Psalms 119

1 [a]Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
17 Be good to your servant while I live, that I may obey your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
19 I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed, those who stray from your commands.
22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.
24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.
25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.
33 Teach me, LORD, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end.[b]
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.[c]
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts! In your righteousness preserve my life.
41 May your unfailing love come to me, LORD, your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.
49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, LORD, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, LORD, I remember your name, that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.
57 You are my portion, LORD; I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, LORD; teach me your decrees.
65 Do good to your servant according to your word, LORD.
66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.
68 You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.
69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.
73 Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.
74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.
75 I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.
78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts.
79 May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes.
80 May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.
81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.
82 My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?”
83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees.
84 How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?
85 The arrogant dig pits to trap me, contrary to your law.
86 All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
87 They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.
89 Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.
91 Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.
92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.
94 Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts.
95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.
96 To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless.
97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, LORD, according to your word.
108 Accept, LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.[d]
113 I hate double-minded people, but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from your decrees, for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.
121 I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Ensure your servant’s well-being; do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees.
125 I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.
126 It is time for you to act, LORD; your law is being broken.
127 Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold,
128 and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.
129 Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant and teach me your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.
137 You are righteous, LORD, and your laws are right.
138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live.
145 I call with all my heart; answer me, LORD, and I will obey your decrees.
146 I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.
148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, LORD, according to your laws.
150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, LORD, and all your commands are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.
153 Look on my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, LORD, is great; preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, LORD, in accordance with your love.
160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.
161 Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word.
162 I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, LORD, and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.
169 May my cry come before you, LORD; give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, LORD, and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

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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 318

  • 1. S Genesis 17:1; S Deuteronomy 18:13; Proverbs 11:20
  • 2. Psalms 128:1
  • 3. S Psalms 1:2
  • 4. Psalms 112:1; Isaiah 56:2
  • 5. ver 146; Psalms 99:7
  • 6. S 1 Chronicles 16:11; S Psalms 40:16
  • 7. S Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 6:5
  • 8. S Psalms 59:4; 1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:18
  • 9. Psalms 128:1; Jeremiah 6:16; Jeremiah 7:23
  • 10. Psalms 103:18
  • 11. S ver 56; S Deuteronomy 6:17
  • 12. S Leviticus 19:37
  • 13. ver 46,80
  • 14. ver 117
  • 15. S Deuteronomy 4:8
  • 16. S Psalms 38:21
  • 17. S Psalms 39:1
  • 18. ver 65,169; 2 Chronicles 6:16
  • 19. S Psalms 9:1; 2 Chronicles 15:15
  • 20. ver 21,118
  • 21. S Deuteronomy 6:6; S Job 22:22; Psalms 37:31; Luke 2:19,51
  • 22. ver 133,165; Psalms 18:22-23; Psalms 19:13; Proverbs 3:23; Isaiah 63:13
  • 23. Psalms 28:6
  • 24. Psalms 143:8,10
  • 25. ver 26; S Exodus 18:20
  • 26. ver 72; Psalms 40:9
  • 27. ver 111
  • 28. ver 97,148; Psalms 1:2
  • 29. S Psalms 112:1; Psalms 1:2
  • 30. Psalms 13:6; Psalms 116:7
  • 31. ver 67; Psalms 103:20
  • 32. S Genesis 23:4; 1 Chronicles 29:15; Psalms 39:12; 2 Corinthians 5:6; Hebrews 11:13
  • 33. Psalms 42:2; Psalms 84:2
  • 34. ver 131; S Psalms 63:1; Isaiah 26:9
  • 35. ver 51; Job 30:1; Psalms 5:5; Jeremiah 20:7; Jeremiah 50:32; Daniel 4:37; Malachi 3:15
  • 36. Deuteronomy 27:26
  • 37. S ver 10
  • 38. Psalms 39:8
  • 39. ver 2
  • 40. Psalms 44:25
  • 41. ver 50,107; Psalms 143:11
  • 42. ver 9
  • 43. Psalms 25:4; Psalms 27:11; Psalms 86:11
  • 44. Psalms 105:2; Psalms 145:5
  • 45. Psalms 6:7; Psalms 116:3; Isaiah 51:11; Jeremiah 45:3; Psalms 107:26
  • 46. Psalms 18:1; Isaiah 40:29; Isaiah 41:10; Psalms 20:2; 1 Peter 5:10
  • 47. ver 9
  • 48. Psalms 26:4
  • 49. S Numbers 6:25
  • 50. S Joshua 24:22
  • 51. S Psalms 26:3
  • 52. S Psalms 108:1
  • 53. S Deuteronomy 10:20; Deuteronomy 11:22
  • 54. ver 12
  • 55. ver 27,73,144,169; S Job 32:8; Proverbs 2:6; Daniel 2:21; James 1:5
  • 56. S Deuteronomy 6:25
  • 57. ver 69
  • 58. Psalms 25:4-5
  • 59. ver 32
  • 60. S Psalms 1:2
  • 61. S Joshua 24:23; 1 Kings 8:58
  • 62. Ezekiel 33:31; Mark 7:21-22; Luke 12:15; Hebrews 13:5
  • 63. ver 25; Psalms 71:20; Isaiah 33:15
  • 64. ver 9
  • 65. S Numbers 23:19; 2 Samuel 7:25
  • 66. ver 22; Psalms 69:9; Psalms 89:51; Isaiah 25:8; Isaiah 51:7; Isaiah 54:4
  • 67. ver 20
  • 68. ver 25,149,154
  • 69. S Psalms 6:4
  • 70. ver 76,116,154,170
  • 71. Proverbs 27:11
  • 72. S Psalms 42:10
  • 73. S 1 Kings 17:24
  • 74. ver 74,81,114,147
  • 75. ver 33,34,55; S Deuteronomy 6:25
  • 76. ver 94,155
  • 77. Matthew 10:18; Acts 26:1-2
  • 78. S ver 6
  • 79. ver 77,143; S Psalms 112:1
  • 80. ver 97,127,159,163,165
  • 81. S Genesis 24:63
  • 82. ver 9
  • 83. ver 43
  • 84. S ver 25; Romans 15:4
  • 85. S ver 21; S Job 16:10; S Job 17:2; Jeremiah 20:7
  • 86. ver 157; S Job 23:11; Psalms 44:18
  • 87. Psalms 103:18
  • 88. S Exodus 32:19; S Exodus 33:4; Ezra 9:3
  • 89. Psalms 89:30
  • 90. ver 172; Psalms 101:1; Psalms 138:5
  • 91. ver 62,72; Psalms 1:2; Psalms 42:8; S Psalms 63:6; Psalms 77:2; Isaiah 26:9; Acts 16:25
  • 92. S ver 44
  • 93. ver 4,100,134,168; S Numbers 15:40
  • 94. S Deuteronomy 32:9; Psalms 16:5; Jeremiah 51:19; Lamentations 3:24
  • 95. ver 17,67,101
  • 96. S Deuteronomy 4:29; S 1 Chronicles 16:11; Psalms 34:4
  • 97. S Genesis 43:29; S Ezra 9:8; 1 Kings 13:6
  • 98. ver 41
  • 99. Joshua 24:14-15; S Psalms 39:1; Luke 15:17-18
  • 100. ver 115
  • 101. ver 83,109,153,176; Psalms 140:5
  • 102. S ver 55; Acts 16:25
  • 103. ver 7
  • 104. Psalms 15:4; Psalms 101:6-7; Psalms 103:11
  • 105. ver 56; Psalms 111:10
  • 106. Psalms 33:5
  • 107. ver 12,108
  • 108. ver 17; Psalms 125:4; Isaiah 50:2; Isaiah 59:1; Micah 2:7
  • 109. S ver 9
  • 110. S Psalms 51:6
  • 111. S Psalms 116:10
  • 112. S Psalms 95:10; S Jeremiah 8:4; Jeremiah 31:18-19; Hebrews 12:11
  • 113. S ver 17
  • 114. Psalms 100:5; Psalms 106:1; Psalms 107:1; Psalms 135:3; Matthew 19:17
  • 115. S Exodus 18:20; ver 12
  • 116. Job 13:4; Psalms 109:2
  • 117. S Psalms 17:10; Isaiah 29:13; Isaiah 6:10; Acts 28:27
  • 118. ver 67,75
  • 119. S Job 28:17; S Psalms 19:10; Pr 8:10-11,19
  • 120. S Genesis 1:27; S Job 4:17; Job 10:8; Psalms 100:3; Psalms 138:8; Psalms 139:13-16
  • 121. S Psalms 34:2
  • 122. ver 9; Psalms 130:5
  • 123. ver 7,138,172
  • 124. Hebrews 12:5-11
  • 125. Psalms 6:4
  • 126. S ver 41
  • 127. ver 41; Psalms 90:13; Psalms 103:13
  • 128. S ver 47
  • 129. ver 51; Jeremiah 50:32
  • 130. ver 86,161; Psalms 35:19
  • 131. ver 27,125
  • 132. ver 1; S 1 Kings 8:61
  • 133. S Genesis 26:5
  • 134. S ver 6
  • 135. ver 20; Psalms 84:2
  • 136. ver 123
  • 137. S ver 43
  • 138. S Psalms 6:7; Psalms 69:3; Lamentations 2:11
  • 139. ver 41,123
  • 140. S ver 61
  • 141. Psalms 6:3; Psalms 39:4; Revelation 6:10
  • 142. ver 51; Jeremiah 12:3; Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 20:11
  • 143. ver 51
  • 144. Psalms 35:7; Psalms 57:6; Jeremiah 18:20,22
  • 145. ver 138; Psalms 35:19
  • 146. S Psalms 109:26
  • 147. S Psalms 7:1
  • 148. S ver 78
  • 149. ver 150; Isaiah 1:4,28; Isaiah 58:2; Isaiah 59:13
  • 150. S Psalms 41:2
  • 151. ver 124; Psalms 51:1; Psalms 109:26
  • 152. ver 2,100,129,134,168
  • 153. ver 111,144; S Psalms 111:8; Isaiah 51:6; S Matthew 5:18; Matthew 24:34-35; 1 Peter 1:25
  • 154. S Psalms 36:5
  • 155. S Psalms 45:17
  • 156. S Job 8:19; Psalms 148:6; Ecclesiastes 1:4
  • 157. Jeremiah 33:25
  • 158. Psalms 104:2-4; Jeremiah 31:35
  • 159. Psalms 37:4; S Psalms 112:1
  • 160. ver 50,67
  • 161. ver 83
  • 162. S Psalms 103:5
  • 163. ver 146; Psalms 54:1; Psalms 116:4; Jeremiah 17:14; Jeremiah 31:18; Jeremiah 42:11
  • 164. S ver 45
  • 165. S Psalms 69:4
  • 166. ver 99
  • 167. Psalms 19:7
  • 168. S ver 47
  • 169. S ver 15; Psalms 1:2
  • 170. ver 130; S Deuteronomy 4:6; Psalms 19:7; 2 Timothy 3:15
  • 171. ver 15
  • 172. S ver 56; S Deuteronomy 6:17; Job 32:7-9
  • 173. Proverbs 1:15
  • 174. S ver 57
  • 175. S Deuteronomy 17:20
  • 176. S Deuteronomy 4:5
  • 177. S Psalms 19:10; Proverbs 8:11
  • 178. Proverbs 24:13-14
  • 179. S Psalms 111:10
  • 180. ver 128
  • 181. Proverbs 20:27; 2 Peter 1:19
  • 182. ver 130; Proverbs 6:23
  • 183. S Nehemiah 10:29
  • 184. ver 7
  • 185. S ver 25
  • 186. Psalms 51:15; Psalms 63:5; Psalms 71:8; Psalms 109:30; Hosea 14:2; Hebrews 13:15
  • 187. S ver 64
  • 188. S Judges 12:3; Job 13:14
  • 189. S ver 61
  • 190. Psalms 25:15; S Psalms 64:5; Isaiah 8:14; Amos 3:5; Psalms 140:5; Psalms 141:9
  • 191. ver 10
  • 192. ver 14,162
  • 193. S Psalms 108:1
  • 194. ver 33
  • 195. S 1 Kings 18:21; James 1:8; James 4:8
  • 196. ver 47
  • 197. S Genesis 15:1; S Psalms 18:2; Psalms 32:7; Psalms 91:1
  • 198. S ver 43; ver 74
  • 199. S Psalms 6:8; Psalms 139:19; Matthew 7:23
  • 200. S Psalms 18:35; Psalms 41:3; Psalms 55:22; Isaiah 46:4; Psalms 54:4
  • 201. S ver 41
  • 202. Psalms 25:2; Romans 5:5; Romans 9:33
  • 203. Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 46:4
  • 204. Psalms 34:4
  • 205. ver 6
  • 206. S ver 10
  • 207. Isaiah 1:22,25; Ezekiel 22:18,19
  • 208. ver 47
  • 209. S Job 4:14; S Isaiah 64:2; Habakkuk 3:16
  • 210. S Joshua 24:14
  • 211. Jeremiah 10:7; Habakkuk 3:2
  • 212. S 2 Samuel 8:15; S Job 27:6
  • 213. S Job 17:3
  • 214. ver 21,121,134; Psalms 106:42
  • 215. Isaiah 38:14
  • 216. ver 81
  • 217. S ver 82
  • 218. S ver 88; S Psalms 25:7
  • 219. ver 12
  • 220. S Psalms 116:16
  • 221. S ver 79
  • 222. S Numbers 15:31
  • 223. S ver 47
  • 224. Psalms 19:10
  • 225. S Job 3:21
  • 226. S Psalms 19:8
  • 227. ver 104,163; Psalms 31:6; Proverbs 13:5
  • 228. ver 18
  • 229. ver 22,S 88
  • 230. S ver 105; Proverbs 6:23
  • 231. S Psalms 19:7
  • 232. Psalms 42:1
  • 233. S ver 20
  • 234. S Psalms 6:4
  • 235. S 2 Samuel 24:14; S Psalms 9:13; Psalms 25:16; Psalms 106:4
  • 236. S Psalms 5:11
  • 237. ver 9; Psalms 17:5
  • 238. S ver 11; S Romans 6:16; Psalms 19:13; Romans 6:12
  • 239. S ver 122; Psalms 142:6; Luke 1:74
  • 240. S ver 56,S 88
  • 241. S Numbers 6:25; Psalms 4:6; Psalms 67:1; Psalms 80:3
  • 242. ver 12
  • 243. Psalms 6:6; Isaiah 22:4; Jeremiah 9:1,18; Jeremiah 13:17; Jeremiah 14:17; Lamentations 1:16; Lamentations 3:48
  • 244. ver 158; Psalms 106:25; Isaiah 42:24; Ezekiel 9:4
  • 245. S Exodus 9:27; S Ezra 9:15; Jeremiah 12:1
  • 246. S Nehemiah 9:13
  • 247. S ver 75; S Psalms 19:7
  • 248. ver 86
  • 249. Psalms 69:9; John 2:17
  • 250. S Joshua 23:14
  • 251. Psalms 12:6
  • 252. ver 47
  • 253. S Psalms 22:6
  • 254. ver 61,134
  • 255. ver 151,160; Psalms 19:7
  • 256. ver 24,S 47
  • 257. S ver 34; Psalms 19:9
  • 258. ver 10
  • 259. ver 22,55
  • 260. S ver 94
  • 261. Psalms 5:3; Psalms 57:8; Psalms 108:2
  • 262. S Psalms 63:6
  • 263. S Psalms 27:7
  • 264. ver 124
  • 265. S ver 40
  • 266. S Psalms 37:7
  • 267. S Psalms 34:18; Psalms 145:18; Philippians 4:5
  • 268. S ver 142
  • 269. ver 7,73
  • 270. S ver 89; S Psalms 111:8; Luke 21:33
  • 271. S Psalms 13:3; Lamentations 5:1
  • 272. S Psalms 3:7
  • 273. S Psalms 44:17; Proverbs 3:1
  • 274. Psalms 35:1; Jeremiah 50:34; Micah 7:9
  • 275. S 1 Samuel 24:15
  • 276. ver 25
  • 277. S ver 41
  • 278. ver 94,118; Job 5:4
  • 279. S Nehemiah 9:27; James 5:11
  • 280. ver 25; 2 Samuel 24:14
  • 281. ver 149
  • 282. S Psalms 7:1
  • 283. S Psalms 44:18
  • 284. ver 104; S Exodus 32:19; Psalms 139:21
  • 285. S ver 136
  • 286. ver 25; S Psalms 41:2
  • 287. S ver 89; S Psalms 111:8
  • 288. ver 23,122,157; 1 Samuel 24:14-15; 1 Samuel 24:11
  • 289. ver 120
  • 290. S ver 111
  • 291. 1 Samuel 30:16; Isaiah 9:3; Isaiah 53:12
  • 292. S ver 128
  • 293. ver 47
  • 294. ver 7,160
  • 295. Psalms 37:11; Proverbs 3:2; Isaiah 26:3,12; Isaiah 27:5; Isaiah 32:17; Isaiah 57:19; Isaiah 66:12
  • 296. S ver 11; S Psalms 37:24; 1 John 2:10
  • 297. ver 81; Genesis 49:18
  • 298. ver 47
  • 299. S ver 56,S 88
  • 300. ver 2,22
  • 301. S Job 10:4; S Job 23:10; Psalms 139:3; Proverbs 5:21
  • 302. S Job 16:18; Psalms 18:6
  • 303. S ver 34
  • 304. S ver 9
  • 305. 1 Kings 8:30; 2 Chronicles 6:24; Psalms 28:2; Psalms 140:6; Psalms 143:1
  • 306. Psalms 3:7; Psalms 22:20; Psalms 59:1; Psalms 31:2
  • 307. S ver 41
  • 308. Psalms 51:15; Psalms 63:3
  • 309. Psalms 94:12; Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2
  • 310. Psalms 51:14
  • 311. ver 7,S 75
  • 312. Psalms 37:24; Psalms 73:23; Isaiah 41:10
  • 313. S Joshua 24:22
  • 314. ver 166
  • 315. ver 16,24
  • 316. ver 116,159; Isaiah 55:3
  • 317. ver 10; S Psalms 95:10; Jeremiah 50:17; Ezekiel 34:11; S Luke 15:4; Isaiah 53:6
  • 318. S Psalms 44:17

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. This psalm is an acrostic poem, the stanzas of which begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet; moreover, the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
  • [b]. Or "follow it for its reward"
  • [c]. Two manuscripts of the Masoretic Text and Dead Sea Scrolls; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text "life in your way"
  • [d]. Or "decrees / for their enduring reward"

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

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