Psalm 19:11
Moreover by them is thy 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. Psalm 19:11(Heb.: 19:10-14) With הנּחמדים (for which, preferring a simple Sheb with the gutturals, Ben-Naphtali writes הנּחמּמדים) the poet sums up the characteristics enumerated; the article is summative, as in השּׁשּׁי at the close of the hexahemeron, Genesis 1:31. פּז is the finest purified gold, cf. 1 Kings 10:18 with 2 Chronicles 9:17. נפת צוּפים "the discharge (from נפת equals Arab. nft) of the honeycombs" is the virgin honey, i.e., the honey that flows of itself out of the cells. To be desired are the revealed words of God, to him who possesses them as an outward possession; and to him who has received them inwardly they are sweet. The poet, who is himself conscious of being a servant of God, and of striving to act as such, makes use of these words for the end for which they are revealed: he is נזהר, one who suffers himself to be enlightened, instructed, and warned by them. גּם belongs to נזהר (according to the usual arrangement of the words, e.g., Hosea 6:11), just as in Psalm 19:14 it belongs to חשׂך. He knows that בּשׁמרם (with a subjective suffix in an objective sense, cf. Proverbs 25:7, just as we may also say:) in their observance is, or is included, great reward. עקב is that which follows upon one's heels (עקב), or comes immediately after anything, and is used here of the result of conduct. Thus, then, inasmuch as the Law is not only a copy of the divine will, but also a mirror of self-knowledge, in which a man may behold and come to know himself, he prays for forgiveness in respect of the many sins of infirmity, - though for the most part unperceived by him, - to which, even the pardoned one succumbs. שׁניאה (in the terminology of the Law, שׁננה, ἀγνόημα) comprehends the whole province of the peccatum involuntarium, both the peccatum ignoranitiae and the peccatum infirmitatis. The question delicta quis intelligit is equivalent to the negative clause: no one can discern his faults, on account of the heart of man being unfathomable and on account of the disguise, oftentimes so plausible, and the subtlety of sin. Hence, as an inference, follows the prayer: pronounce me free also מנּסתּרות, ab occultis (peccatis, which, however, cannot be supplied on grammatical grounds), equivalent to mee`alumiym (Psalm 90:8), i.e., all those sins, which even he, who is most earnestly striving after sanctification, does not discern, although he may desire to know them, by reason of the ever limited nature of his knowledge both of himself and of sin.

(Note: In the Arab proverb, "no sin which is persisted in is small, no sin great for which forgiveness is sought of God," Arab. ṣgı̂rt, directly means a little and Arab. kbı̂rt, a great sin, vid., Allgem. Literar. Zeitschr. 1844, No. 46, p. 363.)

נקּה, δικαιοῦν, is a vox judicialis, to declare innocent, pronounce free from, to let go unpunished. The prayer for justification is followed in Psalm 19:14 by the prayer for sanctification, and indeed for preservation against deliberate sins. From זוּד, זיד, to seethe, boil over, Hiph. to sin wilfully, deliberately, insolently, - opp. of sin arising from infirmity, Exodus 21:14; Deuteronomy 18:22; Deuteronomy 17:12, - is formed זד an insolent sinner, one who does not sin בּשׁננה, but בּזדון (cf. 1 Samuel 17:28, where David's brethren bring this reproach against him), or בּיר רמה, and the neuter collective זדים (cf. סטים, Psalm 101:3; Hosea 5:2) peccata proaeretica or contra conscientiam, which cast one out of the state of grace or favour, Numbers 15:27-31. For if זדים had been intended of arrogant and insolent possessors of power (Ewald), the prayer would have taken some other form than that of "keeping back" (חשׂך as in 1 Samuel 25:39 in the mouth of David). זדים, presumptuous sins, when they are repeated, become dominant sins, which irresistibly enslave the man (משׁל with a non-personal subject, as in Isaiah 3:4, cf. Psalm 103:19); hence the last member of the climax (which advances from the peccatum involuntarium to the proaereticum, and from this to the regnans): let them not have dominion over me (בי with Dech in Baer; generally wrongly marked with Munach).

Then (אז), when Thou bestowest this twofold favour upon me, the favour of pardon and the grace of preservation, shall I be blameless (איתם 1 fut. Kal, instead of אתּם, with י as a characteristic of ē) and absolved (ונקּיתי not Piel, as in Psalm 19:13, but Niph., to be made pure, absolved) from great transgression. פּשׁע

(Note: The Gaja with מפּשׁע is intended in this instance, where מפשׁע רב are to be read in close connection, to secure distinctness of pronunciation for the unaccented ע, as e.g., is also the case in Psalm 78:13, ים בּקע (bāḳa‛jām).)

from פּשׁע (root פש), to spread out, go beyond the bounds, break through, trespass, is a collective name for deliberate and reigning, dominant sin, which breaks through man's relation of favour with God, and consequently casts him out of favour, - in one word, for apostasy. Finally, the psalmist supplicates a gracious acceptance of his prayer, in which both mouth and heart accord, supported by the faithfulness, stable as the rock (צוּרי), and redeeming love (גּואלי redemptor, vindex, root גל, חל, to loose, redeem) of his God. היה לרצון is a standing expression of the sacrificial tra, e.g., Leviticus 1:3. The לפניך, which, according to Exodus 28:38, belongs to לרצון, stands in the second member in accordance with the "parallelism by postponement." Prayer is a sacrifice offered by the inner man. The heart meditates and fashions it; and the mouth presents it, by uttering that which is put into the form of words.

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