While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened,.... The wise man proceeds to describe the infirmities of old age, and the troubles that attend it; in order to engage young men to regard God and religion, before these come upon them, which greatly unfit for his service. This the Targum and Midrash, and, after them, Jarchi, interpret of the splendour of the countenance of man, of the light of his eyes, and the beauty of his cheeks, and other parts of his face; which decrease and go off at old age, and paleness and wrinkles succeed: and others of the adversities and calamities which attend persons at such years; which are sometimes in Scripture signified by the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars, Isaiah 13:10; but some choose to understand this, more literally, of the dimness of sight in old men; by whom the light of the sun, moon, and stars, is scarcely discerned: but as this infirmity is afterwards described, I rather think with others, that by the "sun", "light", and "moon", are meant the superior and inferior faculties of the soul, the understanding, mind, judgment, will, and affections; and, by the "stars", those bright notions and ideas raised in the fancy and imagination, and fixed in the memory; all which are greatly impaired or lost in old age: so Alshech interprets the sun and moon of the soul and spirit, and the stars of the senses; "light" is not in the Syriac version;
nor the clouds return after the rain; which some understand of catarrhs, defluxions, and rheums, flowing at the eyes, nose, and mouth, one after another, which frequently attend, and are very troublesome to persons in years; but may be more generally applied to the perpetual succession of evils, afflictions, and disorders, in old age; as soon as one is got over, another follows, billow after billow; or, like showers in April, as soon as one is gone, another comes. The Targum paraphrases it of the eyebrows distilling tears, like clouds after rain.