I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in your word.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Dawning of the morning.—The Hebrew word means literally “breath,” and is used of the fresh breeze that blows both at sunset (Job 24:15; Proverbs 7:9) and sunrise (Job 7:4). Generally in our version rendered “twilight.”KOPH.
Psalm 119:147-148. I prevented the dawning of the morning — Hebrew, בנשׁŠ, the twilight, namely, of the morning. In this sense this word is used 1 Samuel 30:17. Mine eyes prevent the night-watches — In the Hebrew it is only the watches, there being nothing for night. “The Jews,” the reader will observe, “anciently divided the night into three watches, which began at what we now call six o’clock in the evening, and consisted each of four hours. The Romans afterward introduced among them the custom of dividing it into four watches, consisting of three hours each, as well as of dividing the day and the night into twelve hours each. David intimates that he meditated on God, not only in the day-time, but also in the several divisions of the night, wherein different soldiers, or different parties of soldiers, were appointed to watch, or keep guard. In all these, or at least during a considerable part of each of them, he was thus wakeful, and employed in meditation and prayer.”1 Thessalonians 4:15; notes at Psalm 21:3; notes at Psalm 59:10; notes at Psalm 79:8. The meaning here is, that he rose up before the dawn, to pray. Thus the Saviour did, Mark 1:35.
(a) It is proper thus to pray, for our earliest thoughts should be those of devotion; our earliest acts should be in acknowledgment of God.
(b) Such a time is eminently favorable to devotion. Calm, still, quiet; before the thoughts are engaged in the world, and before the cares of life press upon us when the thoughts are clear, and the mind tranquil, the soul is in the best state for devotion.
(c) All people, if they will, can secure this time, before the "dawning of the morning," to pray. Compare Psalm 5:3, note; Psalm 88:13, note; see also Psalm 130:6. The word rendered "dawning of the morning," is from a verb which means to blow; to blow gently; and is usually applied to the evening, when the breezes blow gently. It may be applied, however, as it clearly is here, also to the morning.The dawning of the morning, Heb. the twilight, to wit, of the morning, by comparing Psalm 88:13. And so this word is used 1 Samuel 30:17. Psalm 5:3; as Christ, his antitype, rose early in the morning, a great while before day, and went out to a solitary place, and prayed, Mark 1:35;
I hoped in thy word; which is a great encouragement to prayer, the grace of hope itself is, though a man can only put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope; and especially when it is grounded on the word of promise, that God will hear and answer his people, when they call upon him in a time of trouble: and particularly hope in Christ, the essential Word, is a great encouragement; many encouraging arguments to prayer are taken from the person, office, advocacy, and mediation of Jesus Christ, Hebrews 4:14.I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)147. In the earliest twilight did I cry for help,
(While) I waited with hope for thy words.
Lit. In the twilight I was beforehand and cried for help. With Psalm 50:2 cp. Psalm 119:74; Psalm 119:81; Psalm 119:114.Verse 147. - I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried (comp. ver. 62). Evening, morning, and noonday were the three usual times of prayer (Psalm 55:17). The writer could not wait for morning. Either he woke up to pray at midnight, or at any rate he anticipated the dawn, and began his morning prayer while it was still dark. I hoped in thy Word. Hope was so strong in him that it did not suffer him to rest. 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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