law of the LORD

Psalms 119:1

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!

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