Psalms 119:30-35

30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I 1set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; 2let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments when you 3enlarge my heart![a]
33 4Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it 5to the end.[b]
34 6Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
35 7Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I 8delight in it.

Psalms 119:30-35 Meaning and Commentary

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\\.

Psalms 119:30-35 In-Context

28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

Cross References 8

  • 1. [Psalms 16:8]
  • 2. ver. 116
  • 3. 1 Kings 4:29; Isaiah 60:5; 2 Corinthians 6:11, 13
  • 4. ver. 12, 26
  • 5. ver. 112; [Matthew 10:22; Hebrews 3:6; Revelation 2:26]
  • 6. ver. 27; Proverbs 2:6; James 1:5
  • 7. See Psalms 25:4, 5
  • 8. ver. 16; See Psalms 1:2

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or for you set my heart free
  • [b]. Or keep it as my reward
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.