Psalm 119:99
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for your testimonies are my meditation.
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(99) More understanding . . .—The Rabbinical writers disliked the idea of a scholar professing wisdom above his teachers, and rendered, “from all my teachers I got wisdom,” which was certainly far more in keeping with the process by which the Talmud grew into existence.

119:97-104 What we love, we love to think of. All true wisdom is from God. A good man carries his Bible with him, if not in his hands, yet in his head and in his heart. By meditation on God's testimonies we understand more than our teachers, when we understand our own hearts. The written word is a more sure guide to heaven, than all the fathers, the teachers, and ancients of the church. We cannot, with any comfort or boldness, attend God in holy duties, while under guilt, or in any by-way. It was Divine grace in his heart, that enabled the psalmist to receive these instructions. The soul has its tastes as well as the body. Our relish for the word of God will be greatest, when that for the world and the flesh is least. The way of sin is a wrong way; and the more understanding we get by the precepts of God, the more rooted will be our hatred of sin; and the more ready we are in the Scriptures, the better furnished we are with answers to temptation.I have more understanding than all my teachers - Referring perhaps to those who had given him instruction in early life. By constant meditation on the law of God, he had, in the progress of years, advanced to a point beyond that to which they had arrived. He had improved upon their suggestions and instructions, until he had surpassed them in knowledge. His "design" in saying this was to set forth the excellency and the fullness of the law of God, and to show how the study of it was suited to enlarge the understanding. In early life the wisdom of teachers seems to be far beyond anything that we can hope to reach; yet a few years of study and meditation may place us far beyond them. What those teachers seemed to be to us, however, when we were young, may serve ever onward as a means of comparison when we wish to speak of the greatness of human attainments. So the psalmist says that he had now reached a point which seemed to him in early life to be wonderful, and to be beyond what he had then hoped ever to attain. He had now reached that point; he had gone beyond it.

For thy testimonies are my meditation - Compare Psalm 1:2; 2 Timothy 3:15. All this knowledge he had obtained by meditation on the law of God; by the study of divine truth. The effect of that constant study was seen in the knowledge which he now possessed, and which seemed to surprise even himself as compared with the brightest anticipations of his early years.

99. understanding—is practical skill (Ps 2:10; 32:8). Understanding: he speaks not here of notional, but of spiritual, and practical, and experimental knowledge.

Than all my teachers; than all or most (for that general word is oft so understood) of those who taught me formerly, or of the public teachers in Saul’s time; which probably were for the generality of them neither so knowing nor so good as they should have been.

My meditations; the matter of my constant and most diligent study. I have more understanding than all my teachers,.... Such as had been or would have been his teachers, who were bad ones in religious matters; especially such might be the religious teachers in Saul's time, when David was a young man: as the priests, whose lips should keep knowledge, and deliver it to the people, were in the times of Malachi; and as the Scribes and Pharisees, who, sat in Moses's chair, were in Christ's time; and as those legal teachers were in the apostles' times, who would be teachers of the law, not knowing what they said, nor whereof they affirmed; such as these David exceeded in spiritual understanding. Or his good teachers are meant; and though in common it is true that "a disciple is not above his master", Matthew 10:24; yet there are sometimes instances in which scholars exceed their teachers in knowledge and learning; and this is no reproach to a master to have such scholars: no doubt Apollos so improved in knowledge as to excel Aquila and Priscilla, of whom he learned much; as the Apostle Paul excelled Ananias; and so David excelled his teachers: and which is said by him, not in an ostentatious way of himself, nor in contempt of his teachers; but to commend the word of God, the source of his knowledge; and to magnify the grace of God, to whom he attributes all his wisdom, as in Psalm 119:98. Kimchi interprets it,

"of them all I have learned and received instruction; and from them I have understood the good way, and they have taught me;''

for thy testimonies are my meditation; what he learned of his teachers he compared with the word, the Scriptures, which testify of the mind and will of God; he searched into them, he meditated upon them, and considered whether what his instructors taught him were agreeable to them or and by this means he got more understanding than they had.

I have more {b} understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.

(b) Whoever submits himself only to God's word will not only be safe against the practises of his enemies, but also learn more wisdom than they who profess it, and are men of experience.

99. than all my teachers] Who derive their learning from other sources. Delitzsch thinks that Psalm 119:98-100 refer to teachers and elders who, like the Hellenizing Sadducees, were in danger of apostasy through their laxity, and persecuted the strict young zealot for God’s law. But clearly the Psalmist’s point is not the superiority of his own stricter interpretation of the law to the laxer interpretation of his teachers, but the superiority of the law to all other sources of instruction as a fountain of wisdom and prudence and discernment.Verse 99. - I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. Teachers of secular knowledge are intended, wise in their special branches of learning, but not "wise unto salvation." Such "teachers" have often no spiritual knowledge or discernment. The eightfold Lamed. Eternal and imperishable in the constant verifying of itself is the vigorous and consolatory word of God, to which the poet will ever cling. It has heaven as its standing-place, and therefore it also has the qualities of heaven, and before all others, heaven-like stability. Psalm 89 (Psalm 89:3) uses similar language in reference to God's faithfulness, of which here Psalm 119:90 says that it endureth into all generations. The earth hath He creatively set up, and it standeth, viz., as a practical proof and as a scene of His infinite, unchangeable faithfulness. Heaven and earth are not the subjects of Psalm 119:91 (Hupfeld), for only the earth is previously mentioned; the reference to the heavens in Psalm 119:89 is of a very different character. Hitzig and others see the subject in למשׁפּטיך: with respect to Thy judgments, they stand fast unto this day; but the עבדיך which follows requires another meaning to be assigned to עמדוּ: either of taking up one's place ready for service, or, since עמד למשׁפט is a current phrase in Numbers 35:12; Joshua 20:6; Ezekiel 44:24, of placing one's self ready to obey (Bttcher). The subject of עמדוּ, as the following הכּל shows, is meant to be thought of in the most general sense (cf. Job 38:14): all beings are God's servants (subjects), and have accordingly to be obedient and humble before His judicial decisions - היּום, "even to this day," the poet adds, for these judicial decisions are those which are formulated beforehand in the Tra. Joy in this ever sure, all-conditioning word has upheld the poet in his affliction, Psalm 119:92. He who has been persecuted and cast down as it were to death, owes his reviving to it, Psalm 119:93. From Him whose possession or property he is in faith and love he also further looks for his salvation, Psalm 119:94. Let evil-doers lie in wait for him (קוּוּ in a hostile sense, as in Psalm 56:7, קוּה, cf. חכּה, going back to קוה, Arab. qawiya, with the broad primary signification, to be tight, firm, strong) to destroy him, he meditates on God's testimonies. He knows from experience that all (earthly) perfection (תּכלה) has an end (inasmuch as, having reached its height, it changes into its opposite); God's commandment (singular as in Deuteronomy 11:22), on the contrary, is exceeding broad (cf. Job 11:9), unlimited in its duration and verification.
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