead.

The man whose internal is in the light of heaven, and his external in the light of the world, thinks both spiritually and naturally, but when he thinks naturally his spiritual thought flows in into the natural, and is there perceived. But the man whose internal, together with his external, is in the light of the world, does not think spiritually, but materially; for he thinks from such things as are in the nature of the world, all which are material. To think spiritually, is to think of things as they essentially are, to see truths from the light of truth, and to perceive goods from the love of good: also to see the qualities of things, and to perceive their affections, abstractedly from matter: but to think materially, is to think, see, and perceive them together with matter, and in matter, thus in a gross and obscure manner respectively.

The internal spiritual man, regarded in himself, is an angel of heaven; and also, during his life in the body, notwithstanding his ignorance of it, is in society with angels; and after his separation from the body he comes amongst them. But the merely natural internal man, regarded in himself, is a spirit, and not an angel; and also, during his life in the body, is in society with spirits, but with those who are in hell; amongst whom he also comes after his separation from the body.,

The interiors which are of the mind, with those who are spiritual men, are also actually elevated towards heaven, for that is what they primarily regard; but the interiors which are of the mind with them who are merely natural, are turned to the world because that is what they primarily regard. The interiors which are of the mind [mens] are turned with every one to that which he loves above all things; and the exteriors which are of the mind [animus] are turned the same way as the interiors.

They who have only a common [or general] idea concerning the internal and external man, believe that the internal man is what thinks and wills, and that the external is what speaks and acts because to think and to will is internal, and to speak and to act it external: but it is to be observed, that when man thinks intelligently, and wills wisely, he then thinks and wills from a spiritual internal; but when man does not think intelligently and will wisely, he thinks and wills from a natural internal. Of consequence, when man thinks well concerning the Lord and those things which are of the Lord, and well concerning his neighbour and those things which are of his neighbour, and wills well to them, he then thinks and wills from a spiritual internal because he then thinks from the faith of truth and from the love of good, consequently from heaven: but when man thinks ill concerning them, and wills ill to them, he then thinks and wills from a natural internal, because he thinks and wills from the faith of what is false and from the love of what is evil, consequently from hell. In short, so far as man is principled in love to the Lord, and in love towards his neighbour, so far he is in a spiritual internal, from which he thinks and wills, and from which also he speaks and acts: but so far as man is in the love of self, and in the love of the world, so far he is in a natural internal, from which he thinks and wills, and from which also he speaks and acts.

It is so provided and ordered by the Lord, that so far as man thinks and wills from heaven, so far his internal spiritual man is opened and formed; it is opened into heaven even to the Lord, and it is formed according to those things which are of heaven. But on the contrary, so far as man does not think and will from heaven, but, from the world, so far his internal spiritual man is shut, and his external is opened; it is opened into the world, and it is formed according to those things which are of the world.

They with whom the internal spiritual man is opened into heaven to the Lord, are in the light of heaven, and in illumination from the Lord, and are thence in intelligence and wisdom; these see truth because it is truth, and perceive good because it is good. But they with whom the internal spiritual man is shut, do not know that there is an internal man, and much less what the internal man is; neither do they believe that there is a Divine, nor that there is a life after death, consequently they do not believe the things which are of heaven and the church; and for as much as they are only in the light of the world and in illumination thence, they believe in nature as the Divine, they see the false as truth, and they perceive evil as good.

He whose internal is so far external, that he believes nothing but what he can see with his eyes and touch with his hands, is called a sensual man; this is the lowest natural man, and is in fallacies concerning all the things which are of faith and the church. There are fallacies of the senses in things natural, civil, moral, and spiritual, and many in each of them; but here I design to recite some of the fallacies in spiritual things. They who think from the fallacies of the senses, cannot understand,

  1. That man after death can appear as a man; nor that he can enjoy his sense as before; nor consequently that angels have such a capacity.
  2. They think, that the soul is only a vital something, purely etherial, of which no idea can be formed.
  3. That it is the body alone which feels, sees, and hears.
  4. That man is like a beast, with this difference only, that he can express his thoughts by speech.
  5. That nature is all, and the first source from which all things proceed.
  6. That man imbues sciences and learns to think by an influx of interior nature? and its order.
  7. That there is no spiritual principle, and if there be, that it is a purer natural principle.
  8. That man cannot enjoy any blessedness, if divested of the delights of the love of glory, honour, or gain.
  9. That conscience is only a disease of the mind proceeding from the infirmity of the body, and from misfortunes,
  10. That the divine love of the Lord is the love of glory.
  11. That there is no Providence, but that all things come to pass from self derived prudence and intelligence.
  12. That honour and riches are real blessings bestowed by God: not to mention many other things of a similar nature.
Such are the fallacies of the senses in spiritual things. Hence it may appear, that celestial things cannot be comprehended by them who are merely natural and sensual; they are merely natural and sensual, whose internal spiritual man is shut, and whose natural man only is open.

The internal and external which have been treated of, are the internal and external of the spirit of man; his body is only an additional external, within which they exist; for the body does nothing from itself, but from its spirit which is in it. It is to be observed that the spirit of a man, after its separation from the body, thinks and wills, speaks and acts, the same as before; to think and to will is its internal, and to speak and to act is its external; concerning which, see the Treatise on Heaven and Hell, HH 234 to 245, 265 to 275, 432 to 444, 453 to 484. NJHD 3646.

Verse 3. Who forgives all your iniquities. How sins or iniquities are forgiven, see Psalm 51:2, Exposition.

Verse 3. Who heals all your diseases. Whence diseases originate, see Psalm 38:5, 7, 11, Exposition.

Verse 4. Who redeems your life from the pit. As to what concerns redeeming, in the proper sense it signifies to restore and appropriate to himself what had been his own, and is predicated of slavery, of death, and of evil; when of slavery, they are meant who have been made slaves, in the spiritual sense, who are enslaved to hell; when of death, they are meant who are in damnation; and when of evil, as in the present case, they are meant who are in hell, for the evil, from which the angel redeems, is hell. Inasmuch as the lord delivered man from these things, by making the Human principle in himself Divine, therefore his Divine Human principle is what in the Word is called redeemer, as in Isaiah, "I will help you, says jehovah, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;" Isaiah 41:14; again, "Thus says jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One," Isaiah 19:16. But that it is jehovah himself in the Divine Human principle, is manifest from the following passages, "Thus says jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, jehovah of Hosts, I am the First, and I am the Last, and besides me there is no god;" 45:6; and in David, "jehovah, who redeems my life from the pit;" from which passages it is evident, that by jehovah in the Word no other is meant than the lord, and jehovah the Redeemer is his Divine Human principle. AC 6231.

To redeem from the pit denotes to deliver from damnation, which is signified by the pit. The reason why to redeem signifies to rescue from evils and to deliver from falses, and also to rescue and deliver from hell is because from hell all evils and falses belonging to man have their rise, and since these are removed by reformation and regeneration by the lord, reformation and regeneration are also signified by redeeming or by redemption. AE 328.

Verse 5. Who satisfies your mouth with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. By an eagle is signified intelligence, and hence may be manifest what is signified by the lord's words, when they questioned him concerning the last judgement in Luke, "The disciples said, Where lord? He said to them, where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together," Luke 17:37; by the body is there signified the spiritual world, where all men are together both good and bad, and by eagles are signified those who are in truths and who are in falses, thus who are in true intelligence, and who are in false intelligence, the latter intelligence is from the selfhood of man, but true intelligence is from the lord by the Word. AE 281.

Verse 8. jehovah is merciful and gracious. They who are in the lord's spiritual kingdom speak of favour or grace, and they who are in the lord's celestial kingdom speak of mercy. Unless such was the difference between favour and mercy, no mention would have been made of doing favour and doing mercy. AC 10577

Inasmuch as there are two principles to which all things of the church have reference, namely love and faith, and whereas mercy is of love, and favour or grace, and also truth is of faith, therefore in the Word it is called mercy, and favour, or grace, when the lord is implored, and mercy and truth when the lord is described. AC 10577.

Verse 21. Bless jehovah, all you, his hosts, etc. Inasmuch as truths and goods are the armies or hosts of jehovah, therefore the angels are called his armies, where it is said, "Bless jehovah, you his angels, mighty in strength," where angels are called armies from the truths and goods in which they are principled; nor were the angels alone called the armies of jehovah, but also the luminaries of heaven, as the sun, the moon, and the stars, and this because by the sun was signified the good of love, by the moon the good of faith, and by the stars the knowledges of good and truth; that those luminaries are called armies, is evident in the book of Genesis, "The heavens and the earth were finished, and all their armies, where by armies are meant all the luminaries of heaven, but in the internal sense, in which the new creation of man is there treated of, are meant truths and goods. AC 7988.

PSALMS 103    Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  meaning  -  Psalms  -  BM Home  -  Full Page