My soul has kept your testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 119:167-168. My soul hath kept thy testimonies — I have not only obeyed thy commands outwardly, which a hypocrite may do for worldly ends, but I have done it from my very soul, and from a hearty love to them. For all my ways are before thee — I knew I was always in thy presence, and that all my tempers, words, and works were observed by thee. For this clause seems to be added as a principal reason or motive of his obedience, which was the consideration of God’s omnipresence and omniscience, and his desire to approve himself and his ways to God.
and I love them exceedingly; and kept them from a principle of love, and not with mercenary and selfish views; and this love was exceeding great, not cold nor lukewarm, but ardent and fervent, love in the superlative degree.My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 167. - My soul hath kept thy testimonies. In will and intention I have always been faithful unto thee; I have striven to keep all thy commandments. And I love them exceedingly (comp. vers. 97, 127, 159, etc.).
(Note: Whilst even in the oldest alphabetical Pijutim the Sin perhaps represents the Samech as well, but never the Shin, it is the reverse in the Biblical alphabetical pieces. Here Sin and Shin coincide, and Samech is specially represented.)).
In the midst of persecution God's word was still his fear, his joy, and his love, the object of his thanksgiving, and the ground of his hope. Princes persecute him without adequate cause, but his heart does not fear before them, but before God's words (the Ker likes the singular, as in Psalm 119:147), to deny which would be to him the greatest possible evil. It is, however, a fear that is associated with heartfelt joy (Psalm 119:111). It is the joy of a conflict that is rewarded by rich spoil (Judges 5:30, Isaiah 9:3). Not merely morning and evening, not merely three times a day (Psalm 55:18), but seven times (שׁבע as in Leviticus 26:18; Proverbs 24:16), i.e., ever again and again, availing himself of every prayerful impulse, he gives thanks to God for His word, which so righteously decides and so correctly guides, is a source of transcendent peace to all who love it, and beside which one is not exposed to any danger of stumbling (מכשׁול, lxx σκάνδαλον, cf. 1 John 2:10) without some effectual counter-working. In Psalm 119:166 he speaks like Jacob in Genesis 49:18, and can speak thus, inasmuch as he has followed earnestly and untiringly after sanctification. He endeavours to keep God's law most conscientiously, in proof of which he is able to appeal to God the Omniscient One. שׁמרה is here the 3rd praet., whereas in Psalm 86:2 it is imperat. The future of אהב is both אהב and אהב, just as of אחז both אחז and אאחז.
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