Psalm 119:141
I am small and despised: yet do not I forget your precepts.
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(141) These words are hardly applicable to an individual, while to the struggling Israel, in relation to the great Eastern Powers, they are peculiarly suitable.

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.I am small and despised - The word here rendered "small" may mean "small" in respect to number - that is, "few," Micah 5:2; Isaiah 60:22; or in respect to age - "young," Genesis 19:31; or in respect to dignity - "low;" least in rank or esteem. The language here may be applied to the church as comparatively few; to one who is young; or to one in humble life. Either of these may be a reason why one is regarded as of little consequence, or may be subject to reproach and ridicule. It is not possible to determine in which of these senses the word is used here, or in which sense it was applicable to the psalmist. The word "despised" means treated as unworthy of notice; passed by; looked upon with contempt. This might be on account of age, or poverty, or ignorance, or humble rank: or it might be simply on account of his religion, for the friends of God have been, and often are, despised simply because they are religious. The Saviour was despised by people; the apostles were; the most excellent of the earth in all ages have been. Compare Hebrews 11:36-38; 1 Corinthians 4:13.

Yet do not I forget thy precepts - I am not ashamed of them. I am not deterred from keeping them, and from avowing my purpose to obey them, because I am despised for it. This is often one of the severest tests of religion, and to be faithful in such circumstances is one of the clearest proofs of true attachment to God. There are few things which we are less able to bear than contempt, and one of the best evidences of attachment to principle is when we adhere to what we regard as right and true, though we are despised for it by the frivolous, the worldly, the rich - by those who claim to be "wise." He who can bear contempt on account of his opinions, can usually bear anything.

141. The pious, however despised of men, are distinguished in God's sight by a regard for His law.Ver. 141. Small; or, a little one; not for age, but in respect of my condition in the world; mean and obscure. I am small and despised,.... Or, "I have been" (x). Some versions render it "young" (y); as if it had respect to the time of his anointing by Samuel, when he was overlooked and despised in his father's family, 1 Samuel 16:11; but the word here used is not expressive of age, but of state, condition, and circumstances; and the meaning is, that he was little in his own esteem, and in the esteem of men, and was despised; and that on account of religion, in which he was a type of Christ, Psalm 22:6; and which is the common lot of good men, who are treated by the world as the faith of it, and the offscouring of all things;

yet do not I forget thy precepts; to observe and keep them: the ill treatment of men on account of religion did not cause him to forsake it, or to leave the ways, word, and worship of God; see Psalm 119:83.

(x) "ego fui, et adhuc sum", Michaelis. (y) Sept. "adolescentulus", V. L.

I am {c} small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.

(c) This is the true trial to praise God in adversity.

141. small and despised] Insignificant in the eyes of men (not, as LXX, young, νεώτερος), and despised for his strict adherence to the law; but neither the glamour of worldly power nor the sting of worldly contempt can move him from his allegiance.Verse 141. - I am small and despised (comp. vers. 22, 51). Some translate, "I am young." But the writer can scarcely have been really a young man. His thoughts are the thoughts of one who has had much experience of life. Yet do not I forget thy precepts. As do those that persecute me (see ver. 139). 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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