|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
119:57-64 True believers take the Lord for the portion of their inheritance, and nothing less will satisfy them. The psalmist prayed with his whole heart, knowing how to value the blessing he prayed for: he desired the mercy promised, and depended on the promise for it. He turned from by-paths, and returned to God's testimonies. He delayed not. It behoves sinners to hasten to escape; and the believer will be equally in haste to glorify God. No care or grief should take away God's word out of our minds, or hinder the comfort it bestows. There is no situation on earth in which a believer has not cause to be thankful. Let us feel ashamed that others are more willing to keep from sleep to spend the time in sinful pleasures, than we are to praise God. And we should be more earnest in prayer, that our hearts may be filled with his mercy, grace, and peace.
Verse 57. - Thou art my Portion, O Lord (see Psalm 73:26; Psalm 142:5; and comp. Numbers 18:20; Joshua 13:33). I have said that I would keep thy words; or, "I have resolved" (Cheyne).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
CHETH.--The Eighth Part.
CHETH. Thou art my portion, O Lord,.... Which he chose and preferred to all others; to the riches, honours, and profits of this world; the grant of which was made to him in the covenant of grace; the first discovery of it was from the Lord himself; and the choice and claim were made under the influence of his grace; and a great act of faith it is to assert this, and a wonderful blessing to enjoy it. This is a large portion indeed, immense and inconceivable, soul satisfying, safe, and for ever! see Psalm 73:26;
I have said that I would keep thy words; keep his commandments, lay up his promises, observe his doctrines, profess and retain them; this he determined within himself to do, under a sense of the love of God to him, in being his portion and inheritance. Some render the words, in connection with the former, thus, "my portion, O Lord, I said, is", or "shall be, to keep thy words" (l); it is the part and portion of some to preach the word, and of others to hear it; and of all to keep or observe it, its precepts, promises, and truths. Aben Ezra gives the sense of them thus,
"This I said to many, perhaps they will keep thy words;''
namely, that the Lord was his portion, which he thought might induce them to an observance of them, as he had done.
(l) So Montanus, Piscator.
The Treasury of David
57 Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words.
58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
In this section the Psalmist seems to take firm hold upon God himself; appropriating him (Psalm 119:57), crying out for him (Psalm 119:58), returning to him (Psalm 119:59), solacing himself in him (Psalm 119:61, Psalm 119:62), associating with his people (Psalm 119:63), and sighing for personal experience of his goodness (Psalm 119:64). Note how Psalm 119:57 is linked to the last of the former one, of which indeed it is an expanded repetition. "This I had because I kept thy precepts. Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words."
"Thou art my portion, O Lord." A broken sentence. The translators have mended it by insertions, but perhaps it had been better to have left it alone, and then it would have appeared as an exclamation, - "My portion, O Lord!" The poet is lost in wonder while he sees that the great and glorious God is all his own! Well might he be so, for there is no possession like Jehovah himself. The form of the sentence expresses joyous recognition and appropriation, - "My portion, O Jehovah!" David had often seen the prey divided, and heard the victors shouting over it; here he rejoices as one who seizes his share of the spoil; he chooses the Lord to be his part of the treasure. Like the Levites, he took God to be his portion, and left other matters to those who coveted them. This is a large and lasting heritage, for it includes all, and more than all, and it outlasts all; and yet no man chooses it for himself until God has chosen and renewed him. Who that is truly wise could hesitate for a moment when the infinitely blessed God is set before him to be the object of his choice? David leaped at the opportunity, and grasped the priceless boon. Our author here dares exhibit the title-deeds of his portion before the eye of the Lord himself, for he addresses his joyful utterance directly to God whom he boldly calls his own. With much else to choose from, for he was a king, and a man of great resources, he deliberately turns from all the treasures of the world, and declares that the Lord, even Jehovah, is his portion.
"I have said that I would keep thy words." We cannot always look back with comfort upon what we have said, but in this instance David had spoken wisely and well. He had declared his choice: he preferred the word of God to the wealth of worldlings. It was his firm resolve to keep - that is, treasure up and observe - the words of his God, and as he had aforetime solemnly expressed it in the presence of the Lord himself, so here he confesses the binding obligation of his former vow. Jesus said, "If a man love me, he will keep my words," and this is a case which he might have quoted as an illustration; for the Psalmist's love to God as his portion led to his keeping the words of God. David took God to be his Prince as well as his Portion. He was confident as to his interest in God, and therefore he was resolute in his obedience to him. Full assurance is a powerful source of holiness. The very words of God are to be stored up; for whether they relate to doctrine, promise, or precept, they are most precious. When the heart is determined to keep these words, and has registered its purpose in the court of heaven, it is prepared for all the temptations and trials that may befall it; for, with God as its heritage, it is always in good case.
"I intreated thy favour with my whole heart." A fully assured possession be his God will seek his face, longing for his presence. Seeking God's presence is the idea conveyed by the marginal reading, "thy face," and this is true to the Hebrew. The presence of God is the highest form of his favour, and therefore it is the most urgent desire of gracious souls: the light of his countenance gives us an antepast of heaven. O that we always enjoyed it! The good man entreated God's smile as one who begged for his life, and the entire strength of his desire went with the entreaty. Such eager pleadings are sure of success; that which comes from our heart will certainly go to God's heart. The whole of God's favours are ready for those who seek them with their whole hearts.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
CHETH. (Ps 119:57-64).
57-60. Sincere desires for God's favor, penitence, and activity in a new obedience, truly evince the sincerity of those who profess to find God a portion (Nu 18:20; Ps 16:5; La 3:24).
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