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164

Seven times a day I praise you

for your righteous ordinances.


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164. Seven times a day have I praised thee. By the adverb seven times, the Prophet means that he was continually or very often engaged in celebrating the praises of God; just as it is said in Proverbs 24:16, “A just man falleth seven times,” when he often falls into divers temptations. 3535     Among many other texts of Scripture which might be quoted to show that the number seven is often used for many, or an indefinite number, we may refer only to Genesis 4:15 and Leviticus 24:18. Some of the Jewish Rabbies, however, affirm that David is here to be understood literally, observing, that the devout Hebrews were accustomed to praise God twice in the morning before reading the ten commandments, and once after; twice in the evening before reading the same portion of inspiration, and twice after; which makes up the number of seven times a day. The phrase the judgments of God being in many places taken for the punishments which God inflicts upon sinners, and also sometimes applied in general to the providence by which he governs the world, some understand the Prophet as praising God because he affords such manifest proofs of his justice both in punishing the wicked and in the whole government of the world. But I rather agree with others who refer the phrase to the divine law; not that I dislike the former interpretation, but because in this psalm the great topic upon which the Psalmist chiefly insists is the commendation of God’s law. The amount then is, that when David was assiduously occupied in meditating upon the law of God, he found it distinguished by so great perfection of righteousness and wisdom, that from time to time he burst forth into the exercise of praise and thanksgiving. This diligence in praising God shows that David not only spoke reverently and honourably of the divine law, but that he accounted it an inestimable boon conferred upon the human race. It was not simply admiration which constrained him to this commendation, but a principle of gratitude; for he saw that nothing more excellent could be bestowed upon men than their being renewed to a blessed and an endless life by the incorruptible seed of heavenly truth. Yet scarcely one in a hundred of those to whom God offers this treasure puts himself to the trouble of giving God thanks for it even in an ordinary manner. On the contrary, there reigns such vile ingratitude everywhere in the world, that some scornfully reject divine truth, and others despise or slight it, while others rail and gnash their teeth against it if they find anything in it which does not please them.




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