The psalmist said, in a line we also recite in birkat hamazon:
נַ֤עַר ׀ הָיִ֗יתִי גַּם־זָ֫קַ֥נְתִּי וְֽלֹא־רָ֭אִיתִי צַדִּ֣יק נֶעֱזָ֑ב וְ֝זַרְע֗וֹ מְבַקֶּשׁ־לָֽחֶם -- I have been young, and I am now old; yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned, nor his seed begging for bread. [Ps. 37:25]
The plain meaning can't be right because we have all seen righteous people go through bad times. Many commentators have provided alternate meanings. My favorite is from Rav Soloveitchik, who, proceeding by analogy in wording, notes that Queen Esther asks King Achashverosh to spare the Jews using these words:
כִּ֠י אֵיכָכָ֤ה אוּכַל֙ וְֽרָאִ֔יתִי בָּרָעָ֖ה אֲשֶׁר־יִמְצָ֣א אֶת־עַמִּ֑י וְאֵֽיכָכָ֤ה אוּכַל֙ וְֽרָאִ֔יתִי בְּאָבְדַ֖ן מוֹלַדְתִּֽי -- How can I bear to watch the disaster which will befall my people, and how can I bear to watch the destruction of my family? [Esther 8:6]
The same word (רָ֭אִיתִי - seen) is used in both places, but in the case of Esther, she clearly means: "Can I bear to see all this and do nothing about it?" Likewise, the line in Psalms means: "I have not seen the righteous abandoned, nor his seed begging for bread and done nothing about it."
OK, now my question. What does the line "I have been young" add to the thought? "I am old" should be sufficient. I have not seen a commentary on this. I believe the answer may hold yet another meaning. Do you know of one?