ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
Verse 1. - Blessed are the undefiled in the way; rather, the perfect, or those that are per feet (Revised Version). The "way" intended is, no doubt, "the way of righteousness" (Psalm 1:7; 23:3, etc.). Who walk in the Law of the Lord. Compare the introductory paragraph for the meaning of "Law" in this psalm. This clause is exegetical of the preceding.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
Verse 2. - Blessed are they that keep his testimonies. A variant expression for keeping the Law, rather than the specification of a particular part of it. And that seek him with the whole heart. This is the emphatic portion of the verse. An obedience "from the heart" is alone acceptable to God (see Psalm 36:10; Psalm 64:10; Psalm 119:34, 58, 69, 145).
They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
Verse 3. - They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Positive righteousness includes negative. Those who walk always in God's Law (ver. 1) will, a fortiori, keep clear of all iniquity.
Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
Verse 4. - Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently; rather, thou hast ordained thy precepts for diligent observance, or for men to observe them diligently. Men sometimes give precepts which they do not care to have obeyed; but God's precepts are intended for careful, diligent, and continual observance. The "thou" at the beginning (attah) is emphatic.
O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
Verse 5. - Oh that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! The first four verses of the stanza are concerned with the Law in itself; the last four treat of the writer's relation to it. He begins by expressing the wish that he, at any rate, may always observe it.
Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
Verse 6. - Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. In that case I shall not be ashamed, either before God or man. Shame follows transgression: I shall escape shame, if my obedience is perfect.
I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
Verse 7. - I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. But, before the Law can be observed, it must be known and understood. This, then, is the first thing. Then obedience and acceptable praise will follow.
I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
Verse 8. - I will keep thy statutes. This is my will and wish (see ver. 5); but, that I may be able to carry it out, O forsake me not utterly. Without thee I have no strength to do aright.
BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
Verse 9. - Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? It does not follow from this inquiry that the writer is a "young man" - rather the reverse. He is anxious to give advice to young men, which is naturally the part of one somewhat advanced in life. By taking heed thereto, according to thy Word. This is the answer to the question raised in clause 1. By looking to God's Word, and guiding himself thereby, the young man may "cleanse his way" - not otherwise.
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Verse 10. - With my whole heart have I sought thee (comp. ver. 2). O let me not wander from thy commandments; i.e. "let me not accidentally and through ignorance stray from the right path."
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Verse 11. - Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee; rather, thy promise (imrah). To have God's word of promise laid up in the heart is the only security against being surprised into sin.
Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
Verse 12. - Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes. God's statutes are really known to those only whom God teaches. By nature we have but a faint glimmer of their meaning. God must teach us by his Spirit ere we can apprehend them aright.
With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
Verse 13. - With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." The "word" hid in the psalmist's heart (ver. 11) could not but rise to his lips on fit occasion, and be set forth before the people for their edification - more especially as there was an express command binding upon all Israelites to teach the Law to their children and dependants (see particularly Deuteronomy 6:7).
I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
Verse 14. - I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches (comp. ver. 72). God's Word is a treasure, beyond expression precious, calculated to rejoice the heart of all such as possess it.
I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
Verse 15. - I will meditate in thy precepts. The full force of the Divine precepts is not to be grasped except by prolonged meditation on them. God's commandments are "exceeding broad" (ver. 96). And have respect unto thy ways; or, "consider them," "reflect upon them."
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
Verse 16. - I will delight myself in thy statutes (comp. vers. 24, 40, 47, 70, 77, etc.; and see also Psalm 1:2). I will not forget thy Word. That which is "laid up in the heart" (ver. 11) can never be forgotten.
GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
Verse 17. - Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy Word; rather, grant unto thy servant that I may live. Give me the blessing of a long life, that so my keeping of thy Word may be long. The psalmist seems to be praying especially for himself; but the argument of his prayer will extend to all "servants of the Lord."
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Verse 18. - Open thou mine eyes. Since the Fall, men's eyes are naturally blinded, or, at any rate, have a veil over them, which God must remove before they can see clearly (compare the comment on ver. 15). That I may behold wondrous things out of thy Law. Wonderful spiritual truths that lie hidden, even under the very simplest precepts of God's Law (comp. Matthew 5:21-37).
I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.
Verse 19. - I am a stranger in the earth; or, "a sojourner" (Cheyne, Kay, Revised Version); comp. Psalm 39:12; Hebrews 11:13-16. Earth is not our true home. We all "seek a country." Hide not thy commandments from me. God "hides" things from the wise and prudent which he reveals to "babes." The psalmist prays that the true meaning of God's Word may not be kept back from him.
My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.
Verse 20. - My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. This is given as a reason for the prayer of ver. 19.
Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
Verse 21. - Thou hast rebuked the proud. It is difficult to connect this with the preceding. But perhaps the link may be found in the double sense of mishpatim, "judgments," which includes verbal sentences against sinners delivered in the Law, and also actual sentences upon them in deed and fact. These last are in the writer's mind in the present verse - such judgments as those upon Pharaoh (Exodus 14:23-31), Zerah (2 Chronicles 14:9-15), and Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:32-37). That are cursed. This clause is questioned, as metrically redundant. But Hebrew metrology is scarcely as yet an exact science. And the clause finds its justification in Deuteronomy 27:26. Which do err from thy commandments. Such error brings under a curse those who commit it. If it be a blessed thing to walk in God's Law (ver. 1), it must be a cursed thing to transgress against it.
Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.
Verse 22. - Remove from me reproach and contempt. God's servants almost necessarily incur the reproach and contempt of the worldly, to whom their conduct seems folly or madness. Christ himself was "despised;" (Isaiah 53:3) and reproached (Matthew 11:19). For I have kept thy testimonies (comp. vers. 31, 51, 87, etc.).
Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
Verse 23. - Princes also did sit and speak against me. The great of the earth too often take part against the righteous, and join in persecuting them and calumniating them (comp. ver. 161). But thy servant did meditate in thy statutes; i.e. I took no heed of their calumnies - they did not trouble me. I gave myself to meditation on thy commandments.
Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellers.
Verse 24. - Thy testimonies also are my delight (comp. vers. 16, 47, 70, 77, etc.,) and my counselors: i.e. my best advisers. I learn from them - better than in any other way - how I ought to act (comp. ver. 105).
DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
Verse 25. - My soul cleaveth unto the dust. My soul is greatly depressed - lies, as it were, in the dust of death (comp. Psalm 44:25). Quicken thou me according to thy Word. Raise me up to life and health and vigor.
I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.
Verse 26. - I have declared thy ways, and thou heardest me; i.e. "I have opened my griefs to thee, O God, and poured forth my heart before thee. I am confident that thou didst listen to me." Teach me thy statutes. That I may show my gratitude by keeping them (comp. ver. 33).
Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
Verse 27. - Make me to understand the way of thy precepts. Exegetical of the last clause of ver. 26. What the psalmist longs for is to have a perfect knowledge of God's Law in all its breadth (ver. 96) and depth (Psalm 92:5) and fullness. So shall I talk of thy wondrous works; rather, so will I muse upon thy marvels (so Kay, Cheyne, and the Revised Version). The "marvels" spoken of are "the wondrous things of God's Law" (ver. 18).
My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
Verse 28. - My soul melteth for heaviness (comp. Psalm evil. 26; and, for the sentiment, see ver. 25). Strengthen thou me according unto thy Word; i.e. according to thy promise to help thy faithful ones (comp. vers. 25, 41, 49, 58, 76, etc.).
Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
Verse 29. - Remove from me the way of lying; i.e. the way of apostasy, or irreligion, of departure from God. And grant me thy Law graciously. Make it known to me by a Divine illumination.
I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
Verse 30. - I have chosen the way of truth. The converse of "the way of lying" (ver. 29), the path of true religion, of faithfulness and steadfastness to God. Thy judgments have I laid before me. Thy commandments have I set before my eyes as rules to be observed constantly.
I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.
Verse 31. - I have stuck unto thy testimonies; or, "cleaved" (ver. 25); i.e. kept firm and steadfast to them. The writer does not mean to assert sinlessness, but only sincerity of intention, and a general endeavor to do right. O Lord, put me not to shame. Suffer me not to fall from thee in such sort that I am put to an open shame.
I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
Verse 32. - I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. The phrase used in the second clause is ambiguous. It may mean, "For thou hast enlarged my heart."
HE. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
Verse 33. - Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes. This is the main prayer of the psalm - a prayer for spiritual enlightenment. It occurs eight times (vers. 12, 26, 33, 64, 68, 108, 124, and 135). And I shall keep it unto the end. Either "to the end of my life," or (as Dr. Kay thinks) "to the uttermost."
Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Verse 34. - Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy Law; i.e. make me fully to understand thy Law, and then I shall assuredly keep it. If I fail now, it is from lack of wisdom, not of will. Yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart (comp. ver. 69).
Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
Verse 35. - Make me to go in the path of thy commandments. Keep me, i.e., from straying out of the right path, through ignorance or negligence. For therein do I delight (comp. vers. 16, 24, 47, 70, 77, 111, 174).
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
Verse 36. - Incline my heart unto thy testimonies. The writer recognizes that the right inclination of the heart, which he claims to have (vers. 7, 10, 32, 34, etc.), is itself the gift of God. And not to covetousness; or, "to gain" (comp. ver. 72).
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
Verse 37. - Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity. Let me not be distracted from thy service by the "vanities" of the world - wealth, honor, power, glory, and the like; rather, quicken thou me in thy way. Give me increased life, strength, and vigor, to walk continually in the way of thy commandments.
Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
Verse 38. - Stablish thy Word unto thy servant; or, "make good thy promise unto thy servant" - thy promise of aid and support in all times of temptation and difficulty. Who is devoted to thy fear; rather, which belongeth unto thy fear. The antecedent to the relative is "word" or "promise," and not "servant;" and the prayer is that God will make good to his servant that promise, which lies at the root of all reverence and godly fear (comp. Psalm 130:4, "There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared").
Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.
Verse 39. - Turn away my reproach, which I fear; i.e. "turn away from me the only reproach of which I am afraid - the reproach of transgressing against thy Law" (comp. ver. 31). For thy judgments are good. Right in themselves, and conducive to man's happiness.
Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
Verse 40. - Behold, I have longed after thy precepts (comp. vers. 20 and 131). There are those - few, it may be, but truly blessed - who "hunger and thirst after righteousness" (Matthew 5:6). Quicken me in thy righteousness (comp. ver. 37). Help my efforts to walk in thy righteous ways.
VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.
Verse 41. - Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord; rather, and let thy mercies come unto me. Each verse of this stanza begins with the van conjunctive. Even thy salvation, according to thy Word; or, "thy promise" (imrah). God's Word was pledged, that he would grant mercy and salvation to all his faithful servants (Deuteronomy 28:1-13).
So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.
Verse 42. - So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me (comp. ver. 22). If God's favor were manifestly shown him, his enemies would be sufficiently answered. For I trust in thy Word. This is what he looks for, since he has a full trust in God's promises to his servants.
And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.
Verse 43. - And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth. "The word of truth" here is the "well-grounded answer" that the psalmist looks to make to those who reproach him (Hengstenberg). (See the preceding verse.) If God does not grant him "mercy and salvation" (ver. 41), this answer will be "taken out of his mouth." For I have hoped in thy judgments. I have trusted in thy vindication of my character, and in thy judgments upon my foes.
So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
Verse 44. - So shall I keep thy Law continually forever and ever. God's mercy will draw forth the psalmist's gratitude, and make his obedience perfect and perpetual.
And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
Verse 45. - And I will walk at liberty. Rekhabah is literally "the open square of a city," hence "a wide, open, free space." In obeying God's commandments the psalmist will not feel himself under constraint, but a wholly free agent. For I seek thy precepts. Inclination, not constraint, makes him obey God's precepts - he "seeks" them, "loves" them (ver. 47), "delights in" them (vers. 16, 24, 47).
I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
Verse 46. - I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings. If occasion offer, I will bear my witness to the excellence of thy Law, even before kings. And will not be ashamed; i.e. will not allow shame to stop my mouth. The writer is evidently not a king himself, probably not among the great ones of the earth (see vers. 51, 69, 78, 85, etc.).
And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
Verse 47. - And I will delight myself in thy commandments (comp. vers. 14, 16, 24, 35, 77, etc.). Which I have loved (see below, vers. 48, 97, 113, 119, 127, 159, 163, 167).
My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
Verse 48. - My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved. In a sort of qualified worship (comp. Genesis 14:22; Psalm 28:2; Psalm 134:2; Psalm 141:2; Lamentations 3:41). And I will meditate in thy statutes. Almost a repetition of ver. 15a.
ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
Verse 49. - Remember the word unto thy servant; i.e. "the word spoken to thy servant." Some special Divine communication made to the writer is perhaps meant. Upon which (rather, because) thou hast caused me to hope (comp. vers. 74, 81, 147).
This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
Verse 50. - This is my comfort in my affliction. Nekhamah, "comfort," occurs only here and in Job 6:10; but the meaning is well ascertained. For thy Word hath quickened me; or, "thy promise." The "word," whatever it was, referred to in ver. 49. This had given the psalmist new life.
The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.
Verse 51. - The proud have had me greatly in derision; rather, proud men. There is no article. (For the "derision" to which the righteous are always exposed, see Job 30:1, 9; Psalm 35:16; Psalm 44:13, 14; Lamentations 3:14; Jeremiah 20:7, etc.) Yet have I not declined (or, swerved) from thy Law (see the comment on ver. 31).
I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.
Verse 52. - I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord. Not merely thy sentences upon wicked men, but all the course of thy providential government of the world, including thy deliverances of thy servants. And have comforted myself. Have found comfort, i.e., in calling them to mind, and dwelling upon them.
Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
Verse 53. - Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy Law. The Revised Version has "hot indignation" instead of "horror;" and so Rosenmüller, Hengstenberg, Cheyne, Professor Alexander, and others; but Dr. Kay well defends the Authorized Version ('The Psalms,' Appendix 1. pp. 462, 463). The feeling intended probably resembled that described by Ezra (Ezra 9:6). The ἀθυμίαof the LXX. does not ill express it.
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
Verse 54. - Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage; literally, songs have thy statutes been to me in the house of my sojournings. I have made thy statutes the theme of my songs, as they are of this present one. "The house of my sojournings" is either this present world, where all men are "strangers and pilgrims" (Hebrews 11:13), or perhaps some foreign land in which the writer had been a sojourner.
I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.
Verse 55. - I have remembered thy Name, O Lord, in the night (comp. Psalm 63:6; Psalm 149:5; and Job 35:10). And have kept thy Law. The night is the time when wicked men do their most wicked deeds (Job 24:14-16). I keep thy Law both night and day.
This I had, because I kept thy precepts.
Verse 56. - This I had, because I kept thy precepts; rather, this I have, that I keep thy precepts; i.e. this one thing I have, and it is my best and dearest possession, that I keep thy commandments.
CHETH. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.
Verse 57. - Thou art my Portion, O Lord (see Psalm 73:26; Psalm 142:5; and comp. Numbers 18:20; Joshua 13:33). I have said that I would keep thy words; or, "I have resolved" (Cheyne).
I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
Verse 58. - I entreated thy favor with my whole heart; literally, I have supplicated thy face (comp. Psalm 45:12). Be merciful unto me, according to thy Word. A repetition of the prayer of ver. 41.
I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
Verse 59. - I thought on my ways; i.e. I examined my conduct in the past, considered it, and passed judgment upon it. And turned my feet unto thy testimonies. When I found my conduct amiss, I altered it, turning my feet into the way of thy commandments.
I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
Verse 60. - I made haste. Men are apt to put off their repentance - to delay it to a more "convenient season" (Acts 24:25). The psalmist was not so foolish - he "made haste," he says; and delayed not to keep God's commandments. This was wise, for "now is the accepted time" (2 Corinthians 6:2).
The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
Verse 61. - The bands of the wicked have robbed me; rather, the snares of wicked men entangled me (comp. vers. 23, 157, 161). But I have not forgotten (or, I did not forget) thy Law.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
Verse 62. - At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee (comp. ver. 55). Because of thy righteous judgments (see the comment on ver. 7).
I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
Verse 63. - I am a companion of all them that fear thee; i.e. I do not consort with the ungodly or the careless, but only with those who love and reverence thee. It is well to live "separate from sinners" (comp. Psalm 1:1). And of them that keep thy precepts. Obedience necessarily follows on reverence and godly fear.
The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
Verse 64. - The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy (comp. Psalm 33:5). God's mercy is "over all his works" (Psalm 145:9). The whole world is full of it. Pessimistic views are opposed to the entire tenor of Scripture. Teach me thy statutes (comp. vers. 12, 26, 33, 68, 108, 124, 135).
TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.
Verse 65. - Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord. Notwithstanding all that he has suffered from the "persecution" of princes (ver. 161) and the "contempt" (ver. 22) and "derision" of the wicked generally (ver. 51), the psalmist feels that God's dealings with him have, on the whole, been good and gracious. According unto thy Word. As thou hast promised in thy Word to deal with thy servants (comp. vers. 41, 58, 170).
Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.
Verse 66. - Teach me good judgment and knowledge; i.e. give me sound judgment and wisdom, to discern right from wrong. For I have believed thy commandments. I have looked to them, and trusted in them as my guides in the way of righteousness (comp. ver. 105).
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
Verse 67. - Before I was afflicted I went astray. "Sweet are the uses of adversity." The psalmist feels end confesses that the afflictions, which he has suffered (see comment on ver. 65), have been good for him. They have made him less apt to "go astray" than he was (comp. ver. 71). But now have I kept thy Word (comp. vers. 51, 56, 87, etc.).
Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.
Verse 68. - Thou art good, and doest good. Even chastening is a proof of thy goodness. By it thou "doest good" to thy servants (see Hebrews 12:10, 11). Teach me thy statutes. Impress thy Law upon me, even though it be by chastening.
The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.
Verse 69. - The proud have forged a lie against me; literally, patched up a lie against me (comp. vers. 22, 23, 42, 78, etc.). But I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart (comp. vers. 2, 10, 34, etc.). "The connection of the clauses is - that all the craft and malice of his enemies should only lead him to obey God with a more undivided heart than ever" (Professor Alexander).
Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.
Verse 70. - Their heart is as fat as grease; i.e. dull, gross, insensible to spiritual things (see Psalm 17:10; Isaiah 6:10). But I delight in thy Law. My heart is unlike theirs. Thy Law is a "delight" to it (comp. yore. 16, 24, 35, etc.).
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
Verse 71. - It is good for me that I have been afflicted (see the comment on ver. 67). That I might learn thy statutes. The whole nation "learnt God's statutes" by the affliction of the Babylonish Captivity. Individuals "learnt" them equally by their special chastisements.
The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
Verse 72. - The Law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver; i.e. I value it more than any amount of earthly riches.
JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.
Verse 73. - Thy hands have made me and fashioned me (comp. Psalm 100:3; Psalm 138:8; Psalm 139:14). The "fundamental passage" is Deuteronomy 32:6; but the present psalmist seems to follow Job 10:8. Give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. If thou hast done so much for me, wilt thou not do more? Without "understanding" this body that thou hast given me is nothing worth (comp. ver. 34).
They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.
Verse 74. - They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; literally, will see me and be glad. I shall be a fresh proof to them that God does not forsake his servants. Because I have hoped in thy Word. I have not fallen from grace - I have continued to trust in thy promises.
I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
Verse 75. - I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right; literally, are righteousness - have in them nothing that is not just and good. And that in faithfulness thou hast afflicted me. The Prayer-book Version brings out the full sense of the words, "And that thou in very faithfulness hast caused me to be troubled" (comp. vers. 67, 68, 71, with the comment furnished by Hebrews 12:5-11).
Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.
Verse 76. - Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort (comp. ver. 41 and Psalm 90:15). After affliction man feels the need of "comfort," and longs for some manifestation of the Divine "kindness." According to thy Word unto thy servant. According to the general tenor of thy promises.
Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.
Verse 77. - Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live. The psalmist's afflictions have brought him near to the gates of death. God must visit him with his "tender mercies" for him once more to "live." For thy Law is my delight. His renewed life will be an exercising of himself in God's Law, since that Law is his "delight" (comp. vers. 16, 24, 47, 111, 174).
Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.
Verse 78. - Let the proud be ashamed; i.e. put them to shame (comp. Psalm 35:4, 26; Psalm 40:14; Psalm 70:2; Psalm 83:17, etc.). For they dealt perversely with me without a cause; rather, for with lies they subvert me (comp. ver. 69). But I will meditate in thy precepts. Repeated from ver. 15.
Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.
Verse 79. - Let those that fear thee turn unto me; or, "return to me;" i.e. recover their confidence in me, when they see that I am not forsaken of thee (see vers. 76, 77), but am the recipient of thy "tender mercies." And those that have known thy testimonies; or, according to another reading, "and let them know thy testimonies;" i.e. "let them learn from my experience to know thy precepts better."
Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
Verse 80. - Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; or, "perfect in thy statutes" - in the knowledge and in the practice of them. That I be not ashamed (see ver. 31)
CAPH. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.
Verse 81. - My soul fainteth for thy salvation (comp. Psalm 84:2). The phrase used expresses the most intense desire possible. But I hope in thy Word. (So also ver. 74.) While almost fainting, the psalmist is sustained by his hope and trust in God's promises.
Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?
Verse 82. - Mine eyes fail for thy Word. Yet even here his "eyes fail" - he has looked so long for the aid promised, and it has not come. Saying, When wilt thou comfort me? "Lord, how long?" is the constant cry of God's servants under affliction or persecution. When will relief come and the tyranny be overpast?
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.
Verse 83. - For I am become like a bottle in the smoke. Keble's paraphrase brings out the true sense -
"As wine-skin in the smoke,
My heart is sere and dried." Wine-skins were smoked to toughen and harden them. Yet do I not forget thy statutes. The severity of the discipline does not alienate me from thee, or cause me to depart from thy Law (comp. vers. 23, 51, 161).
How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?
Verse 84. - How many are the days of thy servant? i.e. How little of my life is left! If thou delayest much longer, my days will all be gone. When writ thou execute judgment on them that persecute me? (see the comment on ver. 82b).
The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.
Verse 85. - The proud have digged pits for me; i.e. "have set traps to catch me" (comp. Psalm 7:15; Psalm 9:15). Which are not after thy Law. God's Law is opposed to all underhand and treacherous dealing - therefore to all traps and snares.
All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.
Verse 86. - All thy commandments are faithful; literally, are faithfulness. This is said in respect of the promises attached to them. They (i.e. my enemies) persecute me wrongfully; or, "with lies" - lyingly (comp. vers. 69, 78). Help thou me; i.e. help me against them, so that their "lies" may do me no harm.
They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.
Verse 87. - They had almost consumed me upon earth; or, "made an end of me," "destroyed me." But I forsook not thy precepts (comp. vers. 69, 78, 83). Persecution made the psalmist cling the more to God's Law.
Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.
Verse 88. - Quicken me after thy loving-kindness (comp. vers. 25, 37, 44, 107, 149, 156, 159). So shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth (compare "the law of thy mouth," in ver. 72). It is God's "quickening" - i.e. his life-giving grace - which alone enables his servants to observe and keep his commandments.
LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Verse 89. - Forever, O Lord, thy Word is settled in heaven. God's Word, or Law, is eternal and unchanging - fixed and established forever in the heaven of heavens (comp. Psalm 89:2; James 1:17).
Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
Verse 90. - Thy faithfulness is unto all generations. God "keepeth his promise forever" (Psalm 146:6, Prayer-book Version). If his "Word" generally is unchanging, so especially must be his promises. Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. Even God's physical laws have a character of perpetuity about them. "The constancy of God in his works is an argument for the faithfulness of God in his Word" (Chalmers).
They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.
Verse 91. - They continue this day according to thine ordinances. Heaven and earth continue to observe the ordinances given them by God at the first (comp. Jeremiah 31:35, 36; Jeremiah 33:25). For all are thy servants; rather, all things, or all creatures.
Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
Verse 92. - Unless thy Law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction (comp. vers. 16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 77). Only a real love of God's commandments can sustain men under severe affliction.
I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.
Verse 93. - I will never forget thy precepts (comp. vers. 16, 61, 83). For with them thou hast quickened me (comp. ver. 50, "Thy Word hath quickened me").
I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.
Verse 94. - I am thine, save me. "Save me," i.e. as being thine own - thy true servant and follower. For I have sought thy precepts. And thus shown my fidelity.
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.
Verse 95. - The wicked have waited for me to destroy me; or, "laid in wait for me" (comp. Psalm 56:6, where the same verb is used). But I will consider thy testimonies I will look to thy word of promise, and so sustain their assaults upon me.
I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.
Verse 96. - I have seen an end of all perfection; i.e. to all other perfection I have seen, and see, a limit; but there is no limit to the perfection of thy Law. Thy commandment is exceeding broad. Unlimited - measureless in its range. It inculcates on man an absolute perfection.
MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Verse 97. - O how love I Thy law! (comp. vers. 47, 48, 113, 119, 127, etc.). As the psalmist goes on with his meditation he becomes more and more rated with a deep love of the Law of God, which is not to him a restraint or a burden, but a solace and a "delight." It is my meditation all the day (see ver. 15, 23, 48, 78, etc.).
Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
Verse 98. - Thou through thy command-meets but made me wiser than mine enemies (comp. Deuteronomy 4:6, 8). The knowledge of God's Law gives a wisdom and an understanding infinitely above the cunning and craft of worldly men. If to the knowledge is added a faithful and habitual obedience, a wisdom is attained which can be reached in no other way (see ver. 100). For they are ever with me. Always present to my thoughts, as my rule of life.
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
Verse 99. - I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. Teachers of secular knowledge are intended, wise in their special branches of learning, but not "wise unto salvation." Such "teachers" have often no spiritual knowledge or discernment.
I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
Verse 100. - I understand more than the ancients; or, "the aged." Advanced age does not necessarily give wisdom (see Job 32:7-9). "Antiquity is no help against stupidity" (Luther). Because I keep thy precepts (comp. ver. 104 and John 7:17).
I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
Verse 101. - I have refrained my feet from every evil way. This had been the psalmist's intention and endeavor, but he had not always succeeded in carrying it out (see vers. 67, 176). That I might keep thy Word. God's Word is not kept by such as allow themselves in any evil way.
I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
Verse 102. - I have not departed from thy judgments (comp. vers. 30, 31, 51, 157, 168, etc.). For thou hast taught me. Thy teaching, thy guidance, thy help, have kept me straight.
How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Verse 103. - How sweet are thy words unto my taste! (comp. vers. 14, 16, 40, 47, etc.). The metaphor is new, but the sentiment one which pervades the psalm. Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth. So David, in the nineteenth psalm, speaking of the judgments of God, says that they are "sweeter than honey and the honeycomb."
Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
Verse 104. - Through thy precepts I get understanding (see the comment on vers. 98 and 100). Therefore I hate every false way. A "false way" is one that leads to error and sin (comp. vers. 29 and 128).
NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Verse 105. - Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. It shows me the way wherein I should go, both night and day (comp. Proverbs 6:23).
I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.
Verse 106. - I have sworn, and I will perform it; rather, I have sworn and am steadfastly purposed (see the Prayer-book Version). That I will keep thy righteous judgments; literally, the judgments of thy righteousness; i.e. the judgments which thy righteousness has caused thee to put forth.
I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.
Verse 107. - I am afflicted very much (comp. vers. 23, 28, 50, 51, 61, 71, 78, etc.). Spoken against by princes, reproached by the proud, persecuted without a cause, the psalmist felt his "affliction" to be grievous, almost intolerable. Being brought near to death, he prays for a "little reviving." Quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy Word (comp. vers. 25, 37, 40, 88, etc.).
Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.
Verse 108. - Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord; i.e. my prayers and praises. The lifting up of the hands to God is a kind of sacrifice (Psalm 141:2). And teach me thy judgments. And, in return, make me to understand thy statutes (comp. vers. 12, 26, 33, etc.).
My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.
Verse 109. - My soul is continually in my hand; i.e. my life is in constant jeopardy (comp. Judges 12:3; 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21). Yet do I not forget thy Law (comp. vers. 16, 83, 93, etc.).
The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.
Verse 110. - The wicked have laid a snare for me (comp. vers. 85, 95). Yet I erred not from thy precepts. I have not allowed their machinations to interfere with my obedience.
Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.
Verse 111. - Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever. I regard thy Law as my best and most valuable inheritance - one with which I am resolved never to part. For they are the rejoicing of my heart. My chief joy and delight (comp. vers. 16, 24, 35, 47, etc.).
I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.
Verse 112. - I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes always (comp. vers. 34, 44, etc.). Even unto the end. The end of life is probably meant, as in ver. 33.
SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.
Verse 113. - I hate vain thoughts; rather, unstable or double-minded men (Kay, Cheyne, Revised Version); i.e. "those who are undecided in religion" (Cheyne). But thy Law do I love (comp. vers. 97, 119, 127, 159, 163). There is nothing "unstable" or ',double-minded" in thy Law. It is clear direct, unmistakable.
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.
Verse 114. - Thou art my Hiding-place (comp. Psalm 27:5; Psalm 32:7; Psalm 91:1). And my Shield; i.e. my protection (see Psalm 3:3; Psalm 18:2, 30, etc.). I hope in thy Word. The promises contained in thy Word are my only sure hope (see ver. 43).
Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
Verse 115. - Depart from me, ye evildoers. There is no fellowship between light and darkness, between righteousness and unrighteousness (2 Corinthians 10:16). Good men must separate themselves from those who are manifestly workers of iniquity (comp. Psalm 6:8). For I will keep the commandments of my God (see ver. 106). Association with the wicked hinders men from keeping God's Law. Not only is there the danger of corruption (1 Corinthians 15:3;); but, at the best, attention is distracted, and energies weakened.
Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
Verse 116. - Uphold me according unto thy Word, that I may live; or, "according to thy promise." God's sustaining grace, always needed to "uphold" the righteous, is graciously "promised" them. Their "life" depends upon God's faithfulness to his promise. And let me not be ashamed of my hope. As he would be, if God's promise were not kept.
Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.
Verse 117. - Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe; i.e. from falling away. And I will have respect unto thy commandments continually (comp. ver. 112).
Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.
Verse 118. - Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes; rather, thou despisest all them that go astray from thy statutes. Thou makest light of them. The LXX. have, ἐξουδένωσας For their deceit is falsehood. "Their subtle policy is but a lie" (Kay). It rests on lies, and ends in disappointment.
Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.
Verse 119. - Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross. The wicked are ultimately separated from the righteous, and cast away "as dross," since they can serve no good end (comp. Matthew 13:30, 49, 50). Therefore I love thy testimonies. Not because the wicked suffer, but because they are prevented from injuring the righteous.
My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.
Verse 120. - My flesh trembleth for fear of thee (comp. Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 23:9; Habakkuk 3:16), And I am afraid of thy judgments. Thy "judgments" upon the wicked cause me to shudder with fear.
AIN. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.
Verse 121. - I have done judgment and justice (comp. vers. 30, 31, 55, 56, etc). Leave me not to mine oppressors; rather, thou wilt not leave me to mine oppressors. The nexus of the thought seems to be, "As I have not oppressed any, so wilt thou not suffer me to be crushed by oppression."
Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.
Verse 122. - Be surety for thy servant for good (comp. Job 17:3; Isaiah 38:14). "For good" means "so that it may be well with him." Let not the proud oppress me (comp. vers. 51, 69, 78, 85, etc.).
Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.
Verse 123. - Mine eyes fail for thy salvation; i.e. through looking for it, and vainly expecting it (comp. vers. 81, 82). And for the word of thy righteousness; i.e. and through looking for the fulfillment of thy righteous promises.
Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.
Verse 124. - Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy (comp. vers. 41, 77). And teach me thy statutes. This phrase occurs so often that it becomes a sort of refrain (comp. vers. 11, 26, 33, 64, 68, 108, 135).
I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.
Verse 125. - I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. As thy servant (see vers. 17, 23, 38, 49, 65, etc.), I have a claim upon thee for thy help. What I ask is discernment - to understand the full meaning of thy Law (comp. vers. 34, 66, 73, 1440.
It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.
Verse 126. - It is time for thee, Lord, to work; or, "to act;" i.e. to lay aside quiescence, and come forward as the active Ruler of the universe. For they have made void thy Law. The wicked have cast thy Law behind their back, and, so far as lay in their power, "made it void" - repealed it, cancelled it.
Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
Verse 127. - Therefore I love thy commandments. Because the wicked "make void" thy commandments and cast them aside, "therefore" I all the more "love" them. Above gold; yea, above fine gold (comp. ver. 72).
Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
Verse 128. - Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right. I do not pick and choose among thy commandments which I will neglect and which I will obey, but esteem them all as perfect, and obey them all. "Eclecticism of every kind in reference to the Word of God is rejected" (Hengstenberg). And I hate every false way (comp. vers. 104, 163). All ways are "false" except the way of God's commandments
PE. Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.
Verse 129. - Thy testimonies are wonderful; literally, wonders; i.e. prodigies of moral excellence. Therefore doth my soul keep them. I obey thy Law, not only because it is thy Law, but still more because it is intrinsically "holy, just, and good" (Romans 7:12).
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
Verse 130. - The entrance of thy words giveth light; rather, the opening (or opening up) of thy words. Their full exposition and interpretation (comp. vers. 98-100, 104, 105, etc.). It giveth understanding to the simple (comp. Psalm 19:7; Proverbs 1:4).
I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.
Verse 131. - I opened my mouth, and panted (comp. Psalm 38:10). The idea intended to be expressed is that of earnest and eager desire. For I longed for thy commandments (see vers. 20, 40).
Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.
Verse 132. - Look thou upon me; rather, turn thee unto me, but in the sense of "turn round and look upon me." And be merciful unto me (comp. vers. 41, 58, 76, 77, etc.). As thou usest to do unto those that love thy Name; literally, as thy rule is with those that love thy Name.
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Verse 133. - Order my steps in thy Word; perhaps rather, establish my steps by thy Word (comp. Psalm 40:2). And let not any iniquity (i.e., any wicked persons) have dominion over me. The prayer is not for deliverance from internal corruption, but from the external oppression of enemies (see the next verse).
Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.
Verse 134. - Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts. Out of gratitude for thy interposition.
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.
Verse 135. - Make thy face to shine upon thy servant (comp. Psalm 4:6; Psalm 44:3, etc.). And teach me thy statutes (see the comment on ver. 124).
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.
Verse 136. - Rivers of water s run down mine eyes; literally, mine eyes run down [with] rivers of water (comp. Lamentations 3:48; and see also Jeremiah 9:1; Jeremiah 14:17). Because they keep not thy Law (comp. ver. 53).
TZADDI. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.
Verse 137. - Righteous art thou, O Lord (comp. Psalm 7:9; Psalm 11:7; Psalm 25:8; Psalm 116:5; Psalm 145:17). And upright are thy judgments (see vers. 106, 160, 164).
Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.
Verse 138. - Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful; literally, righteousness and very faithfulness (see the Revised Version). "Harsh and severe as thy testimonies may seem, they are all thoroughly for man's highest good" (Kay).
My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
Verse 139. - My zeal hath consumed me (comp. Psalm 69:9). Because mine enemies have forgotten thy words (see above, vers. 53, 136). The psalmist was at once grieved and angered by man's disobedience to God's commandments (comp. Psalm 139:21).
Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
Verse 140. - Thy Word is very pure; or, "is purged, assayed, tried in the fire." God's "promises" are especially meant, which the course of events tests. Therefore thy servant loveth it (comp. vers. 97, 113, 119, 127, 159, 163).
I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.
Verse 141. - I am small and despised (comp. vers. 22, 51). Some translate, "I am young." But the writer can scarcely have been really a young man. His thoughts are the thoughts of one who has had much experience of life. Yet do not I forget thy precepts. As do those that persecute me (see ver. 139).
Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
Verse 142. - Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness. With God there is "no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:27). His righteousness (צדקה) is pure abstract right (צדק), one and the same always - not shifting, like human ideas of justice. And thy Law is the truth. An embodiment of that immutable morality which rests upon a basis of absolute eternal truth.
Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.
Verse 143. - Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me (comp. vers. 22, 23, 28, 50, 51, 61, 67, 69, etc.). Yet thy commandments are my delight. I am happy in the midst of my troubles, for the joy that I have in thy Word (see vers. 16, 35, 47, 77, 174).
The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.
Verse 144. - The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting (comp. vers. 138, 142, 152). Give me understanding, and I shall live; i.e. "give me full understanding of thy commandments, of their depth and breadth and exceeding excellence." Then shall I truly "live." My spirit will shake off its torpor, and be quickened into a "life" that will deserve the name.
KOPH. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.
Verse 145. - I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord. "Earnest and patient prayer for grace" (Kay) seems to be intended, not mere prayer for deliverance. I will keep thy statutes. If thou hearest and answerest my prayer, I shall have both the will and the power to keep thy commandments.
I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
Verse 146. - I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies. The thought of ver. 145 is repeated in other words.
I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
Verse 147. - I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried (comp. ver. 62). Evening, morning, and noonday were the three usual times of prayer (Psalm 55:17). The writer could not wait for morning. Either he woke up to pray at midnight, or at any rate he anticipated the dawn, and began his morning prayer while it was still dark. I hoped in thy Word. Hope was so strong in him that it did not suffer him to rest.
Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
Verse 148. - Mine eyes prevent the night watches. As ver. 146 is a repetition of ver. 145, so this verse is very nearly a repetition of ver. 147. The only change of idea is in the second clause - that I might meditate in thy Word; or, "on thy promise" - which makes meditation rather than prayer the psalmist's object in his early rising.
Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.
Verse 149. - Hear my voice according unto thy loving-kindness; i.e. "hear me, and, according to thy mercy, grant my prayer." O Lord, quicken me according to thy judgment; or, "according to the rules that thou settest thyself" (comp. ver. 132).
They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.
Verse 150. - They draw nigh; i.e. come near me to threaten me. That follow after mischief; or, "after wickedness." They are far from thy Law (comp. vers. 21, 53, 118, 126, 136, etc.).
Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.
Verse 151. - Thou art near, O Lord. If "they draw nigh," still more near art thou, ready to succor and defend and save (comp. Psalm 145:18). And all thy commandments are truth (comp. ver. 142, "Thy Law is the truth;" and see the comment on that passage).
Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
Verse 152. - Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them forever; rather, from thy testimonies. The study of God's commandments has long ago convinced the psalmist that they are no passing or temporary enactments, but eternal laws, decreed and laid down forever. The "testimonies" spoken of are, of course, the moral precepts of the Law, not its economical or political enactments.
RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.
Verse 153. - Consider mine affliction (see above, vers. 50, 67, 71, 75, 92, etc.). And deliver me. The "affliction" intended is that which the psalmist suffers at the hands of his enemies, who "reproach" him (ver. 22), "deride" him (ver. 51), and otherwise "persecute" him (ver. 161). For I do not forget thy Law (comp. vers. 16, 83, 93, 109, 141, 176).
Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.
Verse 154. - Plead my cause (comp. Psalm 35:1; Psalm 43:1; Micah 7:9). God "pleads the cause" of his servants when he takes up their quarrel, and avenges them upon their enemies. And deliver me; or, "rescue me" (Cheyne). Quicken me according to thy Word (comp. ver. 25).
Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.
Verse 155. - Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. "Salvation" is only attainable by man through obedience to the commandments of God. If men will not even "seek" to know and do his commandments, they put "salvation" from them.
Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.
Verse 156. - Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord; rather, many (comp. Psalm 25:6, and note the antithesis between this verse and the next, "Many are thy mercies:" "Many are my persecutors"). Quicken me according to thy judgments (comp. ver. 149).
Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.
Verse 157. - Many are my persecutors and mine enemies. Hitherto this had been implied (vers. 22, 23, 51, 61, etc.) rather than expressed. Now the thought of Psalm 25:18 comes over the writer, "Consider mine enemies, for they are many." Yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. Repeated from ver. 51.
I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.
Verse 158. - I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; literally, the treacherous dealers - those who dealt treacherously against the Divine covenant. Because they kept not thy Word (comp. ver. 136).
Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.
Verse 159. - Consider how I love thy precepts (comp. vers. 97, 113, 119, 127, 163). Quicken me, O Lord, according to thy loving-kindness. Slightly varied from ver. 149.
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
Verse 160. - Thy Word is true from the beginning; rather, the sum of thy Word is truth. (So Hengstenberg, Kay, Cheyne, and the Revised Version.) "After examining the Divine Word, and estimating the value of its several parts, the psalmist found that the final sum was 'truth - pure, absolute truth" (Kay). And every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever. An emphatic repetition of the statement made in ver. 144.
SCHIN. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
Verse 161. - Princes have persecuted me without a cause. The "princes" may be either foreign or native; but from ver. 23 it would rather appear that native princes are intended. But my heart standeth in awe of thy Word. Yet I do not fear them, or heed what they say. Of nothing do I stand in awe, except "thy Word."
I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
Verse 162. - I rejoice at thy Word, as one that findeth great spoil. We must not limit this to the promises contained in God's Law. The psalmist views the precepts of the Law as a real treasure (vers. 14, 72, 127), since they make him wise unto salvation.
I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.
Verse 163. - I hate and abhor lying; or, "falsehood." False systems of religion are in the psalmist's thoughts; or, at any rate, false moral teaching, lie is not speaking of the habit of lying. But thy Law do I love (see the comment on ver. 159).
Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.
Verse 164. - Seven times a day do I praise thee; i.e. repeatedly, an indefinite number of times (comp. Psalm 12:6; Psalm 79:11; Proverbs 24:16). Because of thy righteous judgments (comp. vers. 137, 160).
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
Verse 165. - Great peace have they which love thy Law (comp. Proverbs 3:1, 2; Isaiah 32:17; James 3:18). There is always disquietude where there is sin. A sense of perfect peace and rest belongs to those who love and keep God's Law. And nothing shall offend them; rather, and they shall have no stumbling-block. Nothing shall cause them to stumble, much less to fall away from grace.
LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.
Verse 166. - Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation (comp. vers. 81, 123). I have waited for thee, continually expecting thee to come to my aid, and save me from my enemies. And done thy commandments; kept them, i.e., as far as human frailty would allow.
My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
Verse 167. - My soul hath kept thy testimonies. In will and intention I have always been faithful unto thee; I have striven to keep all thy commandments. And I love them exceedingly (comp. vers. 97, 127, 159, etc.).
I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.
Verse 168. - I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies (comp. vers. 166,167). The assertion is made more broadly than a Christian would make it. But there is no intention to claim absolute perfection (see vers. 67, 71, 116, 117, 133, 176, etc.). For all my ways are before thee. Knowing that nothing which I do, or say, or think is hidden from thee, I have striven to keep thy Law in thought and word and deed.
TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.
Verse 169. - Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord. The "cry" is probably for deliverance from his enemies (see ver. 166); but this, he feels, depends upon his own faithfulness. Hence the prayer in the second clause, Give me understanding according to thy Word (comp. ver. 144).
Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
Verse 170. - Let my supplication come before thee. A repetition of the "cry" in the preceding verse, which is distinctly shown by the next clause to be a cry for deliverance - Deliver me according to thy Word; or, "according to thy promise" (imrathka). God had "promised" to deliver all those who in the day of trouble should call upon him (Psalm 50:15; Psalm 91:15).
My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
Verse 171. - My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes; rather, let my lips pour forth praise, for thou teachest me thy statutes. The psalmist feels that his prayer for enlightenment (ver. 169b) is answered, or just about to be answered, and that therefore it behooves him to gush forth with praise like a fountain (comp. ver. 7).
My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
Verse 172. - My tongue shall speak of thy Word; or, "let my tongue respond to thy promise " - return praise, i.e., for the fulfillment of thy promise. For all thy commandments are righteousness. And therefore are worthy objects of praise.
Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
Verse 173. - Let thine hand help me; literally, be to help me; i.e. be ever ready to help me. For I have chosen thy precepts. I have cast aside all other helpers, and have pinned my faith on thee and thy Word.
I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.
Verse 174. - I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord (comp. vers. 81, 166). And thy Law is my delight (see vers. 16, 35, 47, 70. 77, 111).
Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
Verse 175. - Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; i.e. "quicken me; give me true life in my soul and spirit - my real self - and then my praise shall be ever of thee." And let thy judgments help me. Let the course of thy providence be such as to help me to praise thee.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
Verse 176. - I have gone astray like a lost sheep (comp. ver. 67). Some see in this verse nothing but a reference to the outward circumstances of the psalmist's life. But this is certainly not the idea generally attached in Scripture to the image of the "lost sheep" (see Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 1:6; Luke 15:4-7; 1 Peter 2:25). Dean Johnson's exposition is probably correct, "I have wandered far from thee and from home, as a sheep lost and ready to perish in the wilderness." Seek thy servant. "Seek him, lest he be not able of himself to seek thee; and bring him again to thy fold." For I do not forget thy commandments. In my worst wanderings I have not fallen away wholly from thee. Thy Law has been ever in my thoughts. I have not "forgotten" it, but meditated on it and longed for it (vers. 15, 20, 40).