Psalms 119

Listen to Psalms 119
1 [a] Blessed are those whose 1way is blameless, who 2walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who 3keep his 4testimonies, who 5seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also 6do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded your 7precepts to be kept diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may 8be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
6 9Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn 10your righteous rules.[b]
8 I will keep your statutes; 11do not utterly forsake me!
9 How can 12a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
10 13With my whole heart I seek you; let me not 14wander from your commandments!
11 I have 15stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O LORD; 16teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I 17declare all the rules[c] of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I 18delight as much as in all 19riches.
15 I will 20meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your 21ways.
16 I will 22delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
17 23Deal bountifully with your servant, 24that I may live and keep your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am 25a sojourner on the earth; 26hide not your commandments from me!
20 My soul is consumed with 27longing for your rules[d] at all times.
21 You rebuke 28the insolent, 29accursed ones, who 30wander from your commandments.
22 Take away from me 31scorn and contempt, 32for I have kept your testimonies.
23 Even though 33princes sit plotting against me, your servant will 34meditate on your statutes.
24 Your testimonies are my 35delight; they are my 36counselors.
25 37My soul clings to the dust; 38give me life 39according to your word!
26 When 40I told of my ways, you answered me; 41teach me your statutes!
27 42Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will 43meditate on your wondrous works.
28 44My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me and graciously 45teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I 46set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; 47let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments when you 48enlarge my heart![e]
33 49Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it 50to the end.[f]
34 51Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
35 52Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I 53delight in it.
36 54Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to 55selfish gain!
37 56Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and 57give me life in your ways.
38 58Confirm to your servant your promise, 59that you may be feared.
39 Turn away the 60reproach that I dread, for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I 61long for your precepts; 62in your righteousness give me life!
41 Let your 63steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation 64according to your promise;
42 then 65shall I have an answer for him 66who taunts me, for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my 67hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually, forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk 68in a wide place, for I have 69sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies 70before kings and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I 71find my delight in your commandments, which I love.
48 I will 72lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will 73meditate on your statutes.
49 Remember 74your word to your servant, in which you have made me 75hope.
50 This is 76my comfort in my affliction, that your promise 77gives me life.
51 78The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not 79turn away from your law.
52 When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O LORD.
53 80Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law.
54 Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my 81sojourning.
55 I 82remember your name in the night, O LORD, and keep your law.
56 This blessing has fallen to me, that 83I have kept your precepts.
57 84The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep your words.
58 I 85entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me 86according to your promise.
59 When I 87think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60 I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.
61 Though 88the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not 89forget your law.
62 At 90midnight I rise to praise you, because of your 91righteous rules.
63 92I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts.
64 93The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; 94teach me your statutes!
65 You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, 95according to your word.
66 Teach me 96good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.
67 97Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.
68 98You are good and do good; 99teach me your statutes.
69 100The insolent 101smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I 102keep your precepts;
70 their heart is unfeeling 103like fat, but I 104delight in your law.
71 It is 105good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
72 106The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
73 107Your hands have made and fashioned me; 108give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and 109rejoice, because I have 110hoped in your word.
75 I know, O LORD, that your rules are 111righteous, and that in 112faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your 113mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my 114delight.
78 Let 115the insolent be put to 116shame, because they have 117wronged me with falsehood; as for me, I will 118meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you 119turn to me, that they may know your testimonies.
80 May my heart be 120blameless in your statutes, 121that I may not be put to shame!
81 My soul 122longs for your salvation; I 123hope in your word.
82 My 124eyes long for your promise; I ask, 125"When will you comfort me?"
83 For I have 126become like a 127wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 128How long must your servant endure?[g] 129When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 130The insolent have 131dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law.
86 All your commandments are 132sure; they persecute me 133with falsehood; 134help me!
87 They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your steadfast love 135give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.
89 Forever, O LORD, your 136word is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your 137faithfulness endures to all generations; you have 138established the earth, and it 139stands fast.
91 By your 140appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.
92 If your law had not been my 141delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have 142given me life.
94 I am yours; save me, 143for I have sought your precepts.
95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly 144broad.
97 Oh how 145I love your law! It is my 146meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me 147wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for 148your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than 149the aged,[h] for I 150keep your precepts.
101 I 151hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.
103 How 152sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore 153I hate every false way.
105 154Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
106 I have 155sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your 156righteous rules.
107 I am severely 157afflicted; 158give me life, O LORD, according to your word!
108 Accept 159my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD, and 160teach me your rules.
109 I hold my life 161in my hand continually, but I do not 162forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid 163a snare for me, but 164I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your testimonies are 165my heritage forever, for they are 166the joy of my heart.
112 I 167incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, 168to the end.[i]
113 I hate 169the double-minded, but I love 170your law.
114 You are my 171hiding place and my 172shield; I 173hope in your word.
115 174Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may 175keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me 176according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be 177put to shame in my 178hope!
117 179Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!
118 You 180spurn all who 181go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like 182dross, therefore 183I love your testimonies.
120 My flesh 184trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.
121 I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Give your servant 185a pledge of good; let not 186the insolent oppress me.
123 My 187eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and 188teach me your statutes.
125 I am your 189servant; 190give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!
126 It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken.
127 Therefore I 191love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every 192false way.
129 Your testimonies are 193wonderful; therefore my soul 194keeps them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts 195understanding to the simple.
131 I 196open my mouth and 197pant, because I 198long for your commandments.
132 199Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name.
133 200Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity 201get dominion over me.
134 202Redeem me from man's oppression, that I may keep your precepts.
135 203Make your face shine upon your servant, and 204teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes 205shed streams of tears, because people 206do not keep your law.
137 207Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules.
138 You have appointed your testimonies in 208righteousness and in all 209faithfulness.
139 My 210zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words.
140 Your promise is well 211tried, and your servant 212loves it.
141 I am small and despised, yet I do not 213forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is 214true.
143 Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my 215delight.
144 Your testimonies are righteous forever; 216give me understanding that I may 217live.
145 With my 218whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will 219keep your statutes.
146 I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before 220dawn and cry for help; I 221hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before 222the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.
149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, 223according to your justice 224give me life.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law.
151 But 225you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are 226true.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have 227founded them forever.
153 Look on my 228affliction and deliver me, for 229I do not forget your law.
154 230Plead my cause and redeem me; 231give me life according to your promise!
155 232Salvation is far from the wicked, 233for they do not seek your statutes.
156 234Great is your mercy, O LORD; 235give me life according to your rules.
157 236Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not 237swerve from your testimonies.
158 I look at 238the faithless with 239disgust, because they do not keep your commands.
159 Consider how I 240love your precepts! 241Give me life according to your steadfast love.
160 242The sum of your word is 243truth, and every one of your 244righteous rules endures forever.
161 245Princes persecute me 246without cause, but my heart 247stands in awe of your words.
162 I 248rejoice at your word like one who 249finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love 250your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you for your 251righteous rules.
165 Great 252peace have those who love your law; 253nothing can make them stumble.
166 I 254hope for your salvation, O LORD, and I do your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your testimonies; I 255love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and testimonies, 256for all my ways are before you.
169 Let my 257cry come before you, O LORD; 258give me understanding 259according to your word!
170 Let my plea come before you; 260deliver me according to your word.
171 My lips will 261pour forth praise, for you 262teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your word, for 263all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have 264chosen your precepts.
174 I 265long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my 266delight.
175 Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.
176 I have 267gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not 268forget your commandments.

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Psalms 119 Commentary

Chapter 119

The general scope and design of this psalm is to magnify the Divine law, and make it honourable. There are ten words by which Divine revelation is called in this psalm, and each expresses what God expects from us, and what we may expect from him. 1. God's law; this is enacted by him as our Sovereign. 2. His way; this is the rule of his providence. 3. His testimonies; they are solemnly declared to the world. 4. His commandments; given with authority. 5. His precepts; not left as indifferent matters to us. 6. His word, or saying; it is the declaration of his mind. 7. His judgments; framed in infinite wisdom. 8. His righteousness; it is the rule and standard of what is right. 9. His statutes; they are always binding. 10. His truth or faithfulness; it is eternal truth, it shall endure for ever.

Verses 1-8 This psalm may be considered as the statement of a believer's experience. As far as our views, desires, and affections agree with what is here expressed, they come from the influences of the Holy Spirit, and no further. The pardoning mercy of God in Christ, is the only source of a sinner's happiness. And those are most happy, who are preserved most free from the defilement of sin, who simply believe God's testimonies, and depend on his promises. If the heart be divided between him and the world, it is evil. But the saints carefully avoid all sin; they are conscious of much evil that clogs them in the ways of God, but not of that wickedness which draws them out of those ways. The tempter would make men think they are at them out of those ways. The tempter would make men think they are at liberty to follow the word of God or not, as they please. But the desire and prayer of a good man agree with the will and command of God. If a man expects by obedience in one thing to purchase indulgence for disobedience in others, his hypocrisy will be detected; if he is not ashamed in this world, everlasting shame will be his portion. The psalmist coveted to learn the laws of God, to give God the glory. And believers see that if God forsakes them, the temper will be too hard for them.

Verses 9-16 To original corruption all have added actual sin. The ruin of the young is either living by no rule at all, or choosing false rules: let them walk by Scripture rules. To doubt of our own wisdom and strength, and to depend upon God, proves the purpose of holiness is sincere. God's word is treasure worth laying up, and there is no laying it up safe but in our hearts, that we may oppose God's precepts to the dominion of sin, his promises to its allurements, and his threatenings to its violence. Let this be our plea with Him to teach us his statutes, that, being partakers of his holiness, we may also partake of his blessedness. And those whose hearts are fed with the bread of life, should with their lips feed many. In the way of God's commandments there is the unsearchable riches of Christ. But we do not meditate on God's precepts to good purpose, unless our good thoughts produce good works. I will not only think of thy statutes, but do them with delight. And it will be well to try the sincerity of our obedience by tracing the spring of it; the reality of our love by cheerfulness in appointed duties.

Verses 17-24 If God deals in strict justice with us, we all perish. We ought to spend our lives in his service; we shall find true life in keeping his word. Those that would see the wondrous things of God's law and gospel, must beg him to give them understanding, by the light of his Spirit. Believers feel themselves strangers on earth; they fear missing their way, and losing comfort by erring from God's commandments. Every sanctified soul hungers after the word of God, as food which there is no living without. There is something of pride at the bottom of every wilful sin. God can silence lying lips; reproach and contempt may humble and do us good, and then they shall be removed. Do we find the weight of the cross is above that we are able to bear? He that bore it for us will enable us to bear it; upheld by him we cannot sink. It is sad when those who should protect the innocent, are their betrayers. The psalmist went on in duty, and he found comfort in the word of God. The comforts of the word of God are most pleasant to a gracious soul, when other comforts are made bitter; and those that would have God's testimonies to be their delight, must be advised by them. May the Lord direct us in exercising repentance of sin, and faith in Christ.

Verses 25-32 While the souls of the children of this world cleave to the earth as their portion, the children of light are greatly burdened, because of the remains of carnal affections in their hearts. It is unspeakable comfort to a gracious soul, to think with what tenderness all its complaints are received by a gracious God. We can talk of the wonders of redeeming love, when we understand the way of God's precepts, and walk in that way. The penitent melts in sorrow for sin: even the patient spirit may melt in the sense of affliction, it is then its interest to pour out its soul before God. The way of lying means all false ways by which men deceive themselves and others, or are deceived by Satan and his instruments. Those who know and love the law of the Lord, desire to know it more, and love it better. The way of serious godliness is the way of truth; the only true way to happiness: we must always have actual regard to it. Those who stick to the word of God, may in faith expect and pray for acceptance with God. Lord, never leave me to do that by which I shall shame myself, and do not thou reject my services. Those that are going to heaven, should still press forward. God, by his Spirit, enlarges the hearts of his people when he gives them wisdom. The believer prays to be set free from sin.

Verses 33-40 Teach me thy statutes, not the mere words, but the way of applying them to myself. God, by his Spirit, gives a right understanding. But the Spirit of revelation in the word will not suffice, unless we have the Spirit of wisdom in the heart. God puts his Spirit within us, causing us to walk in his statutes. The sin here prayed against is covetousness. Those that would have the love of God rooted in them, must get the love of the world rooted out; for the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Quicken me in thy way; to redeem time, and to do every duty with liveliness of spirit. Beholding vanity deadens us, and slackens our pace; a traveller must not stand gazing upon every object that presents itself to his view. The promises of God's word greatly relate to the preservation of the true believer. When Satan has drawn a child of God into worldly compliances, he will reproach him with the falls into which he led him. Victory must come from the cross of Christ. When we enjoy the sweetness of God's precepts, it will make us long for more acquaintance with them. And where God has wrought to will, he will work to do.

Verses 41-48 Lord, I have by faith thy mercies in view; let me by prayer prevail to obtain them. And when the salvation of the saints is completed, it will plainly appear that it was not in vain to trust in God's word. We need to pray that we may never be afraid or ashamed to own God's truths and ways before men. And the psalmist resolves to keep God's law, in a constant course of obedience, without backsliding. The service of sin is slavery; the service of God is liberty. There is no full happiness, or perfect liberty, but in keeping God's law. We must never be ashamed or afraid to own our religion. The more delight we take in the service of God, the nearer we come to perfection. Not only consent to his law as good, but take pleasure in it as good for us. Let me put forth all the strength I have, to do it. Something of this mind of Christ is in every true disciple.

Verses 49-56 Those that make God's promises their portion, may with humble boldness make them their plea. He that by his Spirit works faith in us, will work for us. The word of God speaks comfort in affliction. If, through grace, it makes us holy, there is enough in it to make us easy, in all conditions. Let us be certain we have the Divine law for what we believe, and then let not scoffers prevail upon us to decline from it. God's judgments of old comfort and encourage us, for he is still the same. Sin is horrible in the eyes of all that are sanctified. Ere long the believer will be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. In the mean time, the statutes of the Lord supply subjects for grateful praise. In the season of affliction, and in the silent hours of the night, he remembers the name of the Lord, and is stirred up to keep the law. All who have made religion the first thing, will own that they have been unspeakable gainers by it.

Verses 57-64 True believers take the Lord for the portion of their inheritance, and nothing less will satisfy them. The psalmist prayed with his whole heart, knowing how to value the blessing he prayed for: he desired the mercy promised, and depended on the promise for it. He turned from by-paths, and returned to God's testimonies. He delayed not. It behoves sinners to hasten to escape; and the believer will be equally in haste to glorify God. No care or grief should take away God's word out of our minds, or hinder the comfort it bestows. There is no situation on earth in which a believer has not cause to be thankful. Let us feel ashamed that others are more willing to keep from sleep to spend the time in sinful pleasures, than we are to praise God. And we should be more earnest in prayer, that our hearts may be filled with his mercy, grace, and peace.

Verses 65-72 However God has dealt with us, he has dealt with us better than we deserve; and all in love, and for our good. Many have knowledge, but little judgment; those who have both, are fortified against the snares of Satan, and furnished for the service of God. We are most apt to wander from God, when we are easy in the world. We should leave our concerns to the disposal of God, seeing we know not what is good for us. Lord, thou art our bountiful Benefactor; incline our hearts to faith and obedience. The psalmist will go on in his duty with constancy and resolution. The proud are full of the world, and its wealth and pleasures; these make them senseless, secure, and stupid. God visits his people with affliction, that they may learn his statutes. Not only God's promises, but even his law, his percepts, though hard to ungodly men, are desirable, and profitable, because they lead us with safety and delight unto eternal life.

Verses 73-80 God made us to serve him, and enjoy him; but by sin we have made ourselves unfit to serve him, and to enjoy him. We ought, therefore, continually to beseech him, by his Holy Spirit, to give us understanding. The comforts some have in God, should be matter of joy to others. But it is easy to own, that God's judgments are right, until it comes to be our own case. All supports under affliction must come from mercy and compassion. The mercies of God are tender mercies; the mercies of a father, the compassion of a mother to her son. They come to us when we are not able to go to them. Causeless reproach does not hurt, and should not move us. The psalmist could go on in the way of his duty, and find comfort in it. He valued the good will of saints, and was desirous to keep up his communion with them. Soundness of heart signifies sincerity in dependence on God, and devotedness to him.

Verses 81-88 The psalmist sought deliverance from his sins, his foes, and his fears. Hope deferred made him faint; his eyes failed by looking out for this expected salvation. But when the eyes fail, yet faith must not. His affliction was great. He was become like a leathern bottle, which, if hung up in the smoke, is dried and shrivelled up. We must ever be mindful of God's statutes. The days of the believer's mourning shall be ended; they are but for a moment, compared with eternal happiness. His enemies used craft as well as power for his ruin, in contempt of the law of God. The commandments of God are true and faithful guides in the path of peace and safety. We may best expect help from God when, like our Master, we do well and suffer for it. Wicked men may almost consume the believer upon earth, but he would sooner forsake all than forsake the word of the Lord. We should depend upon the grace of God for strength to do every good work. The surest token of God's good-will toward us, is his good work in us.

Verses 89-96 The settling of God's word in heaven, is opposed to the changes and revolutions of the earth. And the engagements of God's covenant are established more firmly than the earth itself. All the creatures answer the ends of their creation: shall man, who alone is endued with reason, be the only unprofitable burden of the earth? We may make the Bible a pleasant companion at any time. But the word, without the grace of God, would not quicken us. See the best help for bad memories, namely, good affections; and though the exact words be lost, if the meaning remain, that is well. I am thine, not my own, not the world's; save me from sin, save me from ruin. The Lord will keep the man in peace, whose mind is stayed on him. It is poor perfection which one sees and end of. Such are all things in this world, which pass for perfections. The glory of man is but as the flower of the grass. The psalmist had seen the fulness of the word of God, and its sufficiency. The word of the Lord reaches to all cases, to all times. It will take us from all confidence in man, or in our own wisdom, strength, and righteousness. Thus shall we seek comfort and happiness from Christ alone.

Verses 97-104 What we love, we love to think of. All true wisdom is from God. A good man carries his Bible with him, if not in his hands, yet in his head and in his heart. By meditation on God's testimonies we understand more than our teachers, when we understand our own hearts. The written word is a more sure guide to heaven, than all the fathers, the teachers, and ancients of the church. We cannot, with any comfort or boldness, attend God in holy duties, while under guilt, or in any by-way. It was Divine grace in his heart, that enabled the psalmist to receive these instructions. The soul has its tastes as well as the body. Our relish for the word of God will be greatest, when that for the world and the flesh is least. The way of sin is a wrong way; and the more understanding we get by the precepts of God, the more rooted will be our hatred of sin; and the more ready we are in the Scriptures, the better furnished we are with answers to temptation.

Verses 105-112 The word of God directs us in our work and way, and a dark place indeed the world would be without it. The commandment is a lamp kept burning with the oil of the Spirit, as a light to direct us in the choice of our way, and the steps we take in that way. The keeping of God's commands here meant, was that of a sinner under a dispensation of mercy, of a believer having part in the covenant of grace. The psalmist is often afflicted; but with longing desires to become more holy, offers up daily prayers for quickening grace. We cannot offer any thing to God, that he will accept but what he is pleased to teach us to do. To have our soul or life continually in our hands, implies constant danger of life; yet he did not forget God's promises nor his precepts. Numberless are the snares laid by the wicked; and happy is that servant of God, whom they have not caused to err from his Master's precepts. Heavenly treasures are a heritage for ever; all the saints accept them as such, therefore they can be content with little of this world. We must look for comfort only in the way of duty, and that duty must be done. A good man, by the grace of God, brings his heart to his work, then it is done well.

Verses 113-120 Here is a dread of the risings of sin, and the first beginnings of it. The more we love the law of God, the more watchful we shall be, lest vain thoughts draw us from what we love. Would we make progress in keeping God's commands, we must be separate from evil-doers. The believer could not live without the grace of God; but, supported by his hand, his spiritual life shall be maintained. Our holy security is grounded on Divine supports. All departure from God's statutes is error, and will prove fatal. Their cunning is falsehood. There is a day coming which will put the wicked into everlasting fire, the fit place for the dross. See what comes of sin Surely we who fall so low in devout affections, should fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into heavenly rest, any of us should be found to come short of it, ( Hebrews 4:1 ) .

Verses 121-128 Happy is the man, who, acting upon gospel principles, does justice to all around. Christ our Surety, having paid our debt and ransom, secures all the blessings of salvation to every true believer. The psalmist expects the word of God's righteousness, and no other salvation than what is secured by that word, which cannot fall to the ground. We deserve no favour form God; we are most easy when we cast ourselves upon God's mercy, and refer ourselves to it. If any man resolve to do God's will as his servant, he shall be made to know his testimonies. We must do what we can for the support of religion, and, after all, must beg of God to take the work into his own hands. It is hypocrisy to say we love God's commandments more than our worldly interests. The way of sin is a false way, being directly contrary to God's precepts, which are right: those that love and esteem God's law, hate sin, and will not be reconciled to it.

Verses 129-136 The wonders of redeeming love will fix the heart in adoration of them. The Scriptures show us what we were, what we are, and what we shall be. They show us the mercy and the justice of the Lord, the joys of heaven, and the pains of hell. Thus they give to the simple, in a few days, understanding of those matters, which philosophers for ages sought in vain. The believer, wearied with the cares of life and his conflicts with sin, pants for the consolations conveyed to him by means of the sacred word. And every one may pray, Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. We must beg that the Holy Spirit would order our steps. The dominion of sin is to be dreaded and prayed against by every one. The oppression of men is often more than flesh and blood can bear; and He who knoweth our frame, will not refuse to remove it in answer to the prayers of his people. Whatever obscurity may appear as to the faith of the Old Testament believers, their confidence at the throne of grace can only be explained by their having obtained more distinct views of gospel privileges, through the sacrifices and services of their law, than is generally imagined. Go to the same place, plead the name and merits of Jesus, and you will not, you cannot plead in vain. Commonly, where there is a gracious heart, there is a weeping eye. Accept, O Lord, the tears our blessed Redeemer shed in the days of his flesh, for us who should weep for our brethren or ourselves.

Verses 137-144 God never did, and never can do wrong to any. The promises are faithfully performed by Him that made them. Zeal against sin should constrain us to do what we can against it, at least to do more in religion ourselves. Our love to the word of God is evidence of our love to God, because it is designed to make us partake his holiness. Men's real excellency always makes them low in their own eyes. When we are small and despised, we have the more need to remember God's precepts, that we may have them to support us. The law of God is the truth, the standard of holiness, the rule of happiness; but the obedience of Christ alone justifies the believer. Sorrows are often the lot of saints in this vale of tears; they are in heaviness through manifold temptations. There are delights in the word of God, which the saints often most sweetly enjoy when in trouble and anguish. This is life eternal, to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, ( John 17:3 ) . May we live the life of faith and grace here, and be removed to the life of glory hereafter.

Verses 145-152 Supplications with the whole heart are presented only by those who desire God's salvation, and who love his commandments. Whither should the child go but to his father? Save me from my sins, my corruptions, my temptations, all the hinderances in my way, that I may keep thy testimonies. Christians who enjoy health, should not suffer the early hours of the morning to glide away unimproved. Hope in God's word encourages us to continue in prayer. It is better to take time from sleep, than not to find time for prayer. We have access to God at all hours; and if our first thoughts in the morning are of God, they will help to keep us in his fear all the day long. Make me lively and cheerful. God knows what we need and what is good for us, and will quicken us. If we are employed in God's service, we need not fear those who try to set themselves as far as they can out of the reach of the convictions and commands of his law. When trouble is near, God is near. He is never far to seek. All his commandments are truth. And God's promises will be performed. All that ever trusted in God have found him faithful.

Verses 153-160 The closer we cleave to the word of God, both as our rule and as our stay, the more assurance we have of deliverance. Christ is the Advocate of his people, their Redeemer. Those who were quickened by his Spirit and grace, when they were dead in trespasses and sins, often need to have the work of grace revived in them, according to the word of promise. The wicked not only do not God's statutes, but they do not even seek them. They flatter themselves that they are going to heaven; but the longer they persist in sin, the further it is from them. God's mercies are tender; they are a fountain that can never be exhausted. The psalmist begs for God's reviving, quickening grace. A man, steady in the way of his duty, though he may have many enemies, needs to fear none. Those that hate sin truly, hate it as sin, as a transgression of the law of God, and a breaking of his word. Our obedience is only pleasing to God, and pleasant to ourselves, when it comes from a principle of love. All, in every age, who receive God's word in faith and love, find every saying in it faithful.

Verses 161-168 Those whose hearts stand in awe of God's word, will rather endure the wrath of man, than break the law of God. By the word of God we are unspeakable gainers. Every man hates to have a lie told him, but we should more hate telling a lie; by the latter we give an affront to God. The more we see the beauty of truth, the more we shall see the hateful deformity of a lie. We are to praise God even for afflictions; through grace we get good from them. Those that love the world have great vexation, for it does not answer what they expect; those that love God's word have great peace, for it outdoes what they expect. Those in whom this holy love reigns, will not perplex themselves with needless scruples, or take offence at their brethren. A good hope of salvation will engage the heart in doing the commandments. And our love to the word of God must subdue our lusts, and root out carnal affections: we must make heart work of it, or we make nothing of it. We must keep the commandments of God by obedience to them, and his promises by reliance on them. God's eye is on us at all times; this should make us very careful to keep his commandments.

Verses 169-176 The psalmist desired grace and strength to lift up his prayers, and that the Lord would receive and notice them. He desired to know more of God in Christ; to know more of the doctrines of the word, and the duties of religion. He had a deep sense of unworthiness, and holy fear that his prayer should not come before God; Lord, what I pray for is, what thou hast promised. We have learned nothing to purpose, if we have not learned to praise God. We should always make the word of God the rule of our discourse, so as never to transgress it by sinful speaking, or sinful silence. His own hands are not sufficient, nor can any creature lend him help; therefore he looks up to God, that the hand that had made him may help him. He had made religion his deliberate choice. There is an eternal salvation all the saints long for, and therefore they pray that God would help their way to it. Let thy judgments help me; let all ordinances and all providences, (both are God's judgments,) further me in glorifying God; let them help me for that work. He often looks back with shame and gratitude to his lost estate. He still prays for the tender care of Him who purchased his flock with his own blood, that he may receive from him the gift of eternal life. Seek me, that is, Find me; for God never seeks in vain. Turn me, and I shall be turned. Let this psalm be a touchstone by which to try our hearts, and our lives. Do our hearts, cleansed in Christ's blood, make these prayers, resolutions and confessions our own? Is God's word the standard of our faith, and the law of our practice? Do we use it as pleas with Christ for what we need? Happy those who live in such delightful exercises.

Cross References 268

Footnotes 9

  • [a]. This psalm is an acrostic poem of twenty-two stanzas, following the letters of the Hebrew alphabet; within a stanza, each verse begins with the same Hebrew letter
  • [b]. Or your just and righteous decrees; also verses 62, 106, 160, 164
  • [c]. Or all the just decrees
  • [d]. Or your just decrees; also verses 30, 39, 43, 52, 75, 102, 108, 137, 156, 175
  • [e]. Or for you set my heart free
  • [f]. Or keep it as my reward
  • [g]. Hebrew How many are the days of your servant?
  • [h]. Or the elders
  • [i]. Or statutes; the reward is eternal

Chapter Summary


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\\.

Psalms 119 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.