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Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 119\\

This psalm is generally thought to be written by David, but when is
uncertain; very probably towards the decline of life; and, as some
think, for the sake or his son Solomon. It seems to be a collection of
observations on the word of God and its precepts, the usefulness and
excellency of it, he had made in the course of his life; interspersed
with various petitions for the grace of God, to enable him to observe
it. The psalm is a very extraordinary one; partly on account of the
unusual length of it, it being more than double the length of the
longest psalm in the whole book; and partly on account of its curious
composition. It consists of twenty two parts, according to the number
of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet; the names of which letters stand
between each part; and every part consists of eight verses, all of
which begin with the same letter: thus, for instance, the first eight
verses begin with the letter \^a\^, "aleph", and the second eight verses
begin with the letter \^b\^, "beth", and so on throughout; hence the
Masorah calls this psalm the Great Alphabet. This the psalmist did,
perhaps to excite attention to what he said, and also to help the
memory. And it is observable that there are very few verses in the
whole, not more than one or two, but what has something in it
concerning the word of God, and its precepts and ordinances; there are
nine or ten different words used relative to it, which signify much one
and the same thing; as laws, statutes, judgments, testimonies
Luther {m} observes, that neither Cicero, nor Virgil, nor Demosthenes,
are to be compared with David for eloquence, as we see in the hundred
nineteenth Psalm, where he divideth one sense and meaning into
twenty two sorts. And it may also be remarked, that there is nothing in
it concerning the tabernacle worship, or the rites and ceremonies of
the legal dispensation; so that it seems to be calculated for, and is
suited to, the word of God, and the ordinances of it, as we now have
them in their full perfection: and the design of the whole is to show
the fervent affection the psalmist had for the word of God, and to stir
up the same in others.

{m} Mensal. Colloqu. c. 32. p. 365.

\^a\^, \\ALEPH.--The First Part\\.