Hath God - in anger shut up his tender mercies? - The tender mercies of God are the source whence all his kindness to the children of men flows. The metaphor here is taken from a spring, the mouth of which is closed, so that its waters can no longer run in the same channel; but, being confined, break out, and take some other course. Wilt thou take thy mercy from the Israelites, and give it to some other people? This he most certainly did. He took it from the Jews, and gave it to the Gentiles.
Hath God forgotten to be gracious? - Has he passed over mercy in administering his government? Has he ceased to remember that man needs mercy? Has he forgotten that this is an attribute of his own nature?
Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? - The original word here rendered “tender mercies” refers to the “bowels,” as the seat of compassion or mercy, in accordance with a usage common in Hebrew. See Psalm 25:6, note; Isaiah 16:11, note; Isaiah 63:15, note. Compare Luke 1:78 (in Greek); Philemon 1:8; Philemon 2:1; 1 John 3:17. We speak of the “heart” as the seat of affection and kindness. The Hebrews included the heart, but they used a more general word. The word rendered “shut up” means “closed;” and the question is whether his mercy was closed, or had ceased forever. The psalmist concludes that if this were done, it must be as the result of anger - anger in view of the sins of people.