World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
The Glories of God’s Law
Happy are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who keep his decrees,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways.
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
O that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous ordinances.
I will observe your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me.
How can young people keep their way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
do not let me stray from your commandments.
I treasure your word in my heart,
so that I may not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes.
With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
I delight in the way of your decrees
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts,
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
Deal bountifully with your servant,
so that I may live and observe your word.
Open my eyes, so that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
I live as an alien in the land;
do not hide your commandments from me.
My soul is consumed with longing
for your ordinances at all times.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments;
take away from me their scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your decrees.
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Your decrees are my delight,
they are my counselors.
My soul clings to the dust;
revive me according to your word.
When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
Put false ways far from me;
and graciously teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your ordinances before me.
I cling to your decrees, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame.
I run the way of your commandments,
for you enlarge my understanding.
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
which is for those who fear you.
Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
for your ordinances are good.
See, I have longed for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life.
Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise.
Then I shall have an answer for those who taunt me,
for I trust in your word.
Do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your ordinances.
I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever.
I shall walk at liberty,
for I have sought your precepts.
I will also speak of your decrees before kings,
and shall not be put to shame;
I find my delight in your commandments,
because I love them.
I revere your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.
Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my distress,
that your promise gives me life.
The arrogant utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.
When I think of your ordinances from of old,
I take comfort, O Lord.
Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
those who forsake your law.
Your statutes have been my songs
wherever I make my home.
I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
and keep your law.
This blessing has fallen to me,
for I have kept your precepts.
The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I implore your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think of your ways,
I turn my feet to your decrees;
I hurry and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous ordinances.
I am a companion of all who fear you,
of those who keep your precepts.
The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes.
You have dealt well with your servant,
O Lord, according to your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
Before I was humbled I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes.
The arrogant smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep your precepts.
Their hearts are fat and gross,
but I delight in your law.
It is good for me that I was humbled,
so that I might learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is better to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right,
and that in faithfulness you have humbled me.
Let your steadfast love become my comfort
according to your promise to your servant.
Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
Let the arrogant be put to shame,
because they have subverted me with guile;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
Let those who fear you turn to me,
so that they may know your decrees.
May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
so that I may not be put to shame.
My soul languishes for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
My eyes fail with watching for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
The arrogant have dug pitfalls for me;
they flout your law.
All your commandments are enduring;
I am persecuted without cause; help me!
They have almost made an end of me on earth;
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
In your steadfast love spare my life,
so that I may keep the decrees of your mouth.
The Lord exists forever;
your word is firmly fixed in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
By your appointment they stand today,
for all things are your servants.
If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my misery.
I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your decrees.
I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.
Oh, how I love your law!
It is my meditation all day long.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your decrees are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
I do not turn away from your ordinances,
for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to observe your righteous ordinances.
I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word.
Accept my offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your ordinances.
I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
Your decrees are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.
I hate the double-minded,
but I love your law.
You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.
Go away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commandments of my God.
Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope.
Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for your statutes continually.
You spurn all who go astray from your statutes;
for their cunning is in vain.
All the wicked of the earth you count as dross;
therefore I love your decrees.
My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgments.
I have done what is just and right;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
Guarantee your servant’s well-being;
do not let the godless oppress me.
My eyes fail from watching for your salvation,
and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
and teach me your statutes.
I am your servant; give me understanding,
so that I may know your decrees.
It is time for the Lord to act,
for your law has been broken.
Truly I love your commandments
more than gold, more than fine gold.
Truly I direct my steps by all your precepts;
I hate every false way.
Your decrees are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
With open mouth I pant,
because I long for your commandments.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your custom toward those who love your name.
Keep my steps steady according to your promise,
and never let iniquity have dominion over me.
Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
My eyes shed streams of tears
because your law is not kept.
You are righteous, O Lord,
and your judgments are right.
You have appointed your decrees in righteousness
and in all faithfulness.
My zeal consumes me
because my foes forget your words.
Your promise is well tried,
and your servant loves it.
I am small and despised,
yet I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
and your law is the truth.
Trouble and anguish have come upon me,
but your commandments are my delight.
Your decrees are righteous forever;
give me understanding that I may live.
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord.
I will keep your statutes.
I cry to you; save me,
that I may observe your decrees.
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I put my hope in your words.
My eyes are awake before each watch of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
In your steadfast love hear my voice;
O Lord, in your justice preserve my life.
Those who persecute me with evil purpose draw near;
they are far from your law.
Yet you are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are true.
Long ago I learned from your decrees
that you have established them forever.
Look on my misery and rescue me,
for I do not forget your law.
Plead my cause and redeem me;
give me life according to your promise.
Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek your statutes.
Great is your mercy, O Lord;
give me life according to your justice.
Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
yet I do not swerve from your decrees.
I look at the faithless with disgust,
because they do not keep your commands.
Consider how I love your precepts;
preserve my life according to your steadfast love.
The sum of your word is truth;
and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.
Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous ordinances.
Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I fulfill your commandments.
My soul keeps your decrees;
I love them exceedingly.
I keep your precepts and decrees,
for all my ways are before you.
Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
Let my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
My lips will pour forth praise,
because you teach me your statutes.
My tongue will sing of your promise,
for all your commandments are right.
Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
Let me live that I may praise you,
and let your ordinances help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek out your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.
Ps 119:1-176. This celebrated Psalm has several peculiarities. It is divided into twenty-two parts or stanzas, denoted by the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each stanza contains eight verses, and the first letter of each verse is that which gives name to the stanza. Its contents are mainly praises of God's Word, exhortations to its perusal, and reverence for it, prayers for its proper influence, and complaints of the wicked for despising it. There are but two verses (Ps 119:122, 132) which do not contain some term or description of God's Word. These terms are of various derivations, but here used, for the most part, synonymously, though the use of a variety of terms seems designed, in order to express better the several aspects in which our relations to the revealed word of God are presented. The Psalm does not appear to have any relation to any special occasion or interest of the Jewish Church or nation, but was evidently "intended as a manual of pious thoughts, especially for instructing the young, and its peculiar artificial structure was probably adopted to aid the memory in retaining the language."
ALEPH. (Ps 119:1-8).
1. undefiled—literally, "complete," perfect, or sincere (compare Ps 37:37).
the way—course of life.
in the law—according to it (compare Lu 1:6).
law—from a word meaning "to teach," is a term of rather general purport, denoting the instruction of God's Word.
2. testimonies—The word of God is so called, because in it He testifies for truth and against sin.
seek him—that is, a knowledge of Him, with desire for conformity to His will.
3. his ways—the course He reveals as right.
4-6. precepts—are those directions which relate to special conduct, from a word meaning "to inspect."
statutes—or ordinances, positive laws of permanent nature. Both words originally denote rather positive than moral laws, such as derive force from the divine appointment, whether their nature or the reasons for them are apprehended by us or not.
commandments—or institutions. The term is comprehensive, but rather denotes fundamental directions for conduct, both enjoining and forbidding.
have respect unto—or regard carefully as to their whole purport.
7. judgments—rules of conduct formed by God's judicial decisions; hence the wide sense of the word in the Psalms, so that it includes decisions of approval as well as condemnation.
8. Recognizes the need of divine grace.
BETH. (Ps 119:9-16).
9. The whole verse may be read as a question; for,
10-16. We must carefully treasure up the word of God, declare it to others, meditate on it, and heartily delight in it; and then by His grace we shall act according to it.
GIMEL. (Ps 119:17-24).
17-20. Life is desirable in order to serve God; that we may do so aright, we should seek to have our eyes opened to behold His truth, and earnestly desire fully to understand it.
21-24. God will rebuke those who despise His word and deliver His servants from their reproach, giving them boldness in and by His truth, even before the greatest men.
DALETH. (Ps 119:25-32).
25-27. Submitting ourselves in depression to God, He will revive us by His promises, and lead us to declare His mercy to others.
28-32. In order to adhere to His word, we must seek deliverance from temptations to sin as well as from despondency.
my heart—with gracious affections.
HE. (Ps 119:33-40).
33-38. To encourage us in prayer for divine aid in adhering to His truth, we are permitted to believe that by His help we shall succeed.
the way of thy statutes—that is, the way or manner of life prescribed by them. The help we hope to obtain by prayer is to be the basis on which our resolutions should rest.
37. Turn away mine eyes—literally, "Make my eyes to pass, not noticing evil."
38. who is devoted to thy fear—or better, "which (that is, Thy word) is for Thy fear," for producing it. "Which is to those who fear Thee." God's word of promise belongs peculiarly to such (compare Ge 18:19; 1Ki 2:4; 8:25) [Hengstenberg].
39, 40. Our hope of freedom from the reproach of inconsistency is in God's power, quickening us to live according to His Word, which He leads us to love.
VAU. (Ps 119:41-48).
41-44. The sentiment more fully carried out. God's mercies and salvation, as revealed in His Word, provide hope of forgiveness for the past and security in a righteous course for the future.
42. The possession of God's gift of "salvation" (Ps 119:41) will be the Psalmist's answer to the foe's "reproach," that his hope was a fallacious one.
45-48. To freedom from reproach, when imbued with God's truth, there is added "great boldness in the faith" [1Ti 3:13], accompanied with increasing delight in the holy law itself, which becomes an element of happiness.
48. My hands … lift up unto … commandments—that is, I will prayerfully (Ps 28:2) direct my heart to keep Thy commandments.
ZAIN. (Ps 119:49-56).
49-51. Resting on the promises consoles under affliction and the tauntings of the insolent.
upon which—rather, "Remember Thy word unto Thy servant, because," &c. So the Hebrew requires [Hengstenberg].
50. for—rather, "This is my comfort … that," &c. [Maurer].
hath quickened—What the Word has already done is to faith a pledge of what it shall yet do.
52-56. The pious take comfort, when harassed and distressed by wickedness of men who forsake God's law, in remembering that the great principles of God's truth will still abide; and also God's
judgments of old—that is, His past interpositions in behalf of His people are a pledge that He will again interpose to deliver them; and they become the theme of constant and delightful meditation. The more we keep the more we love the law of God.
53. Horror—rather, "vehement wrath" [Hengstenberg].
54. songs—As the exile sings songs of his home (Ps 137:3), so the child of God, "a stranger on earth," sings the songs of heaven, his true home (Ps 39:12). In ancient times, laws were put in verse, to imprint them the more on the memory of the people. So God's laws are the believer's songs.
56. Rather, "This is peculiarly mine (literally, to me), that I keep Thy precepts" [Hengstenberg and Maurer].
CHETH. (Ps 119:57-64).
58. favour—Hebrew, "face" (Ps 45:12).
61, 62. This the more, if opposition of enemies, or love of ease is overcome in thus honoring God's law.
have robbed me—better, surrounded me, either as forcible constraints like fetters, or as the cords of their nets. Hengstenberg translates, "snares."
62. At midnight—Hengstenberg supposes a reference to the time when the Lord went forth to slay the Egyptian first-born (Ex 11:4; 12:29; compare Job 34:20). But it rather refers to the Psalmist's own praises and prayers in the night time. Compare Paul and Silas (Ac 16:25; compare Ps 63:6).
64. While opposed by the wicked, and opposing them, the pious delight in those who fear God, but, after all, rely for favor and guidance not on merit, but mercy.
TETH. (Ps 119:65-72).
65-67. The reliance on promises (Ps 119:49) is strengthened by experience of past dealings according with promises, and a prayer for guidance, encouraged by sanctified affliction.
68. Compare as to the Lord Jesus (Ac 10:38).
69, 70. The crafty malice of the wicked, in slandering him, so far from turning him away, but binds him closer to God's Word, which they are too stupid in sin to appreciate. Hengstenberg refers the "lie" to such slanders against the Jews during the captivity, as that in Ezr 4:1-6, of sedition.
71, 72. So also affliction of any kind acts as a wholesome discipline in leading the pious more highly to value the truth and promises of God.
JOD. (Ps 119:73-80).
73. As God made, so He can best control, us. So as to Israel, he owed to God his whole internal and external existence (De 32:6).
74. So when He has led us to rely on His truth, He will "make us to the praise of His grace" by others. "Those who fear Thee will be glad at my prosperity, as they consider my cause their cause" (Ps 34:2; 142:7).
75-78. in faithfulness—that is, without in the least violating Thy faithfulness; because my sins deserved and needed fatherly chastisement. Enduring chastisement with a filial temper (Heb 12:6-11), God's promises of mercy (Ro 8:28) will be fulfilled, and He will give comfort in sorrow (La 3:22; 2Co 1:3, 4).
77. Let thy tender mercies come unto me—As I am not able to come unto them. But the wicked will be confounded.
78. but I … meditate in thy precepts—and so shall not be "ashamed," that is, put to shame (Ps 119:80).
79, 80. Those who may have thought his afflictions an evidence of God's rejection will then be led to return to Him; as the friends of Job did on his restoration, having been previously led through his afflictions to doubt the reality of his religion.
80. Let my … be sound—that is, perfect, sincere.
ashamed—disappointed in my hope of salvation.
CAPH. (Ps 119:81-88).
82. Mine eyes fail for thy word—that is, with yearning desire for Thy word. When the eyes fail, yet faith must not.
83. bottle in the smoke—as a skin bottle dried and shriveled up in smoke, so is he withered by sorrow. Wine bottles of skin used to be hung up in smoke to dry them, before the wine was put in them [Maurer].
84-87. The shortness of my life requires that the relief afforded to me from mine enemies should be speedy.
85. pits—plots for my destruction.
which—rather, "who," that is, "the proud"; "pits" is not the antecedent.
87. consumed me upon earth—Hengstenberg translates, "in the land"; understanding "me" of the nation Israel, of which but a small remnant was left. But English Version is simpler; either, "They have consumed me so as to leave almost nothing of me on earth"; or, "They have almost destroyed and prostrated me on the earth" [Maurer].
I forsook not—Whatever else I am forsaken of, I forsake not Thy precepts, and so am not mistaken of Thee (Ps 39:5, 13; 2Co 4:8, 9), and the injuries and insults of the wicked increase the need for it. But, however they act regardless of God's law, the pious, adhering to its teaching, receive quickening grace, and are sustained steadfast.
LAMED. (Ps 119:89-96).
is settled in—that is, stands as firmly as the heaven in which it dwells, and whence it emanated.
90. thou hast established the earth, and it abideth—(Ps 33:9).
91. They—the heaven (Ps 119:89) and the earth (Ps 119:90). Hengstenberg translates, "They stand for thy judgment," that is, ready, as obedient servants, to execute them. The usage of this Psalm favors this view. But see Jer 33:25.
92-94. Hence the pious are encouraged and inclined to seek a knowledge of it, and persevere amidst the efforts of those planning and waiting to destroy them.
my delights—plural, not merely delight, but equal to all other delights.
93. The bounds of created perfection may be defined, but those of God's law in its nature, application, and influence, are infinite. There is no human thing so perfect but that something is wanting to it; its limits are narrow, whereas God's law is of infinite breadth, reaching to all cases, perfectly meeting what each requires, and to all times (Ps 19:3, 6, 7-11; Ec 3:11). It cannot be cramped within any definitions of man's dogmatical systems. Man never outgrows the Word. It does not shock the ignorant man with declared anticipations of discoveries which he had not yet made; while in it the man of science finds his newest discoveries by tacit anticipations provided for.
MEM. (Ps 119:97-104).
97. This characteristic love for God's law (compare Ps 1:2) ensures increase.
98-100. of knowledge, both of the matter of all useful, moral truth, and an experience of its application.
they are ever with me—The Hebrew is, rather singular, "it is ever with me"; the commandments forming ONE complete whole, Thy law.
100. more than the ancients—Antiquity is no help against stupidity, where it does not accord with God's word [Luther] (Job 32:7-9). The Bible is the key of all knowledge, the history of the world, past, present, and to come (Ps 111:10). He who does the will of God shall know of the doctrine (Joh 7:17).
101-104. Avoidance of sinful courses is both the effect and means of increasing in divine knowledge (compare Ps 19:10).
NUN. (Ps 119:105-112).
105. Not only does the Word of God inform us of His will, but, as a light on a path in darkness, it shows us how to follow the right and avoid the wrong way. The lamp of the Word is not the sun. He would blind our eyes in our present fallen state; but we may bless God for the light shining as in a dark place, to guide us until the Sun of Righteousness shall come, and we shall be made capable of seeing Him (2Pe 1:19; Re 22:4). The lamp is fed with the oil of the Spirit. The allusion is to the lamps and torches carried at night before an Eastern caravan.
106-108. Such was the national covenant at Sinai and in the fields of Moab.
108. freewill offerings—the spontaneous expressions of his gratitude, as contrasted with the appointed "offerings" of the temple (Ho 14:2; Heb 13:15). He determines to pursue this way, relying on God's quickening power (Ps 119:50) in affliction, and a gracious acceptance of his "spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise" (Ps 50:5, 14, 23).
109, 110. In the midst of deadly perils (the phrase is drawn from the fact that what we carry in our hands may easily slip from them, Jud 12:3; 1Sa 28:21; Job 13:14; compare 1Sa 19:5), and exposed to crafty enemies, his safety and guidance is in the truth and promises of God.
111, 112. These he joyfully takes as his perpetual heritage, to perform the duties and receive the comforts they teach, evermore.
SAMECH. (Ps 119:113-120).
113. vain thoughts—better, "unstable persons," literally, "divided men," those of a divided, doubting mind (Jas 1:8); "a double-minded man" [Hengstenberg], skeptics, or, skeptical notions as opposed to the certainty of God's word.
114. hiding-place—(Compare Ps 27:5).
hope in thy word—confidently rest on its teachings and promises.
115-117. Hence he fears not wicked men, nor dreads disappointment, sustained by God in making His law the rule of life.
Depart from me—Ye can do nothing with me; for, &c. (Ps 6:8).
118-120. But the disobedient and rebellious will be visited by God's wrath, which impresses the pious with wholesome fear and awe.
their deceit is falsehood—that is, all their cunning deceit, wherewith they seek to entrap the godly, is in vain.
AIN. (Ps 119:121-128).
121-126. On the grounds of his integrity, desire for God's word, and covenant relation to Him, the servant of God may plead for His protecting care against the wicked, gracious guidance to the knowledge of truth, and His effective vindication of the righteous and their cause, which is also His own.
127, 128. Therefore—that is, In view of these benefits, or, Because of the glory of Thy law, so much praised in the previous parts of the Psalm.
I love … [and] Therefore (repeated)—All its precepts, on all subjects, are estimable for their purity, and lead one imbued with their spirit to hate all evil (Ps 19:10). The Word of God admits of no eclecticism; its least title is perfect (Ps 12:6; Mt 5:17-19).
PE. (Ps 119:129-136).
129. wonderful—literally, "wonders," that is, of moral excellence.
130. The entrance—literally, "opening"; God's words, as an open door, let in light, or knowledge. Rather, as Hengstenberg explains it, "The opening up," or, "explanation of thy word." To the natural man the doors of God's Word are shut. Lu 24:27, 31; Ac 17:3; Eph 1:18, confirm this view, "opening (that is, explaining) and alleging," &c.
unto the simple—those needing or desiring it (compare Ps 19:7).
as thou usest to do—or, "as it is right in regard to those who love Thy name." Such have a right to the manifestations of God's grace, resting on the nature of God as faithful to His promise to such, not on their own merits.
133. Order my steps—Make firm, so that there be no halting (Ps 40:2).
any iniquity—Ps 119:34 favors Hengstenberg, "any iniquitous man," any "oppressor." But the parallel first clause in this (Ps 119:33) favors English Version (Ps 19:13). His hope of deliverance from external oppression of man (Ps 119:34) is founded on his deliverance from the internal "dominion of iniquity," in answer to his prayer (Ps 119:33).
TZADDI. (Ps 119:137-144).
137-139. God's justice and faithfulness in His government aggravate the neglect of the wicked, and more excite the lively zeal of His people.
139. (Ps 69:9).
140. very pure—literally, "refined," shown pure by trial.
141. The pious, however despised of men, are distinguished in God's sight by a regard for His law.
142-144. The principles of God's government are permanent and reliable, and in the deepest distress His people find them a theme of delightful meditation and a source of reviving power (Ps 119:17, 116).
law is the truth—It therefore cannot deceive as to its promises.
everlasting—(Ps 111:3), though to outward appearance seeming dead.
KOPH. (Ps 119:145-152).
145-149. An intelligent devotion is led by divine promises and is directed to an increase of gracious affections, arising from a contemplation of revealed truth.
147. prevented—literally, "came before," anticipated not only the dawn, but even the usual periods of the night; when the night watches, which might be expected to find me asleep, come, they find me awake (Ps 63:6; 77:4; La 2:19). Such is the earnestness of the desire and love for God's truth.
149. quicken me—revive my heart according to those principles of justice, founded on Thine own nature, and revealed in Thy law, which specially set forth Thy mercy to the humble as well as justice to the wicked (compare Ps 119:30).
150-152. Though the wicked are near to injure, because far from God's law, He is near to help, and faithful to His word, which abides for ever.
RESH. (Ps 119:153-160).
153-155. Though the remembering of God's law is not meritorious, yet it evinces a filial temper and provides the pious with promises to plead, while the wicked in neglecting His law, reject God and despise His promises (compare Ps 9:13; 43:1; 69:18).
156. (See on Ps 119:149).
158. (Compare Ps 119:136).
quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness—(Ps 119:88). This prayer occurs here for the ninth time, showing a deep sense of frailty.
160. God has been ever faithful, and the principles of His government will ever continue worthy of confidence.
from the beginning—that is, "every word from Genesis (called so by the Jews from its first words, 'In the beginning') to the end of the Scriptures is true." Hengstenberg translates more literally, "The sum of thy words is truth." The sense is substantially the same. The whole body of revelation is truth. "Thy Word is nothing but truth" [Luther].
SCHIN. (Ps 119:161-168).
awe—reverential, not slavish fear, which could not coexist with love (Ps 119:163; 1Jo 4:8). Instead of fearing his persecutors, he fears God's Word alone (Lu 12:4, 5). The Jews inscribe in the first page of the great Bible (Ge 28:17), "How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!"
162. (Compare Mt 13:44, 45). Though persecuted by the mighty, the pious are not turned from revering God's authority to seek their favor, but rejoice in the possession of this "pearl of great price," as great victors in spoils. Hating falsehood and loving truth, often, every day, praising God for it, they find peace and freedom from temptation.
163. lying—that is, as in Ps 119:29, unfaithfulness to the covenant of God with His people; apostasy.
165. nothing shall offend them—or, "cause them to offend" (compare Margin).
166-168. As they keep God's law from motives of love for it, and are free from slavish fear, the are ready to subject their lives to His inspection.
168. all my ways are before thee—I wish to order my ways as before Thee, rather than in reference to man (Ge 19:1; Ps 73:23). All men's ways are under God's eye (Pr 5:21); the godly alone realize the fact, and live accordingly.
TAU. (Ps 119:169-176).
169, 170. The prayer for understanding of the truth precedes that for deliverance. The fulfilment of the first is the basis of the fulfilment of the second (Ps 90:11-17). On the terms "cry" and "supplication" (compare Ps 6:9; 17:1).
171, 172. shall utter—or, "pour out praise" (compare Ps 19:2); shall cause Thy praises to stream forth as from a bubbling, overflowing fountain.
172. My tongue shall speak of thy word—literally, "answer Thy Word," that is, with praise, respond to Thy word. Every expression in which we praise God and His Word is a response, or acknowledgment, corresponding to the perfections of Him whom we praise.
I have chosen—in preference to all other objects of delight.
175. Save me that I may praise Thee.
176. Though a wanderer from God, the truly pious ever desires to be drawn back to Him; and, though for a time negligent of duty, he never forgets the commandments by which it is taught.
lost—therefore utterly helpless as to recovering itself (Jer 50:6; Lu 15:4). Not only the sinner before conversion, but the believer after conversion, is unable to recover himself; but the latter, after temporary wandering, knows to whom to look for restoration. Ps 119:175, 176 seem to sum up the petitions, confessions, and professions of the Psalm. The writer desires God's favor, that he may praise Him for His truth, confesses that he has erred, but, in the midst of all his wanderings and adversities, professes an abiding attachment to the revealed Word of God, the theme of such repeated eulogies, and the recognized source of such great and unnumbered blessings. Thus the Psalm, though more than usually didactic, is made the medium of both parts of devotion—prayer and praise.