Psalm 119:25
DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
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(25) Cleaveth to the dust.—The same figure is used in Psalm 22:29; Psalm 44:25, in the former of death, in the latter of deep degradation and dishonour.

The prayer, “make me live,” suggests that the dust of death is here prominently in view, as in Tennyson’s “Thou wilt not leave us in the dust.” Else we might rather think of the dryness of summer dust as a type of despondency and spiritual depression.

“A wicked whisper came, and made

My heart as dry as dust.”—COLERIDGE.

It was this verse which the Emperor Theodosius recited when doing penance at the door of Milan Cathedral for the massacre of Thessalonica (Theodoret, v., 18).

Quicken thou me according to thy word.—See Psalm 119:88; Psalm 119:107; Psalm 119:145; Psalm 119:154; Psalm 119:156. This reiterated prayer, with its varied appeal to the Divine truth, lovingkindness, constancy, must certainly be regarded as the petition of Israel for revived covenant glory, though, at the same time, it offers a wide and rich field of application to individual needs.


Psalm 119:25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust — That is, as some understand it, I am in danger of present death: I am like one laid in the grave; so this phrase is used Psalm 22:15. Quicken thou me — Preserve my life, or raise me out of the dust; according to thy word — According to thy promise. But the psalmist, probably, rather complains in these words of his affections being apt to cleave to worldly objects, which are but dust, and prays for quickening and purifying grace to render him more spiritually minded. And every one whose affections are set on things below has reason to make a similar confession, and to pray, as he did, for quickening and regenerating grace, to raise him to those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.

119:25-32 While the souls of the children of this world cleave to the earth as their portion, the children of light are greatly burdened, because of the remains of carnal affections in their hearts. It is unspeakable comfort to a gracious soul, to think with what tenderness all its complaints are received by a gracious God. We can talk of the wonders of redeeming love, when we understand the way of God's precepts, and walk in that way. The penitent melts in sorrow for sin: even the patient spirit may melt in the sense of affliction, it is then its interest to pour out its soul before God. The way of lying means all false ways by which men deceive themselves and others, or are deceived by Satan and his instruments. Those who know and love the law of the Lord, desire to know it more, and love it better. The way of serious godliness is the way of truth; the only true way to happiness: we must always have actual regard to it. Those who stick to the word of God, may in faith expect and pray for acceptance with God. Lord, never leave me to do that by which I shall shame myself, and do not thou reject my services. Those that are going to heaven, should still press forward. God, by his Spirit, enlarges the hearts of his people when he gives them wisdom. The believer prays to be set free from sin.My soul cleaveth unto the dust - This commences a new division of the psalm, in which each verse begins with the "fourth" letter of the Hebrew alphabet - Daleth (ד d), equivalent to the English "d." There is nothing in the sense to separate it from the other parts of the psalm. The word rendered "cleaveth" means to be glued to; to stick fast. It has the sense of adhering firmly to anything, so that it cannot easily be separated from it. Compare the notes at Psalm 63:8. The word "dust" here may mean either the earth, and earthly things, considered as low, base, unworthy, worldly; or it may mean the grave, as if he were near to that, and in danger of dying. DeWette understands it in the latter sense. Compare Psalm 44:25; Psalm 22:29. Yet the word cleave would hardly suggest this idea; and the force of that word would be better represented by the idea that his soul, as it were, adhered to the things of earth; that it seemed to be so fastened to them - so glued to them - that it could not be detached from them; that his affections were low, earthly, grovelling, so as to give him deep distress, and to lead him to cry to God for life and strength that he might break away from them. This expresses what is often felt by good people, and thus presents one of the forms of religious experience. Compare Romans 7:14-15.

Quicken thou me - Cause me to live; give me vigor and strength to break away from this which binds me fast, and to rise above these low propensities.

According to thy word - That is, either according to thy promises made to thy people to aid them when they are in distress; or, according to the principles of thy word, that I may live as thy word requires. Who has not found his soul so cleaving to dust - to earth - to worldly things - as to feel himself degraded by it, and to lead him to cry out with earnestness that God would give him strength, life, vigor, that his soul might rise to better things?

DALETH. (Ps 119:25-32).

25-27. Submitting ourselves in depression to God, He will revive us by His promises, and lead us to declare His mercy to others.

25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.

32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

Here, it seems to me, we have the Psalmist in trouble bewailing the bondage to earthly things in which he finds his mind to be held. His soul cleaves to the dust, melts for heaviness, and cries for enlargement from its spiritual prison. In these verses we shall see the influence of the divine word upon a heart which laments its downward tendencies, and is filled with mourning because of its deadening surroundings. The word of the Lord evidently arouses prayer (Psalm 119:25-29), confirms choice (Psalm 119:30), and inspires renewed resolve (Psalm 119:32): it is in all tribulation whether of body or mind the surest source of help.

This portion has D for its alphabetical letter: it sings of Depression, in the spirit of Devotion, Determination, and Dependence.

Psalm 119:25

"My soul cleaveth unto the dust." He means in part that he was full of sorrow; for mourners in the east cast dust on their heads, and sat in ashes, and the Psalmist felt as if these ensigns of woe were glued to him, and his very soul was made to cleave to them because of his powerlessness to rise above his grief. Does he not also mean that he felt ready to die? Did he not feel his life absorbed and fast held by the grave's mould, half choked by the death-dust? It may not be straining the language if we conceive that he also felt and bemoaned his earthly-mindedness and spiritual deadness. There was a tendency in his soul to cling to earth which he greatly bewailed. Whatever was the cause of his complaint, it was no surface evil, but an affair of his inmost spirit; his soul cleaved to the dust; and it was not a casual and accidental falling into the dust, but a continuous and powerful tendency, or cleaving to the earth. But what a mercy that the good man could feel and deplore whatever there was of evil in the cleaving! The serpent's seed can find their meat in the dust, but never shall the seed of the woman be thus degraded. Many are of the earth earthy, and never lament it; only the heaven-born and heaven-soaring spirit pines at the thought of being fastened to this world, and bird-limed by its sorrows or its pleasures.

"Quicken thou me according to thy word." More life is the cure for all our ailments. Only the Lord can give it. He can bestow it, bestow it at once, and do it according to his word, without departing from the usual course of his grace, as we see it mapped out in the Scriptures. It is well to know what to pray for, - David seeks quickening: one would have thought that he would have asked for comfort or upraising, but he knew that these would come out of increased life, and therefore he sought that blessing which is the root of the rest. When a person is depressed in spirit, weak, and bent towards the ground, the main thing is to increase his stamina and put more life into him: then his spirit revives, and his body becomes erect. In reviving the life, the whole man is renewed. Shaking off the dust is a little thing by itself, but when it follows upon quickening, it is a blessing of the greatest value; just as good spirits which flow from established health are among the choicest of our mercies. The phrase, "according to thy word," means. - according to thy revealed way of quickening thy saints. The word of God shows us that he who first made us must keep us alive, and it tells us of the Spirit of God who through the ordinances pours fresh life into our souls; we beg the Lord to act towards us in this his own regular method of grace. Perhaps David remembered the word of the Lord in Deuteronomy 32:39, where Jehovah claims both to kill and to make alive, and he beseeches the Lord to exercise that life-giving power upon his almost expiring servant. Certainly, the man of God had not so many rich promises to rest upon as we have, but even a single word was enough for him, and he right earnestly urges "according to thy word." It is a grand thing to see a believer in the dust and yet pleading the promise, a man at the grave's mouth crying, "quicken me," and hoping that it shall be done.

Note how his Psalm 119:25 tallies with the first of the third (Psalm 119:17). - "That I may live:"..."Quicken me." While in a happy state he begs for bountiful dealing, and when in a forlorn condition he prays for quickening. Life is in both cases the object of pursuit' that he may have life, and have it more abundantly.



My soul cleaveth unto the dust; I am in evident danger of present death, through the rage and power of mine enemies; I am like one laid in the grave, without all hopes of recovery. So this phrase is used Psalm 22:15.

Quicken thou me; preserve my life, or revive me and raise me out of the dust by thy almighty power.

According to thy word; according to thy promise.

DALETH.--The Fourth Part.

DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust,.... Either to the dust of death, having the sentence of it; being almost in despair of life, upon the brink of the grave seemingly, and free among the dead: or in a very low estate of mind, in great dejection and humiliation, rolling himself in the dust, and putting his mouth in it; if there might be any hope of deliverance; but despairing of it, unless the Lord appeared; or finding a proneness in him to the corruption of nature, the body of sin and death, which was very powerful and prevalent, ensnaring and captivating; and particularly to worldly things, comparable to dust, for their lightness, emptiness, and unprofitableness; which often have an undue influence on good men, and to which their affections are too much glued; and which greatly affect the exercise of grace and religious duties, and bring a deadness upon the soul, and make the following: petition necessary:

quicken thou me according to thy word; such who are quickened together with Christ, and who are quickened by his Spirit and grace, when they were dead in trespasses and sins, have often need to be quickened again, and to have the work of grace revived in them; which is done when grace is drawn forth into lively exercise, and which is necessary to the performance of duty; and this is done both by means of the word of God, which, as it is used for the quickening dead sinners, so for the reviving of drooping saints; see Psalm 119:50. And according to his word of promise, who has promised never to leave his people, nor forsake the work of his hand, but perform it until the day of Christ; Jarchi and Kimchi think reference is had to the promise in 2 Samuel 12:13; and Aben Ezra to Deuteronomy 32:39.

DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the {a} dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

(a) That is, it is almost brought to the grave and without your word I cannot live.

25. The Psalmist is in deep distress. He lies prostrate, crushed and unable to rise (Psalm 44:25; Psalm 7:5; Psalm 22:15); but he can pray that God will revive him, and give him fresh strength and joy in life according to His promise. On the prayer quicken or revive me see above, p. 705. Cp. Psalm 71:20; Psalm 80:18; Psalm 85:6; Psalm 138:7; Psalm 143:11.

according to thy word] For life is repeatedly promised as the reward of obedience to the law of God. See Deuteronomy 8:3; Deuteronomy 30:6; Deuteronomy 30:15; Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Deuteronomy 32:47.

25–32. Daleth. In the midst of humiliation and trial the Psalmist protests the sincerity of his purpose, and prays for deepened knowledge to keep him true and steadfast.

Verse 25. - My soul cleaveth unto the dust. My soul is greatly depressed - lies, as it were, in the dust of death (comp. Psalm 44:25). Quicken thou me according to thy Word. Raise me up to life and health and vigor. Psalm 119:25The eightfold Daleth. He is in deep trouble, and prays for consolation and strengthening by means of God's word, to which he resigns himself. His soul is fixed to the dust (Psalm 44:26) in connection with such non-recognition and proscription, and is incapable of raising itself. In Psalm 119:25 he implores new strength and spirits (חיּה as in Psalm 71:20; Psalm 85:7) from God, in conformity with and by reason of His word. He has rehearsed his walk in every detail to God, and has not been left without an answer, which has assured him of His good pleasure: may He then be pleased to advance him ever further and further in the understanding of His word, in order that, though men are against him, he may nevertheless have God on his side, Psalm 119:26-27. The complaint and request expressed in Psalm 119:25 are renewed in Psalm 119:28. דּלף refers to the soul, which is as it were melting away in the trickling down of tears; קיּם is a Piel of Aramaic formation belonging to the later language. In Psalm 119:29-30 the way of lies or of treachery, and the way of faithfulness or of perseverance in the truth, stand in opposition to one another. חנן is construed with a double accusative, inasmuch as תּורה has not the rigid notion of a fixed teaching, but of living empirical instruction. שׁוּה (short for שׁוה לנגד, Psalm 16:8) signifies to put or set, viz., as a norma normans that stands before one's eyes. He cleaves to the testimonies of God; may Jahve not disappoint the hope which to him springs up out of them, according to the promise, Psalm 119:31. He runs, i.e., walks vigorously and cheerfully, in the way of God's commandments, for He has widened his heart, by granting and preserving to the persecuted one the joyfulness of confession and the confidence of hope.
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