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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 119

 

 

Verses 1-176

The longest Ps. and the best example of an alphabetical Ps. There are in it twenty-two stanzas; each of the 8 vv. of each stanza commences with the same Hebrew letter. The subject is practically the same throughout, viz. the great help and guidance and comfort to be derived from studying continually the Law of the Lord. Much ingenuity is displayed in expressing the same thoughts under various forms.

Note in this connexion the following variety of terms—Law, or instruction (torali) Testimonies, or affirmations of God's will; Judgments, or judicial pronouncements as to the Law; Statutes (lit. 'inscriptions'), or published enactments; Commandments, Precepts, or injunctions.

It is difficult to locate the Ps. in time or circumstances. Such devoted meditation on the Law is a feature of later Judaism which arose chiefly after the exile. This is also true of the mechanical arrangement of the Ps. If the writer records his own experiences they must have been very trying—trouble, sorrow, the hostility of powerful foes, and even captivity. But some scholars believe that the writer sometimes records his own experiences, sometimes the experiences of the pious remnant of Israel.

19. Stranger] or, 'sojourner,' passenger, with but a short time to learn God's will.

21. The proud] perhaps Jews who had been influenced by foreign culture.

25. Quicken] i.e. revive.

29. Way of lying] i.e. faithlessness to God's law.

39. My reproach which I fear] viz. of sinning against God.

43. He prays never to be deprived of the power of testifying to God's trathfulness.

46, Before kings] i.e. in exile.

54. 'Melodies have thy statutes been to me in the house of my sojourning,' i.e. in this brief life: cp. Psalms 39:12.

56. 'This (comfort) I have that I have kept thy law.'

70. Fat as grease] dull, gross: cp. Job 15:26-27; Isaiah 6:10.

83. Bottle] RM 'wine skin.' Bottles were made of the untanned hide of an animal. In the smoke they would be dried up, shrivelled and useless. Such Israel seemed to be in captivity.

84. How many, etc.] i.e. my days are few.

91. They] i.e. the heavens and the earth.

96. The most perfect earthly things are finite and limited; but God's law is for all needs and for all time.

109. My soul, etc.] i.e. my life is ever in jeopardy.

118. Their deceit is falsehood] better, 'their self-deception is a lie.'

123. Fail for] fail through longing for.

130. The entrance] RV 'the opening,' i.e. the unfolding.

132. Usest to do] i.e. art wont to do.

140. Very pure] i.e. true metal: cp. Psalms 18:30.

147. I prevented, etc.] i.e. Before daybreak I cried.

148. 'Mine eyes forestall the night-watches,' i.e. when each watch comes I am already awake.

161. Princes] probably it was Israel, i.e. the Jewish nation, that was so persecuted.

164. Seven times] i.e. very often.

165. Nothing shall offend them] RV 'they have none occasion of stumbling.'

176. Like a lost sheep] probably refers to the Jews scattered in exile. The last clause of the v. precludes the idea of straying into sin.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 119:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/psalms-119.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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