Uphold me according to your word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 119:116. Uphold me according to thy word — Or hold me up, as he says in the next verse, seeing himself to be not only unable to go on in his duty, by his own strength, but in danger of falling into sin, unless he were prevented by divine grace; that I may live — May be preserved in spiritual life, and retain my title to eternal life. And let me not be ashamed of my hope — Or confidence in thy promises; of the certainty of which I have often made my boast before others.
According unto thy word -
(1) According to the requirements of thy word - that I may be conformed to them;
(2) according to the promises of thy word - that they may be verified in me.
That I may live - That my life may not be cut off by my foes, and that I may not sink under my burdens.
And let me not be ashamed of my hope - The meaning of this is, Let not my hope prove to be delusive and vain; let it not be seen at last that it is worthless, or that religion has no power to accomplish what it promises. See Psalm 6:10, note; Psalm 25:2-3, note; Psalm 31:1, note. The phrase does not mean, as it would seem to signify, Let me not blush, or be unwilling to acknowledge my hope, or to profess that I am a friend of God. That "would be," indeed, a proper prayer, but it is not the prayer here.
Depart from me—Ye can do nothing with me; for, &c. (Ps 6:8).because of my hope, or confidence in thy promises, of the certainty whereof I have oft made my boast before others.
"uphold me in thy word;''
or by thy word, either essential or written;
that I may live; meaning not corporeally, though none so live but whom the Lord upholds in life; but, spiritually, live by faith on Christ the Saviour, live comfortably on the word of promise, and live honourably, agreeably to the word of God, in all holy conversation and godliness;
and let me not be ashamed of my hope: as men are, when they are disappointed or having and enjoying what they have been hoping and waiting for; but the grace of hope makes not ashamed, nor shall those who have it ever have any reason to be ashamed of it; since it is a good hope through grace; is an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast; is upon a good foundation, Christ, and by which men are saved; and so may rejoice, in full hope of the glory of God they shall certainly enjoy.Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)116. But in order to keep God’s commandments, he needs sustaining grace. Cp. Psalm 51:12; Psalm 3:5; Psalm 37:17; Psalm 37:24.
be ashamed of my hope] Be disappointed and put to shame by the failure of my hope of deliverance. Cp. Psalm 119:166.Verse 116. - Uphold me according unto thy Word, that I may live; or, "according to thy promise." God's sustaining grace, always needed to "uphold" the righteous, is graciously "promised" them. Their "life" depends upon God's faithfulness to his promise. And let me not be ashamed of my hope. As he would be, if God's promise were not kept. Proverbs 6:23); his lamp or torch and his sun. That which he has sworn, viz., to keep God's righteous requirements, he has also set up, i.e., brought to fulfilment, but not without being bowed down under heavy afflictions in confessing God; wherefore he prays (as in Psalm 119:25) that God would revive him in accordance with His word, which promises life to those who keep it. The confessions of prayer coming from the inmost impulse of his whole heart, in which he owns his indebtedness and gives himself up entirely to God's mercy, he calls the free-will offerings of his mouth in Psalm 119:108 (cf. Psalm 50:14; Psalm 19:15). He bases the prayer for a gracious acceptance of these upon the fact of his being reduced to extremity. "To have one's soul in one's hand" is the same as to be in conscious peril of one's life, just as "to take one's soul into one's hand" (Judges 12:3; 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21; Job 13:14) is the same as to be ready to give one's life for it, to risk one's life.
(Note: Cf. B. Taanth 8a: "The prayer of a man is not answered אלא אם כן משׂים נפשׁו בכפו, i.e., if he is not ready to sacrifice his life.")
Although his life is threatened (Psalm 119:87), yet he does not waver and depart from God's word; he has taken and obtained possession of God's testimonies for ever (cf. Psalm 119:98); they are his "heritage," for which he willingly gives up everything else, for they (המּה inexactly for הנּה) it is which bless and entrance him in his inmost soul. In Psalm 119:112 it is not to be interpreted after Psalm 19:12 : eternal is the reward (of the carrying out of Thy precepts), but in Psalm 119:33 עקב is equivalent to לעד, and Psalm 119:44 proves that Psalm 119:112 need not be a thought that is complete in itself.
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