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)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.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.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.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. 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.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. Nehemiah 9:6; Job 38:7. Moreover, Scripture knows nothing of the "music of the spheres" of the Pythagoreans. What is meant is, as the old expositors correctly say, objectivum vocis non articulatae praeconium. The doxa, which God has conferred upon the creature as the reflection of His own, is reflected back from it, and given back to God as it were in acknowledgment of its origin. The idea of perpetuity, which lies even in the participle, is expanded in Psalm 19:3. The words of this discourse of praise are carried forward in an uninterrupted line of transmission. הבּיע (fr. נבע, Arab. nb‛, root נב, to gush forth, nearly allied to which, however, is also the root בע, to spring up) points to the rich fulness with which, as from an inexhaustible spring, the testimony passes on from one day to the next. The parallel word חוּה is an unpictorial, but poetic, word that is more Aramaic than Hebrew ( equals הגּיד). אמשׁ also belongs to the more elevated style; the γνωστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ deposited in the creature, although not reflected, is here called דּעת. The poet does not say that the tidings proclaimed by the day, if they gradually die away as the day declines, are taken up by the night, and the tidings of the night by the day; but (since the knowledge proclaimed by the day concerns the visible works of God by day, and that proclaimed by the night, His works by night), that each dawning day continues the speech of that which has declined, and each approaching night takes up the tale of that which has passed away (Psychol. S. 347, tr. p. 408). If Psalm 19:4 were to be rendered "there is no speech and there are no words, their voice is inaudible," i.e., they are silent, speechless witnesses, uttering no sound, but yet speaking aloud (Hengst.), only inwardly audible but yet intelligible everywhere (Then.): then, Psalm 19:5 ought at least to begin with a Waw adversativum, and, moreover, the poet would then needlessly check his fervour, producing a tame thought and one that interrupts the flow of the hymn. To take Psalm 19:4 as a circumstantial clause to Psalm 19:5, and made to precede it, as Ewald does, "without loud speech...their sound has resounded through all the earth" (341, d), is impossible, even apart from the fact of אמר not meaning "Loud speech" and קוּם hardly "their sound." Psalm 19:4 is in the form of an independent sentence, and there is nothing whatever in it to betray any designed subordination to Psalm 19:5. But if it be made independent in the sense "there is no loud, no articulate speech, no audible voice, which proceeds from the heavens," then Psalm 19:5 would form an antithesis to it; and this, in like manner, there is nothing to indicate, and it would at least require that the verb יצא should be placed first. Luther's rendering is better: There is no language nor speech, where their voice is not heard, i.e., as Calvin also renders it, the testimony of the heavens to God is understood by the peoples of every language and tongue. But this ought to be אין לשׁון or אין שׂפה ro אין (Genesis 11:1). Hofmann's rendering is similar, but more untenable: "There is no speech and there are no words, that their cry is not heard, i.e., the language of the heavens goes forth side by side with all other languages; and men may discourse ever so, still the speech or sound of the heavens is heard therewith, it sounds above them all." But the words are not בּלי נשׁמע (after the analogy of Genesis 31:20), or rather בּלי ישּׁמע (as in Job 41:8; Hosea 8:7). בּלי with the part. is a poetical expression for the Alpha privat. (2 Samuel 1:21), consequently כלי נשׁמע is "unheard" or "inaudible," and the opposite of נשׁמע, audible, Jeremiah 31:15. Thus, therefore, the only rendering that remains is that of the lxx., Vitringa, and Hitzig: There is no language and no words, whose voice is unheard, i.e., inaudible. Hupfeld's assertion that this rendering destroys the parallelism is unfounded. The structure of the distich resembles Psalm 139:4. The discourse of the heavens and the firmament, of the day (of the sky by day) and of the night (of the sky by night), is not a discourse uttered in a corner, it is a discourse in speech that is everywhere audible, and in words that are understood by all, a φανερόν, Romans 1:19.
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