Venerable Age: its Trials and Consolations
2 Samuel 19:34-40
And Barzillai said to the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem?…

I. LENGTH OF DAYS IS A SCRIPTURAL BLESSING. It was eminently such under the Hebrew theocracy, where earthly allotments were the perpetual types of spiritual favour. As death was a penalty, so the shortening of human life was counted as a marked expression of the Divine displeasure, as where the Psalmist exclaims: "He brought down my strength in my journey, and shortened my days. But I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of mine age. For when Thou art angry all our days are gone." But alway, and through all generations, has the hoary head been counted a crown of glory to the righteous. Old age is not to be associated, as a matter of course, with decrepitude or the decays of nature. It has its own appropriate beauty, as well as youth. Undeniably the aged are entitled to our liveliest sympathies and our most sedulous attentions. They have reached the border land. They stand hovering between two worlds, and must shortly vanish and be no more seen. They are going from us, and we in our turn may require the kindness and attention which we bestow. But there are trials incident to old age, and which no power of human sympathy can avert or permanently relieve.

1. Infirmity of body is one. The vigours of life are failing. The fibre of a constitution which withstood all the assaults of threescore years, and promised well for a longer continuance, suddenly gives way.

2. Another trial of the aged is the altered aspect of society, the absence of contemporaries and companions, and the deepening loneliness of life. To outlive their generation, even by a little, is to walk a solitary path.

3. I will mention but one other trial to which the aged are exposed — that, namely, which lies in the tendency to depression and the decay of natural spirits.


1. As a rule, and as a blessedness often attained, the last days of the Christian are his best days, and the end better than the beginning.

2. And, again, the aged saint finds comfort in looking back, and holding in review the way over which he has passed. The retrospection of seventy or eighty years presents God continually in forms and ministries of providential care which are only estimated fully, at the end.

3. Finally, the past revelation of God's mercy and goodness is the best pledge of eternal glory.

(W. F. Morgan, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem?

WEB: Barzillai said to the king, "How many are the days of the years of my life, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem?

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