ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.
My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.
Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.
Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.
DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.
Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.
I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
HE. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.
Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.
So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.
And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.
So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.
I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.
Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.
This I had, because I kept thy precepts.
CHETH. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.
I entreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.
The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.
Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.
They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.
I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.
Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.
Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.
Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.
Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
CAPH. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.
Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.
How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?
The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.
All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.
They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.
Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.
LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.
Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.
I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.
I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.
MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.
I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.
Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.
My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.
Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.
I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.
SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.
Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.
Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.
Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.
My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.
AIN. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.
Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.
Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.
Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.
I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.
It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.
Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
PE. Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.
TZADDI. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.
Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.
My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.
Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.
KOPH. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.
I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.
They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.
Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.
Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.
Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.
Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.
Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.
Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.
I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.
Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
SCHIN. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.
Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.
My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.
TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.
Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.
Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
 

119:1 law of the LORD. The “law” (Hebrew torah) is the primary name for the Old Testament Scriptures as a whole, especially the Pentateuch. Of the eight different words used for the Scriptures in this remarkable psalm—the longest chapter in the Bible—“law” occurs most frequently. The psalm is an acrostic poem, with twenty-two stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The verses all begin with a particular letter in each verse of the stanza (aleph in the first stanza, beth in the second stanza). This structure is clearly intended to stress the literal (letter-by-letter, word-by-word) divine origin of the Scriptures (compare Christ’s testimony in Matthew 5:18). Practically every one of the 176 verses of the psalm uses one of these eight words in reference to the Scriptures. Six verses, however, do not (verses 3,37,90,91,122,132). This may suggest the tendency of man (often identified with the number six, as falling short of seven, the number of completeness—Revelation 13:18) to corrupt or dilute the Scriptures. On the other hand, six verses (16,43,48,160,168,172) contain two such references, so that the total number remains 176, equal to the number of verses. The whole psalm begins with a promise of blessing to those who study, believe and obey the Word of God!

119:2 testimonies. “Testimonies” is in Hebrew edah or eduth, the second of the eight words used in Psalm 119 for the Scriptures.

119:3 his ways. This is the first of the six verses in Psalm 119 with no specific mention of the Scriptures. Perhaps this suggests that the “young man” (Psalm 119:9), immediately after learning of promised blessing through the Bible, still thinks he can obey God without daily attention to the Word, but this is a mistake.

119:4 precepts. “Precepts” is Hebrew piqqudim, the third word for the Scriptures.

119:5 statutes. “Statutes” is Hebrew chuqqah or choe, the fourth word.

119:6 commandments. “Commandments” is Hebrew mitzvah, the fifth word.

119:7 judgments. “Judgments” is Hebrew mishpat, the sixth word.

119:8 O forsake me not. After his confident assertion that he could keep all God’s statutes, testimonies, and precepts, walking in His law, respecting His commandments, and learning His judgments, it is as though he suddenly realizes he simply cannot do all this, and therefore, right at the end of his first stanza, he cries out for God’s mercy!

119:9 thy word. The second stanza begins with an earnest desire for cleansing, a cleansing that can only be applied through God’s Word (Ephesians 5:26). Appropriately the answer comes through the Hebrew word dabar, translated simply as “word;” dabar is by far the most frequently used word for “Word” in the Scriptures, especially for “the Word of the LORD.” Note its first use in Genesis 15:1.

119:10 not wander. With far less self-confidence than before his cleansing through the Word, the young man realizes his deep dependence on the Lord, on prayer, and on the Word, calling out for strength not to “wander” away from God’s written will.

119:11 hid in mine heart. How vitally important it is to memorize Scripture, hiding God’s Word in both heart and mind, if we are to have daily victory over sin in our lives. Here the “young man” uses the eighth and final word for the Scriptures in this psalm, Hebrew imrah, again translated simply by “word,” thus emphasizing not just a concept or thought but the very words of God.

119:16 thy word. This is the eighth (and last) verse of the psalmist’s second stanza, again emphasizing the “Word” (dabar). The same word is again used in the first verse of the succeeding stanza. The reason why each stanza has eight lines is here becoming evident, for the Word of God is not only the Scriptures but also is Christ Himself (John 1:1-3,14). “Eight” is the number after “seven,” the number of completeness, so it always suggests a new beginning, and is especially associated with Jesus Christ in His resurrection on the “eighth” day. It is noteworthy that there are eight combinations of His name found in the New Testament (“Lord,” “Jesus,” “Christ,” “Lord Jesus,” “Lord Jesus Christ,” “Jesus Christ,” “Christ Jesus,” and “Lord Christ”). The gematria (numerical value of the Greek letters) in “Jesus” is 888, whereas that of the antichrist will be 666. The gematria of “Lord” is 800 and of “Christ” is “8 x 185.” All combinations are multiples of “8.”

119:17 that I may live. Again dabar (“word”) is used, and associated, quite significantly, with “living.” As the number of “new life,” through the “living Word,” the number “eight” is impressed in the whole structure of Psalm 119, each stanza consisting of eight verses. It is noteworthy that there were eight individuals (not including Christ and those raised with Him at His resurrection) who were raised from the dead, as recorded in Scripture: three in the Old Testament (I Kings 17:22; II Kings 4:34,35; II Kings 13:21), three by Christ (Matthew 9:24,25; Luke 7:15; John 11:44), one through Peter (Acts 9:40-41), and one through Paul (Acts 20:9-12). Dabar (“word”) in this psalm seems associated mainly with cleansing and new life (Psalm 119:9,17), imrah (“word”) with victory over sin (Psalm 119:11).

119:18 wondrous things. Here “law” is used for the second time (first in Psalm 119:1), and again refers to the whole Old Testament and from our perspective to the whole Bible. The adjective “wondrous” is often applied to God’s mighty miracles, in Egypt and other places. This would indicate that there are many evidences of supernatural inspiration and divine origin that can be gleaned from the Scriptures, if only one’s spiritual eyes are open to see them as we search the Scriptures.

119:25 quicken thou me. Revival (that is, “life again”) is associated with the Word. Rather than considering Psalm 119 as a random collection of pithy sayings about the Scriptures, one might think of it as a life-long diary of the young man who wrote it, beginning with his cleansing through the Word (Psalm 119:9), continuing on through all phases of his life in the Lord, and ending in old age when he again thrusts himself on God’s grace, anxiously longing for his full salvation when he meets the Lord (Psalm 119:174). Each stanza might represent a specific phase in his life-long pilgrimage, and his relation to the Scriptures. Each phase of one’s life in the Lord may have one major theme but with overtones from other phases. Perhaps the following could be seen as the major themes of the respective stanzas, all from the perspective of continued application of the Scriptures.

1. Conviction 7. Comfort 12. Sovereignty 17. Victory

2. Regeneration 8. Fellowship 13. Understanding 18. Truth

3. Nurture 9. Chastisement 14. Guidance 19. Trust

4. Confession 10. Submission 15. Protection 20. Deliverance

5. Restoration 11. Persecution 16. Obedience 21. Peace

6. Testimony 22. Salvation

119:28 according unto thy word. Note the tremendous resources available to the believer in God’s Word. It is strengthening (Psalm 119:28), quickening (Psalm 119:50), everlasting (Psalm 119:89), sweetening (Psalm 119:103), guiding (Psalm 119:105), protecting (Psalm 119:114), enlightening (Psalm 119:130), purifying (Psalm 119:140), and truth-telling (Psalm 119:160), among many others!

119:35 do I delight. The Word and its commands are not a burden, but a delight, to the redeemed saint. Note also Psalm 119:47, 77, 92, 143, and 174.

119:42 wherewith to answer. Note I Peter 3:15; Colossians 4:6. We who would be witnesses for Christ must be ready to “give an answer”—sometimes even before those who are powerful in learning or influence (Psalm 119:46)—and God’s Word has the answer.

119:55 in the night. The Word of God is the greatest comfort of all in times of great difficulty or sorrow (See also Psalm 119:62).

119:63 companion of all them. True fellowship is found with those who believe and seek to obey the Word of God, regardless of sectarian differences.

119:75 I know. When affliction comes in a believer’s life, he can know that God has a good reason, whether or not he can understand it at the time. Romans 8:28 is always true.

119:77 law is my delight. Many feel that God’s law is harsh and burdensome, but it should instead be a delight. The 119th psalm contains at least twenty-five specific testimonies to the benefits of the law (e.g., Psalm 119:18,165). The law cannot save, for none (but Christ) can keep it perfectly, but He has redeemed us from its curse (Galatians 3:13), and we can now rejoice in its blessings.

119:83 bottle in the smoke. The “bottle” is a wineskin, rendered stiff and cracked in the smoke, and thus of little use.

119:89 settled in heaven. This powerful verse, stressing the eternal origin and eternal duration of God’s Word, begins the second half of Psalm 119.

119:90 the earth, and it abideth. God created the earth after He had settled His Word, and then undertook the work of sustaining it, as well as His Word, forever.

119:91 thine ordinances. This is one of the six verses in the psalm with no explicit reference to the Scriptures. However, it does refer to the “ordinances” of the creation (compare Job 38:33) which, like all God’s judgments (same word, mishpat) abide forever, as His servants.

119:97 how love I thy law. This testimony of the psalmist should convict us today. He had only small portions of the Scriptures to study, much of which were portions that many modern Christians don’t bother to read at all, whereas we have God’s complete revelation. Yet he loved the Scriptures so much that he continually meditated on them!

119:99 more understanding. An ordinary layman who is diligent in the Scriptures has more real understanding of truth than the enemies of God (Psalm 119:98), those who teach the unlearned (Psalm 119:99), and the ancient sages (Psalm 119:100) who do not know God’s Word.

119:99 meditation. Such meditation on the true history and meaning of life, as found in the Bible, will indeed yield more true wisdom than can be obtained in modern education, as it is very much influenced by the false philosophy of evolutionary humanism.

119:105 light unto my path. The illuminating truth of the Scriptures is often compared to light for the pathway (Psalm 119:130; Proverbs 6:23; II Peter 1:19; etc.)

119:111 heritage for ever. Note how often the psalmist stresses the eternal verity of God’s words (Psalm 119:89, 111, 144, 152, 160, etc.).

119:128 all thy precepts. Every Scripture is true and right without exception, and we should hate every teaching which suggests otherwise!

119:130 entrance of thy words. See note on Psalm 119:105.

119:147 prevented. See note on Job 3:12.

119:152 founded them for ever. See note on Psalm 119:111.

119:160 true from the beginning. The psalmist thus affirms that even the Creation account of the Bible, specifically the first chapter of Genesis, describing events before there were any witnesses to record them (except God Himself!), is absolutely true.

119:174 for thy salvation. At the end of his long testimony, the psalmist expresses his deep longing for the completion of his “salvation.” The Hebrew word yeshua could be rendered “Jesus.” By inspiration, he was thus praying for the coming of the Savior, who would fulfill all the Scriptures that had been his lifelong delight.


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