Psalm 119:129
Your testimonies are wonderful: therefore does my soul keep them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
PE.

Psalm 119:129. Thy testimonies are wonderful — In regard of the deep mysteries, the most excellent counsels and directions, and the exceeding great and precious promises contained in them; the manner in which they are written, and the effects which they produce. “They contain the sublimest spiritual truths, veiled under external ceremonies and sacraments, figurative descriptions, typical histories, parables, similitudes, &c. When properly opened and enforced, they terrify and humble, they convert and transform, they console and strengthen.” Therefore doth my soul keep them — Hebrew, נצרתם, netzaratam, guard, preserve, and watch over them as a precious treasure, therefore I attend to them and make them the rule of my faith and practice, of my principles and actions, of my tempers, words, and works, and of my whole conduct toward God and man. And “who but must delight to study and observe these testimonies of the will and wisdom, the love and power of God most high! While we have these holy writings, let us not waste our time, misemploy our thoughts, and prostitute our admiration, by doting on human follies, and wondering at human trifles.” — Horne.119:129-136 The wonders of redeeming love will fix the heart in adoration of them. The Scriptures show us what we were, what we are, and what we shall be. They show us the mercy and the justice of the Lord, the joys of heaven, and the pains of hell. Thus they give to the simple, in a few days, understanding of those matters, which philosophers for ages sought in vain. The believer, wearied with the cares of life and his conflicts with sin, pants for the consolations conveyed to him by means of the sacred word. And every one may pray, Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. We must beg that the Holy Spirit would order our steps. The dominion of sin is to be dreaded and prayed against by every one. The oppression of men is often more than flesh and blood can bear; and He who knoweth our frame, will not refuse to remove it in answer to the prayers of his people. Whatever obscurity may appear as to the faith of the Old Testament believers, their confidence at the throne of grace can only be explained by their having obtained more distinct views of gospel privileges, through the sacrifices and services of their law, than is generally imagined. Go to the same place, plead the name and merits of Jesus, and you will not, you cannot plead in vain. Commonly, where there is a gracious heart, there is a weeping eye. Accept, O Lord, the tears our blessed Redeemer shed in the days of his flesh, for us who should weep for our brethren or ourselves.Thy testimonies are wonderful - This commences a new division of the psalm, indicated by the Hebrew letter Pe (פ p), corresponding to our "p." The meaning of the expression here is, that the laws of God - the revelations of his will - are adapted to fill the mind with wonder. The mind is awed by their wisdom; their comprehensiveness; their extent; their spirituality; their benevolence: by the fact that laws are framed, so perfectly adapted to the end; so well suited to secure order, and to promote happiness.

Therefore doth my soul keep them - Because they are so surpassingly wise and benevolent; because they are so manifestly the work of wisdom and goodness.

PE. (Ps 119:129-136).

129. wonderful—literally, "wonders," that is, of moral excellence.

129 Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

131 I opened my mouth, and panted - for I longed for thy commandments.

132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.

133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

134 Deliver me from the oppression of man - so will I keep thy precepts.

135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.

136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

Psalm 119:129

"Thy testimonies are wonderful." Full of wonderful revelations, commands and promises. Wonderful in their nature, as being free from all error, and bearing within themselves overwhelming self-evidence of their truth; wonderful in their effects as instructing, elevating, strengthening, and comforting the soul. Jesus the eternal Word is called Wonderful, and all the uttered words of God are wonderful in their degree. Those who know them best wonder at them most. It is wonderful that God should have borne testimony at all to sinful men, and more wonderful still that his testimony should be of such a character, so clear, so full, so gracious, so mighty. "Therefore doth my soul keep them." Their wonderful character so impressed itself upon his mind that he kept them in his memory, their wonderful excellence so charmed his heart that he kept them in his life. Some men wonder at the words of God, and use them for their speculation; but David was always practical, and the more he wondered the more he obeyed. Note that his religion was soul work; not with head and hand alone did he keep the testimonies; but his soul, his truest and most real self, held fast to them.

Psalm 119:130

"The entrance of thy words giveth light." No sooner do they gain admission into the soul than they enlighten it, what light may be expected from their pro - longed indwelling! Their very entrance floods the mind with instruction, for they are so full, so clear; but, on the other hand, there must be such an "entrance," or there will be no illumination, The mere hearing of the word with the external ear is of small value by itself, but when the words of God enter into the chambers of the heart then light is scattered on all sides. The word finds no entrance into some minds because they are blocked up with self-conceit, or prejudice, or indifference; but where due attention is given, divine illumination must surely follow upon knowledge of the mind of God. Oh, that thy words, like the beams of the sun, may enter through the window of my understanding, and dispel the darkness of my mind! "It giveth understanding unto the simple." The sincere and candid are the true disciples of the word. To such it gives not only knowledge, but under - standing. These simple-hearted ones are frequently despised, and their simplicity has another meaning infused into it, so as to be made the theme of ridicule; but what matters it? Those whom the world dubs as fools are among the truly wise if they are taught of God. What a divine power rests in the word of God, since it not only bestows light, but gives that very mental eye by which the light is received - '"It giveth understanding." Hence the value of the words of God to the simple, who cannot receive mysterious truth unless their minds are aided to see it and prepared to grasp it.

Psalm 119:131

"I opened my mouth, and panted." So animated was his desire that he looked into the animal world to find a picture of it. He was filled with an intense longing, and was not ashamed to describe it by a most expressive, natural, and yet singular symbol. Like a stag that has been hunted in the chase, and is hard pressed, and therefore pants for breath, so did the Psalmist pant for the entrance of God's word into his soul. Nothing else could content him. All that the world could yield him left him still panting with open mouth. "For I longed for thy commandments." Longed to know them, longed to obey them, longed to be conformed to their spirit, longed to teach them to others. He was a servant of God, and his industrious mind longed to receive orders; he was a learner in the school of grace, and his eager spirit longed to be taught of the Lord.

continued...

PE

Ver. 129. Wonderful; in regard of the deep and wonderful mysteries, and most excellent counsels and directions, far exceeding all the rules of the greatest philosophers, and the exceeding great and precious promises of God contained in them. This is the reason of his high estimation of them, expressed in the last verse. PE.--The Seventeenth Part.

PE. Thy testimonies are wonderful,.... The Scriptures, which testify of God, his mind and will, are wonderful both with respect to the author of them, the things contained in them, and the use and advantage of them. They give an account of the wonderful works of creation; of their author and matter; of the manner, order, and time of their being wrought: they relate many wonderful events of Providence, both in a way of mercy and judgment; they declare several surprising miracles, wrought by Moses and others, and exhibit many marvellous things in types and figures: are full of prophecies of extraordinary things, have been exactly accomplished, and contain many exceeding great and precious promises; and abound with doctrines abstruse and recondite, hid from the carnal sense and reason of men; the mysteries of the Gospel, and of the grace of God, such as respect the divine Persons in the Trinity; the person and grace of Christ; the wonderful love of God and Christ towards men; the amazing blessings of grace through him, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal life by him;

therefore doth my soul keep them; as a rich treasure, which he laid up in the cabinet of his heart, and preserved as what was most rare and valuable: and such are the wonderful things in the word of God; and such is the efficacy of its doctrines, and the influence the truths of it have upon the minds of gracious persons; that these engage them to keep and observe the precepts it enjoins, and that heartily and sincerely, with their whole spirit and soul.

PE. Thy testimonies are {a} wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

(a) Containing high and secret mysteries, so that I am moved with admiration and reverence.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
129. wonderful] Superhuman in their excellence: lit. wonders, the term often used of God’s revelation of His power in miraculous acts (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 77:11; Psalm 77:14; cp. Psalm 119:18).

therefore &c.] Their sublimity and mystery does not repel but attracts.

129–136. . The marvellousness of God’s law: the Psalmist’s prayers that it may be the rule of his life in spite of temptation: his grief at the neglect of it.Verse 129. - Thy testimonies are wonderful; literally, wonders; i.e. prodigies of moral excellence. Therefore doth my soul keep them. I obey thy Law, not only because it is thy Law, but still more because it is intrinsically "holy, just, and good" (Romans 7:12). The 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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