on Psalms 131 :2
I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child - On the contrary, I have been under the rod of others, and when chastised have not complained; and my silence under my affliction was the fullest proof that I neither murmured nor repined, but received all as coming from the hands of a just God.
My soul is even as a weaned child - I felt I must forego many conveniences and comforts which I once enjoyed; and these I gave up without repining or demurring.
on Psalms 131 :2
Surely I have behaved and quieted myself - Margin, as in Hebrew, my soul. The Hebrew is, "If I have not soothed and quieted my soul." This is a strong mode of affirming that he had done it. The negative form is often thus used to denote a strong affirmation. The full form would be, "God knows if I have not done this;" or, "If I have not done this, then let me bear the consequences; let me be punished." The idea is that he was conscious he had done this. Instead of being arrogant, proud, and ambitious - instead of meddling with matters above him, and which did not belong to him, he had known his proper place. He had been gentle, calm, retiring. The word rendered behaved means properly to be even or level; then, in the form used here, to make even, smooth, or level; and it is used here in the sense of calming the mind; smoothing down its roughnesses; keeping it tranquil. Compare the notes at Isaiah 38:13, in our version, "I reckoned" (the same word as here) "till morning," but where the correct translation would be, "I composed or calmed myself until morning." So the meaning here is, that he had kept his mind calm, and even, and gentle.
As a child that is weaned of his mother - See Isaiah 28:9. There have been very various interpretations of this passage. See Rosenmuller in loc. Perhaps the true idea is that of a child, when weaned, as leaning upon its mother, or as reclining upon her breast. As a weaned child leans upon its mother. That is, as a child, accustomed to the breast, and now deprived of it, lays its head gently where it had been accustomed to derive its nutriment, feeling its dependence, hoping to obtain nourishment again: not angry, but gently grieved and sad. A little child thus clinging to its mother - laying its head gently down on the bosom - languishing - looking for nourishment - would be a most tender image of meekness and gentleness.
My soul is even as a weaned child - literally, "As a weaned child upon me my soul;" that is probably, My soul leans upon me as a weaned child. My powers, my nature, my desires, my passions, thus lean upon me, are gentle, unambitious, confiding. The Septuagint renders this in a different manner, and giving a different idea, "Had I not been humble, but exalted myself as a weaned child doth against its mother, how wouldst thou have retributed against my soul!" The Hebrew, however, requires that it should be otherwise interpreted. The idea is, that he had been gentle; that he had calmed down his feelings; that whatever aspirations he might have had, he had kept them under; that though he might have made inquiries, or offered suggestions that seemed to savor of pride or ambition, he had been conscious that this was not so, but that he had known his proper place, and had kept it. The sentiment here is, that religion produces a child-like spirit; that it disposes all to know and keep their right place; that to whatever inquiries or suggestions it may lead among the young, it will tend to keep them modest and humble; and that whatever suggestions one in early life may be disposed to make, they will be connected with a spirit that is humble, gentle, and retiring. Religion produces self-control, and is inconsistent with a proud, an arrogant, and an ambitious spirit.
on Psalms 131 :2