Psalms 119:1-24

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.

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Psalms 119:1-24 Meaning and Commentary


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\\.

Cross References 39

  • 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

Footnotes 1

  • [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.
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