Psalm 119:36
Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to covetousness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(36) Covetousness.—Literally, rapine, prey. In Psalm 30:9 simply, “gain.”

Psalm 119:36. Incline my heart, &c. — As the wisdom of man may conceive, and his tongue utter, great things of God and holiness, while his heart is averse from both; therefore David saith, not only, Give me understanding, but, incline my heart unto thy testimonies — To the love and practice of them; and not to covetousness — He mentions this in particular, because it is most opposite to God’s testimonies, and does most commonly hinder men from receiving his word, and from profiting by it; and because it is most pernicious, as being the root of all evil.119:33-40 Teach me thy statutes, not the mere words, but the way of applying them to myself. God, by his Spirit, gives a right understanding. But the Spirit of revelation in the word will not suffice, unless we have the Spirit of wisdom in the heart. God puts his Spirit within us, causing us to walk in his statutes. The sin here prayed against is covetousness. Those that would have the love of God rooted in them, must get the love of the world rooted out; for the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Quicken me in thy way; to redeem time, and to do every duty with liveliness of spirit. Beholding vanity deadens us, and slackens our pace; a traveller must not stand gazing upon every object that presents itself to his view. The promises of God's word greatly relate to the preservation of the true believer. When Satan has drawn a child of God into worldly compliances, he will reproach him with the falls into which he led him. Victory must come from the cross of Christ. When we enjoy the sweetness of God's precepts, it will make us long for more acquaintance with them. And where God has wrought to will, he will work to do.Incline my heart unto thy testimonies - Cause my heart to be inclined to them, or to be disposed to keep them. This, too, is a recognition of dependence, and a prayer for guidance.

And not to covetousness - To gain; to the love of money. This seems to be referred to here as the principal thing which would turn away the heart from religion, or as that from which the most danger was to be feared. There are undoubtedly many other things which will do this - for all sin will do it; but this was the chief danger which the psalmist apprehended in his own case, and perhaps he meant to refer to this as the principal danger on this subject which besets the path of man. There are manymore persons turned away from the service of God, and kept away from it, by covetousness than there are by any other one sin. When the psalmist prays that God would not "incline" his heart to covetousness, the language is similar to that in the Lord's prayer - "And lead us not into temptation." That is, Restrain us from it; let us not be put in circumstances where we shall be in danger of it. We are not to suppose that God exerts any positive influence either to make a man covetous, or to tempt him. See James 1:13-14.

HE. (Ps 119:33-40).

33-38. To encourage us in prayer for divine aid in adhering to His truth, we are permitted to believe that by His help we shall succeed.

the way of thy statutes—that is, the way or manner of life prescribed by them. The help we hope to obtain by prayer is to be the basis on which our resolutions should rest.

Unto thy testimonies; to the love and practice of them.

Not to covetousness; not to the inordinate love and desire of riches: which particular lust he mentions, partly, be cause this lust is most spreading and universal, and there is scarce any man who doth not desire riches either for the love of riches, or upon pretence of necessity, or for the service of pride or luxury, or some other lust; partly, because, this lust is most opposite to God’s testimonies, and doth most commonly hinder men from receiving God’s word, and from profiting by it; see Matthew 13:22 Luke 16:2 and partly, because this lust is most pernicious, as being the root of all evil, 1 Timothy 6:10, and is most mischievous in princes and governors, such as David was, and therefore in a special manner forbidden to them, Exodus 18:21. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies,.... To read the word of God, to hear it opened and explained, to observe and keep the things contained in it; to which there is a disinclination in men naturally: but the Lord, who fashions the hearts of men, and has them in his hands, can bend and incline them by his efficacious grace to regard these his testimonies; which, as Aben Ezra observes, are more precious than all substance, and so are opposed to what follows:

and not to covetousness; not to mammon or money, as the Targum; the love of it, which is the root of all evil, and very pernicious and harmful; in hearing the word it chokes it, and makes it unfruitful, 1 Timothy 6:9. Not that God inclines the heart to evil, as he does to good; but he may suffer the heart to be inclined, and may leave a man to the natural inclinations of his heart, and to the temptations of Satan, and the snares of the world, which may have great influence upon him; and this is what is here deprecated; see Psalm 141:4.

Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to {c} covetousness.

(c) By this, meaning all other vices, because covetousness is the root of all evil.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
36. covetousness] Or, unjust gain. With this and the following verse cp. Isaiah 33:15.Verse 36. - Incline my heart unto thy testimonies. The writer recognizes that the right inclination of the heart, which he claims to have (vers. 7, 10, 32, 34, etc.), is itself the gift of God. And not to covetousness; or, "to gain" (comp. ver. 72). The 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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