Psalm 19:7
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) The law.—The ear catches even in the English the change of rhythm, which is as marked as the change of subject. Instead of the free lyric movement of the preceding verse, we come suddenly upon the most finished specimen of didactic poetry in regular metre, exhibiting a perfect balance of expression as well as of thought, so perfect in the original, that in Psalm 19:7-9 the number of words is the same in each clause. In each clause, too, the Law, under one or another of its many names and aspects, is praised, first for its essential character, then for its results.

The law . . . . the testimony.—These are collective terms embracing, under different regards, the whole body of statutes and precepts in the Jewish code. The law, tôrah, means in its primary use “instruction,” and therefore is used of prophecy (Isaiah 1:10; Isaiah 8:16), but here undoubtedly bears its common and more limited sense. Testimony, from a root meaning “to repeat,” suggests the solemn earnestness and insistence of the Divine commands.

The description “perfect” and “sure” suggests the lofty ideal prescribed by the Law, and the reliance which the Hebrew might place upon it as a rule of conduct. The word “simple” is generally used in a bad sense, but here has its primary meaning, “open,” “ingenuous,” “impressible,” easily led either towards folly or wisdom.

Psalm 19:7. The law of the Lord — The doctrine delivered to his church, whether by Moses, or by other prophets and holy men of God after him: for the title law is not only given to the ten commandments, or the moral law, as Romans 2:23-29; but also to the whole word of God, as Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:70; Jeremiah 8:8, and elsewhere; and in this general sense it must be here understood, because the effects here mentioned are not produced by, much less are they appropriated to, one part of it merely, but belong to the whole, the doctrines, declarations, narrations, precepts, counsels, exhortations, promises, threatenings, and particularly to that covenant made with man, therein revealed. Having discoursed hitherto of the glory of God, shining forth in, and demonstrated by, the visible heavens, he now proceeds to another demonstration of God’s glory, which he compares with, and prefers before, the former. Is perfect — Completely discovering both the nature and will of God, and the whole duty of man, what he is to believe and practise, and whatsoever is necessary to his present and eternal happiness. Whereas the creation, although it did declare so much of God as left all men without excuse, yet did not fully manifest the will of God, nor bring men to eternal salvation. Converting the soul — From error to truth, from sin to righteousness, from sickness to health, from death to life; Hebrew, משׁיבת נפשׁ, meshibath nephesh, restoring, or bringing back the soul; namely, to God, from whom it had revolted, 1 Peter 3:18, to his favour, his image, and communion with him. This law, or word, convinces of sin, holds forth a Saviour, is a mean of grace, and rule of conduct. The testimony of the Lord — The same word, so called, because it is a witness between God and man, testifying what God requires of man, and what, upon the performance of that condition, he will do for man; is sure — Hebrew, נאמנה, neemanah, faithful, or true, a quality most necessary in a witness: it will not mislead or deceive any man that trusts to it, and follows it, but will infallibly bring him to happiness, Making wise — Unto salvation, as is expressed 2 Timothy 3:15, which is the only true wisdom; the simple — The humble and teachable, who are little in their own eyes; or rather, the weak and foolish, even persons of the lowest capacities, and such as are apt to mistake and are most easily seduced. Even these, if they will hearken to the instructions of God’s word, shall become wise, when those who profess themselves wise shall, by leaning to their own understanding, and despising or neglecting the directions of the divine oracles, become and prove themselves to be fools, Romans 1:22.

19:7-10 The Holy Scripture is of much greater benefit to us than day or night, than the air we breathe, or the light of the sun. To recover man out of his fallen state, there is need of the word of God. The word translated law, may be rendered doctrine, and be understood as meaning all that teaches us true religion. The whole is perfect; its tendency is to convert or turn the soul from sin and the world, to God and holiness. It shows our sinfulness and misery in departing from God, and the necessity of our return to him. This testimony is sure, to be fully depended on: the ignorant and unlearned believing what God saith, become wise unto salvation. It is a sure direction in the way of duty. It is a sure fountain of living comforts, and a sure foundation of lasting hopes. The statues of the Lord are right, just as they should be; and, because they are right, they rejoice the heart. The commandments of the Lord are pure, holy, just, and good. By them we discover our need of a Saviour; and then learn how to adorn his gospel. They are the means which the Holy Spirit uses in enlightening the eyes; they bring us to a sight and sense of our sin and misery, and direct us in the way of duty. The fear of the Lord, that is, true religion and godliness, is clean, it will cleanse our way; and it endureth for ever. The ceremonial law is long since done away, but the law concerning the fear of God is ever the same. The judgments of the Lord, his precepts, are true; they are righteous, and they are so altogether; there is no unrighteousness in any of them. Gold is only for the body, and the concerns of time; but grace is for the soul, and the concerns of eternity. The word of God, received by faith, is more precious than gold; it is sweet to the soul, sweeter than honey. The pleasure of sense soon surfeit, yet never satisfy; but those of religion are substantial and satisfying; there is no danger of excess.The law of the Lord - Margin, doctrine. The word used here - תורה tôrâh - is that which is commonly employed in the Old Testament with reference to the law of God, and is usually rendered "law." The word properly means "instruction," "precept," from a verb signifying "to teach." It is then used with reference to instruction or teaching in regard to conduct, and is thus applied to all that God has communicated to guide mankind. It does not here, nor does it commonly, refer exclusively to the commands of God, but it includes all that God has revealed to teach and guide us. It refers here to revealed truth as contradistinguished from the truth made known by the works of creation. Compare the note at Psalm 1:2. There are six epithets used in these verses Psalm 19:7-9 to describe the revealed truth of God, all referring to the same truths, but with reference to some distinct view of the truths themselves, or of their effect on the soul: to wit, law, testimony, statutes, commandment, fear, and judgments. Of the revealed truth of God, thus characterized by distinct epithets, a particular statement is first made in each case in regard to the truth itself as viewed in that special aspect, and then the effects of that revealed truth on the soul are described corresponding with that truth as so viewed. Thus, of the "law of the Lord" it is said:

(a) that it is perfect,

(b) that it converts the soul;

Of the "testimony of the Lord":

(a) that it is sure,

(b) that it makes the simple wise;

Of the "statutes of the Lord":

(a) that they are right,

(b) that they rejoice the heart;

Of the "commandment of the Lord":

(a) that it is pure,

(b) that it enlightens the eyes;

Of the "fear of the Lord":

(a) that it is clean,

continued...

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.7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

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

In the three following verses we have a brief but instructive hexapla containing six descriptive titles of the word, six characteristic qualities mentioned, and six divine effects declared. Names, nature, and effect are well set forth.

Psalm 19:7

"The law of the Lord is perfect;" by which he means not merely the law of Moses but the doctrine of God, the whole run and rule of sacred Writ. The doctrine revealed by God he declares to be perfect, and yet David had but a very small part of the Scriptures, and if a fragment, and that the darkest and most historical portion, be perfect, what must the entire volume be? How more than perfect is the book which contains the clearest possible display of divine love, and gives us an open vision of redeeming grace. The gospel is a complete scheme or law of gracious salvation, presenting to the needy sinner everything that his terrible necessities can possibly demand. There are no redundancies and no omissions in the Word of God, and in the plan of grace; why then do men try to paint this lily and gild this refined gold? The gospel is perfect in all its parts, and perfect as a whole: it is a crime to add to it, treason to alter it, and felony to take from it.

"Converting the soul." - Making the man to be returned or restored to the place from which sin had cast him. The practical effect of the Word of God is to turn the man to himself, to his God, and to holiness; and the turn or conversion is not outward alone, "the soul" is moved and renewed. The great means of the conversion of sinners is the Word of God, and the more closely we keep to it in our ministry the more likely are we to be successful. It is God's Word rather than man's comment on God's Word which is made mighty with souls. When the law drives and the gospel draws, the action is different but the end is one, for by God's Spirit the soul is made to yield, and cries, "Turn me, and I shall be turned." Try men's depraved nature with philosophy and reasoning, and it laughs your efforts to scorn, but the Word of God soon works a transformation.

"The testimony of the Lord is sure." God bears his testimony against sin, and on behalf of righteousness; he testifies of our fall and of our restoration; this testimony is plain, decided, and infallible, and is to be accepted as sure. God's witness in his Word is so sure that we may draw solid comfort from it both for time and eternity, and so sure that no attacks made upon it, however fierce or subtle, can ever weaken its force. What a blessing that in a world of uncertainties we have something sure to rest upon! We hasten from the quicksands of human speculation to the terra firma of Divine Revelation.

"Making wise the simple." Humble, candid, teachable minds receive the word, and are made wise unto salvation. Things hidden from the wise and prudent are revealed unto babes. The persuadable grow wise, but the cavillers continue fools. As a law or plan the Word of God converts, and then as a testimony it instructs; it is not enough for us to be converts, we must continue to be disciples; and if we have felt the power of truth, we must go on to prove its certainty by experience. The perfection of the gospel converts, but its sureness edifies; if we would be edified it becomes us not to stagger at the promise through unbelief, for a doubted gospel cannot make us wise, but truth of which we are assured will be our establishment.

Psalm 19:8

"The statutes of the Lord are right." His precepts and decrees are founded in righteousness, and are such as are right or fitted to the right reason of man. As a physician gives the right medicine, and a counsellor the right advice, so does the Book of God. "Rejoicing the heart." Mark the progress; he who was converted was next made wise and is now made happy; that truth which makes the heart right then gives joy to the right heart. Free grace brings heart-joy. Earthborn mirth dwells on the lip, and flushes the bodily powers; but heavenly delights satisfy the inner nature, and fill the mental faculties to the brim. There is no cordial of comfort like that which is poured from the bottle of Scripture.

"Retire and read thy Bible to be gay."

continued...

The law of the Lord, i.e. the doctrine delivered by God to his church, whether by Moses or by other prophets, and holy men of God after him; for the title of law is given not only to the ten commandments, or the moral law, as it is Romans 2:23,25,27 3:31, but also to the whole word of God, as Psalm 1:2 119:70 &c.; Jeremiah 8:8 Malachi 2:6; to the Psalms, as John 10:34 15:25, compared with Psalm 82:6 35:19; and to the writings of the prophets, 1 Corinthians 14:21, compared with Isaiah 28:11; yea, even to the gospel itself, as Isaiah 2:3 42:4 5:4,7 Ro 3:27 Galatians 2:21. And in this general sense it must be here understood, because the effects here following do not flow from one, but from all the parts of it, precepts, and counsels, and threatenings, and promises, and God’s gracious covenant made with man therein revealed. Having discoursed hitherto of the glory of God shining forth in and demonstrated by the visible heavens, and the heavenly bodies, he now proceeds to another demonstration of God’s glory, which he compares with and prefers before the former; which he doth partly, to prevent that excessive admiration of the splendour and beauty of the sun and stars, by the contemplation whereof the heathens were brought to adore them, an error which the Israelites were not free from the danger of, Deu 4:19; partly, to make the Israelites sensible of their singular obligations to God, who, besides that common light and influence of the heavenly bodies, had given them a peculiar and a more necessary and beneficial light; and partly, to awaken and provoke the Gentiles (into whose hands these Psalms might come) to the study and love of God’s law, by representing those excellent advantages which they no less than the Jews might obtain by it.

Perfect; without fault or defect, fully and completely discovering both the nature and will of God, and the whole duty and business of man, whom and how he is to worship and serve, what he is to believe and practise, and whatsoever is necessary to his present and eternal happiness; wherein there seems to be a secret reflection upon the former and natural discovery of God by his works of creation, as that which is defective and insufficient for the great and glorious ends here following, which although it did declare so much of God’s being and nature as left all men without excuse, Romans 1:20, yet did not fully nor clearly manifest the mind and will of God, nor direct and bring men to eternal salvation. Converting, to wit, from the errors of mind and conversation, in which men without this light do generally wander and perish, unto God, from whom all men are naturally revolted. Or, comforting or reviving, as this word is used, Ruth 4:15 Psalm 23:3 Lamentations 1:11,16. Heb. restoring or bringing back the soul, which was drooping and even going out of the body, through grievous troubles of the outward man, and terrors of the mind and conscience.

The testimony of the Lord, i.e. his law, so called because it is a witness between God and man, what God requires of man, and what upon the performance of tllat condition he will do for man. Is sure, Heb. faithful or true, which is most excellent, and proper, and necessary in a witness· It will not mislead or deceive any man that trusteth to it or followeth it; but will certainly and infallibly bring him to happiness.

Making wise unto salvation, as is expressed, 2 Timothy 3:15; which is the only true wisdom.

The simple: this is added either,

1. By way of commendation, or as a qualification of the person whom God’s word will make wise; he must be humble, and foolish, and little in his own eyes, and willing to be taught: see Matthew 11:25 1 Corinthians 1:25, &c. For God resisteth the proud and scornful, and will not give this wisdom to them. Or rather,

2. By way of contempt, which seems most agreeable both to the use of the words, Proverbs 1:4 9:6 14:15 22:3, and to the scope of the place, which is to set forth the excellency and efficacy of God’s law in the general, without any restriction to this or that sort of men. So it may note the weak and foolish, even persons of the lowest capacities, and such as are apt to mistake and are easily seduced, as the word implies· And yet these, if they will hearken to the instructions of God’s word, shall become wise, when those who profess themselves wise shall, by leaning to their own understanding, and despising or neglecting the directions of God’s word, become and prove themselves to be fools, Romans 1:22. But this is not spoken exclusively, as if no men of better abilities were thus made wise; but by way of amplification, to show the usefulness of God’s word to men of all sorts and sizes.

The law of the Lord is perfect,.... By which is meant, not the law of Moses, or the ten commandments, but the "doctrine" of the Lord; as the word "torah", signifies, even the whole word of God, as in Isaiah 8:20. All the Scriptures of truth, which are profitable for doctrine; for setting doctrine in a clear light, and for the vindication and establishment of it, and are the rule of doctrine both to preachers and hearers; and which are "perfect", contain the whole mind and will of God, both with respect to faith and practice; whereby the man of God is made perfect, and thoroughly furnished to all good works, 2 Timothy 3:16; and especially the Gospel part of the word of God may be designed, which both in the Old and New Testament is called "a law" or "doctrine", being eminently so; the doctrine of the Messiah, and of justification by faith in his righteousness, Isaiah 2:3, Romans 3:27. The Gospel is a perfect plan and scheme of spiritual and saving truths: it gives an account of perfect things; as of the perfect righteousness of Christ, and complete justification by it; of the full as well as free pardon of sins by the blood of Christ; and of redemption and salvation from all sin and evils by him: and it also shows where true perfection is; namely, in Christ, in whom the saints are complete, be being made to them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; see James 1:25. This character, therefore, suits better with the Gospel than with the moral law; though that, as it is to be gathered out of the whole word of God, contains the good and perfect will of God, with respect to what is to be done or avoided; nor is anything to be added to it; nor did our Lord come to add unto it, or to make it more perfect, but to fulfil it, which men could not do; nor could the law make any man or anything perfect, either perfectly sanctify, or justify, or save; whereas the bringing in of the better hope in the Gospel does, Hebrews 9:7. The effect, under a divine influence and blessing ascribed to it, is,

converting the soul; which is a further proof that the law of Moses is not intended: for though by it is the knowledge of sin, or conviction of sin, which often falls short of conversion; yet the Spirit of God, as a spirit of regeneration, conversion, and sanctification, is not received through the doctrine or preaching of the law, but through the ministration of the Gospel; which is designed to turn men from darkness to light, and from the powers of Satan to God; and which use it has when it is attended with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power; see Romans 3:20, though the words may be rendered "relieving", that is, refreshing and comforting the "soul" (z) as in Lamentations 1:11; Through want of bodily food, which is the case in the passage retorted to, the spirits faint and sink, the soul is almost gone, when, by the ministration of proper food, it is as it were brought back again, as the word (a) here used signifies, and the animal spirits are cheered and revived: and of like use is the Gospel; it is the food of the soul, by which it is refreshed and exhilarated, when ready to sink and faint away; hereby it is restored and revived, comforted and nourished;

the testimony of the Lord is sure; this is another name for the word of God, or the Holy Scriptures; so called because they testify of Christ, of his person, office, and grace; of what he is, was to do, and suffer, and perform for his people, and of his glory that should follow thereon, John 5:39; and particularly the doctrine of the Gospel is the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, both which he himself testified, and which is a testimony concerning him, 2 Timothy 1:8. And this is "sure", or "to be believed" (b); the whole of Scripture is true, coming from the God of truth; having for its principal subject Christ, who is truth itself, and being dictated by the Spirit of truth; and particularly the Gospel part of it, and all the truths therein contained, especially the doctrine of salvation by Christ, which is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation: the Gospel is a testimony of record which God himself has bore concerning his Son, and eternal life by him, and therefore sure and to be depended upon; for if the witness of men is received, the witness of God is greater, 1 John 5:9. The effect ascribed to the word of God, Or to the Gospel under this character, is,

making wise the simple. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, render it "babes" or "children"; and so Apollinarius; and the word here used in the Arabic language, is said to (c) signify such; and here it intends babes and children not in years, but in understanding, to whom God is pleased to reveal the truths of his Gospel, when he hides them from the wise and prudent: these simple ones are such who are sensible of their simplicity and folly, and of their want of understanding; who, with Agur, think themselves more foolish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man; and these, by the word of God, are made wise to know themselves, their folly, sinfulness, imperfections, and impotence; and are made wise unto salvation, to know the right way of salvation by Christ; see 2 Timothy 3:15; where the same phrase is used as here, and seems to be borrowed from hence, and is used of the Scriptures; which also make men wise in the knowledge of Gospel doctrines, the wisdom of God in a mystery, which to know is the greatest wisdom and understanding, and much more so than to be acquainted with the law only, Deuteronomy 4:6.

(z) "recreans animam", Vatablus, Schmidt; "refocillat", Piscator. (a) "Restituens animam", Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius; "reducens", Gejerus, Montanus; so Ainsworth. (b) "fidele", V. L. Musculus, Pagninus; "fide dignum", Piscator, Michaelis. (c) Shemot Rabba, s. 3. fol. 93. 2.

The {f} law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

(f) Though the creatures cannot serve, yet this should be sufficient to lead us to him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. The law of the Lord] Instruction, teaching, doctrine, are the ideas connected with the word torah, rendered law. See on Psalm 1:2. Like Jehovah’s work (Deuteronomy 32:4), and His way (Psalm 18:30), it is perfect, complete, flawless; without defect or error; a guide which can neither mislead nor fail. Observe that the name Jehovah now takes the place of God (Psalm 19:1); for we have entered the sphere of the special revelation to Israel.

converting the soul] Rather, as R.V., restoring the soul; refreshing and invigorating man’s true self (cp. Psalm 23:3); like food to the hungry (Lamentations 1:11; Lamentations 1:19); like comfort to the sorrowful and afflicted (Lamentations 1:16; Ruth 4:15).

the testimony] The ‘law,’ regarded as bearing witness to Jehovah’s will, and man’s duty (Exodus 25:16; Exodus 25:21). It is sure, not variable or uncertain. Cp. Psalm 93:5, Psalm 111:7.

the simple] A character often mentioned in Proverbs (Proverbs 1:4, &c.): the man whose mind is open to the entrance of good or evil. He has not closed his heart against instruction, but he has no fixed principle to repel temptation. He needs to be made wise. Cp. Psalm 119:130; 2 Timothy 3:15.

7–11. Yet more wonderful than this declaration of God’s glory, more beneficent than the sun’s life-giving light and heat, is Jehovah’s revelation of His will, which quickens and educates man’s moral nature. Its essential characteristics and its beneficent influences are described with an enthusiastic and loving admiration.

Note the peculiar rhythm of Psalm 19:7-9, in which each line is divided by a well-marked caesura. Cp. Lamentations 1:1 ff. See Introd. p. lx.

Verses 7-11. - The transition from the glories of the material universe to the "law of the Lord" is abrupt and startling. Some go so far as to say that there is no connection at all between the first and second parts of the psalm. But it is the law and order that pervades the material universe which constitutes its main glory; and the analogy between God's physical laws and his moral laws is evident, and generally admitted (see the great work of Bishop Butler, part 1.). Verse 7. - The Law of the Lord is perfect. Whatsoever proceeds from God is perfect in its kind; his "Law" especially - the rule of life to his rational creatures. That salvation is not by the Law is not the fault of the Law, but of man, who cannot keep it. "The Law" itself "is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12). Converting (rather, as in the margin, restoring) the soul. The word employed, meshibah, is used of restoring from disorder and decay (Psalm 80:19), from sorrow and affliction (Ruth 4:15), from death (1 Kings 17:21, 22). The Law, by instructing men, restores them from moral blindness to the light which is theirs by nature (Romans 1:19), and, as a further consequence, in many cases, restores them from sin to righteousness. The testimony of the Lord is sure. 'Eduth - the word translated "testimony" - is employed especially of the Decalogue (Exodus 25:16, 21, 22, 26; Numbers 9:15; 17:23; 18:2, etc.); but may be regarded as sue of the many synonyms under which the whole Law may be spoken of (see Psalm 119:2, 14, 22, 24, 88, etc.). The Law is "sure" - i.e. fixed, firm, stable - in comparison with the fleeting, shifting, unstable judgments of human reason. Making wise the simple; i.e. enlightening their moral judgment. Psalm 19:7(Heb.: 19:8-10) No sign is made use of to mark the transition from the one part to the other, but it is indicated by the introduction of the divine name יהוה instead of אל. The word of nature declares אל (God) to us, the word of Scripture יהוה (Jahve); the former God's power and glory, the latter also His counsel and will. Now follow twelve encomiums of the Law, of which every two are related as antecedent and consequent, rising and falling according to the caesural schema, after the manner of waves. One can discern how now the heart of the poet begins to beat with redoubled joy as he comes to speak of God's word, the revelation of His will. תּורה does not in itself mean the law, but a pointing out, instruction, doctrine or teaching, and more particularly such as is divine, and therefore positive; whence it is also used of prophecy, Isaiah 1:10; Isaiah 8:16, and prophetically of the New Testament gospel, Isaiah 2:3. But here no other divine revelation is meant than that given by the mediation of Moses, which is become the law, i.e., the rule of life (νόμος), of Israel; and this law, too, as a whole not merely as to its hortatory and disciplinary character, but also including the promises contained in it. The praises which the poet pronounces upon the Law, are accurate even from the standpoint of the New Testament. Even Paul says, Romans 7:12, Romans 7:14, "The Law is holy and spiritual, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." The Law merits these praises in itself; and to him who is in a state of favour, it is indeed no longer a law bringing a curse with it, but a mirror of the God merciful in holiness, into which he can look without slavish fear, and is a rule for the direction of his free and willing obedience. And how totally different is the affection of the psalmists and prophets for the Law, - an affection based upon the essence and universal morality of the commandments, and upon a spiritual realisation of the letter, and the consolation of the promises, - from the pharisaical rabbinical service of the letter and the ceremonial in the period after the Exile!

The divine Law is called תּמימה, "perfect," i.e., spotless and harmless, as being absolutely well-meaning, and altogether directed towards the well-being of man. And משׁיבת נפשׁ restoring, bringing back, i.e., imparting newness of life, quickening the soul (cf. Pil. שׁובב, Psalm 23:3), to him, viz., who obeys the will of God graciously declared therein, and enters upon the divine way or rule of salvation. Then in the place of the word תורה we find עדוּת, - as the tables of the Ten Commandments (לחוּת העדוּת) are called, - from עוּד (העיד), which signifies not merely a corroborative, but also a warning and instructive testimony or attestation. The testimony of Jahve is נאמנה, made firm, sure, faithful, i.e., raised above all doubt in its declarations, and verifying itself in its threatenings and promises; and hence מחכּימת פּתי, making wise simplicity, or the simple, lit., openness, the open (root פת to spread out, open, Indo-Germ. prat, πετ, pat, pad), i.e., easily led astray; to such an one it gives a solid basis and stability, σοφίζει αὐτὸν, 2 Timothy 3:15. The Law divides into פּקּוּדים, precepts or declarations concerning man's obligation; these are ישׁרים, straight or upright, as a norma normata, because they proceed from the upright, absolutely good will of God, and as a norma normans they lead along a straight way in the right track. They are therefore משׂמּחי לב, their educative guidance, taking one as it were by the hand, frees one from all tottering, satisfies a moral want, and preserves a joyous consciousness of being in the right way towards the right goal. מצות יהוה, Jahve's statute (from צוּה statuere), is the tenour of His commandments. The statute is a lamp - it is said in Proverbs 6:23 -and the law a light. So here: it is בּרה, clear, like the light of the sun (Sol 6:10), and its light is imparted to other objects: מאירת עינים, enlightening the eyes, which refers not merely to the enlightening of the understanding, but of one's whole condition; it makes the mind clear, and body as well as mind healthy and fresh, for the darkness of the eyes is sorrow, melancholy, and bewilderment. In this chain of names for the Law, יראת ה is not the fear of God as an act performed, but as a precept, it is what God's revelation demands, effects, and maintains; so that it is the revealed way in which God is to be feared (Psalm 34:12) - in short, it is the religion of Jahve (cf. Proverbs 15:33 with Deuteronomy 17:19). This is טהורה, clean, pure, as the word which is like to pure gold, by which it is taught, Psalm 12:7, cf. Job 28:19; and therefore עמדת לעד, enduring for ever in opposition to all false forms of reverencing God, which carry their own condemnation in themselves. משׁפּטי ה are the jura of the Law as a corpus juris divini, everything that is right and constitutes right according to the decision of Jahve. These judgments are אמת, truth, which endures and verifies itself; because, in distinction from most others and those outside Israel, they have an unchangeable moral foundation: צדקוּ יחדּו, i.e., they are צדיקים, in accordance with right and appropriate (Deuteronomy 4:8), altogether, because no reproach of inappositeness and sanctioned injustice or wrong clings to them. The eternal will of God has attained a relatively perfect form and development in the Law of Jahve according to the standard set up as the law of the nation.

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