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Your Word Is a Lamp to My Feet

Aleph

111This psalm is an acrostic poem of twenty-two stanzas, following the letters of the Hebrew alphabet; within a stanza, each verse begins with the same Hebrew letter Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
2Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
3who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
4You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
5Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
6Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.22Or your just and righteous decrees; also verses 62, 106, 160, 164
8I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!

Beth

9How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13With my lips I declare
all the rules33Or all the just decrees of your mouth.
14In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

Gimel

17Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
18Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
19I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
20My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules44Or your just decrees; also verses 30, 39, 43, 52, 75, 102, 108, 137, 156, 175 at all times.
21You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
22Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.
23Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.

Daleth

25My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
26When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
27Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
29Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
30I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
31I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
32I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!55Or for you set my heart free

He

33Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.66Or keep it as my reward
34Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
38Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
39Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
40Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!

Waw

41Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

Zayin

49Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
50This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.
51The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.
52When I think of your rules from of old,
I take comfort, O Lord.
53Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
who forsake your law.
54Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning.
55I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
and keep your law.
56This blessing has fallen to me,
that I have kept your precepts.

Heth

57The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
58I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
61Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
62At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
63I am a companion of all who fear you,
of those who keep your precepts.
64The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!

Teth

65You have dealt well with your servant,
O Lord, according to your word.
66Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
67Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
68You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes.
69The insolent smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
70their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in your law.
71It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
72The law of your mouth is better to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Yodh

73Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
77Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.
80May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame!

Kaph

81My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84How long must your servant endure?77Hebrew How many are the days of your servant?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
85The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.
86All your commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88In your steadfast love give me life,
that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

Lamedh

89Forever, O Lord, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
92If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
94I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
95The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
96I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Mem

97Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100I understand more than the aged,88Or the elders
for I keep your precepts.
101I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
103How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

Nun

105Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
107I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
108Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.
109I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
110The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
111Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
112I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.99Or statutes; the reward is eternal

Samekh

113I hate the double-minded,
but I love your law.
114You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.
115Depart from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for your statutes continually!
118You spurn all who go astray from your statutes,
for their cunning is in vain.
119All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross,
therefore I love your testimonies.
120My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgments.

Ayin

121I have done what is just and right;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
122Give your servant a pledge of good;
let not the insolent oppress me.
123My eyes long for your salvation
and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
124Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
and teach me your statutes.
125I am your servant; give me understanding,
that I may know your testimonies!
126It is time for the Lord to act,
for your law has been broken.
127Therefore I love your commandments
above gold, above fine gold.
128Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
I hate every false way.

Pe

129Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
130The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
131I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.
132Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
133Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
134Redeem me from man's oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
135Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
136My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.

Tsadhe

137Righteous are you, O Lord,
and right are your rules.
138You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness
and in all faithfulness.
139My zeal consumes me,
because my foes forget your words.
140Your promise is well tried,
and your servant loves it.
141I am small and despised,
yet I do not forget your precepts.
142Your righteousness is righteous forever,
and your law is true.
143Trouble and anguish have found me out,
but your commandments are my delight.
144Your testimonies are righteous forever;
give me understanding that I may live.

Qoph

145With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep your statutes.
146I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
147I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
148My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
149Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
150They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
they are far from your law.
151But you are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are true.
152Long have I known from your testimonies
that you have founded them forever.

Resh

153Look on my affliction and deliver me,
for I do not forget your law.
154Plead my cause and redeem me;
give me life according to your promise!
155Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek your statutes.
156Great is your mercy, O Lord;
give me life according to your rules.
157Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
but I do not swerve from your testimonies.
158I look at the faithless with disgust,
because they do not keep your commands.
159Consider how I love your precepts!
Give me life according to your steadfast love.
160The sum of your word is truth,
and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

Sin and Shin

161Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
163I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
164Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
165Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
166I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I do your commandments.
167My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
168I keep your precepts and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.

Taw

169Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word!
170Let my plea come before you;
deliver me according to your word.
171My lips will pour forth praise,
for you teach me your statutes.
172My tongue will sing of your word,
for all your commandments are right.
173Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
175Let my soul live and praise you,
and let your rules help me.
176I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.


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17. Do good to thy servant The term גמל gamal, which some render to requite, does not, among the Hebrews, import mutual recompense, but frequently signifies to confer a benefit, as in Psalm 116:7, and many other passages. Here it must be viewed as expressive of free favor. The words, however, may admit of two senses. They may be read as a separate clause, in this manner: O God! display thy goodness to thy servant, and thus I shall live, or then I shall esteem myself happy. Or the verse may form one connected statement: O God! grant to thy servant the favor that, while I live, I may keep thy commandments. If the former lection is adopted, then, by these words, the prophet declares that, without the favor of God, he is like a dead man; that though he might abound in every thing else, yet he could not subsist without feeling that God was propitious towards him. The latter interpretation is preferable, That the prophet asks as a principal favor, that, while he lives, he may devote himself entirely to God; being fully persuaded that the grand object of his existence consists in his exercising himself in his service, an object which he firmly resolves to pursue. For this reason these two clauses are connected together, that I may live, and keep thy word. “I desire no other mode of living than that of approving myself to be a true and faithful servant of God.” All wish God to grant them a prolongation of their life; a wish after which the whole world ardently aspire, and yet there is scarcely one among a hundred who reflects upon the purpose for which he ought to live. To withdraw us from cherishing such irrational propensities, the prophet here describes the main object of our existence. He declares it to be owing to the peculiar grace of the Holy Spirit, that any person keeps the law of God. Had he imagined that the preparing oneself for the observance of his law depended on his own free will, then this prayer would have been nothing else than downright hypocrisy.

Very similar is the doctrine contained in the next verse. Having acknowledged, that power to keep the law is imparted to men by God, he, at the same time, adds, that every man is blind, until he also enlighten the eyes of his understanding. Admitting that God gives light to us by his word, the prophet here means that we are blind amid the clearest light, until he remove the veil from our eyes. When he confesses that his eyes are veiled and shut, rendering him unable to discern the light of the heavenly doctrine, until God, by the invisible grace of his Spirit, open them, he speaks as if he were deploring his own blindness, and that of the whole human race. But, while God claims this power for himself, he tells us that the remedy is at hand, provided we do not, by trusting to our own wisdom, reject the gracious illumination offered to us. Let us learn, too, that we do not receive the illumination of the Spirit of God to make us contemn the external word, and take pleasure only in secret inspirations, like many fanatics, who do not regard themselves spiritual, except they reject the word of God, and substitute in its place their own wild speculations. Very different is the prophet’s aim, which is to inform us that our illumination is to enable us to discern the light of life, that God manifests by his word. He designates the doctrine of the law, marvelous things, 404404     Marvelous things “means things which are difficult and wonderful. The reference here is to the figures and adumbration’s of the law, which so veiled and concealed the substances to which they related, that the mass of readers quite lost sight of them. The Psalmist therefore prays for Divine illumination, to enable him to solve, at least in some decree, the enigmas in which future things were enveloped.” — Walford to humble us, to contemplate with admiration its height; and to convince us the more of our need of the grace of God, to comprehend the mysteries, which surpass our limited capacity. From which we infer, that not only the ten commandments are included in the term la but also the covenant of eternal salvation, with all its provisions, which God has made. And knowing, as we do, that Christ, “in whom are hid all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom,” “is the end of the law,” we need not be surprised at the prophet commending it, in consequence of the sublime mysteries which it contains, Colossians 2:3; Romans 10:4




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