Psalm 119:158
I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not your word.
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(158) Transgressors.—Better, the faithless (or, traitors).

Was grieved.—The Hebrew is a far stronger word, and the sense is intensified by the rare conjugation: was filled with loathing at; sickened with disgust.

“The recreants I survey,

And loathing turn away.”—KEBLE.

119:153-160 The closer we cleave to the word of God, both as our rule and as our stay, the more assurance we have of deliverance. Christ is the Advocate of his people, their Redeemer. Those who were quickened by his Spirit and grace, when they were dead in trespasses and sins, often need to have the work of grace revived in them, according to the word of promise. The wicked not only do not God's statutes, but they do not even seek them. They flatter themselves that they are going to heaven; but the longer they persist in sin, the further it is from them. God's mercies are tender; they are a fountain that can never be exhausted. The psalmist begs for God's reviving, quickening grace. A man, steady in the way of his duty, though he may have many enemies, needs to fear none. Those that hate sin truly, hate it as sin, as a transgression of the law of God, and a breaking of his word. Our obedience is only pleasing to God, and pleasant to ourselves, when it comes from a principle of love. All, in every age, who receive God's word in faith and love, find every saying in it faithful.I beheld the transgressors - Those who wronged me; those who violated the law of God.

And was grieved - Or, "sickened." The word used here means commonly to loathe, to nauseate, to sicken. Ezekiel 16:47; Psalm 95:10. I was made sad, sorry, sick at heart. I did not look on them with anger; I did not desire to take revenge upon them; I did not return evil for evil. My heart was sad that people would do wrong; that they would expose themselves to such danger. See the notes at Psalm 119:136.

Because they kept not thy word - Because they violated thy law; because they were sinners.

158. (Compare Ps 119:136).

transgressors—or, literally, "traitors," who are faithless to a righteous sovereign and side with His enemies (compare Ps 25:3, 8).

Ver. 158. I observed and considered their ungodly courses. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved,.... Transgressors of the law of God, profane sinners; such as among whom he dwelt in Mesech and Kedar; it grieved him when he beheld their wicked life and conversation; as Lot in Sodom; and Isaiah and Jeremiah, among persons of unclean lips, and an assembly of treacherous men: and the word here used signifies "treacherous" (g) persons; and may design not the profane only, but professors also; that dealt treacherously with God and men, made a profession of religion, but walked not agreeably to it, which is matter of grief to good men; see Philippians 3:18; as well as the conduct of abandoned sinners; with whom the psalmist was grieved, not so much on his own account, being hated and persecuted by them, as on their account, because of the ruin they brought upon themselves; but chiefly because of the dishonour of God, and their disregard to his righteous law. Joseph Kimchi paraphrases it,

"I saw them prosper, and was weary of my life;''

and refers for the sense of the word to Job 10:1; as does also Aben Ezra; but David Kimchi and the Targum interpret it "I strove", or "contended" with them; that is, with the transgressors;

because they kept not thy word: did not regard the doctrines, nor observe the precepts of it; but despised, rejected, and cast them away from them.

(g) "perfidos", Vatablus, Cocceius, Michaelis; "perfide agentes", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

I beheld the transgressors, and was {c} grieved; because they kept not thy word.

(c) My zeal consumed me when I saw their malice and contempt for your glory.

158. I have seen the treacherous dealers and felt loathing,

Because they have not observed thy word.

Apostate Israelites are meant, faithless to the covenant. Far from being attracted by them, he felt disgust and loathing (Psalm 139:21) as he watched them and their ways.Verse 158. - I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; literally, the treacherous dealers - those who dealt treacherously against the Divine covenant. Because they kept not thy Word (comp. ver. 136). The eightfold Koph. Fidelity to God's word, and deliverance according to His promise, is the purport of his unceasing prayer. Even in the morning twilight (נשׁף) he was awake praying. It is not הנּשׁף, I anticipated the twilight; nor is קדּמתּי, according to Psalm 89:14, equivalent to קדמתיך, but ואשׁוּע...קדּמתּי is the resolution of the otherwise customary construction קדמתי לשׁוּע, Jonah 4:2, inasmuch as קדּם may signify "to go before" (Psalm 68:26), and also "to make haste (with anything):" even early before the morning's dawn I cried. Instead of לדבריך the Ker (Targum, Syriac, Jerome) more appropriately reads לדברך after Psalm 119:74, Psalm 119:81, Psalm 119:114. But his eyes also anticipated the night-watches, inasmuch as they did not allow themselves to be caught not sleeping by any of them at their beginning (cf. לראשׁ, Lamentations 2:19). אמרה is here, as in Psalm 119:140, Psalm 119:158, and frequently, the whole word of God, whether in its requirements or its promises. In Psalm 119:149 בּמשׁפּטך is a defective plural as in Psalm 119:43 (vid., on Psalm 119:37), according to Psalm 119:156, although according to Psalm 119:132 the singular (lxx, Targum, Jerome) would also be admissible: what is meant is God's order of salvation, or His appointments that relate thereto. The correlative relation of Psalm 119:150 and Psalm 119:151 is rendered natural by the position of the words. With קרבוּ (cf. קרב) is associated the idea of rushing upon him with hostile purpose, and with קרוב, as in Psalm 69:19; Isaiah 58:2, of hastening to his succour. זמּה is infamy that is branded by the law: they go forth purposing this, but God's law is altogether self-verifying truth. And the poet has long gained the knowledge from it that it does not aim at merely temporary recompense. The sophisms of the apostates cannot therefore lead him astray. יסדתּם for יסדתּן, like המּה in Psalm 119:111.
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