Psalms 19

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 [a]The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

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Psalms 19 Commentary

Chapter 19

The glory of God's works. (1-6) His holiness and grace as shown in his word. (7-10) Prayer for the benefit of them. (11-14)

Verses 1-6 The heavens so declare the glory of God, and proclaim his wisdom, power, and goodness, that all ungodly men are left without excuse. They speak themselves to be works of God's hands; for they must have a Creator who is eternal, infinitely wise, powerful, and good. The counter-changing of day and night is a great proof of the power of God, and calls us to observe, that, as in the kingdom of nature, so in that of providence, he forms the light, and creates the darkness, ( Isaiah 45:7 ) , and sets the one against the other. The sun in the firmament is an emblem of the Sun of righteousness, the Bridegroom of the church, and the Light of the world, diffusing Divine light and salvation by his gospel to the nations of the earth. He delights to bless his church, which he has espoused to himself; and his course will be unwearied as that of the sun, till the whole earth is filled with his light and salvation. Let us pray for the time when he shall enlighten, cheer, and make fruitful every nation on earth, with the blessed salvation. They have no speech or language, so some read it, and yet their voice is heard. All people may hear these preachers speak in their own tongue the wonderful works of God. Let us give God the glory of all the comfort and benefit we have by the lights of heaven, still looking above and beyond them to the Sun of righteousness.

Verses 7-10 The Holy Scripture is of much greater benefit to us than day or night, than the air we breathe, or the light of the sun. To recover man out of his fallen state, there is need of the word of God. The word translated "law," may be rendered doctrine, and be understood as meaning all that teaches us true religion. The whole is perfect; its tendency is to convert or turn the soul from sin and the world, to God and holiness. It shows our sinfulness and misery in departing from God, and the necessity of our return to him. This testimony is sure, to be fully depended on: the ignorant and unlearned believing what God saith, become wise unto salvation. It is a sure direction in the way of duty. It is a sure fountain of living comforts, and a sure foundation of lasting hopes. The statues of the Lord are right, just as they should be; and, because they are right, they rejoice the heart. The commandments of the Lord are pure, holy, just, and good. By them we discover our need of a Saviour; and then learn how to adorn his gospel. They are the means which the Holy Spirit uses in enlightening the eyes; they bring us to a sight and sense of our sin and misery, and direct us in the way of duty. The fear of the Lord, that is, true religion and godliness, is clean, it will cleanse our way; and it endureth for ever. The ceremonial law is long since done away, but the law concerning the fear of God is ever the same. The judgments of the Lord, his precepts, are true; they are righteous, and they are so altogether; there is no unrighteousness in any of them. Gold is only for the body, and the concerns of time; but grace is for the soul, and the concerns of eternity. The word of God, received by faith, is more precious than gold; it is sweet to the soul, sweeter than honey. The pleasure of sense soon surfeit, yet never satisfy; but those of religion are substantial and satisfying; there is no danger of excess.

Verses 11-14 God's word warns the wicked not to go on in his wicked way, and warns the righteous not to turn from his good way. There is a reward, not only after keeping, but in keeping God's commandments. Religion makes our comforts sweet, and our crosses easy, life truly valuable, and death itself truly desirable. David not only desired to be pardoned and cleansed from the sins he had discovered and confessed, but from those he had forgotten or overlooked. All discoveries of sin made to us by the law, should drive us to the throne of grace, there to pray. His dependence was the same with that of every Christian who says, Surely in the Lord Jesus have I righteousness and strength. No prayer can be acceptable before God which is not offered in the strength of our Redeemer or Divine Kinsman, through Him who took our nature upon him, that he might redeem us unto God, and restore the long-lost inheritance. May our hearts be much affected with the excellence of the word of God; and much affected with the evil of sin, and the danger we are in of it, and the danger we are in by it.

Cross References 34

  • 1. Psalms 89:5; Isaiah 40:22
  • 2. Psalms 50:6; Psalms 148:3; Romans 1:19
  • 3. Psalms 4:2; Psalms 8:1; Psalms 97:6; Isaiah 6:3
  • 4. S Genesis 1:8
  • 5. S Psalms 8:6; S Psalms 103:22
  • 6. Psalms 74:16
  • 7. Romans 10:18*
  • 8. S Job 36:29; Psalms 104:2
  • 9. S Judges 5:31
  • 10. Joel 2:16
  • 11. S Job 36:29
  • 12. 1 Samuel 17:4
  • 13. Deuteronomy 30:4
  • 14. Psalms 113:3; Ecclesiastes 1:5
  • 15. S Psalms 1:2
  • 16. Psalms 119:142; James 1:25
  • 17. Psalms 23:3
  • 18. Psalms 93:5; Psalms 111:7; Psalms 119:138,144
  • 19. S Deuteronomy 4:6; Psalms 119:130; Psalms 119:98-100
  • 20. Psalms 12:6; Psalms 33:4; Psalms 119:128
  • 21. Psalms 119:14
  • 22. S Ezra 9:8; Psalms 38:10
  • 23. Psalms 34:11; Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Isaiah 33:6
  • 24. Psalms 119:138,142
  • 25. S Job 22:24; Psalms 119:72; Proverbs 8:10
  • 26. Psalms 119:103; Song of Songs 4:11; Ezekiel 3:3
  • 27. S 1 Samuel 14:27
  • 28. Psalms 51:2; Psalms 90:8; Psalms 139:6; Ecclesiastes 12:14
  • 29. S Numbers 15:30
  • 30. Psalms 119:133
  • 31. S Genesis 6:9; S Psalms 18:32
  • 32. Psalms 104:34
  • 33. Psalms 18:31; Psalms 18:2
  • 34. S Exodus 6:6; S Job 19:25; Isaiah 47:4

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 19:1-14 is numbered 19:2-15.
  • [b]. Septuagint, Jerome and Syriac; Hebrew "measuring line"

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician, a Psalm of David. This psalm was penned by David, and inscribed to the chief musician, as others, to be used in public service, and was designed for Gospel times, as the subject of it shows; which is first, not an account of the light of nature, and then of the law of Moses, but of the Gospel of Christ; and especially as ministered in the times of the apostles, as a citation out of it in Romans 10:18, makes clear.

Psalms 19 Commentaries

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