Psalm 119:136
Rivers of waters run down my eyes, because they keep not your law.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 119:136. Rivers of water run down mine eyes, &c. — Plentiful and perpetual tears, witnesses of the deep sorrow I feel on account of the dishonour which sinners do to thee, thy displeasure against them, and the miseries which they bring on themselves and others by their sins. “Thus David, who, through this whole Psalm, so often and so ardently beseeches God to teach him his statutes, declares in this verse his continual grief of heart, occasioned by seeing others break those statutes. Thus Lot, among the Sodomites, was vexed from day to day, not so much at their usage of himself as at seeing and hearing their unlawful deeds, 2 Peter 2:8. Thus Jeremiah tells the ungodly of his time, If ye will not hear, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eyes shall weep sore and run down with tears, Jeremiah 13:17. Thus the holy Jesus looked round about on the Pharisees, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, Mark 3:5; and wept over a city which had always persecuted, and was then about to crucify him, because it knew not the things which belonged to its peace.”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.Rivers of waters run down mine eyes - My heart is sad, and my eyes pour forth floods of tears. It is not a gentle weeping, but my eyes are like a fountain which pours out full-flowing streams. See Jeremiah 9:1. "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears," etc. Compare Jeremiah 14:17; Lamentations 1:16; Lamentations 2:18.

Because they keep not thy law - On account of the sins, the follies, the stupidity, and the transgressions of people. So the Saviour wept over Jerusalem Luke 19:41; and so the apostle said that he had "great heaviness and continual sorrow" in his heart, on account of his "brethren," his "kinsmen according to the flesh." Romans 9:2-3. Such a feeling is right. There is nothing for which we should be excited to deeper emotion in respect to our fellow-men than for the fact that they are violators of the law of God, and exposed to its fearful penalty. There is nothing which more certainly indicates true piety in the soul than such deep compassion for people as sinners, or because they are sinners. There is nothing which is more certainly connected with a work of grace in a community, or revival of true religion, than when such a feeling pervades a church. Then Christians will pray; then they will labor to save sinners; then they will feel their dependence on God; and then the Spirit of God will descend and bless the efforts put forth for the salvation of people. It may be added, nothing is more remarkable than that pious people ordinarily feel so little on account of the danger of their friends and fellow-sinners - that the occasions are so rare on which they imitate the example of the psalmist and of the Saviour in weeping over the condition of a perishing world!

136. Zealous himself to keep God's law, he is deeply afflicted when others violate it (compare Ps 119:53). Literally, "Mine eyes come down (dissolved) like water brooks" (La 3:48; Jer 9:1).

because, &c.—(Compare Eze 9:4; Jer 13:17).

Ver. 136. Rivers of waters; plentiful and perpetual tears, witnesses of my deep sorrow for God’s dishonour and displeasure, and for the miseries which sinners bring upon themselves and others. They, to wit, the wicked, as before, Psalm 119:126, who were not worthy to be mentioned; for this pronoun is oft used in way of contempt, as Luke 14:24 19:27 John 7:11 8:10 Acts 16:36. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes,.... That is, "out of" them; as the Syriac version: or, "mine eyes let down rivers of waters" (t); see Lamentations 3:48; that is, an abundance of tears, which flowed like a river; an hyperbolical expression, setting forth the excessiveness of grief. The reason follows,

because they keep not thy law; the persons are not mentioned, but must be understood of wicked men; whose open and impudent transgression of the law in innumerable instances, and in the most flagrant manner, gave the psalmist great distress, as it does all good men; because the law of God is despised, his authority is trampled on, his name is dishonoured, and he has not the glory which is due unto him. The gloss of Arama is,

"because Adam and Eve kept not thy law;''

which transgression brought ruin on all mankind. The Septuagint and Arabic versions very wrongly read, "because I have not kept thy law": as if his grief was on account of his own sins: and so Kimchi indeed interprets it; and both he and Ben Melech by "they" understand his eyes, from whence his tears flowed in such abundance; because they were the caterers for sin, and the cause and occasion of the transgressions of the law of God by him: and this sense is made mention of by Aben Ezra.

(t) "oculi mei deduxerunt", V. L. "rivos aquarum demittunt oculi mei", Gejerus.

Rivers of waters {d} run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

(d) He shows what should be the zeal of God's children when they see his word contemned.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
136. Mine eyes run down with streams of water] For the phrase cp. Lamentations 3:48; Lamentations 1:16. The righteous indignation which he feels at one moment for the lawlessness of men (Psalm 119:53) is tempered at another by profound sorrow and pity.Verse 136. - Rivers of water s run down mine eyes; literally, mine eyes run down [with] rivers of water (comp. Lamentations 3:48; and see also Jeremiah 9:1; Jeremiah 14:17). Because they keep not thy Law (comp. ver. 53). The eightfold Phe. The deeper his depression of spirit concerning those who despise the word of God, the more ardently does he yearn after the light and food of that word. The testimonies of God are פּלאות, wonderful and strange (paradoxical) things, exalted above every-day life and the common understanding. In this connection of the thoughts נצרתם is not intended of careful observance, but of attentive contemplation that is prolonged until a clear penetrating understanding of the matter is attained. The opening, disclosure (פּתח, apertio, with Tsere in distinction from פּתח, porta) of God's word giveth light, inasmuch as it makes the simple (פּתיים as in Proverbs 22:3) wise or sagacious; in connection with which it is assumed that it is God Himself who unfolds the mysteries of His word to those who are anxious to learn. Such an one, anxious to learn, is the poet: he pants with open mouth, viz., for the heavenly fare of such disclosures (פּער like פּער פּה in Job 29:23, cf. Psalm 81:11). יאב is a hapaxlegomenon, just as תּאב is also exclusively peculiar to the Psalm before us; both are secondary forms of אבה. Love to God cannot indeed remain unresponded to. The experience of helping grace is a right belonging to those who love the God of revelation; love in return for love, salvation in return for the longing for salvation, is their prerogative. On the ground of this reciprocal relation the petitions in Psalm 119:133-135 are then put up, coming back at last to the one chief prayer "teach me." אמרה, Psalm 119:133, is not merely a "promise" in this instance, but the declared will of God in general. כּל־און refers pre-eminently to all sin of disavowal (denying God), into which he might fall under outward and inward pressure (עשׁק). For he has round about him those who do not keep God's law. On account of these apostates (על לא as in Isaiah 53:9, equivalent to על־אשׁר לא) his eyes run down rivers of water (ירד as in Lamentations 3:48, with an accusative of the object). His mood is not that of unfeeling self-glorying, but of sorrow like that of Jeremiah, because of the contempt of Jahve, and the self-destruction of those who contemn Him.
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