Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.…
I. WHOM WAS IT WRITTEN BY?
1. Some assert that it is David's work. They profess to be able to find proofs of his style and manner, and there is no limit to the laudations they pass on this psalm; but extravagant rhetoric proves nothing.
2. But all the chief and most reliable of expositors refuse to admit the Davidic authorship. The style is far later than that of David. In the Lamentations of Jeremiah there is a similar alphabetical composition. It is altogether an artificial and didactic composition, widely different from that which we have most reason to assign to the age and pen of David. Moreover, so far as we know, that general reading of the Law, which this psalm presupposes, could not have been without the wide circulation of copies of the Law. But of such circulation we have no evidence until the time of Ezra. Moreover, the life of David, as it is portrayed in the Scriptures, seems quite out of keeping with the tone, spirit, and allusions of this psalm.
3. It is not possible to name any individual person as the author. But we gather from the psalm that it was written by a devoted servant of God, whoever be may have been; that he was probably a young man - one of those of whom St. John would say, "I have written unto you young men, because ye are strong, and have overcome the wicked one." Vers. 9, 99, 100, warrant the supposition that he was young. But, nevertheless, deeply taught of God to love the Word of God, and to continually feed upon it. Very lowly minded and humble before God. See the general tone of the psalm, and especially the last eight verses. He seems to have been much tried (vers. 21, 23, 36, 37). His one fear being lest he should prove unworthy, and be ashamed (vers. 6, 7, 22, 31), If we were to look for one in whom the various conditions of authorship meet, we should turn to the Book of Daniel; either he himself, or one of those three noble Hebrew youths his book tells of, might well have been the writer of this psalm.
II. WHEREFORE IT WAS WRITTEN.
1. Perhaps as a memoir of the writer's own experience, and for his own help.
2. But yet more probably for the instruction of others. Hence the alphabetic, acrostic style, which was adopted as an aid to memory; just as preachers now divide their sermons into various heads.
3. And for the glory of God - that his grace might be praised.
4. For the commendation of the Word of God. The psalmist would bear his emphatic testimony to the preciousness of that Word.
5. And for the stirring up of those who should read the psalm to diligent search for the treasures of that Word. Personal testimony such as is so largely given in this psalm has ever great power over the minds of others.
III. ITS GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.
1. It is from a believer to believers. The infidel and scoffer are not contemplated in the design of the psalm.
2. It is for the edification and growth in holiness of the people of God.
3. It is intensely spiritual. Rites and ceremonies and appeals to the mere reason are absent from it; it speaks to the soul.
4. It is universal in character. Limited to no one period, to no one land, to no one nation, but for all.
5. Its spiritual force and power are witnessed to by the God-fearing of all ages. - S.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.