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Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 19

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-14

This Ps. falls into two well-marked divisions. Psalms 19:1-6 describe the glory of God (El) as seen in the heavenly bodies, especially the sun, and are thus parallel to Psalms 8. Psalms 19:7-14 deal with the excellence of the revelation of God (Jehovah) in the Law—the subject which is expanded in Psalms 119. It is possible that two independent Pss. are here combined, as in Psalms 108, or that the second half was written as an addition to the first by another hand. The first part may quite well have been David’s work. The second part may be divided into the praises of the Law (Psalms 19:7-11), and the Psalmist’s prayer for preservation from sin (Psalms 19:12-14). This is one of the Pss. for Christmas Day.

1. The firmament] the sky, conceived of as a solid canopy: see Genesis 1:6.

2. Days and nights in unbroken succession testify to God’s glory.

3. RV ’There is no speech nor language; Their voice cannot be heard.’ Their witness is none the less impressive for its silence.

4. The silent testimony of the heavens is world-wide. Their line] the measuring line, marking off the region to which the message of the skies comes. LXX has ’their sound,’ and is followed by St. Paul, who quotes this v. in Romans 10:18. Tabernacle] or tent: see Isaiah 40:22. The sun, as the most glorious of the heavenly bodies, is personified as a hero.

5. As a bridegroom] The comparison suggests the vigour and beauty of youth as well as the splendour of wedding attire. A race] RV ’his course’ from E. to W., the two ’ends’ of heaven mentioned in Psalms 19:6.

6. There is nothing hid, etc.] another way of putting the universal scope of the sun’s testimony.

7-9. Here we have a sudden transition from nature to revelation. The word law (torah) means ’teaching’ or ’instruction,’ and describes not only the Law of Moses, but all the commandments of God. It is described as a testimony (see Exodus 25:16, Exodus 25:21) or witness to God’s character and requirements (Psalms 19:7), as statutes (RV ’precepts’), a commandment (Psalms 19:8), judgments or moral decisions (Psalms 19:9). Each term is connected with some practical benefit which the Law confers on men.

7. Converting] RV ’restoring.’

8. Enlightening the eyes] imparting refreshment and vigour to the soul: see on Psalms 13:3.

9. The fear of the lord] another expression for the Law, which produces this fear in the heart. Clean] opposed to impurity of life. Enduring for ever] as the expression of God’s eternal righteousness.

10. The honeycomb] rather, ’the droppings of the honeycomb,’ the purest of the honey.

12. Understand] RV ’discern.’ cleanse] RV ’clear,’ in the sense of ’acquit.’ Unconscious sins could be atoned for (Numbers 15:22-26), and for such sins forgiveness is asked here.

13. presumptous sins] those deliberately committed, in contrast to those of ignorance and inadvertence. For such transgressions the Law provided no atonement (Numbers 15:30-31), and the Psalmist prays to be restrained from committing them. Innocent from the great transgression] RV ’clear from great transgression.’

14. Strength] RV ’rock.’

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/psalms-19.html. 1909.
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