Psalm 118:19
Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:
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(19) The gates of righteousness.—This is explained by the next verse as the gate of the Temple, where the righteous, i.e., Israel alone, entered. There does not seem the least reason for taking the words here in any but this literal sense, though doubtless they are capable of endless spiritual applications. We must imagine a procession chanting the triumphal song as in Psalms 24, and summoning the gates to open on its approach.

Psalm 118:19. Open to me the gates of righteousness — O ye porters, appointed by God for this work, open the gates of the Lord’s tabernacle, where the rule of righteousness is kept and taught, and the sacrifices of righteousness are offered: “The faithful, like David and his people of old, demand admission into the courts of the Lord’s house, there to praise him for his great and manifold mercies. But we may extend our ideas much further, and consider the whole company of the redeemed as beholding the angels ready to unbar the gates of heaven, and throw open the doors of the eternal sanctuary, for the true disciples of the risen and glorified Jesus to enter in. Open ye, may believers exclaim, in triumph, to those celestial spirits, who delight to minister to the heirs of salvation; open ye the gates of righteousness, those gates through which nothing unclean can pass, that the righteous nation, which keepeth the truth, may enter in, Isaiah 26:2, and sing, with your harmonious choirs, the praises of Him who sitteth upon the throne, for he hath overcome the sharpness of death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.” — Horne.118:19-29 Those who saw Christ's day at so great a distance, saw cause to praise God for the prospect. The prophecy, ver.Open to me the gates of righteousness ... - The gates of the house devoted to a righteous God; the gates of a house where the principles of righteousness are strengthened, and where the just emotions of the heart may be expressed in the language of praise. Compare the notes at Isaiah 26:2. The language here may be regarded as addressed to those who had charge of the house of the Lord - the priests - requesting that they would open the doors and permit him to enter to praise God for his mercy. Compare Isaiah 38:20. 19-21. Whether an actual or figurative entrance into God's house be meant, the purpose of solemn praise is intimated, in which only the righteous would or could engage.19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:

20 This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

Psalm 118:19

"Open to me the gates of righteousness." The grateful champion having reached the entrance of the temple, asks for admission in set form, as if he felt that he could only approach the hallowed shrine by divine permission, and wished only to enter in the appointed manner. The temple of God was meant for the righteous to enter and offer the sacrifices of righteousness, hence the gates are called the gates of righteousness. Righteous deeds were done within its walls, and righteous teachings sounded forth from its courts. The phrase "the gate" is sometimes used to signify power or empire; as, for instance, "the Sublime Porte" signifies the seat of empire of Turkey; the entrance to the temple was the true Sublime Porte, and what is better, it was the porta jutstitiae, the gate of righteousness, the palace of the great King, who is in all things just. "I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord." Only let the gate be opened, and the willing worshipper will enter; and he will enter in the right spirit, and for the best of purposes, that he may render homage unto the Most High. Alas, there are multitudes who do not care whether the gates of God's house are opened or not; and although they know that they are opened wide they never care to enter, neither does the thought of praising God so much as cross their minds. The time will come for them when they shall find the gates of heaven shut against them, for those gates are peculiarly the gates of righteousness through which there shall by no means enter anything that defileth. Our champion might have praised the Lord in secret, and doubtless he did so; but he was not content without going up to the assembly, there to register his thanksgivings. Those who neglect public worship generally neglect all worship; those who praise God within their own gates are among the readiest to praise him within his temple gates. Our hero had also in all probability been sore sick, and therefore like Hezekiah he says, "The Lord was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of my life in the house of the Lord." Public praise for public mercies is every way most appropriate, most acceptable to God, and most profitable to others.

Psalm 118:20

"This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter." The Psalmist loves the house of God so well that he admires the very gate thereof, and pauses beneath its arch to express his affection for it. He loved it because it was the gate of the Lord, he loved it because it was the gate of righteousness, because so many godly people had already entered it, and because in all future ages such persons will continue to pass through its portals. If the gate of the Lord's house on earth is so pleasant to us, how greatly shall we rejoice when we pass that gate of pearl, to which none, but the righteous shall ever approach, but through which all the just shall in due time enter to eternal felicity. The Lord Jesus has passed that way, and not only set the gate wide open, but secured an entrance for all those who are made righteous in his righteousness: all the righteous must and shall enter there, whoever may oppose them. Under another aspect our Lord is himself that gate, and through him, as the new and living Way, all the righteous delight to approach unto the Lord. Whenever we draw near to praise the Lord we must come by this gate; acceptable praise never climbs over the wall, or enters by any other way, but comes to God in Christ Jesus; as it is written, "no man cometh unto the Father but by me." Blessed, for ever blessed, be this wondrous gate of the person of our Lord.

Psalm 118:21

Having entered, the champion exclaims, "I will praise thee," not "I will praise the Lord," for now he vividly realizes the divine presence, and addresses himself directly to Jehovah, whom his faith sensibly discerns. How well it is in all our songs of praise to let the heart have direct and distinct communion with God himself I The Psalmist's song was personal praise too: - "I will praise thee"; resolute praise, for he firmly resolved to offer it; spontaneous praise, for he voluntarily and cheerfully rendered it, and continuous praise, for he did not intend soon to have done with it. It was a life-long vow to which there would never come a close, "I will praise thee." "For thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation." He praises God by mentioning his favours, weaving his song out of the divine goodness which he had experienced. In these words he gives the reason for his praise, - his answered prayer, and the deliverance which he had received in consequence. How fondly he dwells upon the personal interposition of God! "Thou hast heard me." How heartily he ascribes the whole of his victory over his enemies to God; nay, he sees God himself to be the whole of it: "Thou art become my salvation." It is well to go directly to God himself, and not to stay even in his mercy, or in the acts of his grace. Answered prayers bring God very near to us; realised salvation enables us to realise the immediate presence of God. Considering the extreme distress through which the worshipper had passed, it is not at all wonderful that he should feel his heart full of gratitude at the great salvation which God had wrought for him, and should at his first entrance into the temple lift up his voice in thankful praise for personal favours so great, so needful, so perfect.

Open to me, O ye porters, appointed by God for this work. Or it is a figurative and poetical manner of expression, whereby he speaks to the gates themselves, as if they had sense and understanding. Or by saying open, he implies that they had been long shut against him in Saul’s time. The gates of righteousness, to wit, the gates of the Lord’s tabernacle, the proper and usual place of the solemn performance of the duty here following, which he calleth

the gates of righteousness, partly, in opposition to the gates of death, of which he speaks implicitly Psalm 118:18, and expressly Psalm 9:13 107:18, which may be called the gates of sin or unrighteousness, because death is the wages of sin; partly, because there the rule of righteousness was kept and taught, and the sacrifices of righteousness (as they are called, Psalm 4:5) were offered, and divers other exercises of righteousness or of God’s service were performed; and partly, because those gates were to be opened to all righteous persons, (such as David had oft professed and proved himself to be, upon which account he claims this as his just privilege,) and only to such, for the unclean and unrighteous were to be shut and kept out by the porters, 2 Chronicles 23:19: compare Isaiah 26:2. Open to me the gates of righteousness,.... The doors of the sanctuary or tabernacle, so called, because none but righteous persons might enter in at them, or who were clean in a ceremonial sense; and because sacrifices of righteousness were here offered. The words are addressed to the porters, or Levites, that kept the doors of the tabernacle, to open them. The Targum is,

"open to me the gates of the city of righteousness;''

Jerusalem, so called Isaiah 1:26; the gates of which were opened to David, when he took it from the Jebusites. An emblem of the church or city of God, the gates of which are opened to the righteous to enter into now; and of the New Jerusalem, and of the heavenly glory, into which the saints will have an abundant entrance hereafter; see Isaiah 26:1. Moreover, these may be the words of the Messiah, requiring the gates of heaven to be opened to him by his blood, he having obtained redemption for his people; see Psalm 24:7;

I will go in to them, and I will praise the Lord: at the gates of the tabernacle David entered, and praised the Lord for his deliverance and salvation, and for the many favours and honours bestowed on him; and in the church of God do the saints praise him, as they will do in heaven to all eternity; and where Christ, as man, is praising his divine Father, Psalm 22:22.

Open to me the {i} gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:

(i) He wills the doors of the tabernacle to be opened, that he may declare his thankful mind.

19. The language is robbed of its proper force if it is regarded merely as a general expression of a desire to worship in the Temple, and not rather as a call to the priests within to open the gates for the approaching procession. Cp. Psalm 24:7 ff. The gates of the Temple are called “gates of righteousness” because it is the abode of the righteous God (cp. Jeremiah 31:23), from whence (cp. Psalm 20:2) He manifests His righteousness in the salvation of His people. See note on Psalm 65:5.

I will go &c.] I will enter into them, I will give thanks to Jah.

19–24. The procession has reached the Temple gates, and seeks to enter (19). A voice from within reminds them of the condition of entry (20); and passing into the Temple courts the grateful people renew their praises for the miracle of deliverance which has been wrought for them (21–24).Verse 19. - Open to me the gates of righteousness. The great gate of the temple being now reached, admission to the interior is requested. The gates are called "the gates of righteousness,"

(1) as gates which none but the righteous ought to enter (see the next verse); and

(2) as gates through which access is gained to the sanctuary of him who alone is truly righteous, and the source of all righteousness in others. I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord. Praise could be given to God any where; but it was most appropriately offered "in the courts of the Lord's house, even in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem" (Psalm 116:19). The Hodu-cry is addressed first of all and every one; then the whole body of the laity of Israel and the priests, and at last (as it appears) the proselytes (vid., on Psalm 115:9-11) who fear the God of revelation, are urgently admonished to echo it back; for "yea, His mercy endureth for ever," is the required hypophon. In Psalm 118:5, Israel too then begins as one man to praise the ever-gracious goodness of God. יהּ, the Jod of which might easily become inaudible after קראתי, has an emphatic Dagesh as in Psalm 118:18, and המּצר has the orthophonic stroke beside צר (the so-called מקּל), which points to the correct tone-syllable of the word that has Dechמ.

(Note: Vid., Baer's Thorath Emeth, p. 7 note, and p. 21, end of note 1.)

Instead of ענני it is here pointed ענני, which also occurs in other instances not only with distinctive, but also (though not uniformly) with conjunctive accents.

(Note: Hitzig on Proverbs 8:22 considers the pointing קנני to be occasioned by Dech, and in fact ענני in the passage before us has Tarcha, and in 1 Samuel 28:15 Munach; but in the passage before us, if we read במרחביה as one word according to the Masora, ענני is rather to be accented with Mugrash; and in 1 Samuel 28:15 the reading ענני is found side by side with ענני (e.g., in Bibl. Bomberg. 1521). Nevertheless צרפתני Psalm 17:3, and הרני Job 30:19 (according to Kimchi's Michlol, 30a), beside Mercha, show that the pointing beside conjunctive as beside disjunctive accents wavers between a& and a4, although a4 is properly only justified beside disjunctive accents, and צוּני also really only occurs in pause.)

The constructions is a pregnant one (as in Psalm 22:22; Psalm 28:1; Psalm 74:7; 2 Samuel 18:19; Ezra 2:62; 2 Chronicles 32:1): He answered me by removing me to a free space (Psalm 18:20). Both lines end with יהּ; nevertheless the reading במּרחביה is attested by the Masora (vid., Baer's Psalterium, pp. 132f.), instead of בּמּרחב יהּ. It has its advocates even in the Talmud (B. Pesachim 117a), and signifies a boundless extent, יה expressing the highest degree of comparison, like מאפּליה in Jeremiah 2:31, the deepest darkness. Even the lxx appears to have read מרחביה thus as one word (εἰς πλατυσμόν, Symmachus εἰς εὐρυχωρίαν). The Targum and Jerome, however, render it as we do; it is highly improbable that in one and the same verse the divine name should not be intended to be used in the same force of meaning. Psalm 56:1-13 (Psalm 56:10; Psalm 56:5, Psalm 56:12) echoes in Psalm 118:6; and in Psalm 118:7 Psalm 54:1-7 (Psalm 54:6) is in the mind of the later poet. In that passage it is still more clear than in the passage before us that by the Beth of בּעזרי Jahve is not meant to be designated as unus e multis, but as a helper who outweighs the greatest multitude of helpers. The Jewish people had experienced this helpful succour of Jahve in opposition to the persecutions of the Samaritans and the satraps during the building of the Temple; and had at the same time learned what is expressed in Psalm 118:7-8 (cf. Psalm 146:3), that trust in Jahve (for which חסה ב is the proper word) proves true, and trust in men, on the contrary, and especially in princes, is deceptive; for under Pseudo-Smerdis the work, begun under Cyrus, and represented as open to suspicion even in the reign of Cambyses, was interdicted. But in the reign of Darius it again became free: Jahve showed that He disposes events and the hearts of men in favour of His people, so that out of this has grown up in the minds of His people the confident expectation of a world-subduing supremacy expressed in Psalm 118:10.

The clauses Psalm 118:10, Psalm 118:11, and Psalm 118:12, expressed in the perfect form, are intended more hypothetically than as describing facts. The perfect is here set out in relief as a hypothetical tense by the following future. כּל־גּוים signifies, as in Psalm 117:1, the heathen of every kind. דּברים (in the Aramaic and Arabic with )ז are both bees and wasps, which make themselves especially troublesome in harvest time. The suffix of אמילם (from מוּל equals מלל, to hew down, cut in pieces) is the same as in Exodus 29:30; Exodus 2:17, and also beside a conjunctive accent in Psalm 74:8. Yet the reading אמילם, like יחיתן Habakkuk 2:17, is here the better supported (vid., Gesenius, Lehrgebude, S. 177), and it has been adopted by Norzi, Heidenheim, and Baer. The כּי is that which states the ground or reason, and then becomes directly confirmatory and assuring (Psalm 128:2, Psalm 128:4), which here, after the "in the name of Jahve" that precedes it, is applied and placed just as in the oath in 1 Samuel 14:44. And in general, as Redslob has demonstrated, כּי has not originally a relative, but a positive (determining) signification, כ being just as much a demonstrative sound as ד, ז, שׁ, and ת (cf. ἐκεῖ, ἐκεῖνος, κει'νος, ecce, hic, illic, with the Doric τηνεί, τῆνος). The notion of compassing round about is heightened in Psalm 118:11 by the juxtaposition of two forms of the same verb (Ges. 67, rem. 10), as in Hosea 4:18; Habakkuk 1:5; Zephaniah 2:1, and frequently. The figure of the bees is taken from Deuteronomy 1:44. The perfect דּעכוּ (cf. Isaiah 43:17) describes their destruction, which takes place instantly and unexpectedly. The Pual points to the punishing power that comes upon them: they are extinguished (exstinguuntur) like a fire of thorns, the crackling flame of which expires as quickly as it has blazed up (Psalm 58:10). In Psalm 118:13 the language of Israel is addressed to the hostile worldly power, as the antithesis shows. It thrust, yea thrust (inf. intens.) Israel, that it might fall (לנפּל; with reference to the pointing, vid., on Psalm 40:15); but Jahve's help would not suffer it to come to that pass. Therefore the song at the Red Sea is revived in the heart and mouth of Israel. Psalm 118:14 (like Isaiah 12:2) is taken from Exodus 15:2. עזּי (in MSS also written עזּי) is a collateral form of עזּי (Ew. 255, a), and here signifies the lofty self-consciousness which is united with the possession of power: pride and its expression an exclamation of joy. Concerning זמרת vid., on Psalm 16:6. As at that time, the cry of exultation and of salvation (i.e., of deliverance and of victory) is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of Jahve - they sing - עשׂה חיל (Numbers 24:18), practises valour, proves itself energetic, gains (maintains) the victory. רוממה is Milra, and therefore an adjective: victoriosa (Ew. 120 d), from רמם equals רוּם like שׁומם from שׁמם. It is not the part. Pil. (cf. Hosea 11:7), since the rejection of the participial Mem occurs in connection with Poal and Pual, but not elsewhere with Pilel (רומם equals מרומם from רוּם). The word yields a simpler sense, too, as adject. participle Kal; romēmā́h is only the fuller form for ramā́h, Exodus 14:8 (cf. rā́mah, Isaiah 26:11). It is not its own strength that avails for Israel's exultation of victory, but the energy of the right hand of Jahve. Being come to the brink of the abyss, Israel is become anew sure of its immortality through Him. God has, it is true, most severely chastened it (יסּרנּי with the suffix anni as in Genesis 30:6, and יהּ with the emphatic Dagesh, which neither reduplicates nor connects, cf. Psalm 118:5, Psalm 94:12), but still with moderation (Isaiah 27:7.). He has not suffered Israel to fall a prey to death, but reserved it for its high vocation, that it may see the mighty deeds of God and proclaim them to all the world. Amidst such celebration of Jahve the festive procession of the dedication of the Temple has arrived at the enclosure wall of the Temple.

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