Psalm 90 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Psalm 90)

Verse 2

[2] Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Thou — Thou hadst thy power, and all thy perfections, from all eternity.

Verse 3

[3] Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

Turnedst — But as for man, his case is far otherwise, though he was made by thee happy. and immortal, yet for his sin thou didst make him mortal and miserable.

Saidst — Didst pronounce that sad sentence, return, O men, to the dust out of which ye were taken, Genesis 3:19.

Verse 4

[4] For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Past — Indeed time seems long when it is to come, but when it is past, very short and contemptible.

A watch — Which lasted but three or four hours.

Verse 5

[5] Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.

Them — Mankind.

Away — Universally, without exception or distinction.

A sleep — Short and vain, as sleep is, and not minded 'till it be past.

Verse 7

[7] For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.

Are consumed — Thou dost not suffer us to live so long as we might by the course of nature.

Verse 8

[8] Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

Hast set — Thou dost observe them, as a righteous judge, and art calling us to an account for them.

Secret sins — Which though hid from the eyes of men, thou hast brought to light by thy judgments.

Verse 10

[10] The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Our years — Of the generality of mankind, in that and all following ages, some few persons excepted.

Flee — We do not now go to death, as we do from our very birth, but flee swiftly away like a bird, as this word signifies.

Verse 11

[11] Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

Thy fear — According to the fear of thee; according to that fear which sinful men have of a just God.

So — It bears full proportion to it, nay indeed doth far exceed it.

Verse 12

[12] So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Teach us — To consider the shortness of life, and the certainty and speediness of death.

That — That we may heartily devote ourselves to true wisdom.

Verse 13

[13] Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.

Return — To us in mercy.

How long — Will it be before thou return to us? Repent thee - Of thy severe proceedings against us.

Verse 14

[14] O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Early — Speedily.

Verse 17

[17] And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

The beauty — His gracious influence, and glorious presence.

In us — Do not only work for us, but in us,