Psalm 119:109
My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget your law.
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(109) My soul.—For this figure of peril see Judges 12:3; 1Samuel 19:5, &c.

Psalm 119:109-110. My soul is continually in my hand — Exposed to perpetual and extreme danger, as any precious and frail thing is which a man carries openly in his hand, and which he may easily let fall, or be deprived of by violence. This is true of us all: we stand in jeopardy every hour, and there is but a step between us and death. But David considered himself as being peculiarly in danger, because, as he says in the next verse, the wicked had laid a snare for him — Intending, probably, Saul and his courtiers, who were unwearied in their endeavours to get him into their power, that they might take away his life. 119:105-112 The word of God directs us in our work and way, and a dark place indeed the world would be without it. The commandment is a lamp kept burning with the oil of the Spirit, as a light to direct us in the choice of our way, and the steps we take in that way. The keeping of God's commands here meant, was that of a sinner under a dispensation of mercy, of a believer having part in the covenant of grace. The psalmist is often afflicted; but with longing desires to become more holy, offers up daily prayers for quickening grace. We cannot offer any thing to God, that he will accept but what he is pleased to teach us to do. To have our soul or life continually in our hands, implies constant danger of life; yet he did not forget God's promises nor his precepts. Numberless are the snares laid by the wicked; and happy is that servant of God, whom they have not caused to err from his Master's precepts. Heavenly treasures are a heritage for ever; all the saints accept them as such, therefore they can be content with little of this world. We must look for comfort only in the way of duty, and that duty must be done. A good man, by the grace of God, brings his heart to his work, then it is done well.My soul is continually in my hand - The Septuagint renders this, "My soul is always in thy hands," but the Hebrew will not admit of this construction. The idea in the original is that his soul - his life - was always in jeopardy. The expression seems to be proverbial. Anything taken in the hand is liable to be rudely snatched away. Thus a casket of jewels, or a purse of gold in the hand, may at any moment be seized by robbers. See the notes at Job 13:14. Compare 1 Samuel 19:5; Judges 12:3. The meaning here is, that his life was constantly in danger.

Yet do I not forget thy law - Notwithstanding the danger to which I am exposed, and the care necessary to defend my life, I do not allow my mind to be turned from meditating on thy law, nor do I suffer any danger to deter me from obeying it. Compare the notes at Psalm 119:61.

109, 110. In the midst of deadly perils (the phrase is drawn from the fact that what we carry in our hands may easily slip from them, Jud 12:3; 1Sa 28:21; Job 13:14; compare 1Sa 19:5), and exposed to crafty enemies, his safety and guidance is in the truth and promises of God.Ver. 109. In my hand; exposed to perpetual and extreme danger, as any precious and frail thing is which a man carrieth openly in his hand, whence it may easily fall or be snatched away by a violent hand. See the same or like phrase, Judges 12:3 1 Samuel 19:5 Job 13:14. My soul is continually in my hand,.... In the utmost jeopardy, always exposed to danger, ever delivered unto death; killed all the day long, or liable to be so: this is the sense of the phrase; see Judges 12:3; for what is in a man's hands may easily fall, or be taken out of them: so the Targum,

"my soul is in danger upon the back of my hands continually;''

the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read, "in thy hands"; but wrongly;

yet do I not forget thy law; it was written on his heart, and fixed in his mind; he had a true affection for it, and a hearty desire to keep it; and no danger could divert him from his duty; as Daniel, though he carried his life in his hand, yet continued to pray to his God as usual; nor could anything move the Apostle Paul from the doctrine of the Gospel, and preaching it.

My {d} soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.

(d) That is, I am in continual danger of my life.

109. ‘To put one’s life in one’s hand’ is a metaphor for hazarding it (Jdg 12:3; 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21; Job 13:14), apparently because a treasure carried in the hand instead of being concealed is liable to be lost or snatched away. The reading of some MSS of the LXX in thy hands is doubtless a correction of a phrase which was not understood.Verse 109. - My soul is continually in my hand; i.e. my life is in constant jeopardy (comp. Judges 12:3; 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21). Yet do I not forget thy Law (comp. vers. 16, 83, 93, etc.). The eightfold Mem. The poet praises the practical wisdom which the word of God, on this very account so sweet to him, teaches. God's precious law, with which he unceasingly occupies himself, makes him superior in wisdom (Deuteronomy 4:6), intelligence, and judgment to his enemies, his teachers, and the aged (Job 12:20). There were therefore at that time teachers and elders (πρεσβύτεροι), who (like the Hellenizing Sadducees) were not far from apostasy in their laxness, and hostilely persecuted the young and strenuous zealot for God's law. The construction of Psalm 119:98 is like Joel 1:20; Isaiah 59:12, and frequently. היא refers to the commandments in their unity: he has taken possession of them for ever (cf. Psalm 119:111). The Mishna (Aboth iv. 1) erroneously interprets: from all my teachers do I acquire understanding. All three מן in Psalm 119:98-100 signify prae (lxx ὑπὲρ). In כּלאתי, Psalm 119:101, from the mode of writing we see the verb Lamed Aleph passing over into the verb Lamed He. הורתני is, as in Proverbs 4:11 (cf. Exodus 4:15), a defective mode of writing for הוריתני. נמלצוּ, Psalm 119:103, is not equivalent to נמרצוּ, Job 6:25 (vid., Job, at Job 6:25; Job 16:2-5), but signifies, in consequence of the dative of the object לחכּי, that which easily enters, or that which tastes good (lxx ὡς gluke'a); therefore surely from מלץ equals מלט, to be smooth: how smooth, entering easily (Proverbs 23:31), are Thy words (promises) to my palate or taste! The collective singular אמרתך is construed with a plural of the predicate (cf. Exodus 1:10). He has no taste for the God-estranged present, but all the stronger taste for God's promised future. From God's laws he acquires the capacity for proving the spirits, therefore he hates every path of falsehood ( equals Psalm 119:128), i.e., all the heterodox tendencies which agree with the spirit of the age.
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