World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Accept my offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your ordinances.
108. O Jehovah! I beseech thee, let the flee-will-offerings of my mouth. This verse may be read in one connected sentence, as well as divided into two members. According to the former view, the sense will be, Receive, e Lord, my sacrifices, to this end, that thou mayest teach me thy commandments. If we prefer dividing the verse into two clauses, then it will consist of two separate prayers; first, a prayer that God would accept the prophet’s sacrifices; and, secondly, a prayer that he would instruct him in the doctrine of the law. I am rather inclined to follow the first opinion. The prophet affirms, as we have seen elsewhere, that nothing was more precious to him than to understand the doctrine of the law. Lord, as if he had said, do thou, according to thy good pleasure, accept the sacrifices which I offer thee; and as my chief desire is, to be instructed aright in thy law, grant that I may be a partaker of this blessing, which I am so anxious to obtain. We should mark all the places in which the knowledge of divine truth is preferred to all the other benefits bestowed upon mankind; and doubtless, since it contains in it the pledge of everlasting salvation, there is good reason why it should be esteemed as an inestimable treasure. Yet the prophet begins at a point remote from this, praying that God would vouchsafe to approve of and accept his services. By the word נדבות, nidboth, I have no doubt he denotes the sacrifices which were called free-will-offerings. I indeed grant that he speaks properly of vows and prayers; but as the chosen people to propitiate God, were wont to offer sacrifices, according as every man had ability, he alludes to that custom which prevailed under the law; even as Hosea (Hosea 14:2) designates the praises of God “the calves of the lips.” It was the design of God, by that ceremony, to testify to the fathers that no prayers were acceptable to him, but those which were joined with sacrifice, that they might always turn their minds to the Mediator. In the first place, he acknowledges that he was unworthy of obtaining any thing by his prayers, and that, if God heard him, it proceeded from his free and unmerited grace. In the second place, he desires that God would be favorable to him in the way of enabling him to profit aright in the doctrine of the law. The verb, רצה ratsah, which he uses: signifies to favor of mere good will. Whence it follows, that there is nothing meritorious in our prayers, and that, whenever God hears them, it is in the exercise of his free goodness.