The Relentless Inevitable Progression of Old Age

Genesis 24:1; Genesis 25:7

Abraham was old and well stricken in age.

Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The thing that ultimately is going to test the value of our professed Christian faith is the way in which we face old age, the way in which we face death.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Old age and death will speedily come, against which every wise man will take care to lay in solid provisions and comforts.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It is good for those who are old and stricken in years to be put in remembrance of their being so. Some have gray hairs here and there upon them, and perceive it not; they do not care to think of it, and therefore need to be told of it, that they may be quickened to do the work of life, and make preparation for death, which is coming towards them apace.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Queen Elizabeth I [got angry] with the bishop that put her in mind of her great age and death.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I cannot imagine or dream that I need offer any apology for preaching to aged people. If I were in sundry stupid circles where people call themselves ladies and gentlemen, and always want to conceal their ages, I might have some hesitation; but I have nothing to do with that here. I call an old man, an old man, and an old woman, an old woman; whether they think themselves old or not is nothing to me. I guess they are, if they are getting anywhere past sixty, or on to seventy or eighty.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): 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,” Psalm 90:10.  That witness is indeed true.

RICHARD STEELE (1629-1692): In Genesis 18:11 Abraham was an old man, and in Genesis 24:1, there he is called with the very same word, but “an old man,” though he was then forty years older than before. The Hebrew commonly calling an old man “full of days,” or “stricken in years,” though sometimes they are distinguished.

WILLIAM PRINGLE (1790-1858): The words “old and stricken in years” (Joshua 13:1) accurately express the period of life according to a division which was long familiar to the Jews…According to this division, old age consisted of three stages—the first extending from the sixtieth to the seventieth year, constituting the commencement of old age properly so called; the second extending from the seventieth to the eightieth year, and constituting what was called “hoary,” or “hoary-headed” age; and the third extending from the eightieth year to the end of life, and constituting what was called advanced age, and caused the person who had reached it to be described as one “stricken in years.”

RICHARD STEELE: A universal fixed period cannot be set herein; the diversity of mens’ natural constitutions, employments, diet, exercises, causeth old age to come sooner to some, and slower to others.

JOHN TRAPP: Old age stealeth upon us.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not,” Hosea 7:9. Or, “gray hairs are sprinkled on him.” Gray hairs, when thick, are a sign that old age is come; and, when sprinkled here and there, are symptoms of its coming on, and of a person’s being on the decline of lifeand are a sure indication of the approach of old age.

RICHARD STEELE: As for the progress of old agethis is plain, that there is a vigorous, and a decrepit old age. During the former, natural abilities are not so decayed, as to render a man uneasy, or unserviceable. Abraham was an elderly man, Genesis 18:1. He was old and well stricken in years, Genesis 24:1, being then about one hundred and forty years of age: but in Genesis 25:8 he was old and full of years, being one hundred seventy and five; then, he was very oldby which it should seem, that old age comes somewhat short of fulness of days.

WILLIAM PRINGLE: The view of most as to “old” and “full of years” is that the first is mature old age, and that the second is the last stage of life, the age of decrepitude. The person full of days is “one” as Blayney says, “who has arrived at the full period of human life;” and hence Abraham, Isaac, David, and Job are said to have died “full of years, or of days.”

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): In the Hebrew it is only full, or satisfied; but you must understand, with days or years, as the phrase is fully expressed―When he had lived as long as he desired, being in some sort weary of life, and desirous to be dissolved.

MATTHEW HENRY: Abraham “died in a good old age, an old man;” so God had promised him, Genesis 15:15. His death was his discharge from the burdens of his age―he did not live till the world was weary of him, but till he was weary of the world; he had had enough of it, and desired no more…All that come to old age do not find it alike good; generally, the days of old age are evil days, and such as there is no pleasure in, nor expectation of service from…the days of old age and death are the “days of evil,” Ecclesiastes 12:1.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): It is true, that as soon as we advance towards old age, we speedily fall into decay…Old age naturally tends to death.

JOHN TRAPP: Young men, we say, may die; old men must die. Old men have one foot in the grave already.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): If youth has no security against death―then old age has no possibility of escaping the grim monster.

MATTHEW HENRY: What cure is there for old age?

JOHN GILL: Though young men may promise themselves many days and years, an old man cannot, but must, or should live in the constant expectation of death.

AUGUSTINE (354-430): So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom,” Psalm 90:12. We can never do that, except we number every day as our last day.

JAMES JANEWAY (1636-1674): How can you live within a few inches of death, and look the king of terrors in the face every day, without some well grounded evidence of your interest in God’s love?

OCTAVIUS WINSLOW (1808-1878): “How old art thou?” A solemn question to ask ourselves.  How old in nature?  How old in grace?


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