Psalms 119:81-88

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.

Psalms 119:81-88 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 119:81-88 In-Context

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.

Cross References 18

  • 1. ver 20; Psalms 84:2
  • 2. ver 123
  • 3. S ver 43
  • 4. S Psalms 6:7; Psalms 69:3; Lamentations 2:11
  • 5. ver 41,123
  • 6. S ver 61
  • 7. Psalms 6:3; Psalms 39:4; Revelation 6:10
  • 8. ver 51; Jeremiah 12:3; Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 20:11
  • 9. ver 51
  • 10. Psalms 35:7; Psalms 57:6; Jeremiah 18:20,22
  • 11. ver 138; Psalms 35:19
  • 12. S Psalms 109:26
  • 13. S Psalms 7:1
  • 14. S ver 78
  • 15. ver 150; Isaiah 1:4,28; Isaiah 58:2; Isaiah 59:13
  • 16. S Psalms 41:2
  • 17. ver 124; Psalms 51:1; Psalms 109:26
  • 18. ver 2,100,129,134,168
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