Psalm 119:144
The righteousness of your testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.The righteousness of thy testimonies - The principles of righteousness on which they are founded. Those testimonies - those laws - are not arbitrary, or the mere expressions of will. They are founded on right and justice as seen by God, and his laws are his testimony as to what truth and justice are.

Is everlasting - See the notes at Psalm 119:142.

Give me understanding, and I shall live - Give me a right view of thy law, and thy truth, and I shall have real life. See the notes at Psalm 119:34.

142-144. The principles of God's government are permanent and reliable, and in the deepest distress His people find them a theme of delightful meditation and a source of reviving power (Ps 119:17, 116).

law is the truth—It therefore cannot deceive as to its promises.

everlasting—(Ps 111:3), though to outward appearance seeming dead.

Ver. 144. I shall be kept from those sins which deserve and bring death. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting,.... Or, "for ever" (b). The righteousness which they require, or which they publish; the righteousness revealed in the Gospel, which is the righteousness of Christ; See Gill on Psalm 119:142;

give me understanding, and I shall live; an understanding of the testimonies of the Lord, of the word of God, the law of God, and Gospel of Christ; an understanding of divine and spiritual things; a clearer and larger understanding of them, which is the gift of God; both that itself at first, and an increase of it here prayed for, the end, issue, and effect of which is life. Such live spiritually, and by faith; they live cheerfully and comfortably, and "for ever", as Aben Ezra and Kimchi repeat from the former clause: for "this is life eternal know the only true God and Jesus Christ"; or to have spiritual understanding of them, and of those things which relate to spiritual peace and comfort here, and eternal happiness hereafter, John 17:3.

(b) "in seculum", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "in aeternum", V. L.

The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall {d} live.

(d) So that the life of man without the knowledge of God is death.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
144. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting] Righteous (lit. righteousness) are thy testimonies for ever, reflecting Thine own eternal righteousness. They are neither imperfect nor temporary. Cp. Matthew 5:17 ff.

give me understanding &c.] He ends this contemplation of the character of God’s law with a prayer for fuller understanding of it, for through knowledge of it and obedience to it man really lives, truly realises the purpose of his being. Cp. Psalm 119:17; Psalm 119:77; Psalm 119:116; Proverbs 4:4; Proverbs 4:13; Deuteronomy 32:47.Verse 144. - The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting (comp. vers. 138, 142, 152). Give me understanding, and I shall live; i.e. "give me full understanding of thy commandments, of their depth and breadth and exceeding excellence." Then shall I truly "live." My spirit will shake off its torpor, and be quickened into a "life" that will deserve the name. The eightfold Tsade. God rules righteously and faithfully according to His word, for which the poet is accordingly zealous, although young and despised. The predicate ישׂר in Psalm 119:137 precedes its subject משׁפּטיך (God's decisions in word and in deed) in the primary form (after the model of the verbal clause Psalm 124:5), just as in German [and English] the predicative adjective remains undeclined. The accusatives צדק and אמוּנה in Psalm 119:138 are not predicative (Hitzig), to which the former ("as righteousness") - not the latter however - is not suited, but adverbial accusatives (in righteousness, in faithfulness), and מאד according to its position is subordinate to ואמונה as a virtual adjective (cf. Isaiah 47:9): the requirements of the revealed law proceed from a disposition towards and mode of dealing with men which is strictly determined by His holiness (צדק), and beyond measure faithfully and honestly designs the well-being of men (אמונה מאד). To see this good law of God despised by his persecutors stirs the poet up with a zeal, which brings him, from their side, to the brink of extreme destruction (Psalm 69:10, cf. צמתּת, Psalm 88:17). God's own utterance is indeed without spot, and therefore not to be carped at; it is pure, fire-proved, noblest metal (Psalm 18:31; Psalm 12:7), therefore he loves it, and does not, though young (lxx νεώτερος, Vulgate adolescentulus) and lightly esteemed, care for the remonstrances of his proud opponents who are old and more learned than himself (the organization of Psalm 119:141 is like Psalm 119:95, and frequently). The righteousness (צדקה) of the God of revelation becomes eternal righteousness (צדק), and His law remains eternal truth (אמת). צדקה is here the name of the attribute and of the action that is conditioned in accordance with it; צדק the name of the state that thoroughly accords with the idea of that which is right. So too in Psalm 119:144 : צדק are Jahve's testimonies for ever, so that all creatures must give glory to their harmony with that which is absolutely right. To look ever deeper and deeper into this their perfection is the growing life of the spirit. The poet prays for this vivifying insight.
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