What does Psalm 103:8 mean?
ESV: The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
NIV: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
NASB: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in mercy.
CSB: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love.
NLT: The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
KJV: The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
NKJV: The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
Verse Commentary:
The thought of what God had done for Israel led David to celebrate His grace, patience, mercy, and consistent love. But David also knew these facts about the Lord through personal experience. God had shown David mercy and unmerited favor by withholding death from him after David's affair with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:7–13). David had confessed his sin, and the Lord forgave him and demonstrated His love toward him (Psalm 51:1–3).

The nation of Israel, as well, had experienced the Lord's mercy and grace. Despite frequent rebellion against the Lord, the people of Israel had found forgiveness and assurance that the Lord had set His love upon them. They had learned the truth God proclaimed to Moses on Mount Sinai: "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Exodus 34:6). Time after time the nation's people provoked the Lord, but He did not destroy them. The fact that Israel exists today bears testimony to the Lord's mercy, grace, and love.
Verse Context:
Psalm 103:6–19 reflects on the Lord's benefits to Israel. Deuteronomy 6:1–15 contains the Lord's promise to bless the people of Israel if they would obey him. Psalm 105 and 106 are companion psalms that stress the Lord's goodness to Israel.
Chapter Summary:
Psalm 103 praises God for what He has done. This includes celebration of His personal influence, as well as the way God has blessed the nation of Israel. David encourages praises from himself, from the people in general, and even from the angels and hosts of heaven.
Chapter Context:
Psalm 103 is one of four psalms which complete the fourth division of the book of Psalms (Psalms 90—106). These four psalms ascribe praise to the Lord. Psalm 103 was written by David and expresses his gratitude to the Lord for all His benefits. First Thessalonians 5:18 conveys the same theme of thanksgiving by exhorting believers to ''give thanks in all circumstances.''
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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