Psalm 119:122
Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.
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(122) Be surety.—Just as Judah became surety for the safety of Benjamin (Genesis 43:9), so the psalmist asks God to be answerable for the servant who had been faithful to the covenant, and stand between him and the attacks of the proud. So Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:14) asks God to “undertake” for him against the threat of death. There is also, no doubt, the further thought that the Divine protection would vindicate the profession which the loyal servant makes of his obedience, as in Job 17:3, where God is summoned as the only possible guarantee of the sufferer’s innocence. This and Psalm 119:132 are the only verses not actually mentioning, under one of its terms, the Law.

119:121-128 Happy is the man, who, acting upon gospel principles, does justice to all around. Christ our Surety, having paid our debt and ransom, secures all the blessings of salvation to every true believer. The psalmist expects the word of God's righteousness, and no other salvation than what is secured by that word, which cannot fall to the ground. We deserve no favour form God; we are most easy when we cast ourselves upon God's mercy, and refer ourselves to it. If any man resolve to do God's will as his servant, he shall be made to know his testimonies. We must do what we can for the support of religion, and, after all, must beg of God to take the work into his own hands. It is hypocrisy to say we love God's commandments more than our worldly interests. The way of sin is a false way, being directly contrary to God's precepts, which are right: those that love and esteem God's law, hate sin, and will not be reconciled to it.Be surety for thy servant for good - On the meaning of the word here rendered "be surety," see the notes at Job 17:3, and the notes at Isaiah 38:14, in both which places the same Hebrew word occurs: In Isaiah it is rendered "undertake for me." The word means, properly, "to mix, to mingle;" hence, to braid, to interweave; then, to exchange, to barter. Then it means to mix or intermingle interests; to unite ourselves with others so that their interests come to be our own; and hence, to take one under our protection, to become answerable for, to be a surety for: as, when one endorses a note for another, he mingles his own interest, reputation, and means with his. So Christ becomes the security or surety - ἔγγυος enguos - of his people, Hebrews 7:22. The prayer here is, that God would, so to speak, mix or mingle his cause and that of the psalmist together, and that he would then protect the common cause as his own; or, that he would become a "pledge" or "surety" for the safety of the psalmist. This now, through the Mediator, we have a right to ask at the hand of God; and when God makes our cause his own, we must be safe.

Let not the proud oppress me - See the notes at Psalm 119:51. Let them not triumph over me, and crush me.

122. Be surety—Stand for me against my oppressors (Ge 43:9; Isa 38:14).Ver. 122. Do thou undertake and plead my cause against all mine enemies, as a surety rescues the poor persecuted debtor from the hands of a severe creditor.

For good; for my safety and comfort.

Be surety for thy servant for good,.... The psalmist was, in a like case with Hezekiah, oppressed; and therefore desires the Lord would undertake for him, appear on his side, and defend him, Psalm 38:14; and if God himself is the surety of his people, and engages in their behalf, they need fear no enemy. What David prays to God to be for him, that Christ is for all his people, Hebrews 7:22. He drew nigh to God, struck hands with him, gave his word and bond to pay the debts of his people; put himself in their legal place and stead, and became responsible to law and justice for them; engaged to make satisfaction for their sins, to bring in everlasting righteousness for their justification, and to preserve and keep them, and bring them safe to eternal glory and happiness; and this was being a surety for them for good. The Syriac version is, "delight that servant with good things"; and to the same sense the Targum and Kimchi interpret it: but Jarchi and Aben Ezra take the word to have the same meaning we do; and so Aquila and Theodotion translate it: the sense Arama gives is,

"be surety for thy servant, that I may be good;''

let not the proud oppress me; the oppressors of God's people are generally proud; they are such who deal in proud wrath; it is in their pride, and owing to it, they persecute them, Psalm 10:2. This has been their character in all ages, and agrees with the man of sin and his followers, who is king over all the children of pride; but wherein such men deal proudly and oppress, God is higher than they, and therefore most proper to be applied unto.

{a} Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.

(a) Put yourself between me and my enemies, as if you were my pledge.

122. Be surety for thy servant for good] “Guarantee Thy servant’s welfare” (Kay). Cp. Genesis 43:9; Job 17:3; Isaiah 38:14. P.B.V. make thou thy servant to delight in that which is good follows Targ., Syr. and Kimchi, in explaining the verb from the sense which it bears in Psalm 104:34 and elsewhere, but this cannot be the meaning. Coverdale was unfortunately misled by Münster’s dulce fac servo tuo id quod est bonum to substitute this rendering in the Great Bible of 1539 for the correct rendering which he had given in 1535, “Be thou suertie for thy servant to do him good.”

Verse 122. - Be surety for thy servant for good (comp. Job 17:3; Isaiah 38:14). "For good" means "so that it may be well with him." Let not the proud oppress me (comp. vers. 51, 69, 78, 85, etc.). Psalm 119:122The eightfold Ajin. In the present time of apostasy and persecution he keeps all the more strictly to the direction of the divine word, and commends himself to the protection and teaching of God. In the consciousness of his godly behaviour (elsewhere always צדק וּמשׁפּט, here in one instance משׁפט וצדק) the poet hopes that God will surely not (בּל) leave him to the arbitrary disposal of his oppressors. This hope does not, however, raise him above the necessity and duty of constant prayer that Jahve would place Himself between him and his enemies. ערב seq. acc. signifies to stand in any one's place as furnishing a guarantee, and in general as a mediator, Job 17:3; Isaiah 38:14; לטוב similar to לטובה, Psalm 86:17, Nehemiah 5:19 : in my behalf, for my real advantage. The expression of longing after redemption in Psalm 119:123 sounds like Psalm 119:81. "The word of Thy righteousness" is the promise which proceeds from God's "righteousness," and as surely as He is "righteous" cannot remain unfulfilled. The one chief petition of the poet, however, to which he comes back in Psalm 119:124., has reference to the ever deeper knowledge of the word of God; for this knowledge is in itself at once life and blessedness, and the present calls most urgently for it. For the great multitude (which is the subject to הפרוּ) practically and fundamentally break God's law; it is therefore time to act for Jahve (עשׂה ל as in Genesis 30:30, Isaiah 64:4, Ezekiel 29:20), and just in order to this there is need of well-grounded, reliable knowledge. Therefore the poet attaches himself with all his love to God's commandments; to him they are above gold and fine gold (Psalm 19:11), which he might perhaps gain by a disavowal of them. Therefore he is as strict as he possibly can be with God's word, inasmuch as he acknowledges and observes all precepts of all things (כּל־פּקּוּדי כל), i.e., all divine precepts, let them have reference to whatsoever they will, as ישׁרים, right (ישּׁר, to declare both in avowal and deed to be right); and every false (lying) tendency, all pseudo-Judaism, he hates. It is true Psalm 119:126 may be also explained: it is time that Jahve should act, i.e., interpose judicially; but this thought is foreign to the context, and affords no equally close union for על־כן; moreover it ought then to have been accented עת לעשׂות ליהוה. On כּל־פּקּוּדי כל, "all commands of every purport," cf. Isaiah 29:11, and more as to form, Numbers 8:16; Ezekiel 44:30.

The expression is purposely thus heightened; and the correction כל־פקודיך (Ewald, Olshausen, and Hupfeld) is also superfluous, because the reference of what is said to the God of revelation is self-evident in this connection.

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