42. David wrote this chapter in an acrostic pattern and every letter of the alphabet is followed by 8 verses. law is the truth--It therefore cannot deceive as to its promises. 64. The answer is implied, and inferable from Psalms 119:5 Psalms 119:10 Psalms 119:18 , &c., that is, by God's grace. ashamed--disappointed in my hope of salvation. Psalm 119 is an expansion of Psalm 19:7–9: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. that," &c. [MAURER]. 45-48. Its use here is a reflection of the chanting done on Holy Saturday. 98-100. of knowledge, both of the matter of all useful, moral truth, and an experience of its application. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Psalm 119:65-72 . . "[clarification needed] Thus, God as sovereign is invoked in v.36 "Incline my heart to your testimonies", while the Psalmist also takes personal responsibility in v. 112, "I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever." Resting on the promises consoles under affliction and the tauntings of the insolent. house of my pilgrimage--present life ( Genesis 17:8 , 47:9 , Hebrews 11:13 ). 92-94. 61, 62. [23], Manuscript of verse 81 by Giovannino de' grassi, Biblioteca Nazionale, Florence. It is referred to in Hebrew by its opening words, "Ashrei temimei derech" ("happy are those whose way is perfect"). Verse 162 is recited prior to the shofar blowing on Rosh Hashanah. 59. Referred by HENGSTENBERG to the chastening effect produced on the Jews' minds by the captivity ( Jeremiah 31:18 Jeremiah 31:19 ). Depart from me--Ye can do nothing with me; for, &c. ( Psalms 6:8 ). as thou usest to do--or, "as it is right in regard to those who love Thy name." These he joyfully takes as his perpetual heritage, to perform the duties and receive the comforts they teach, evermore. Psalm 119 has 176 verses that are divided into 22 sections of 8 verses each. 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 ( Psalms 19:3 Psalms 19:6 Psalms 19:7-11 , Ecclesiastes 3:11 ). 2. testimonies--The word of God is so called, because in it He testifies for truth and against sin. The whole verse may be read as a question; for, by taking heed--is better, "for" taking heed, that is, so as to do it. (Compare Psalms 119:46 Psalms 119:86 ). 140. very pure--literally, "refined," shown pure by trial. An intelligent devotion is led by divine promises and is directed to an increase of gracious affections, arising from a contemplation of revealed truth. The first and fifth verses in a stanza often state the same theme followed by a statement of opposition, affliction or conflict, and the final (eighth) verse tends to be a transition introducing the next stanza. 142-144. Unlike most other psalms, the author did not include his name in the text. 159. "Those who fear Thee will be glad at my prosperity, as they consider my cause their cause" ( Psalms 34:2 , 142:7 ). shield--( Psalms 3:3 , 7:10 ). 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 … 33-38. Writing the Letter: Aleph 111, 112. my delights--plural, not merely delight, but equal to all other delights. Revive me from the death of spiritual helplessness ( Psalms 119:17 Psalms 119:25 Psalms 119:40 Psalms 119:50 , Psalms 116:3 ). Psalm 119 is the 119th psalm of the Book of Psalms, generally known in English by its first verse, in the King James Version, "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." He uses it to draw us closer to Himself through affliction. [3], Because of this structure, the Psalm was one of the main occurrences of the Hebrew alphabet in the texts of the medieval and modern West.[4]. AMP. hath quickened--What the Word has already done is to faith a pledge of what it shall yet do. Way and path both mean the same thing in the psalm. God's justice and faithfulness in His government aggravate the neglect of the wicked, and more excite the lively zeal of His people. Psalm 119 is an alphabetic acrostic. . . . upon which--rather, "Remember Thy word unto Thy servant, because," &c. So the Hebrew requires [HENGSTENBERG]. Since the reform of the Roman Rite liturgy in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, the Liturgy of the Hours has a section of Psalm 119, corresponding to a single letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in the midday canonical hour on each day of the four-week cycle except on Monday of the first week (when the second half of Psalm 19 (18), which is similar in theme, is used instead) and on Friday of the third week (when the Passion Psalm 22 (21) is used). 114. hiding-place--(Compare Psalms 27:5 ). The entrance--literally, "opening"; God's words, as an open door, let in light, or knowledge. 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. The Book of Psalms is in the third section of the Hebrew Bible, the Khetuvim, and a book of the Christian Old Testament. 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. The acrostic form and the use of the Torah words constitute the framework for an elaborate prayer. (Compare Psalms 119:136 ). Enduring chastisement with a filial temper ( Hebrews 12:6-11 ), God's promises of mercy ( Romans 8:28 ) will be fulfilled, and He will give comfort in sorrow ( Lamentations 3:22 , 2 Corinthians 1:3 2 Corinthians 1:4 ). If you turn to Psalm 119 in your Bible, you will notice that there is a strange word every 8 verses. It is referred to in Hebrew by its opening words, "Ashrei temimei derech" ("happy are those whose way is perfect"). 118-120. Psalm 119 is telling us that to know the Creator God you must know His Law, Ordinances, Word, Commandments, Statutes, Precepts, Decrees, Testimonies, Ways, and Faithfulness. . 57-60. The prayer proper begins in the third stanza (gimel, v. 17). vanity--literally, "falsehood;" all other objects of trust than God; idols, human power, &c. ( Psalms 31:6 , 40:4 , 60:11 , 62:9 ). . The earth, O Lord, is full of Your lovingkindness and goodness; Teach me Your statutes. 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.". It can be used of a single command or of a whole body of law." It has been set to music often. Every expression in which we praise God and His Word is a response, or acknowledgment, corresponding to the perfections of Him whom we praise. They mean: what we do in our lives. 9. . I forsook not--Whatever else I am forsaken of, I forsake not Thy precepts, and so am not mistaken of Thee ( Psalms 39:5 Psalms 39:13 , 2 Corinthians 4:8 2 Corinthians 4:9 ), and the injuries and insults of the wicked increase the need for it. 74. א. ALEPH . for thy judgments are good--The time must therefore be at hand when Thy justice will turn the "reproach" from Thy Church upon the world ( Isaiah 25:8 , 66:5 , Zephaniah 2:8-10 ). HENGSTENBERG translates, "They stand for thy judgment," that is, ready, as obedient servants, to execute them. . they are ever with me--The Hebrew is, rather singular, "it is ever with me"; the commandments forming ONE complete whole, Thy law. enlarge--or, "expand" my heart--with gracious affections. The prayer for understanding of the truth precedes that for deliverance. Other people analyze this differently (with disagreement about verses 84, 90, 121, and 132). have respect unto--or regard carefully as to their whole purport. 106-108. Verse 99 is quoted in Pirkei Avot, Chapter 4, no. This celebrated Psalm has several peculiarities. In Protestant Christianity, various metrical settings of Psalm 119 have been published, including "O God, My Strength and Fortitude" by Thomas Sternhold, which appeared in the Scottish Psalter of 1535. God's word of promise belongs peculiarly to such (compare Genesis 18:19 , 1 Kings 2:4 , 8:25 ) [HENGSTENBERG]. 71, 72. “Statutes” comes from a root word meaning “to hew, cut in, engrave, inscribe”. (A few other psalms are written in this manner as well, but Psalm 119 is the best example.) HENGSTENBERG translates, "snares.". The first eight lines of the psalm all begin with the letter aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The Rule of Saint Benedict assigned this psalm to four minor canonical hours on Sundays and three on Mondays. 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. 158. "Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law." wiser than mine enemies--with all their carnal cunning ( Deuteronomy 4:6 Deuteronomy 4:8 ). 122 Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me. 66. G-d waters His people with understanding and insight. Note: mem as a prefix to a word means “from” or “than”. because, &c.--(Compare Ezekiel 9:4 , Jeremiah 13:17 ). 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]. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Employed in almost (but not quite) every verse of the psalm is a synonym for the Torah, such as dabar ("word, promise"), mishpatim ("rulings"), etc.[5]. law--from a word meaning "to teach," is a term of rather general purport, denoting the instruction of God's Word. The remaining sections corresponding to the last nine letters of the Hebrew alphabet, are assigned to Terce, Sext and None on Mondays. The Masoretes (a group of Jewish scholars between the 6 th and 10 th centuries AD) said that the word of God is mentioned in every verse except Psalm 119:122. Zealous himself to keep God's law, he is deeply afflicted when others violate it (compare Psalms 119:53 ). The Psalm contains several dozen prayers and several themes run through it. If you turn to Psalm 119 in your Bible you will notice that there is a strange word every 8 verses. The allusion is to the lamps and torches carried at night before an Eastern caravan. 171, 172. shall utter--or, "pour out praise" (compare Psalms 19:2 ); shall cause Thy praises to stream forth as from a bubbling, overflowing fountain. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. 48. Its 176 verses are divided into twenty-two stanzas, one stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet; within each stanza, each of the eight verses begins (in Hebrew) with that letter. everlasting--( Psalms 111:3 ), though to outward appearance seeming dead. 109, 110. 1. undefiled--literally, "complete," perfect, or sincere (compare Psalms 37:37 ). 120. It is an alphabetic acrostic in which each group of eight verses all begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and almost every verse focuses on the beauty of God’s Torah . But see Jeremiah 33:25 . This characteristic love for God's law (compare Psalms 1:2 ) ensures increase. Verse Thoughts. I hope in thy Word; in Christ the Word, for acceptance and justification, for peace, pardon, and eternal salvation; all which are in him: in the word of promise, for all supplies of grace, strength, light, life, and comfort here, and for glory hereafter, contained therein; see Psalm 119:74. thy judgments--as in Psalms 119:149 Psalms 119:156 . Parts of verses 153–54 comprise the blessing. in--or, "of" the way--course of life. The Bible is the key of all knowledge, the history of the world, past, present, and to come ( Psalms 111:10 ). The help we hope to obtain by prayer is to be the basis on which our resolutions should rest. 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 Psalms 119:30 ). The “final form” (comes at the end of a word, … be sound--that is, perfect, sincere. HENGSTENBERG translates more literally, "The sum of thy words is truth." These "strange" words are the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. 173, 174. Man never outgrows the Word. A major portion of Matins on Holy Saturday comprises chanting the entire psalm as a threnody, divided into three parts (stases) with Praises (Greek: Enkomia) interspersed between each verse. Look . "Alleluia" is chanted between the verses to signify the victory over death accomplished by Christ's death and Resurrection, and the eternal reward promised to the faithful. Joyful hope goes hand in hand with fear ( Habakkuk 3:16-18 ). Horror--rather, "vehement wrath" [HENGSTENBERG]. 87. consumed me upon earth--HENGSTENBERG translates, "in the land"; understanding "me" of the nation Israel, of which but a small remnant was left. We journey through a fallen world with many dangerous pitfalls, slippery places and dark foes seeking to destroy our close fellowship with our Lord, but in Psalm 119 we are given a beautiful promise and an eternal truth.. that God's Word is a gleaming lamp to our feet, that will guide us through the darkness of this fallen world and it is a shining light to brighten the pathway we take. 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 ( Psalms 119:17 Psalms 119:116 ). Turn away mine eyes--literally, "Make my eyes to pass, not noticing evil." seek him--that is, a knowledge of Him, with desire for conformity to His will. 153-155. Compare as to the Lord Jesus ( Acts 10:38 ). This psalm is one of about a dozen alphabetic acrostic poems in the Bible. So the prodigal son, when reduced to straits of misery ( Luke 15:17 Luke 15:18 ). AMPC. 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. 160. . 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. 154. No wonder the psalm … This prayer occurs here for the ninth time, showing a deep sense of frailty. is settled in--that is, stands as firmly as the heaven in which it dwells, and whence it emanated. 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. My tongue shall speak of thy word--literally, "answer Thy Word," that is, with praise, respond to Thy word. Reading: Psalm 119:9-16. But it is also written in a unique poetic form known as an acrostic. There are but two verses ( Psalms 119:122 Psalms 119:132 ) which do not contain some term or description of God's Word. 129. wonderful--literally, "wonders," that is, of moral excellence. But, unlike most other psalms it was written in a unique style. We have been looking at the longest chapter in the Bible. They--the heaven ( Psalms 119:89 ) and the earth ( Psalms 119:90 ). Rather, as HENGSTENBERG explains it, "The opening up," or, "explanation of thy word." I love . This the more, if opposition of enemies, or love of ease is overcome in thus honoring God's law. Avoidance of sinful courses is both the effect and means of increasing in divine knowledge (compare Psalms 19:10 ). 1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. 91. The psalm is also chanted with special solemnity at Orthodox funeral services and on the various All-Souls Days occurring throughout the year, with "Alleluia" chanted between each verse. 4-6. precepts--are those directions which relate to special conduct, from a word meaning "to inspect." Save me that I may praise Thee. lost--therefore utterly helpless as to recovering itself ( Jeremiah 50:6 , Luke 15:4 ). HENGSTENBERG refers the "lie" to such slanders against the Jews during the captivity, as that in Ezra 4:1-6 , of sedition. These "strange" words are the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. (Compare Psalms 119:77 Psalms 119:81 Psalms 119:92 ). 75-78. in faithfulness--that is, without in the least violating Thy faithfulness; because my sins deserved and needed fatherly chastisement. 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. Shown in the provision and promise of a Savior. of It is also used on five days of Year I of the two-year cycle of Ordinary Time weekday readings[a] and fifteen days of Year II. It is referred to in almost every verse. 82. Psalm 119:5 "O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!" Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. They include way and path; *heart and follow. 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. 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. The sections corresponding to the first four letters of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet are used at Prime, the following sets of three sections at Terce, Sext and None on Sundays. . 17-20. 67. 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." Psalm 111 is in acrostic pattern as is this psalm. Therefore, the word statute came to mean what is “ordained, decreed, prescribed, or enacted”. In this study, our reading is the second stanza of Psalm 119 which begins with the Hebrew letter Beth. Psalms 119:1-176 . [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 ( Psalms 19:10 ). God has been ever faithful, and the principles of His government will ever continue worthy of confidence. How we need the Word of God, for it is our daily food and it is refreshment for our souls. 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. As God made, so He can best control, us. Rather, "This is peculiarly mine (literally, to me), that I keep Thy precepts" [HENGSTENBERG and MAURER]. 10-16. 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