Psalm 119:139
My zeal has consumed me, because my enemies have forgotten your words.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 119:139-141. My zeal hath consumed me — My zeal toward thy law, which my enemies violate and contemn. “Zeal is a high degree of love; and when the object of that love is ill treated, it vents itself in a mixture of grief and indignation, which are sufficient to wear and consume the heart. This will be the case when men rightly conceive of that dishonour which is continually done to God by creatures whom he hath made and redeemed. But never could the verse be uttered with such fulness of truth and propriety by any one, as by the Son of God, who had such a sense of his Father’s glory, and of man’s sin, as no person else ever had. And, accordingly, when his zeal had exerted itself in purging the temple, St. John tells us, his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.” — Horne. Thy word is very pure — Without the least mixture of any falsehood or sin; therefore thy servant loveth it — Because of that exact purity and holiness of it; although, for that very reason, ungodly men either despise or hate it. I am small — Hebrew, צעיר, a little one; not for age, but, in respect of my condition in the world, mean and obscure; yet do I not forget thy precepts — As my conscience bears me witness. If we are small and despised, we have the more need to remember God’s precepts, that we may have them to support us under the pressures of a low condition.119:137-144 God never did, and never can do wrong to any. The promises are faithfully performed by Him that made them. Zeal against sin should constrain us to do what we can against it, at least to do more in religion ourselves. Our love to the word of God is evidence of our love to God, because it is designed to make us partake his holiness. Men's real excellency always makes them low in their own eyes. When we are small and despised, we have the more need to remember God's precepts, that we may have them to support us. The law of God is the truth, the standard of holiness, the rule of happiness; but the obedience of Christ alone justifies the believer. Sorrows are often the lot of saints in this vale of tears; they are in heaviness through manifold temptations. There are delights in the word of God, which the saints often most sweetly enjoy when in trouble and anguish. This is life eternal, to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, Joh 17:3. May we live the life of faith and grace here, and be removed to the life of glory hereafter.My zeal hath consumed me - Margin, "cut me off." The word which is here translated "consumed" is rendered "cut off" in Lamentations 3:53; Job 23:17; Psalm 54:5; Psalm 88:16; Psalm 94:23; Psalm 101:5; Psalm 143:12; "vanish," Job 6:17; "destroyed," Psalm 73:27; 2 Samuel 22:41; Psalm 18:40; Psalm 101:8; Psalm 69:4. It means here, that he pined away; that his strength was exhausted; that he was sinking under the efforts which he had put forth as expressive of his deep interest in the cause of God and of truth. On the sentiment here expressed, see the notes at Psalm 69:9.

Because mine enemies have forgotten thy words - Thy law; thy commands. It was not because they were his foes - not because he was endeavoring to destroy them, or to take vengeance on them - but because they were unmindful of God, and of the claims of his law. It is a great triumph which religion gains over a man's soul, when, in looking on the conduct of persecutors, calumniators, and slanderers - of those who are constantly doing us wrong - we are more grieved because they violate the law of God than because they injure us; when our solicitude is turned from ourselves, and terminates on our regard for the honor of God and his law. Yet that is the nature of true religion; and that we should be able to find in ourselves in such circumstances. A man should doubt the evidence of his personal religion, if all his feelings terminate on the wrong done to himself by the wicked conduct of others; if he has no feeling of solicitude because the law of God has been violated, and God has been dishonored. Compare the notes at Psalm 119:136.

139. (Ps 69:9).Ver. 139. Hath consumed me; I am tormented and cut to the heart with grief and anger at it.

Have forgotten thy words, i.e. despise and disobey them; which in Scripture use is oft called a forgetting of them, as the remembering of them is oft put for loving and practising them. My zeal hath consumed me,.... Zeal for God and his glory, for his word and ordinances and worship; which is a fervour of the mind, burning love, and flaming affections for God, shown in a holy indignation against sin and sinners. This was a zeal according to knowledge, sincere and hearty, and what continued; and which was shown in embracing and defending the truths of the word, and resenting every indignity cast upon them; to such a degree, that it ate up his spirit, wore away his flesh, and almost consumed him; see Psalm 69:9;

because mine enemies have forgotten thy words; not merely through an indifference to them, and inattention in hearing them; nor through want of an earnest heed to keep and retain them; nor through negligence in laying them up, and a carelessness in making use of proper means to recollect them; but through an aversion to them, an hatred of them, and a spiteful malicious contempt of them, casting them away and despising them; which stirred up the spirit of the psalmist, and raised such an emotion in him as was almost too much for him.

My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
139. Cp. Psalm 69:9.Verse 139. - My zeal hath consumed me (comp. Psalm 69:9). Because mine enemies have forgotten thy words (see above, vers. 53, 136). The psalmist was at once grieved and angered by man's disobedience to God's commandments (comp. Psalm 139:21). 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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