Psalm 19:8
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Right.—Here in its original sense of “straight,” or direct. A fine moral insight suggested this touch. The road of duty, when plain and unmistakable, inspires a sense of gladness, even if it be difficult and dangerous.

“Stern Lawgiver, yet thou dost wear

The Godhead’s most benignant grace;

Nor know we anything so fair

As is the smile upon thy face.

Flowers laugh before thee on their beds,

And fragrance in thy footing treads.”

WORDSWORTH’S Ode to Duty.

‘Enlightening the eyes.—Not here as in Psalm 13:3 (see Note) physically, but morally (comp. Psalm 119:105); the whole nature of one who lives in the light of truth is illuminated.

Psalm 19:8. The statutes of the Lord — Another word signifying the same thing with law and testimonies, are right — Both in themselves, and in their effect, as guiding men in the ready way to eternal happiness. Rejoicing the heart — By the discoveries of God’s love to sinful men, in offers and promises of mercy. The commandment of the Lord — All his commands; is pure — Without the least mixture of error. Enlightening the eyes — Of the mind, with a complete manifestation of God’s will and man’s duty; both which the works of nature and all the writings of men discover but darkly and imperfectly.

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 statutes of the Lord - The word here rendered statutes properly means mandates, precepts - rules given to anyone to guide him, Psalm 103:18; Psalm 111:7. It refers to the laws of God considered as appointed, or as the result of divine authority. The verb from which this word is derived (Hiphil) means to set over, to give the oversight, to appoint. Hence, the idea of laws, or statutes, as the result of such an appointment, or such an authority.

Are right - Are equal, just, proper. They are such as are founded in wisdom and equity; not such as are the mere result of arbitrary appointment. The idea is that they are not merely appointed, or made binding by authority, but that they are in themselves equitable and just.

Rejoicing the heart - Making the heart glad by the fact that they are equitable and just - and glad as the result of obedience. It is always a source of true happiness when we can feel that we are under just and equal laws; laws in themselves right, and laws administered in righteousness and truth.

The commandment of the Lord - An appellation of the law of God from the idea of setting up, appointing, constituting; hence, of charging, or commanding. The idea here is not so much that the thing is right in itself as that it is appointed or ordered by God; that it is what he requires. The term is one that is often applied to the laws of God, Deuteronomy 6:1; Deuteronomy 7:11; Leviticus 4:13; Genesis 26:5; Exodus 15:26; Exodus 16:28; Psalm 78:7; Psalm 89:31; Psalm 119:6, Psalm 119:10, Psalm 119:19, Psalm 119:21, Psalm 119:32, Psalm 119:35, Psalm 119:47-48, Psalm 119:60, Psalm 119:66, Psalm 119:73, Psalm 119:86, Psalm 119:96, Psalm 119:98,Psalm 119:115, Psalm 119:127, Psalm 119:131, Psalm 119:143 then I Chapter I then I me me then I out a then I out me day.

Is pure - Free from all stain; from all imperfection; from any corrupt tendency. "Enlightening the eyes." That is, giving us light and knowledge. The eyes are mentioned, as it is by them that we see where to go. The reference here is undoubtedly to the mind or soul as being enlightened by the truth of God. We are made by these commandments to see what is right and proper; to understand what we should do.

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. Statutes, another word signifying the same thing with law and testimonies, are right; both in themselves, as being free from crookedness or error; and in their effect, as guiding and directing men in the right and ready way to eternal happiness: which also reflects upon that knowledge of divine things, which men have by the light of nature and works of God, or by the doctrines of the philosophers or others, that wanted or neglected the light of God’s word wherein there is a great deal of darkness, and uncertainty, and error, and danger. Rejoicing the heart; partly by that clear and certain knowledge of divine things which it gives, for knowledge is pleasant to the soul, Proverbs 2:10; and partly by the discoveries of God’s love and grace to sinful men, in offers and promises of mercy therein contained. The commandment of the Lord, i.e. all his commands. Is pure; without the least mixture of error, or injustice, or deceit; which cannot be said of human laws. Enlightening the eyes, to wit, of the mind, with an evident and complete manifestation of God’s will and man’s duty; both which the works of nature and all the writings of men discover but darkly and imperfectly.

The statutes of the Lord are right,.... The word of God may be called "statutes", or "visitations" (d) because that God will visit, in a way of resentment, such persons as despise its authority, do not act according to it, or add unto it, or detract from it; or the word may be rendered "commissions" (e), things committed to trust, as the Scriptures were to the Jews, Romans 3:1; and as the Gospel is committed to the trust of the ministers of it, who faithfully dispense it, 2 Corinthians 5:19. Now these may be said to be right, as the word of the Lord is, Psalm 33:4; since they set men right in their principles, and direct them to right practices; they are the means of making them upright in heart, and in conversation: the doctrines of the word of God have nothing crooked, froward, and perverse in them; are without sophism, and the hidden things of dishonesty; they are all in righteousness, and plain and easy in everything respecting salvation, to those who have a spiritual knowledge and understanding of them, Proverbs 8:8; they lead into right and straight paths of truth and holiness, in which wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err; and particularly the Gospel directs to the right way of salvation and eternal life by Jesus Christ; the effect of which is

rejoicing the heart. This cannot be understood of the law, which is a voice of terror, pronounces guilty, curses and condemns, is the killing letter, and works wrath; but of the Gospel part of the word, which is a joyful sound; publishes good tidings of good things; and, when applied by the Spirit of God, is found to have this effect, see Jeremiah 15:16;

the commandment of the Lord is pure; not only the Scriptures in general may bear this name, because they deliver out the commands of God to men, as those of a moral and ceremonial kind to the Jews under the former dispensation; so the ordinances of Christ, which are his commands under the Gospel dispensation; yea, the Gospel itself may be so called, though, strictly speaking, it has no command in it; because, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, it is made known to all nations for the obedience of faith, Romans 16:25; besides, the commandment is no other than the word or doctrine, see 1 John 2:7; and as every commandment of the Lord, of what kind soever it is, is pure and holy, so is every word of God, Proverbs 30:5; being without any mixture of men's inventions, or the dross of corrupt doctrine, sincere, unadulterated, clear of all chaff and impurity, consistent, uniform, and all of a piece, and which tends to promote purity of heart, life, and conversation;

enlightening the eyes: that is, of the understanding, so as for a man to see his lost state and condition by nature; to see the glory, fulness, and grace of Christ; to behold wondrous things in the doctrine of the Gospel, and to observe the way of duty in which he should walk: this is the eyesalve in Revelation 3:18; and so the Jewish doctors (f) explaining this text call the law, using the same word as there.

(d) "visitationes", Ainsworth. (e) "Commissiones", Munster; "deposita", so some in Rivetus; "depositum", Gejerus, Michaelis. (f) Vajikra Rabba, s. 12. fol. 155. 3. & Debarim Rabba, s. 8. fol. 243. 3.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. The statutes] Rather, as R.V., the precepts, the various special injunctions in which man’s obligations are set forth. These make glad the heart with the joy of moral satisfaction.

pure] An epithet applied to the sun. Song of Solomon 6:10. “The law is light” (Proverbs 6:23), and light-giving. Cp. Psalm 119:105; Psalm 119:130; Ephesians 1:18.

Verse 8. - The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; rather, the precepts of the Lord are right. Another of the many synonyms under which the Law may be spoken of (see Dr. Kay's preface to the hundred and nineteenth psalm). God's precepts "rejoice the heart" of the godly. They are not felt as stern commands, but as gracious intimations of what God desires man to do for his own good. The commandment of the Lord is pure; i.e. spotless, clean, without fault (comp. ver. 7, "The Law of the Lord is perfect"). Enlightening the eyes; i.e. giving light to the intellect. Psalm 19:8(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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