Psalm 119:21
Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
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(21) LXX. and Vulg. divide the verse: “Thou hast rebuked the proud; cursed are they,” &c. This is preferable.

Psalm 119:21. Thou hast rebuked — Or, dost rebuke, that is, reprove and punish, the proud — Obstinate and presumptuous sinners, who sin with a high hand; that are cursed — That are under the wrath and curse of God, and have his curse upon them in all that they do or possess, Deuteronomy 28:16-19. Which, do err — Hebrew, השׁגים, hashogim, wander, or stray, from thy commandments — Namely, knowingly, or wilfully, as proud sinners are wont to do.

119:17-24 If God deals in strict justice with us, we all perish. We ought to spend our lives in his service; we shall find true life in keeping his word. Those that would see the wondrous things of God's law and gospel, must beg him to give them understanding, by the light of his Spirit. Believers feel themselves strangers on earth; they fear missing their way, and losing comfort by erring from God's commandments. Every sanctified soul hungers after the word of God, as food which there is no living without. There is something of pride at the bottom of every wilful sin. God can silence lying lips; reproach and contempt may humble and do us good, and then they shall be removed. Do we find the weight of the cross is above that we are able to bear? He that bore it for us will enable us to bear it; upheld by him we cannot sink. It is sad when those who should protect the innocent, are their betrayers. The psalmist went on in duty, and he found comfort in the word of God. The comforts of the word of God are most pleasant to a gracious soul, when other comforts are made bitter; and those that would have God's testimonies to be their delight, must be advised by them. May the Lord direct us in exercising repentance of sin, and faith in Christ.Thou hast rebuked the proud - Compare Psalm 9:5. The meaning is, that God had done this not by word but by deed. The proud were everywhere rebuked by God, alike in his law, and in his providence. The connection seems to be this: the psalmist is meditating on the benefit or advantage of keeping the law of God; of a humble, pious life. His mind naturally adverts to what would be the opposite of this - or to this in contrast with an opposite course of life; and he says, therefore, that God had in every way, and at all times, manifested his displeasure against that class of people. Such a course, therefore, must be attended with misery; but the course which he proposed to pursue must be attended with happiness.

That are cursed - The accursed; those who are regarded and treated by God as accursed, or as objects of his disapprobation.

Which do err from thy commandments - Who depart from thy law. The sense is, "I propose and intend to keep thy law. As a motive to this, I look at the consequences which must follow from disobeying it. I see it everywhere in the divine treatment of those who do disregard that law. They are subject to the displeasure - the solemn rebuke - of God. So all must be who disregard his law; and it is my purpose not to be found among their number."

21-24. God will rebuke those who despise His word and deliver His servants from their reproach, giving them boldness in and by His truth, even before the greatest men. Hast rebuked, or dost rebuke, i.e. severely punish and destroy. And therefore I justly long for thy judgments, as for the love which I have to them, so for fear of those terrible judgments which thou sendest upon the despisers of them.

The proud; obstinate and presumptuous sinners, who sin with a high hand, and with contempt of God, and of his laws, and of his judgment; all which is the effect of pride.

That are cursed; that have the curse of God upon them, and upon all which they have or do; which is the depth of misery.

Do err; or, wander; knowingly, and wilfully, and maliciously, as proud sinners use to do.

Thou hast rebuked the proud,.... Which some understand of the fallen angels, who, in proud wrath, left their habitations, because they would not be subject to the Son of God in human nature; wherefore he scattered them in the imaginations of their hearts, and cast down these mighty ones into hell, where they are reserved in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day. Others of the Scribes and Pharisees in Christ's time, this psalm being suited, as is thought, to Gospel times; who were proud of their own righteousness, and despised others less holy than themselves; and submitted not to the righteousness of Christ, whom he often rebuked, and at last punished. Rather all proud atheistical persons, profane and wicked men, are meant; who, Pharaoh like, say, who is the Lord that we should obey him? who reckon, their tongues to be their own, and employ them both against God and men, and regard neither: these God resists, sets himself against, and sooner or later severely punishes; for in the things they deal proudly he is above them, Exodus 18:11;

that are cursed which do err from thy commandments; according to the law of God, being transgressors of it, and will hear the awful sentence, "go, ye cursed", Matthew 25:41. The Targum, Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, join this with the next clause: "cursed are they which do err from thy commandments"; from the way of them, not observing them; from the end of them, Christ, not looking to him for righteousness.

Thou {c} hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

(c) In all ages you have plagued all such who maliciously and contemptuously depart from your truth.

21. The A.V. follows the Massoretic text; but the more obvious construction of the verse is that of the LXX, Syr., and Jer., followed by P.B.V. and R.V. marg. Thou rebukest the proud: cursed are they which do wander &c. God’s rebuke is that sentence of condemnation which carries its own execution with it (Psalm 9:5). The perfect tense (hast rebuked) states a general truth and is best translated by the present, thou rebukest. The proud (Psalm 119:51; Psalm 119:69; Psalm 119:78; Psalm 119:85; Psalm 119:122; cf. Malachi 3:15; Malachi 4:1) are those who sin wilfully and presumptuously (Psalm 19:13; Deuteronomy 17:12-13), careless or apostate Israelites. See above, p. 702.

Verse 21. - Thou hast rebuked the proud. It is difficult to connect this with the preceding. But perhaps the link may be found in the double sense of mishpatim, "judgments," which includes verbal sentences against sinners delivered in the Law, and also actual sentences upon them in deed and fact. These last are in the writer's mind in the present verse - such judgments as those upon Pharaoh (Exodus 14:23-31), Zerah (2 Chronicles 14:9-15), and Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:32-37). That are cursed. This clause is questioned, as metrically redundant. But Hebrew metrology is scarcely as yet an exact science. And the clause finds its justification in Deuteronomy 27:26. Which do err from thy commandments. Such error brings under a curse those who commit it. If it be a blessed thing to walk in God's Law (ver. 1), it must be a cursed thing to transgress against it. Psalm 119:21The eightfold Gimel. This is his life's aim: he will do it under fear of the curse of apostasy; he will do it also though he suffer persecution on account of it. In Psalm 119:17 the expression is only אחיה as Psalm 118:19, not ואחיה as in Psalm 119:77, Psalm 119:116, Psalm 119:144 : the apodosis imper. only begins with ואשׁמרה, whereas אחיה is the good itself for the bestowment of which the poet prays. גּל in Psalm 119:18 is imper. apoc. Piel for גּלּה, like גס in Daniel 1:12. נפלאות is the expression for everything supernatural and mysterious which is incomprehensible to the ordinary understanding and is left to the perception of faith. The Tפra beneath the surface of its letter contains an abundance of such "wondrous things," into which only eyes from which God has removed the covering of natural short-sightedness penetrate; hence the prayer in Psalm 119:18. Upon earth we have no abiding resting-place, we sojourn here as in a strange land (Psalm 119:19, Psalm 39:13; 1 Chronicles 29:15). Hence the poet prays in Psalm 119:19 that God would keep His commandments, these rules of conduct for the journey of life, in living consciousness for him. Towards this, according to Psalm 119:20, his longing tends. גּרס (Hiph. in Lamentations 3:16) signifies to crush in pieces, Arab. jrš, and here, like the Aramaic גּרס, גּרס, to be crushed, broken in pieces. לתאבה (from תּאב, Psalm 119:40, Psalm 119:174, a secondary form of אבה) states the bias of mind in or at which the soul feels itself thus overpowered even to being crushed: it is crushing form longing after God's judgment, viz., after a more and more thorough knowledge of them. In Psalm 119:21 the lxx has probably caught the meaning of the poet better than the pointing has done, inasmuch as it draws ἐπικατάρατοι to Psalm 119:21, so that Psalm 119:21 consists of two words, just like Psalm 119:59, Psalm 119:89; and Kamphausen also follows this in his rendering. For ארוּרים as an attribute is unpoetical, and as an accusative of the predicate far-fetched; whereas it comes in naturally as a predicate before השּׁגים ממּצותיך: cursed (ארר equals Arab. harra, detestari), viz., by God. Instead of גּל, "roll" (from גּלל, Joshua 5:9), it is pointed in Psalm 119:22 (מעל) גּל, "uncover" equals גּלּה, as in Psalm 119:18, reproach being conceived of as a covering or veil (as e.g., in Psalm 69:8), cf. Isaiah 22:8 (perhaps also Lamentations 2:14; Lamentations 4:22, if גּלּה על there signifies "to remove the covering upon anything"). גּם in Psalm 119:23, as in Jeremiah 36:25, has the sense of גּם־כּי, etiamsi; and גּם in Psalm 119:24 the sense of nevertheless, ὅμως, Ew. 354, a. On נדבּר בּ (reciprocal), cf. Ezekiel 33:30. As in a criminal tribunal, princes sit and deliberate how they may be able to render him harmless.
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