Psalm 119:120
My flesh trembles for fear of you; and I am afraid of your judgments.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(120) Trembleth.—The original is far stronger. Better, as in Job 4:15, the hair of my flesh stands up. So Symmachus.

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.My flesh trembleth for fear of thee - I stand in awe of thee. I shudder at the consciousness of thy presence. See Habakkuk 3:16; Hebrews 12:21; Joel 2:10; Nahum 1:5. There is nothing unaccountable in this. Any man would tremble, should God manifest himself to him as he might do; and it is possible that the mind may have such an overpowering sense of the presence and majesty of God, that the body shall be agitated, lose its strength, and with the deepest alarm fall to the earth. Compare Daniel 10:8; Revelation 1:17. No man could meet one of the departed dead, or a good angel, without this fear; how much less could he meet God!

And I am afraid of thy judgments - Of thy laws or commands. My mind is filled with awe at the strictness, the spirituality, the severity of thy law. Reverence - awe - is one of the essential elements of all true religion.

120. The "judgments" are those on the wicked (Ps 119:119). Joyful hope goes hand in hand with fear (Hab 3:16-18).Ver. 120. The observation of thy terrible judgments against ungodly men, and the conscience of my own infirmity and manifold sins, makes me fear lest thou shouldst punish me also, as thou mightest justly do, if thou shouldst be strict to mark what is amiss in me; or lest I should partake with them in their sins, and consequently in their plagues. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee,.... Not for fear of the wrath of God coming down upon himself, nor for fear of eternal damnation; but for fear of what was coming upon the wicked, for their sins and transgressions. The word (n) used signifies such a dread and horror, which seizes a man to such a degree, that it makes the hair of his flesh to stand up; as Jarchi and Kimchi observe; see Psalm 119:53, Job 4:14;

and I am afraid of thy judgments; not of their coming down upon him, but upon the wicked; the thought of which is more awful to good men than to the wicked themselves; and especially when under any darkness, doubts, and fears; lest, being conscious to themselves of their own weakness, they should be left to join with the wicked in their sins, and so be partakers of their plagues.

(n) Symmachus in Drusius; "horripilavit", Cajetanus apud Gejerum.

My flesh {f} trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.

(f) Your judgments not only teach me obedience, but cause me to fear, considering my own weakness which fear causes repentance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
120. trembleth for fear of thee] Shudders for awe of thee, lit. of the hair standing on end with fright: horrescit.

thy judgments] Either acts of judgement, punishments inflicted upon the wicked, or the laws and ordinances in accordance with which they are punished. Reverent fear is the right complement of holy love. “The flesh is to be awed by Divine judgements, though the higher and surer part of the soul is strongly and freely tied with the cords of love” (Leighton).Verse 120. - My flesh trembleth for fear of thee (comp. Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 23:9; Habakkuk 3:16), And I am afraid of thy judgments. Thy "judgments" upon the wicked cause me to shudder with fear. The eightfold Samech. His hope rests on God's word, without allowing itself to be led astray by doubters and apostates. סעפים (the form of nouns which indicate defects or failings) are those inwardly divided, halting between two opinions (סעפּים), 1 Kings 18:21, who do homage partly to the worship of Jahve, partly to heathenism, and therefore are trying to combine faith and naturalism. In contrast to such, the poet's love, faith, and hope are devoted entirely to the God of revelation; and to all those who are desirous of drawing him away he addresses in Psalm 119:115 (cf. Psalm 6:9) an indignant "depart." He, however, stands in need of grace in order to persevere and to conquer. For this he prays in Psalm 119:116-117. The מן in משּׁברי is the same as in בּושׁ מן. The ah of ואשׁעה is the intentional ah (Ew. 228, c), as in Isaiah 41:23. The statement of the ground of the סלית, vilipendis, does not mean: unsuccessful is their deceit (Hengstenberg, Olshausen), but falsehood without the consistency of truth is their self-deceptive and seductive tendency. The lxx and Syriac read תּרעיתם, "their sentiment;" but this is an Aramaic word that is unintelligible in Hebrew, which the old translators have conjured into the text only on account of an apparent tautology. The reading השּׁבתּ or חשׁבתּ (Aquila, Symmachus, and Jerome; lxx ἐλογισάμην, therefore חשׁבתי) instead of חשׁבתּ might more readily be justified in Psalm 119:119; but the former gives too narrow a meaning, and the reading rests on a mistaking of the construction of השׁבית with an accusative of the object and of the effect: all the wicked, as many of them as are on the earth, dost Thou put away as dross (סגים( ssor). Accordingly משׁפטיך in Psalm 119:120 are God's punitive judgments, or rather (cf. Psalm 119:91) God's laws (judgments) according to which He judges. What is meant are sentences of punishment, as in Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28. Of these the poet is afraid, for omnipotence can change words into deeds forthwith. In fear of the God who has attested Himself in Exodus 34:7 and elsewhere, his skin shudders and his hair stands on end.
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