Psalm 19:11
Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
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(11) Warned.—Better, illuminated, instructed.

Psalm 19:11. By them is thy servant warned — I say nothing of thy law but what I have proved to be true by experience. The several parts of it have been and still are my great instructers, and the only source of all the knowledge to which thy servant hath attained. I am daily taught and admonished by them. They show me my duty in all conditions, and warn me of the consequences of not complying with it; so that by them I am preserved from falling into sin and danger. In keeping of them there is great reward — “I am fully assured that the blessed fruit of them, when they are duly observed, and have their proper effect, is exceeding glorious, even eternal life.” — Horne. Those that make conscience of their duty, will not only be no losers, but unspeakable gainers. They will find by experience that there is a reward, not only after keeping, but in keeping God’s commandments; a present great reward of obedience in obedience. Religion is health and honour; it is peace and pleasure: it will make our comforts sweet, and our crosses easy; life truly valuable, and death itself truly desirable.19:11-14 God's word warns the wicked not to go on in his wicked way, and warns the righteous not to turn from his good way. There is a reward, not only after keeping, but in keeping God's commandments. Religion makes our comforts sweet, and our crosses easy, life truly valuable, and death itself truly desirable. David not only desired to be pardoned and cleansed from the sins he had discovered and confessed, but from those he had forgotten or overlooked. All discoveries of sin made to us by the law, should drive us to the throne of grace, there to pray. His dependence was the same with that of every Christian who says, Surely in the Lord Jesus have I righteousness and strength. No prayer can be acceptable before God which is not offered in the strength of our Redeemer or Divine Kinsman, through Him who took our nature upon him, that he might redeem us unto God, and restore the long-lost inheritance. May our hearts be much affected with the excellence of the word of God; and much affected with the evil of sin, and the danger we are in of it, and the danger we are in by it.Moreover by them is thy servant warned - The word used here - זהר zâhar - means, properly, to be bright, to shine; then, to cause to shine, to make light; and then, to admonish, to instruct, to warn. The essential idea here is, to throw light on a subject, so as to show it clearly; that is, to make the duty plain, and the consequences plain. Compare Leviticus 15:31; Ezekiel 3:18; Ezekiel 33:7. The word is rendered admonished in Ecclesiastes 4:13; Ecclesiastes 12:12; warn, and warned, in Psalm 19:11; 2 Kings 6:10; 2 Chronicles 19:10; Ezekiel 3:17-21; Ezekiel 33:3-9; teach, in Exodus 18:20; and shine, in Daniel 12:3. It does not occur elsewhere.

And in keeping of them there is great reward - Either as the result of keeping them, or in the act of keeping them. In the former sense it would mean that a careful observance of the laws of God will be followed by rewards hereafter; in the other sense, that the act of keeping them will be attended with so much peace and happiness as to constitute of itself an ample reward. In both these senses is the assertion here made a correct one. Both will be found to be true. It is not easy to determine which is the true sense. Perhaps the language implies both. The phrase "thy servant" refers to the author of the psalm, and shows that in this part of the psalm, in speaking of the "sweetness" of the law of God, and of its value as perceived by the soul, and of the effect of keeping that law, he is referring to his own experience.

7-9. The law is described by six names, epithets, and effects. It is a rule, God's testimony for the truth, His special and general prescription of duty, fear (as its cause) and judicial decision. It is distinct and certain, reliable, right, pure, holy, and true. Hence it revives those depressed by doubts, makes wise the unskilled (2Ti 3:15), rejoices the lover of truth, strengthens the desponding (Ps 13:4; 34:6), provides permanent principles of conduct, and by God's grace brings a rich reward. Thy servant; I thy servant, though a king and a prophet, and of some repute for wisdom and knowledge, yet I am daily taught by them.

Warned, or, enlightened, as Daniel 12:3; or clearly admonished, as this word signifies, Exodus 18:20 2 Kings 6:10 Ecclesiastes 4:13 Ezekiel 3:17, &c.; Ezekiel 33:3,9. It is a faithful and excellent monitor to show me my duty in all conditions and to preserve me from falling into sin, and danger, and mischief.

In keeping of them; to those that make it their great design and care to conform their whole lives to them. For he speaks not of a legal and perfect keeping of them, which no man attaineth to in this life, Ecclesiastes 7:20 Galatians 3:10-12 1Jo 1:8; but of doing it in an evangelical sense, with the allowances which God through Christ makes for human infirmities. There is great reward in this life, and especially in the next. Moreover, by them is thy servant warned,.... By whom the psalmist means himself, who was the servant of the Lord, not only in common with other saints, but as he was a king and prophet, and as such he received advantage from the word of God; all his instructions as a prophet, and all his rules of government as a king; and the whole of that wisdom, prudence, and knowledge, with which the conducted in both offices, were from the Lord by his word: and it may be applied to any servant of the Lord, and especially in an ecclesiastical office, as an apostle of Christ, and minister of the word; who serve God in the Gospel of his Son, and, by means of the Scriptures, are furnished for every good work; and also to believers in Christ in common; who, of whatsoever rank and quality, in whatsoever state and condition of life, whether high or low, rich or poor, bond or free, are Christ's servants; and whatsoever is written is for their instruction, and by the word of God they are "warned"; the Scriptures are a way mark to them, to direct them in a right way, and to caution them against turning to the right or left; either to immoral practices, or the errors and heresies of wicked men: it is a lamp to their feet, and a light to their path, and teaches them to walk circumspectly, and warns them of rocks, gins, and snares in the way; or, as the words may be rendered, "by them is thy servant made clear", or "bright" (k); so the word is used in Daniel 12:3; that is, in his understanding: the psalmist confirms, by his own experience, what he had said before of the word, Psalm 19:8; that it enlightened the eyes: the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ shining into the heart gives the light of the glory of God in the person of Christ; it illuminates and irradiates the mind, and gives clear ideas of the glory and perfections of God, of his counsels and covenant, of his works of nature and of grace; and makes a bright discovery of the person, offices, and grace of Christ; and of the blessed Spirit, and his operations; and of the blessings of grace, and of eternal glory and happiness;

and in keeping of them there is great reward; which is to be understood, not of keeping the law of Moses, and the precepts of that, which, if a man did keep perfectly and constantly, he should live in them; but of observing the word of God, and by diligent searching into it, reading and learning it, and meditating on it, to get and obtain knowledge of divine things; which carries its own reward with it, and is better than thousands of gold and silver; and of laying up the word of God, and the truths of the Gospel, and keeping them in mind and memory, which is very profitable and serviceable, to promote spiritual peace and comfort, and to preserve from sin, doctrinal and practical; and also of yielding a cheerful obedience to the Gospel, by cordially embracing and professing the doctrines, and submitting to the ordinances of it; from all which arise great profit, and much reward: such come at the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which is preferable to everything else, and is more precious than rubies; and all desirable things; such enjoy the presence of Christ, have much peace and comfort in their souls; they are made wise unto salvation, and are fitted for every good word and work.

(k) "illustratur", Pagninus, Montanus, Rivetus.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great {k} reward.

(k) For God accepts our endeavour though it is far from perfect.

11. The Psalmist, as Jehovah’s servant, lets himself be warned by the law. Cp. Ezekiel 33:4 ff.

great reward] Cp. Proverbs 22:4; 1 Timothy 4:8; 1 Timothy 6:6.Verse 11. - Moreover by them is thy servant warned. This verse is a sort of connecting link between the second and the third parts of the psalm. Through its subject-matter, which is still the Law of the Lord, it belongs to the second part; but metrically, and by the introduction of the person of the psalmist ("thy servant"), it belongs to the third. David feels that to him it is the crowning excellency of the Law, that it teaches, instructs, or "warns" him. And in keeping of them there is great reward. Not only the reward promised in Exodus 15:26, or "the recompense of the reward" laid up for men in heaven, but a present reward "in the act of keeping them" (Kay). Obedience, like virtue, is its own reward. (Heb.: 19:5-7) Since אמר and דברים are the speech and words of the heavens, which form the ruling principal notion, comprehending within itself both יום and לילה, the suffixes of קוּם and מלּיהם must unmistakeably refer to השׁמים in spite of its being necessary to assign another reference to קולם in Psalm 19:4. Jeremiah 31:39 shows how we are to understand קו in connection with יצא. The measuring line of the heavens is gone forth into all the earth, i.e., has taken entire possession of the earth. Psalm 19:5 tells us what kind of measuring line is intended, viz., that of their heraldship: their words (from מלּה, which is more Aramaic than Hebrew, and consequently more poetic) reach to the end of the world, they fill it completely, from its extreme boundary inwards. Isaiah's קו, Psalm 28:1-9 :10, is inapplicable here, because it does not mean commandment, but rule, and is there used as a word of derision, rhyming with צו. The ὁ φθόγγος αὐτῶν of the lxx (ὁ ἦχος αὐτῶν Symm.) might more readily be justified, inasmuch as קו might mean a harpstring, as being a cord in tension, and then, like τόνος (cf. τοναία), a tone or sound (Gesenius in his Lex., and Ewald), if the reading קולם does not perhaps lie at the foundation of that rendering. But the usage of the language presents with signification of a measuring line for קו when used with יצא (Aq. κανών, cf. 2 Corinthians 10:13); and this gives a new thought, whereas in the other case we should merely have a repetition of what has been already expressed in Psalm 19:4. Paul makes use of these first two lines of the strophe in order, with its very words, to testify to the spread of the apostolic message over the whole earth. Hence most of the older expositors have taken the first half of the Psalm to be an allegorical prediction, the heavens being a figure of the church and the sun a figure of the gospel. The apostle does not, however, make a formal citation in the passage referred to, he merely gives a New Testament application to Old Testament language, by taking the all-penetrating praeconium coelorum as figure of the all-penetrating praeconium evangelii; and he is fully justified in so doing by the parallel which the psalmist himself draws between the revelation of God in nature and in the written word.

The reference of בּהם to השׁמים is at once opposed by the tameness of the thought so obtained. The tent, viz., the retreat (אהל, according to its radical meaning a dwelling, from אהל, cogn. אול, to retire from the open country) of the sun is indeed in the sky, but it is more naturally at the spot where the sky and the קצה תבל meet. Accordingly בהם has the neuter signification "there" (cf. Isaiah 30:6); and there is so little ground for reading שׁם instead of שׂם, as Ewald does, that the poet on the contrary has written בהם and not שׁם, because he has just used שׂם (Hitzig). The name of the sun, which is always feminine in Arabic, is predominantly masculine in Hebrew and Aramaic (cf. on the other hand Genesis 15:17, Nahum 3:17, Isaiah 45:6, Malachi 4:2); just as the Sabians and heathen Arabs had a sun-god (masc.). Accordingly in Psalm 19:6 the sun is compared to a bridegroom, who comes forth in the morning out of his חפּה. Joel 2:16 shows that this word means a bride-chamber; properly (from חפף to cover) it means a canopy (Isaiah 4:5), whence in later Hebrew the bridal or portable canopy (Talmud. בּית גּננא), which is supported by four poles and borne by four boys, at the consecration of the bridal pair, and then also the marriage itself, is called chuppa. The morning light has in it a freshness and cheerfulness, as it were a renewed youth. Therefore the morning sun is compared to a bridegroom, the desire of whose heart is satisfied, who stands as it were at the beginning of a new life, and in whose youthful countenance the joy of the wedding-day still shines. And as at its rising it is like a bridegroom, so in its rapid course (Sir. 43:5) it is like a hero (vid., on Psalm 18:34), inasmuch as it marches on its way ever anew, light-giving and triumphant, as often as it comes forth, with גּבוּרה (Judges 5:31). From one end of heaven, the extreme east of the horizon, is its going forth, i.e., rising (cf. Hosea 6:3; the opposite is מבוא going in equals setting), and its circuit (תּקוּפה, from קוּף equals נקף, Isaiah 29:1, to revolve) על־קצותם, to their (the heavens') end ( equals עד Deuteronomy 4:32), cf. 1 Esdr. 4:34: ταχὺς τῷ δρόμῳ ὁ ἥλιος, ὅτι στρέφεται ἐν τῷ κύκλῳ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ πάλιν ἀποτρέχει εἰς τὸν ἑαυτοῦ τόπον ἐν μιᾷ ἡμέρᾳ. On this open way there is not נסתּר, anything hidden, i.e., anything that remains hidden, before its heat. חמּה is the enlightening and warming influence of the sun, which is also itself called חמּה in poetry.

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