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131

With open mouth I pant,

because I long for your commandments.


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131. I opened my mouth and panted. 1111     The allusion, according to some, is to an exhausted or thirsty traveler in hot countries, who gasps and pants for the cooling breeze, or the refreshing fountain. According to others this is a metaphor, taken from an exhausted animal in the chase, which runs open-mouthed, to take in the cooling air, the heart beating high, and the muscular force being nearly expended through fatigue. In either view the language is extremely expressive, showing how intensely the Psalmist longed for the refreshment and delight which an acquaintance with the word of God affords. And if the “opening of God’s words,” mentioned in the preceding verse, means the expounding of them, David here points out his eager desire to hear God’s word expounded. By these words the Psalmist would have us to understand that he was inflamed with such love to and longing for the divine law, that he was unceasingly sighing after it. In comparing himself to such as are hungry, or to such as burn with parching thirst, he has used a very appropriate metaphor. As such persons indicate the vehemence of their desire by opening the mouth, and by distressful panting, as if they would suck up the whole air, even so the Prophet affirms that he himself was oppressed with continual uneasiness. The opening of the mouth, then, and the drawing of breath, are set in opposition to a cold assent to the word of God. Here the Holy Spirit teaches with what earnestness of soul the knowledge of divine truth is to be sought. Whence it follows, that such as make little or no proficiency in God’s law, are punished by their own indolence or carelessness. When David affirms that he panted continually, he points out not only his ardor but also his constancy.




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