Psalm 119:118
You have trodden down all them that err from your statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.
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(118) Trodden down.—Better, thou despisest. So LXX. and Vulg. Aquila, “Thou hast impaled.” Symmachus, “Thou hast convicted.” Literally the word seems to mean to weigh or value, but, from the habit of the buyer beating down the price by depreciating, comes to have a sense of this kind. Mr. Burgess aptly quotes Proverbs 20:14. We may compare the English word cheapen, which originally only meant to buy.

For their deceit is falsehood.—Rather, as the parallelism indicates, for their tricks are in vain; or perhaps, to bring out the full intention of the Hebrew, we must paraphrase: “for their wiles are as fruitless as they are deceitful.” So Symmachus: “all their craft is vain.”

Psalm 119:118-120. Thou hast trodden down all them that err, &c. — Thou hast brought them to ruin, utter and shameful ruin; thou hast made them thy footstool. He seems to speak of those proud persecutors who trampled upon God’s people, and on whom he saw that sooner or later God would trample; for their deceit is falsehood — All their crafty and deceitful devices, by which they design to insnare and ruin good men, shall deceive their expectations, and bring that destruction upon themselves which they designed for others. Thou puttest away all the wicked — Thou removest them from thy presence, from the society of thy people, and from the land of the living; like dross — Which, though for a season it be mixed with gold or silver, is not only separated from it, as a useless and contemptible thing, but also is utterly consumed by fire; therefore I love thy testimonies — Because they are the best preservatives against wickedness, and against those dreadful punishments attending upon it. Of these he professes his fear, adding, in the next verse, My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, &c. — As if he had said, The observation of thy terrible judgments against ungodly men, and the consciousness which I have of my own manifold sins and great weakness, make me fear lest thou shouldest punish me also, as thou justly mightest, if thou shouldest be so strict as to mark what is amiss in me; or lest I should partake with them in their sins, and consequently in their plagues.119:113-120 Here is a dread of the risings of sin, and the first beginnings of it. The more we love the law of God, the more watchful we shall be, lest vain thoughts draw us from what we love. Would we make progress in keeping God's commands, we must be separate from evil-doers. The believer could not live without the grace of God; but, supported by his hand, his spiritual life shall be maintained. Our holy security is grounded on Divine supports. All departure from God's statutes is error, and will prove fatal. Their cunning is falsehood. There is a day coming which will put the wicked into everlasting fire, the fit place for the dross. See what comes of sin Surely we who fall so low in devout affections, should fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into heavenly rest, any of us should be found to come short of it, Heb 4:1.Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes - Compare the notes at Psalm 119:21. Rather, "Thou hast made light of," or "thou despisest." The Hebrew word means properly to suspend in a balance; to weigh. Then it means to lift up lightly or easily; and then, to make light of; to contemn; to regard anything as "light." The Septuagint and Latin Vulgate render it, "Thou dost despise." That is, God regards them as of no account; as a light substance of no value; as chaff which the wind carries away. Compare Job 21:18; Psalm 1:4; Psalm 35:5; Isaiah 17:13.

For their deceit is falsehood - This seems to be a truism - for deceit must imply falsehood. In the original this is an emphatic way of declaring the whole thing to be false, as the Hebrew language often expresses emphasis by mere repetition - thus "pits, pits," meaning many pits. The psalmist first characterizes their conduct as deceitful - as that which cannot be relied on - as that which must fail in the end; he then speaks of this system on which they acted as altogether a "lie" - as that which is utterly "false;" thus giving, as it were, a double emphasis to the statement, and showing how utterly delusive and vain it must be.

118-120. But the disobedient and rebellious will be visited by God's wrath, which impresses the pious with wholesome fear and awe.

their deceit is falsehood—that is, all their cunning deceit, wherewith they seek to entrap the godly, is in vain.

Ver. 118. All their crafty and deceitful devices, by which they design to insnare and ruin me, and other good men, shall deceive them and their own expectations, and bring that destruction upon themselves which they design for others. Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes,.... That wander from the way of the Lord's commandments; that deviate from his precepts, go astray constantly and wilfully; a people that err in their hearts, and with all their hearts. These the Lord treads down, as mire in the streets, as grapes in a winepress; which shows his abhorrence of them, his indignation at them, and how easily they are subdued under him;

for their deceit is falsehood: or, "their hypocrisy is a lie" (m): the appearance they make is a false one; they appear outwardly righteous, but are inwardly wicked; have a form of godliness, but deny the power of it: or all their deceitful doctrines are lies in hypocrisy, though dressed up with all the art and cunning they are masters of; or all their subtle schemes to corrupt and subvert the true doctrines of the word are in vain and to no purpose.

(m) So Michaelis.

Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their {d} deceit is falsehood.

(d) The crafty practises of them who contemn your law will be brought to nothing.

118. Thou hast trodden down] Rather, hast set at nought (R.V.), or hast rejected.

for their deceit is falsehood] Not, their crafty schemes are vain (R.V. marg.), doomed to be frustrated: but, the principles with which they deceive themselves and mislead others are false and baseless; therefore God rejects them. P.B.V. for they imagine but deceit is derived through the Vulg. (quia iniusta cogitatio eorum) from the LXX, which with Jer., Theod. and Syr. seems to have read tar‘îthâm, ‘their thought,’ for tarmîthâm, ‘their deceit.’ It is an Aramaic word, but the occurrence of an Aramaic word in so late a Psalm would not be impossible, and it may be the right reading.Verse 118. - Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes; rather, thou despisest all them that go astray from thy statutes. Thou makest light of them. The LXX. have, ἐξουδένωσας For their deceit is falsehood. "Their subtle policy is but a lie" (Kay). It rests on lies, and ends in disappointment. The eightfold Nun. The word of God is his constant guide, to which he has entrusted himself for ever. The way here below is a way through darkness, and leads close past abysses: in this danger of falling and of going astray the word of God is a lamp to his feet, i.e., to his course, and a light to his path (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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