2 Samuel 19:35
I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink?…
Barzillai graphically depicts these as experienced by himself. All old men have not exactly the same experience; but all who live to a great age must expect a similar diminution of their powers.
I. THE PRIVATIONS OF THE AGED.
1. Enfeebled or annihilated powers. Blunted or extinct senses; dulness or loss of sight, hearing, taste, smelling; feebleness of body and mind. Consequent inability for active employments. Loss of the pleasures which the exercise of vigorous faculties confers.
2. Increasing dependence on others. Possibly, unlike Barzillai, for the means of subsistence; certainly for much besides. Hence the old man is apt to become, and feel himself to be, "a burden," putting the kindness and patience of others to a severe test. The discomfort arising from such dependance is often very great.
3. The sense of loneliness. Sometimes the aged survive all who have loved and cared for them, and, if not, they commonly feel themselves cut off from the interests and pleasures of the new generation.
II. HOW THESE PRIVATIONS SHOULD BE BORNE.
1. With cheerful submission and patience. Remembering that the order of nature which brings such ills to the aged, and the circumstances which occasion their own particular troubles, are the appointment of the infinitely wise and good Creator and Father. Recalling also their many years of vigorous faculty and lively enjoyment, and cherishing a gratitude which will suppress discontent.
2. With thankfulness for what remains. The love and care which provide for, or minister to, their needs and alleviate their troubles. Above all, the unchanging love of God and the Redeemer, and the spiritual blessings hence enjoyed.
3. With watchfulness against the temptations incident to old age. Such as those to fretfulness, irritability, impatience, envy of the young, and needless interference with their enjoyments. The revival with new power of old sinful propensities, ill tempers, and bad habits.
4. With joyful hope. Of speedy deliverance from all burdens and troubles, and the recommencement of life with renewed and perfected energies. Nothing can keep the aged Christian long out of heaven.
III. HOW OTHERS SHOULD REGARD THEM.
1. With respectful tenderness, sympathy, and readiness to alleviate them.
2. With diminished desire for the great prolongation of their own lives.
3. With steadfast aim and endeavour so to live that, if old age come, it may not be oppressed with the needless burdens and anxieties which a godless life leads to. Let the young keep in mind the admonition, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (Ecclesiastes 12:1). - G.W.
Parallel VersesKJV: I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?
WEB: I am this day eighty years old. Can I discern between good and bad? Can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be yet a burden to my lord the king?