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Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 119

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

ALEPH. Blessed [are] the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

Blessed are the undefiled — Pindar and other poets had their Ogdoades or Oetonaries. This alphabetical poem (as Sixtus Senensis calleth it) is David’s, doubtless (though it hath no title to show so much), written in the days of his banishment under Saul; and far more worthy to be written in letters of gold than Pindar’s seventh ode, which that profane fellow Politian preferred before any psalm of David, the sweet singer of Israel. How much better his countryman Jacobus Furnius, who translated this psalm into Greek and Latin verses, in so many Octounties ; and beginning each verse thereof with the same letter, after the manner of the Hebrew composure; which is very artificial, both for the excellence of the matter and for the help of memory. The Jews are said to teach it to their little ones being the first thing they learn; wherein they take a very right course, both in regard to the heavenly matter, and plain style fitted for all capacities. David (in his troubles especially) was a man much in meditation of God’s word, and here he giveth us in his thoughts of it. When a book is set forth, verses of commendation are oft prefixed. David seemeth to set this Divine psalm as a poem of commendation before the Book of God; mentioning it in every verse (unless it be one only, Psalms 119:122 ), under the name of testimonies, laws, statutes, word, judgments, precepts, …

Who walk in the law of the Lord — Who walk towards heaven in heaven’s way; avoiding the corruptions that are in the world through lust, 2 Peter 1:4 .

Verse 2

Blessed [are] they that keep his testimonies, [and that] seek him with the whole heart.

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies — Angels do so, and are blessed, Revelation 22:9 .

And that seek himSincere ac sollicite; that seek not his omnipresence (what need they?), but his gracious presence.

Verse 3

They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

They also do no iniqaityi.e. No wilful wickedness; as do those workers of iniquity, whose whole trade it is, and whose whole life is nothing else but one continued web of wickedness, spun out and made up by the hands of the devil and the flesh, an evil spinner, and a worse weaver.

They walk in his ways — Without cessation or cespitation.

Verse 4

Thou hast commanded [us] to keep thy precepts diligently.

Thou hast commanded us, … — These are verba vivenda, non legenda, words to be lived, and not read only, as one well saith of this whole psalm; neither is it enough that we understand or ponder God’s precepts, but we must practise them, if we would be happy.

To keep thy precepts diligentlyNimis, valde, vehementer. Odi nimium diligentes, saith one; but where the business is weighty, and the failing dangerous, one can hardly be too diligent. Let a man here do his utmost, be shall not overdo.

Verse 5

O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

O that my ways were directed, … — David can wish well to that perfection which he cannot attain unto. The whole life of a good Christian is a holy desire, saith Austin; and this is always seconded with endeavour; without the which, affection is like Rachel, beautiful but barren.

Verse 6

Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

Then shall I not be ashamedi.e. I shall be highly honoured both by thee and all thy people; able to look thee and them in the face, free from an evil conscience.

When I have respect unto all thy commandments — Mine obedience being universal both for subjects and objects: this is a sure sign of sincerity, such as entitleth a man to true blessedness, Psalms 119:1 . A hypocrite is funambulus virtutum, as Tertullian phraseth it; he hath a dispensatory conscience; his obedience is partial, and such as goeth in a narrow track; it extendeth not to the compass of the whole law, and is therefore lost labour.

Verse 7

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

I will praise thee with uprightness — David was yet but a learner; and if God would teach him to profit in knowledge and holiness, he would lift up many a humble, joyful, and thankful heart to him.

Verse 8

I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

I will keep thy statutes — Yea, and that very much, or with vehemence, as some read it, usque valde; this he had said before was God’s command, Psalms 119:4 , and he would do it. Iussa sequi tam velle mihi quam posse necesse est (Lucan).

O forsake me not — Or if at all (as thou mayest without breach of promise), yet not very much; not usque valde; not utterly. Christ, saith Greenham, was forsaken for a few hours, David for a few months, and Job for a few years; seven years, saith Suidas, for the trial and exercise of his faith and patience. This might seem to them usque valde but it was not usquequaque sive semper aut perpetuo. Leave them God did to their thinking, but forsake them he did not; forsake them he did in regard of vision, but not in regard of union; non deserit etiamsi deserat, saith Austin.

Verse 9

BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word.

Wherewithal shall a young manSemipuer, a lad, a stripling, who hath his name in Hebrew of tossing to and fro; confer Ephesians 4:14 , and the same word signifieth youth and tow, Isaiah 1:31 , or rather the shreds that fall from tow and flax, when whiffied; to note the vanity of youth, and its aptness to be enkindled, when once affections begin to boil within them. The Greek word for a youth comes from another that signifieth to be hot, and to boil up, or scald, ηιθεος of αιθω , and αιζηος of ζεω . Such a one, therefore, had need (if ever he think to be blessed, as Psalms 119:1 ) to cleanse his ways by cleaving to the word; since an impure heart and an undefiled inheritance will not stand together.

Cleanse his wayMandabit, id est emendabit. The Hebrew word signifieth the cleansing of glass, which though it be very clean, yet will it gather filth even in the sunbeams, and of itself; which noteth the great corruption of this slippery age, and what care must be taken that it may shine as picked glass, or clearest crystal.

By taking heed thereto according to thy word — Which is of a purifying property, John 15:3 ; John 17:17 , and can cleanse the heart of a young man also, where lusts are strong, stains deep, and will not out without fuller’s soap. There is a sharpness in these wholesome (or healing) words, that maketh us sound in the faith, and sincere in practice; as it did Mr Paul Bains, whose conversation, when he came first to Cambridge, was so irregular, that his father, being grieved at it before his death, left with a friend forty pounds by the year, desiring that his son might have it if he amended his manners; else not. He did so, and had it (Mr Clark’s Lives). When a child is come to be thirteen years and a day old, the Jews account him a man, and call him Barmitsuah, a child of the commandments; because bound to live by the law (Leo Modena of Jewish rites).

Verse 10

With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

With my whole heart have I sought thee — And that of a child little, being nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, 1 Timothy 4:6 . I did all the wills of God, and so became a man after his own heart, Acts 13:22 .

O let me not wander — As I shall surely, if thou but withdraw thy grace; for I subsist merely by thy manutension.

Verse 11

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Thy word have I hid in my heartUt peculium in apotheca; as treasure; or as an amulet in a case or chest; as the pot of manna in the ark.

That I might not sin against thee — See but the commination against the temptation, and it will be a special preservative. Eve held the precept, but faltered in the threat. The Rabbis have a saying, In cuius corde est lex Dei, imaginatio mala non habet in eum dominium, He who hath the law of God in his heart is armed against evil lusts.

Verse 12

Blessed [art] thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

Blessed art thou (or be thou), O Lord — viz. For what thou hast already taught me of thy will, and my duty.

Teach me thy statutesGratiarum actio est ad plus dandum invitatio. David had never enough, but craveth more; "Teach me thy statutes," saith he, that I may bless thee better.

Verse 13

With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

With my lips have I declared — Heb. have I ciphered up; these have been the matter of my discourse; and out of the good treasure of my heart Psalms 119:11 have I brought forth those good things, for the good of others, Matthew 12:35 .

Verse 14

I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as [much as] in all riches.

I have rejoiced — Heb. I have inwardly rejoiced. Pleasures of the mind are unspeakably joyous. Eudoxus was content to have been burnt by the sun presently, might he but come so near it as to learn the nature of it. Pliny perished by peeping into the fire of Etna. Archimedes lost his life by being too intent upon his mathematical studies.

As much as in all riches — Heb. in all opulency and affluence.

Verse 15

I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

I will meditate — Or, confabulate, talk freely of them, as worldlings do of their wealth, and ways to get it, αδολεσχησω (Sept.).

And have respect unto thy ways — As an archer hath to his mark.

Verse 16

I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

I will delight myselfDeliciabor; the Arabic hath it, lectitabo leges tuas, I will oft read over thy laws.

I will not forget — Men do therefore forget the word, because they delight not in it; they seldom forget where they lay their money.

Verse 17

GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, [that] I may live, and keep thy word.

Deal bountifully with thy servantPer indebitam gratiam retribue. Of thy free grace confer good upon me; and that not scantily, or niggardly, but liberally, and like thyself. The word sometimes signifieth to repay, to recompense; but therehence to infer matter of merit, on man’s part, is too sandy a foundation for such a lofty Babel.

That I may live — Who am in deaths often; and that I may comfortably subsist in the feeling of thy favour, as 1 Samuel 25:6 .

And keep thy word — For which end only I desire life. See the like, Psalms 118:17 . Non aliter petit vitam, quam ut praestet se fidelem Dei cultorem, saith Arnobius. David doth no otherwise desire life, than for this, that he may faithfully serve God. Non peto vitam propter delicias mundi (Kimchi).

Verse 18

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Open thou mine eyes — Heb. unveil them, velamen amove, volumen evolve, give sight and light; irradiate both organ and object. In spirituals we are not only dim sighted, but blind as beetles, 1 Corinthians 2:14 . Oh pray for that precious eye salve, Revelation 3:17 , for that supernal light, 2 Corinthians 4:6 , and whensoever we open the Bible to read, say, as here, "Open thou mine eyes," …, as when we close it up again say, "I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad," Psalms 119:96 .

Wondrous thingsMirabilia magnalia, mysteria; such as none can understand and unriddle but such as plough with God’s own heifer, 1 Corinthians 2:11 .

Verse 19

I [am] a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

I am a stranger in the earth — And therefore apt to lose my way, without a guide; I shall surely else be wildered and lost.

Hide not thy commandments from me — viz. In the spiritual sense and effectual operation of them. Philosophers observe, that lumen est vehiculum influentiae, light is the convoy of influence; as it begets the flower in the field, the pearl in the earth, …, so the foundation of all renovation is illumination; hence David so earnestly beggeth it here, and Psalms 119:17 .

Verse 20

My soul breaketh for the longing [that it hath] unto thy judgments at all times.

My soul breaketh — The Seventy render it, My soul hath desired to desire thy judgments. How many broken spirits do even spend and exhale themselves in continual sallies, as it were, and egressions of affection to God and his judgments! Comminuitur, debilior fit. The stone will fall down to come to its own place, though it break itself in many pieces; so the good souls.

Verse 21

Thou hast rebuked the proud [that are] cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

Thou hast rebuked the proud, … — Thou chidest them, threatenest them, plaguest them, and so settest it on as no creature can take it off. And this is one reason why I love and observe thy laws, ne paria patiar, lest I should suffer in like sort; since men must do it or die for it.

Verse 22

Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

Remove from me reproach and contempt — Cast upon me by those proud haughty scorners, Psalms 119:21 , and that for nothing but because I keep thy statutes; therefore it is that they despise and defame me; but do thou, Lord, take an order with them; behold, I put them into thine hands, and myself upon thy care to clear me, and set me right; for I am well resolved.

Verse 23

Princes also did sit [and] speak against me: [but] thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

Princes also did sit, … — By public invectives; such as were those of our Henry VIII, and of Lewis, king of Hungary and Bohemia (two very potent princes), against Luther. ωρβδν Denotat continuum clamorem (Kimchi).

Verse 24

Thy testimonies also [are] my delight [and] my counsellors.

Thy testimonies are my delightIn mediis crucibus; to them I run as to my cordial; they are my pleasure and pastime.

And my counsellors — My learned counsel, by whose advice I do all; here I am sure to find consolationem, et consultissimam directionem, counsel and comfort in all my necessities.

Verse 25

DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

My soul cleaveth unto the dust — Those princes, my persecutors (Saul’s counsellors), have brought me to death’s door, as Psalms 44:25 ; Psalms 22:15 . I am in a forlorn condition; as far below hope as they are above fear. Theodoret expoundeth it of humility; and Theodosius the emperor used these words, when reproved by Ambrose for the slaughter at Thessalonica, he lay on the ground and humbly begged pardon (Theod. Eccles. Hist. l. 5, c. 18).

Verse 26

I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

I have declared my ways — My sins and troubles; those thou hast remitted, and these thou hast remedied.

Teach me thy statutes — Show me how I may walk worthy of such a love; and live up to my mercies.

Verse 27

Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

Make me to understand, … — Give me a mouth and wisdom, that I may not talk at random of thy words and works; but understandingly and fruitfully.

Verse 28

My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

My soul melteth — Heb. droppeth away like water; I weep out my life, together with my grief.

Strengthen thou me according to thy word — Support me by thy promise.

Verse 29

Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

Remove from me the way of lying — A sin that David, through diffidence, fell into frequently. See 1 Samuel 21:2 ; 1 Samuel 21:8 , where he roundly telleth three or four lies; and the like he did, 1 Samuel 27:8 ; 1 Samuel 27:10: this evil he saw by himself, and here prayeth against it.

And grant me thy law — For a preservative from this foul sin; herein gratify me, good Lord.

Verse 30

I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid [before me].

I have chosen the way of truth — I am fully bent against lying, and am resolved to speak truth; though I have done otherwise sometimes, through frailty.

Thy judgments have I laid before me — Thereby to fright my conscience, that I might not so much as equivocate. Some render it iudicia tua aequiperavi, I have kept pace with thy judgments, sc. in the bent and bias of my heart at least.

Verse 31

I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.

I have stuck unto thy testimonies — Hitherto I have done so; let me now shrink from them, or hang loose to them, lest I lose the things that I have wrought, and shame myself for ever by my backsliding.

Verse 32

I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

I will run the way — Do thy work with utmost diligence and delight, come off roundly and readily therein, take long strides toward heaven.

When thou shalt enlarge my heart — By thy free spirit, and by the joy of faith; when thou shalt have oiled my joints, and nimbled my feet, then shall I run and not be weary, walk and not faint, Isaiah 40:31 ; our promises of obedience must be conditional, since without Christ we can do nothing, John 15:5 .

Verse 33

HE. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it [unto] the end.

Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes — Which is both hard to hit and dangerous to miss; teach me, therefore.

And I shall keep itLex iubet, gratia iuvat. Oh beg of God that we may persevere, since the evening crowneth the day, …

Verse 34

Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with [my] whole heart.

Give me understanding — We can neither know nor do God’s will without divine light and aid, as appears clearly by this fifth octonary, which, therefore, Austin made so great use of against the Pelagians.

Verse 35

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

Make me to go in the path — Which I shall soon forsake if thou guide me not.

For therein do I delight — After the inward man, Romans 7:22 . Thou hast given me to will, give me also to work what is well pleasing in thy sight.

Verse 36

Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

Incline my heart — Through the exercises of thy word, and the working of thy Spirit.

And not to covetousness — Which draweth away the heart from all God’s testimonies, and is the root of all evil, 1 Timothy 6:10 . Some think it is put here for all other vices. The Chaldee hath it, and not to mammon, that mammon of iniquity, as Christ calleth it, the next odious name to the devil. Now, to good God inclineth man’s heart efficiently (say the schools), but to evil, deficiently, sc. by withdrawing his grace; for he is a free agent, and not bound to any. David prayeth God to supersede him from this wickedness, and Luther saith he was never tempted to it.

Verse 37

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; [and] quicken thou me in thy way.

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity — Lest looking cause liking and lusting, 1 John 2:16 . In Hebrew the same word signifieth both an eye and a fountain; to show that from the eye, as from a fountain, floweth much mischief and by that window Satan oft winds himself into the soul. This David found by experience, and therefore prays here, Turn away, transfer, make to pass mine eyes, 2 Samuel 11:12 . Job steppeth one degree farther, viz. from a prayer to a vow, Psalms 31:1 ; yea, from a vow to an inprecation, Psalms 119:7 . He knew the danger of irregular glancing and inordinate gazing.

And quicken thou me in thy way — Who shall else die of the wound in the eye. Alexander called the Persian maids Oculorum dolores; Ut vidi, ut perii. Grief of the eyes so that to be seen is to be ruined. The Israelites were appointed to make them fringes with blue ribbons to lock upon, that they might remember all God’s commandments and do them, and not seek after their own heart and their own eyes, after which they used to go a whoring, Numbers 15:39 .

Verse 38

Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who [is devoted] to thy fear.

Stablish thy word unto thy servanti.e. Make good thy promise; we must by our prayers put the promises of God in suit, and God will perform them.

Who is devoted to thy fear — And so am an heir of the promises. Or, which (word) is (given) for the fear of thee, that thou mayest be feared.

Verse 39

Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments [are] good.

Turn away my reproach — Cover it, cure it, suffer it not to break forth, to my disgrace among men.

For thy judgments are good — But their tender mercies are mere cruelties; if, therefore, at any time I fall into opprobrious and reproachful practices; Lord, be thou my judge, and not they: for thy judgments are like thyself, good, and righteous, …

Verse 40

Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

Behold, I have longed after thy precepts — This he could boldly and safely say to God, offering himself to his trial for the truth of his desires. See Hebrews 13:18 .

Quicken me in thy righteousness — His desires and affections were not so large and lively but that he needed to be yet farther quickened Nemo est ex omni parte beatus. No one is from evert parted blessed.

Verse 41

VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, [even] thy salvation, according to thy word.

Let thy mercies come also unto me — Let them come to me, or else I shall never come to them. 1 Peter 1:13 , "Hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto you." Psalms 23:6 , "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me," as the setting sun doth the wayfaring man that goes from it. The Arabic rendereth it, Let thy mercies come upon me, or cover me, as a garment. So the Spirit of the Lord clothed Amasa, 1 Chronicles 12:18 , and, ye shall be clothed "with power from on high," Luke 24:49 .

Even thy salvation — Safety here and salvation hereafter. Austin expoundeth if of Christ.

Verse 42

So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

So shall I have wherewith to answeri.e. To stop an open mouth. Verbal apologies are sometimes necessary, but real always; we should, by a pious conversation, put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, who, like Blackamoors, despise beauty; like dogs, bark at the shining of the moon. We are also to beg deliverance of God, for the confutation of such as say we shall never be delivered.

Verse 43

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.

And take not the word of truth utterly — Give me free utterance, "that in nothing I be ashamed; but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ may be magnified in my body," …, Philippians 1:20 . Despoil me not of my courage in a good cause, let not Satan rob me of that jewel: Ne auferas, id est ut spolium, ut Exodus 12:36 (Aben Ezra). I have read of a nobleman, who when he came into jeering company of great ones, would begin and own himself one of those they called Puritans, and so anticipated them.

Verse 44

So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

So shall I keep thy law continually — If thou please to give me to believe with the heart, and to confess with the mouth, I shall surely persevere in the profession and practice of the truth.

Verse 45

And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

And I will walk at liberty — In the full latitude of thy commandments, and not by wilful wickedness ensnare and ensnarl myself, as those do who, in the fulness of their sufficiency are in straits, and in pursuit of their lusts do pierce themselves through with many sorrows. The Italian senseth it, I will walk in peace of conscience.

Verse 46

I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.

I will speak of thy testimonies, …Nullo vel terrore vel splendore mundano impeditus. Kings commonly abound with all things but only truth, as Alphonsus, king of Arragon, complained. David would deal plainly with them, though never so high; especially when he should come to be of equal level with them, and so to have better opportunity.

Verse 47

And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

And I will delight myselfsc. In contemplation of thy word. Aristotle telleth us that the principal pleasure is to be found in contemplation (Ethic. lib. 10).

Verse 48

My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

My hands also will I lift up, … — Removing all rubs, and pulling thy word to me with both hands earnestly, with my whole man, with my whole might; Utraque manu capessim, επεκτεινομενος , straining the body, and stretching out the hands to do mine utmost at it, while others put it from them with a force, and so judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life, Acts 13:46 .

Verse 49

ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.

Remember thy word — God is not unrighteous to forget, Hebrews 6:10 , yet we must, as his remembrancers, Isaiah 62:6 , put his promises in suit, Ezekiel 36:37 .

Upon which thou hast caused me to hope — God giveth us to do what he biddeth us to do, Ezekiel 36:27 .

Verse 50

This [is] my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

This is my comfort — The promises yield strong consolation. Philosophical comforts are of little force, as Plato acknowledgeth, and Cicero bewaileth in his Epistle to Octavius

For thy word hath quickened me — When I was at last cast, and drawing my last breath, as it were.

Verse 51

The proud have had me greatly in derision: [yet] have I not declined from thy law.

The proud have had me greatly in derision — Scoffing proceedeth from pride, Proverbs 3:34 , with 1 Peter 5:5 .

Yet have I not, … — They cannot flout me out of my zeal.

Verse 52

I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.

I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord — This was to have a holy memory, well fraught with profitable matter, such as are examples of God’s dealing with his people and their enemies in all ages.

And was comforted — Some degree of comfort followeth every good action; as heat accompanieth fire, as beams and influences issue from the sun.

Verse 53

Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.

Horror hath taken hold upon meHorripilatio, turbo, vortex, a horrible tempest, Psalms 11:6 , such as surpriseth holy Habakkuk, Habakkuk 3:16 .

Because of the wicked — To think of their heinous sins and horrible punishments, which they dread not, dream not off See Daniel 4:19 .

Verse 54

Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

Thy statutes have been my songs — Thy promises, which bind thee by grace, as statutes do us by duty, and are every whit as sure. By these I lopped off my cares, fears, and griefs, as with a pruning or paring knife; I pared them round till none was left. Metaphors falcibus.

In the house of my pilgrimageIn hoc exilio, in hoc ergastulo, in hac peregrinatione, in hac valle lachrymarum (Bern.). Travellers sing to deceive the tediousness of the way; so did David, and hereby he solaced himself under that horror, Psalms 119:53 . Great is the comfort that cometh in by singing of psalms with grace in our hearts.

Verse 55

I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.

I remembered thy name, … — Breaking my sleep for the purpose, to meditate on thy holy attributes, word, and works.

And have kept thy law — Which could not have been kept, if not kept in firm and fresh memory. See 1 Corinthians 15:2 .

Verse 56

This I had, because I kept thy precepts.

This I had — This comfort, or this remembrance, or this ability to keep thy law.

Because I keep thy precepts — A strange reason, I kept it because I kept it; but every new act of obedience fitteth for a following act, Romans 6:19 . As in sin, so in grace, Mark 4:24 , acts increase habits, and facilitate the work.

Verse 57

CHETH. [Thou art] my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.

Thou art my portion, O Lord — While other men’s portion sunt divitiae vel deliciae, nothing short of God can satisfy me.

I have said, …i.e. Purposed and promised the obedience of faith.

Verse 58

I intreated thy favour with [my] whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

I intreated thy favour — Heb. thy face, that is, thy Christ, saith Ambrose and Hilary: this David did in the sense of his own utter inability to do as he had promised.

Be merciful unto me, … — This was the sum of his petition, and must be the main of ours.

Verse 59

I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

I thought on my ways — At self-examination beginneth sound conversion, Lamentations 3:39-40 Haggai 1:5 ; Haggai 1:7 2 Corinthians 13:5 .

And turned my feet — Finding all to be naught, and stark naught (contrary to what God found in his works upon a review, all good, and very good), set upon a new course.

Verse 60

I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

I made haste, and delayed not — Heb. I distracted not myself about had-I-wist, but minded the one thing necessary. Nolite tempus in nugis terere: vel cras, ut ille seria, hodie morituri protelare, saith one; Haste, haste, haste; delays are dangerous, opportunities are headlong, and once past, irrecoverable.

Verse 61

The bands of the wicked have robbed me: [but] I have not forgotten thy law.

The bands of the wicked have robbed me — In these late stripping times many a poor man’s whole life’s settings were lost in an instant.

But I have not forgotten thy law — I have encouraged myself in the Lord my God, as at the sack of Ziklag, 1 Samuel 30:6

Verse 62

At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

At midnight will I rise — To speak with a friend. The primitive Christians had their Hymniantelucani, saith Pliny, their αλεκτροφωνιαι , saith Clement and Cyprian; and this the monks allege for defence of their superstitious night services.

Because of thy righteous judgments — God’s word read and preached is a main matter of thankfulness; so are his works.

Verse 63

I [am] a companion of all [them] that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.

I am a companion of all them — Though never so mean, if there be aliquid Christi in them. Grace is of a uniting property, and purgeth out partiality, James 2:1-2 .

That keep thy precepts — The best proof of true fear of God, Psalms 103:13 Acts 10:35 .

Verse 64

The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy — Thy mercy is over all thy works. This is thy general goodness, But

Teach me thy statutesNon peto a te aliam misericordiam (Aben Ezra); this is that I beg above all, viz. the lively light of thy law and word; sound and saving knowledge. A gracious spirit cannot be satisfied with low things.

Verse 65

TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.

Thou hast dealt well with thy servant — Men must be no less praiseful than prayerful. Shall we come to the well of life thirsty, and then turn our backs upon the Rock that followeth us?

According to thy wordsc. Of promise; this sweeteth a blessing.

Verse 66

Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

Teach me good judgment — Heb. good taste, for the soul also hath her senses; and as the mouth tasteth meat, so the ear trieth words; the mind relisheth religion.

For I have believed thy commandments — But would do yet more: 1 John 5:13 . "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life; and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

Verse 67

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

Before I was afflicted I went astray — Especially through high mindedness and earthly mindedness, which are purged out by affliction, and grace increased; as fish thrive better in cold and salt waters, as the walnut tree is most fruitful when most beaten. Master Ascham was a good schoolmaster to Queen Elizabeth, but affliction was a better, … See my Treatise on Revelation 3:19 .

But now I have kept thy word — Now that I have been lashed to it, and have paid for my learning; Vexatio dat intellectum, Smart maketh wit. As the scourging and beating of the garment with a stick beateth out the moths and dust, so do afflictions corruptions from the heart. Quae nocent, docent. Corrections of instructions are the way of life, Proverbs 6:23

Verse 68

Thou [art] good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

Thou art good, and doest good — Good in thyself (indeed there is none good but thyself) and good to thy creatures, inexpressibly bounteous and beneficial.

Teach me thy statutes — And so impart unto me thy special goodness, that I may resemble thee in being and doing good; full of goodness, filled with knowledge, Romans 15:14 .

Verse 69

The proud have forged a lie against me: [but] I will keep thy precepts with [my] whole heart.

The proud have forged a lie against me — Heb. They have cunningly and finely aspersed me. Mendacium mendacio assuentes, piecing one lie to another, and drawing together iniquity with the cart ropes of vanity. Concinnarunt, artificiose confinxerunt.

But l will keep thy precepts — Notwithstanding their slanders; and the rather.

Verse 70

Their heart is as fat as grease; [but] I delight in thy law.

Their heart is as fat as grease — Gross as grease; curdled as milk or cheese, say the Septuagint, congealed and baked as it were in their sins. Obtusum et quasi adipe obductum; fat things are less sensible, and fat-hearted people are noted by Aristotle for dull and stupid.

But I delight in thy lawIlla me pasco et sagino, therewith I feed and fat myself.

Verse 71

[It is] good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted — And thereby humbled; for else the fruit of affliction is lost, and they are always impaired that are not improved by their sufferings, as all God’s people are sure to be at length. The Lacedemonians of old (and the same is said of the Hollanders of late) grew rich by war, and were bettered when all other kingdoms were undone by it. The saints make benefit of their crosses, which to others are destructive.

That I might learn thy statutes — Luther saith of some of Saint Paul’s Epistles, that they can never be understood but by the cross. Qui tribulantur, sacras literas melius intelligunt (saith he in another place) Through trails they better understood the Bible. securi et fortunati eas legunt sicut Ovidii carmen, that is, the afflicted do best understand the Scriptures, when the wealthy and secure read them but as one of Ovid’s poems.

Verse 72

The law of thy mouth [is] better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

The law of thy mouth is better unto me, … — For what is all this trash to that true treasure, those lively and life giving oracles? Dionysius worthily preferred Plato before Aristippus, because the one was ever craving money of him, but the other books. It is reported of Plato, that for three choice books he gave thirty thousand silverlings or florins. Now, what were all his books to the Bible? To blame, then, was that Anabaptist, who said in Melancthon’s hearing that he would not give two pence for all the Bibles in the world (Joh. Maul. loc. com. 78).

Verse 73

JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

Thy hands have made me and fashioned mePlasmaverunt, which Basil interpreteth of the body curiously wrought by God, Psalms 139:15-16 as "made" of the soul; q.d. Thou art my Maker, I would thou shouldest be my Master ( Formaverunt, firmaverunt ). A body hast thou fitted me, Hebrews 10:5 , a reasonable soul also hast thou given me, capable of salvation; I am an understanding creature still; neither have I lost my passive capacity of thy renewing grace.

Give me understanding — And thereunto add sincere affection, Psalms 119:80 , that these may run parallel in my heart, and mutually transfuse life and vigour into one another.

Verse 74

They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.

They that fear thee will be glad, … — As hoping that they shall also in like sort be delivered and advanced.

Because I have hoped in thy word — And have not been disappointed. The Vulgate rendereth it super speravi, I have overly hoped; and Aben Ezra glosseth, I have hoped in all thy decree, even that of afflicting me, as in the next verse.

Verse 75

I know, O LORD, that thy judgments [are] right, and [that] thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right — That is, that I suffer deservedly. To thee, O Lord, belongeth righteousness, …, Daniel 9:7

And that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me — That thou mayest be true to my soul, and not suffer me to run on to my utter ruin; or, in faithfulness, that is, in measure, as 1 Corinthians 10:13 .

Verse 76

Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.

Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness — That I faint not, neither sink under the heaviest burden of these light afflictions.

According to thy word unto thy servant — To thy servants in general, and, therefore, I trust to me, who am bold to thrust in among the rest, and to put my name in the writ.

Verse 77

Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law [is] my delight.

Let thy tender mercies come unto me, … — He repeateth the same thing in other words, and re-enforceth his request; showing that he could not live without divine comforts.

For thy law is my delight — Thou hast my heart and goodwill; which showeth that I am thy workmanship in a spiritual sense also, Ephesians 2:10 . Oh look upon the wounds of thine hands, and forget not the work of thine hands, as Queen Elizabeth prayed.

Verse 78

Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: [but] I will meditate in thy precepts.

Let the proud be ashamed — Theoderet thinks that David here prayeth not against, but for, his enemies, quando quidem confusio et ignominia salutem procreat. But that is not likely.

For they dealt perversely with me — Writhing my words and deeds to a wrong sense; or, they would pervert me.

But I will meditate in thy precepts — Or, I will speak of them, and so stop their mouths, and save myself from them.

Verse 79

Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.

Let those that fear thee — These are fitly opposed to those proud ones, as Malachi 3:13 ; Malachi 3:16 .

Turn unto me — From whom they have shrunk in mine affliction.

And those that have known thy testimoniesDeum cognoscere et colere, to know and serve God is the whole duty of a man, saith Lactantius.

Verse 80

Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

Let my heart be sound — For the main, though I have many failings. Pray we against hypocrisy.

That I be not ashamed — As all dissemblers once shall be.

Verse 81

CAPH. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: [but] I hope in thy word.

My soul fainteth for thy salvation — Saying, as those good souls, Jeremiah 8:20 , "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." Physicians let their patients’ blood sometimes, etiam ad animae deliquium, till they swoon again. Howbeit, they have a care still to maintain nature; so doth God the fainting spirits of his people by cordials, Isaiah 57:16 .

But I hope in thy wordVivere spe vidi qui moriturus erat.

Verse 82

Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?

Mine eyes fail — God sometimes deferreth to help till men have stopped looking: Luke 18:8 , "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith?" hardly. This he doth to commend his favours to us, and to set a price on them.

Saying, When wilt thou comfort me? — This is a prosopopoeia, as if David’s eyes said thus, while they earnestly expected comfort.

Verse 83

For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; [yet] do I not forget thy statutes.

For I am become like a bottle in the smoke — Shrivelled, wrinkled, withered, dried up. My body by long suffering is but a bag of bones, and that black and sooty; confer Psalms 32:3 ; Psalms 102:3 . My soul in danger of being bereft of all spiritual moisture.

Yet do I not forget thy statutes — Nay, I do the rather remember them, and fetch relief from them.

Verse 84

How many [are] the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

How many are the days of thy servanti.e. Mine evil days, Proverbs 15:15 . All the days of the afflicted are evil; see Psalms 37:12 and these soon seem many to us.

When wilt thou execute judgment, … — This is the voice of those martyrs, Revelation 6:10-11 , who are thereupou willed to have patience, till the number of their brethren is fulfilled.

Verse 85

The proud have digged pits for me, which [are] not after thy law.

The proud have digged pits for me — The pride, cruelty, and craftiness of wicked persecutors are foretokens of their utter destruction. The Greek rendereth it, They have told me tales; Proverbs 16:27 , "An ungodly man diggeth up evil."

Which are not after thy law — Neither they nor their pits. But what care they for thee or thy law? and shall they thus escape by iniquity? Psalms 56:7 .

Verse 86

All thy commandments [are] faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

All thy commandments are faithful — Heb. faithfulness, that is, they are true, sure, equal, infallible.

They persecute me wrongfully — For asserting thy truths, and adhering thereunto.

Help thou me — The more eagerly men molest us the more earnestly should we implore the Divine help.

Verse 87

They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.

They had almost consumed me upon earth — In heaven I shall be out of their reach. But this is their hour, and the power of darkness, Luke 12:53 .

But I forsook not thy precepts — No trouble must pull us from the love of the truth. You may pull my tongue out of my head, but not my faith out of my heart, said that martyr. The saints choose affliction rather than sin.

Verse 88

Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

Quicken me after thy lovingkindness — David under long affliction had his dumps and dullnesses; as the best faith, if long tried, will flag aud hang the wing. He, therefore, rouseth up himself, and wrestleth with God for quickening grace; which he promised to improve, and not to receive the grace of God in vain; "so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth."

Verse 89

LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

For ever, O Lord, thy word — It is eternal and perpetual, neither can it be vacated or abolished by the injury of time or endeavours of tyrants. The Bible was imprinted at the New Jerusalem by the finger of Jehovah, and shall outlive the days of heaven, run parallel with the life of God, with the line of eternity. The saints also and angels in heaven live by the same law as we do here, and we pray to be conformed unto them.

Verse 90

Thy faithfulness [is] unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.

Thy faithfulness is unto all generations — He singles out God’s word of promise, and showes it to be immutable and unmoveable as the earth is in the middle of heaven, by the word of God’s power. See Jeremiah 33:25 .

Thou hast established — See Job 26:7 . See Trapp on " Job 26:7 "

Verse 91

They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all [are] thy servants.

They continue this day — God never brake promise with them, Jeremiah 33:20 ; Jeremiah 33:25 , much less will he with his people, for whose use he made them.

For all are thy servants — All creatures are at God’s beck and check, except evil angels and men, those great heteroclites A thing or person that deviates from the ordinary rule; an "anomaly". , who yet do God’s will, though against their own wills.

Verse 92

Unless thy law [had been] my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.

Unless thy law had been my delight — Unless it had been settled in my heart (as well as it is in heaven) for my singular comfort, I had been crushed.

I should then (or long since) have perished — The Landgrave of Hesse told me at Dresden, saith Melancthon, that it had been impossible for him to have borne up under the manifold miseries of so long an imprisonment, nisi habuisset consolationem ex verbo divino in suo corde, but for the comforts of the Scriptures in his heart (Joh. Manl. loc. com. 139).

Verse 93

I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.

I will never forget thy precepts — That is, thy promises, which are as sure and firm as the commands of the most absolute monarch upon earth. And here the prophet proposeth his own example for a pattern to others; for, as Pacatus writeth in his panegyric to Theodosius the emperor, blandissime iubetur exemplo examples are sweet precepts.

For with them thou hast quickened me — Thou hast fetched me again, when ready to faint, as Psalms 119:92 .

Verse 94

I [am] thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.

I am thine, save me — Every man will see to his own, unless he be worse than an infidel; and shall not God?

For I have sought thy precepts — And can thereby prove myself to be thine. Where it is implied that all that we are to seek in our obedience are the precepts themselves; the thing especially we are to aim at is obedience itself to the precepts.

Verse 95

The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: [but] I will consider thy testimonies.

The wicked have waited — Nothing less than destruction will satisfy persecutors; but the Lord knows how to deliver his Peters out of the hands of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews, Acts 12:11 2 Peter 2:9 .

But I will consider thy testimonies — And therewith hearten and harden myself against their insolences and attempts for my hurt.

Verse 96

I have seen an end of all perfection: [but] thy commandment [is] exceeding broad.

I have seen an end of all perfection — viz. Here below.

Fairest buildings, strongest persons, goodliest empires, have their times and their turns, their rise and their ruin, Omnis finis finem vidi (Syr. Interp.).

Et subito casu quae valuere ruunt;

Omnia fortunae variis stant obvia telis:

Aut etiam longo tempore victa cadunt.

But thy commandment is exceeding broad — It is endless, infinite, perpetual, and withal of largest extent; witness that of charity, which is the complement of the law, and the supplement of the gospel. David, though he had proceeded further in the discovery of divine truths than those before him, Psalms 119:99 , yet he was still to seek of that which might be known; like as those great discoverers of the newly found land confess still a plus-ultra.

Verse 97

MEM. O how love I thy law! it [is] my meditation all the day.

O how love I thy law! — Such a pang of love he felt as could not otherwise be vented but by a pathetic exclamation; and this was wrought in him by the thoughts of the largeness and lastingness of God’s law. Plato prized one book (called Sophron) above all the rest, whereof he had many. Richard de Bury, bishop of Durham (Floruit, A. D. 1333), as he had more books than all the bishops of England besides, so in his book called Philobiblos, he saith of himself, ecstatico quodam librorum amore potenter se esse abreptum, that he was carried out of himself by love to good books, but not so much as David was to God’s blessed Book. Queen Elizabeth, at her coronation, received the Bible, presented unto her, with both her hands; and, kissing it, laid it to her breast, saying, that the same had ever been her chiefest delight (Speed.).

It is my meditation all the daySive locutio, commentatio, occupatio, my daily discourse, study, or employment; as love is never idle.

Verse 98

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me.

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than my enemies — So that I outwit them; and my holy simplicity is too hard for their sinful subtlety. "Be wise as serpents."

For they are ever with me — Heb. It is ever with me, that is, every one of thy commandments; I am expert in them; or, It is mine, I have made them mine own by meditation; I have turned them in succum et sanguinem; I have incorporated them, as it were, into my soul.

Verse 99

I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.

I have more understanding than all my teachersi.e. I have understood by much reading more than they ever taught me, while I referred all to practice; and so came to know more of God’s mind than they did. A friend, saith Chrysostom, that is acquainted with his friend, will get out the meaning of a letter or phrase which another could not that is a stranger; so it is in the Scripture. And here, Indocti rapiunt coelum, a pious swain is better learned than a proud philosopher, saith a certain devout Dominican. Our King Alfred was held the best in all his kingdom, both for understanding and for interpreting the Holy Scriptures.

For thy testimonies are my meditation — I do particularly apply the word heard to mine own necessities; and work it upon mine affections by an after deliberate meditation.

Verse 100

I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

I understand more than the ancients — Whom yet age, use, and experience have taught much; but by the practical study of the word I outgo them all; with reference to those hoary heads, the seniors of the Synedrion, be it spoken, Non prolixa facit sapientem barba.

Verse 101

I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.

I have refrained my feet, … — I have clapped up my unruly affections close prisoners, and hampered them; abandoning every error in judgment and enormity in practice.

That I might keep thy word — Which I shall never do but by self-denial and mortification.

Verse 102

I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.

I have not departed from thy judymentsi.e. From thy law, which is called judgments, because God will thereby judge the world.

For thou hast taught mesc. To cleave close unto them with full purpose of heart; and not to be drawn aside by any either allurement or fright.

Verse 103

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! [yea, sweeter] than honey to my mouth!

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! — Heb. to my palate; Syr. coelis gutturis mei, the roof of the mouth resembleth heaven. Epicurus was worthily blamed by Ennius for that dum palate quid sit optimum iudicabat, coeli palatium non suspexerit, while he looked so much to his palate, he looked not at all to the heavenly palace. David was no hog of his herd; he had sweetmeats to feed on that the world was not aware of.

Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth — Mercury’s priests were wont to say, when they did eat their figs, γλυκεια η αληθεια , Truth is sweet. The comedian saith, after Solomon, ηδυ το φως , "Light is sweet." The pleasures of the mind are far beyond those of the body.

Verse 104

Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

Through thy precepts I get understanding — Those are the statutes of heaven; and as men, by studying the statute book, get worldly wisdom, so they may hereby get heavenly.

Therefore I hate every false way — Whether in point of opinion or practice. I shall look upon Auxentius as a devil so long as he is an Arian, saith Hilary. And I would shun a heretic as I would do a devil, for he is sent on his errand, saith another.

Verse 105

NUN. Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet — Without the direction whereof, both for my whole course of life, and for every particular action thereof, I cannot but be in dreadful darkness and desperate downfalls.

Verse 106

I have sworn, and I will perform [it], that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

I have sworn, and I will perform it — A religious vow is nothing else but a solemn promise, or rather oath made to God to use this or that means, either to avoid some evil whereunto he findeth himself inclined, or to be set onwards in the performance of some duty unto which he finds himself very backward, Masora sepes legi, decimae divitiis, vota sanctimoniae, silentium sapientiae (Pirke Aboth). Thus, Nehemiah 10:1 , they take a new oath, and seal to it. Thus Job, Job 31:1 , and Jacob, Genesis 28:21-22 , called, therefore, the father of vows.

That I will keep thy righteous judgments — Keep them as I am able, and as thou by thy grace shalt enable me, Psalms 119:32 . Peter was too peremptory, Jephthah too hasty.

Verse 107

I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.

I am adflicted very muchUsque valde, extremely. If David be so fully bent to obey God, he shall have troubles great store; 1 Timothy 3:12 , All that will live godly, and are set upon it, shall suffer persecution. Zeal for Christ draweth troubles to itself, as the wind Caecias doth clouds.

Quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word — Help me to keep my promise, to perform mine oath, notwithstanding these troubles growing upon me. A vow made without prayer is never kept.

Verse 108

Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.

Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings — My prayers and praises; prayers for thine assistance, and praises for thine enablements, Psalms 50:14 ; Psalms 107:22

And teach me thy judgments — This is a request that David hath never done with.

Verse 109

My soul [is] continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.

My soul (or life) is continually in my handi.e. Continually hazarded and ready to be laid down for righteousness’ sake. I am neither fond of life nor afraid of death in this case; I make no more of life than a child doth of his bird, which he carrieth in the palm of his hand held open. See Judges 12:3 Job 13:14 .

Yet do I not forget thy law — Notwithstanding all these dangers; nay, I love it, and like it so much the better, as those, Psalms 44:17 Romans 8:2-4 , and that holy martyr who caught up the Revelation cast into the same fire with himself, and cried, O beata Apocalypsis, … Oh blessed revelation.

Verse 110

The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

The wicked have laid a snare for me — Such as, rather than their lives, would have had mine; such as sought and fain would have sucked my blood.

Yet I erred not from thy preeepts — I held the king’s highway, and leaped not over the hedge to avoid a piece of foul way.

Verse 111

Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they [are] the rejoicing of my heart.

Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritagePerpetui nec unquam alienaudi patrimonii vice, A patrimony that I prize, and will never part with, since I hold it from thee as a child of thy grace.

For they are the rejoicing of mine heart — Other heritages have their troubles. Qui habet tetras, habet querras, saith the lawyer; but the just man’s joy is unmixed.

Verse 112

I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, [even unto] the end.

I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes — This is the fruit of my Christian contentation and spiritual joy, "I have inclined my heart." Indeed, thou, Lord, hast done it, for thou art the only heart maker and heart mender; but thou countest and callest it my doing, for mine encouragement in thy service. Certum est nos facere quod facimus, sed Deus facit ut faciamus, saith Austin.

Alway even to the end — For else I shall lose the things that I have wrought, and not receive a full reward, 2 John 1:8 .

Verse 113

SAMECH. I hate [vain] thoughts: but thy law do I love.

I hate vain thoughts — Which, though they may swarm in my head, shall never lodge in my heart, Jeremiah 4:14 , for there I have entertained a better guest.

Thy law do I love — All hatred proceedeth from love, and is προς το μενος , against the whole kind, as Aristotle speaketh. True love to God’s law enrageth the hearts of God’s people with a holy hatred of heresies and perverse devices.

Verse 114

Thou [art] my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Thou art my hiding place and my shield — To defend me from deadly darts and dangers. See Psalms 18:2 ; Psalms 32:7 . God either preserveth his from common calamities or from the hurt of them.

I hope in thy word — And am content to stay thy time. "He that believeth maketh not haste."

Verse 115

Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

Depart from me, ye evildoers — For what reason? there is no doing my duty in your company; besides, a double danger: 1. Infection of sin; 2. Infliction of punishment, Revelation 18:4 .

For I will keep the commandments — Which it booteth me not to set about unless I do first abandon your society, hating the garment spotted by the flesh, that is, avoiding evil company (saith Mr Perkins), that remora or pest of true piety. See Leviticus 15:4 .

Verse 116

Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

Uphold me according unto thy word — The promise is the soul’s support. Turn we the palm and not the backside of the hand to this staff, leaning upon it, praying hard for the accomplishment of it, and then be content, though we can say but as that holy man, Mr Paul Bain, did: I thank God in Christ, sustentation I have, but suavities spiritual I taste not any.

And let me not be ashamed of my hope — Let me not be defeated, disappointed, frustrated. This David knew he should not be (for spes in terrenis incerti nomen boni; spes in divinis nomen est certissimi, Hebrews 11:1 Romans 5:5 ), but yet thinks fit to seek it by prayer; as Elijah foretold abundance of rain, but yet went up to the top of Carmel and prayed for it, 1 Kings 18:41-42 .

Verse 117

Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.

Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe — No longer are we safe from sin and punishment than God putteth under his hand; we subsist merely by his manutension; and if he withdraw his grace never so little we are down on all four, as we say.

And I will have respect, … — Saints shall persevere, because they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Verse 118

Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit [is] falsehood.

Thou hast trodden down all them, … — Thou, as a mighty king or conqueror, hast made use of them for a footstool, as Sapores, king of Persia, did Valentinian the Roman emperor, and as Tamerlane did Bajazet.

For their deceit is falsehood — They think themselves to be out of the reach of thy rod, but they will find it somewhat otherwise.

Verse 119

Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth [like] dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.

Thou pullest away all the wicked of the earth like dross — Consuming them in the fire of thy wrath, and casting them out as refuse; see Isaiah 1:25 vel quasi rubiginem existimasti, thou hast reckoned them as rust (Kimchi); whereas the saints are preciously esteemed, as the least filings of gold are.

Therefore I love thy testimoniesQuia purgant a scoriis hypocriscos, et intus est ut foris: because they take out the precious from the vile, and make men the same within as without.

Verse 120

My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.

My flesh tremblethHorripilatur, Job 4:15 . In the saints is a mixture of contrary passions, fear and great joy, as was in those holy women, Matthew 28:8 , and the one makes way for the other.

Verse 121

AIN. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.

I have done judgment and justice — I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day, Acts 23:1 ; my cause is right, and my carriage righteous. But innocence is no target against detraction and deadly practice; therefore

Leave me not to mine oppressors — Or traducers for they will soon exceed their commission, Zechariah 1:15 .

Verse 122

Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.

Be surety for thy servant for goodObi vadimonium; appear for me, and nonsuit all accusations against me; or, undertake for me that I shall keep thy laws, as I have said and sworn to do: Sis fide iussor meus. Some observe that this is the only verse throughout the whole psalm wherein the word is not mentioned under the name of law, judgments, statutes,or the like terms. And they make this note upon it; where the law faileth there Christ is a surety of a better testament. There are that render the words thus: Dulcify or delight thy servant in good, that is, make him joyful and comfortable in the pursuit and practice of that which is good, Oblecta servum (Muscul.).

Verse 123

Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.

Mine eyes fail for thy salvation — Not my bodily eyes only, but the eyes of my faith. See Psalms 119:81-82 .

And for the word of thy righteousness — That is, for thy faithful promises, which many times bear a long date.

Verse 124

Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.

Deal with thy servant according to thy mercyi.e. Show me so much mercy as to teach me thy statutes. Cathedram in ccelis habet qui cords docet. Divine learning is of God’s free favour. If common skill, then this much more cometh "forth from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working," Isaiah 28:19 .

Verse 125

I [am] thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.

I am thy servant, give me understanding — I have voluntarily hired myself unto thee, chosen the things that please thee, and taken hold of the covenant, loving to be thy servant, Isaiah 56:4 ; Isaiah 56:6 . Now, this is all the wages I crave of thee, "Give me understanding," … This David speaketh, saith one, in a real and heavenly complement with his Maker.

That I may know thy testimonies — Work done in the dark must be undone again; David, therefore, would fully know his Master’s mind, that he might acceptably do it.

Verse 126

[It is] time for [thee], LORD, to work: [for] they have made void thy law.

It is time for thee, Lord, to work — For else what will become of thy great name, and of thy poor people? This the psalmist speaketh not as prescribing God a time, but as reminding him of his own glory and of his people’s necessity.

For they have made void thy law — They would if they could, as our Antinomians, dogmatic and practical, our aweless, lawless Belialists, untameable, untractable.

Verse 127

Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.

Therefore I love thy commandments — I like them the better because they slight them, and prize that way the more they persecute. I kindle myself from their coldness, and while they greedily grasp after gold, and fine gold, I lay hold upon eternal life, 1 Timothy 6:10-12 .

Verse 128

Therefore I esteem all [thy] precepts [concerning] all [things to be] right; [and] I hate every false way.

Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right — "Therefore," from the same ground again as before, by a holy antiperistasis.

I esteem, …Rectificavi, I have declared them to be right in every part and point, against those that wrangle and wrest them to a wrong sense. I esteem every parcel of truth precious, and am an utter enemy to every heterodoxy. The many "alls" in this verse used (not unlike that in Ezekiel 44:30 ) showeth the integrity and universality of his obedience. "All" is but a little word, but of large extent.

I hate every false way — Whether in point of opinion or practice; all sinful deviations and prevarications. Hatred is ever against the whole kind of a thing, saith Aristotle (Rhet. lib. 2.)

Verse 129

PE. Thy testimonies [are] wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

Thy testimonies are wonderful — As comprehending high and hidden mysteries, such as are far above the reach of human reason; such as the very angels admire and adore. A man must have more than common faith to subject his reason to them. But all men are Socinians by nature; they will believe God’s word no farther than they can see reason; which while men make the rule of their faith (as did the wise Greeks, the rational Romans), they stumble at the preaching of the cross of foolishness; and disbelieve the riches of Christ, which are unsearchable.

Therefore doth my soul keep them — Though I cannot comprehend them, yet I am comprehended by them; and though I cannot do them as I would, yet I am doing at them as I can. I admire what I cannot attain to.

Verse 130

The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

The entrance of thy words giveth light — So soon as men are over the threshold of thy house, sese lux quaedam inenarrabilis conspiciendam offert, a marvellous light shineth about them; so little cause is there that any should accuse God’s word of darkness and hardness; or give way to negligence and carelessness of the Scriptures, because they are wonderful. Lex, lux, the law is a light, Proverbs 6:23 , and the gospel a great light, Matthew 4:16 2 Peter 1:19 .

It giveth understanding to the simple — And maketh them subtle, Proverbs 1:4 , so they be but docible. The very first rudiments of religion make wise the rude, so they be not refractory.

Verse 131

I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.

I opened my mouth and panted — Heb. and sooped in the air, as one that laboureth for life. Oh the sighs and the groans that I incessantly breathed forth out of zeal to thy law! Oh the strong affections kindled on the hearth of my heart! for,

I longed for thy commandments — The Septuagint renders it by επιποθεω , which signifieth a most vehement desire, impatient of delays. As one that runneth himself out of breath. Sitio propter legem sicut dracones propter pluviam, Job 29:1-25

Verse 132

Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.

Look thou upon me, … — Face about towards me, and give me a glimpse at least of thy grace; for full fruition I expect not in this present life. Brevis hora, parva mora.

As thou usest to do unto those, … — Common mercies satisfy not a saint; he must have peculiar favours, spiritual blessings in heavenly things, even the sure mercies of David. He pleads for a child’s part.

Verse 133

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

Order my steps in thy word — Let me walk as in a frame, walk by rule exactly, accurately, Ephesians 5:15 . Here he prayeth that he may keep the affirmative precepts, saith Aben Ezra; as in the next words, the negative.

And let not any iniquity have dominion over me — Let it not reign, though it doth rebel; let it be like those beasts in Daniel, whose dominion was taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time, Psalms 7:12 .

Verse 134

Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.

Deliver me from the oppressions of manHomo homini lupus. David, besides his corruptions within, met with oppressions and persecutions without; so shall all that will live godly in Christ Jesus; let them never dream of a delicacy in religion.

So will I keep thy precepts — Not say, as those miscreants, Jeremiah 7:10 , "We are delivered to do all these abominations"; but as good old Zechariah, Luke 1:74-75 , Servati sumus ut serviamus, We have been served so that we may serve. We are delivered that we might serve God without fear, …

Verse 135

Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.

Make thy face to shine upon thy servant — David could not live out of God’s favour nor without his direction; he therefore here and elsewhere prayeth heartily for both.

Verse 136

Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

Rivers of waters run down mine eyes — My countenance is clouded, and even furrowed, with continual tears shed for thy dishonour; therefore lift up upon me the light of thy loving countenance. It grieveth me greatly to see thy law violated, and the transgressors thereof so careless of their own eternal good. This was Lot’s case at Sodom, 2 Peter 2:7-8 , and is many a good man’s still; every profane wretch being a Hazael to his eyes, a Hadadrimmon to his heart. The Septuagint and Vulgate read, Mine eyes have drawn down issues of waters ( i.e. they have wept abundantly), because they (that is, those eyes of mine) have not kept thy law. So Aben Ezra; Quia ipsi oculi non observassent legem tuam. David had walked after the sight of his eyes, and the lust of his heart; this is now his grief. Thus they; but not so well.

Verse 137

TZADDI. Righteous [art] thou, O LORD, and upright [are] thy judgments.

Righteous art thou, O Lord — Essentially and efficiently.

And upright are thy judgments — Which are sometimes secret, but always just, as the Emperor Mauricius also acknowledged, when his wife and children were slain before his eyes by the traitor Phocas.

Verse 138

Thy testimonies [that] thou hast commanded [are] righteous and very faithful.

Thy testimonies which thou hast commandedi.e. The gospel, as Isaiah 8:20 . And the commandment thereof to hear Christ, Matthew 17:5 , and to believe in his name, 1 John 3:23 ; this is a faithful and true saying, 1 Timothy 1:15 , not avengelaion, as the Jews blasphemously call it, or fabula de Christo, a fable about Christ, as that blackmouthed pope.

Verse 139

My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.

My zeal hath consumed me — Hath meagred and impaired me much. In the Hebrew the last letter is doubled, to increase the signification. Hebrew Text Note Zeal is the extreme heat of all the affections.

Verse 140

Thy word [is] very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Thy word is very pure — And calleth for purity. Hence wicked men slight it; but saints the rather embrace it, desirous to be conformed to the heavenly pattern.

Verse 141

I [am] small and despised: [yet] do not I forget thy precepts.

I am small and despisedMinutus, a worm and no man, an abject and outcast, nullificamen hominis, …

Yet do I not forget thy precepts — My mean condition impaireth not my constancy.

Verse 142

Thy righteousness [is] an everlasting righteousness, and thy law [is] the truth.

Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness — When all other laws and sentences, though engraven in brass or marble, shall decay and determine, thy law lasteth for ever, and so shall they that observe it.

And thy law is the truth — And therefore lasting. Mονιμον η αληθεια , saith Plato. The eternity of Israel cannot lie, 1 Samuel 15:29 .

Verse 143

Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: [yet] thy commandments [are] my delights.

Trouble and anguish have taken hold of me — Heb. have found me. Those (as we say of foul weather) come before they are sent for; yet are they not without the Lord. It is he that putteth his under the black rod.

Yet thy commandments, … — God and his word are never so sweet to the saints as in adversity.

Verse 144

The righteousness of thy testimonies [is] everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.

The righteousness of thy testimonies, … — This is the same with Psalms 119:142 .

Give me understanding — An ignorant life is a lifeless life. Fuit non vixit. The life of God is the only life. But from this men are alienated by the ignorance that is in them, Ephesians 4:18 .

Verse 145

KOPH. I cried with [my] whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.

I cried with my whole heart — This showeth that he had not only a gift of prayer, but a spirit of prayer.

Verse 146

I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.

I cried unto thee; save me — Salvation properly denoteth the privative part of a man’s felicity, but iucludeth the positive part also: this must be got by prayer.

Verse 147

I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.

I prevented the dawning of the morning — I was up and at it before daybreak. This is check to our sluggishness.

I hoped in thy word — The word furnished his hope, and his hope his prayer.

Verse 148

Mine eyes prevent the [night] watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

Mine eyes prevent the night watches — By this verse and the former it appeareth that he spent whole nights in prayer and meditation of God’s word. Jerome counselled some godly women thus, Tenenti codicem somnus obrepat, et cadentem faciem pagina sacra suspiciat (Hier. ad Eusta.).

Verse 149

Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.

Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness — Showed heretofore to others of thy servants, and to me frequently.

Quicken me according to thy judgmenti.e. According to thy promise.

Verse 150

They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.

They draw nigh that follow after mischief — Those scelerum assidui sectatores prompti sunt ac parati.

They are far from thy law — And so having nothing to restrain their rage; since they have cast their cords from them.

Verse 151

Thou [art] near, O LORD; and all thy commandments [are] truth.

Thou art near, O Lord — To counterwork and control the enemy; as also to safeguard and support thy people.

Verse 152

Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

Concerning thy testimonies, … — The sempiternity of God’s word is an excellent prop to faith and help in prayer; to those especially who are of long experience, and have well laid up their experiments. David had learned this truth of a child little. See 2 Timothy 3:17 .

Verse 153

RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.

Consider mine affliction, and deliver meVide commiserationes oculis, look upon it, and let thine eye affect thy heart; say as once, "I have seen, I have seen the affliction of thy people."

Verse 154

Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.

Plead my cause, and deliver meLitiga litigium meum. Be both mine advocate and my redeemer.

Verse 155

Salvation [is] far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.

Salvation is far from the wicked — How can it be otherwise? when as God is neither in their heads, Psalms 10:4 , nor hearts, Psalms 14:1 , nor words, Psalms 12:4 , nor ways, Titus 1:16 , can these have part or portion in his salvation?

For they seek not — This contempt of God’s word is a plain proof that no part or piece of God’s favour belongeth to them.

Verse 156

Great [are] thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.

Great are thy tender mercies, … — Or, many and mother-like. This is great comfort to greatest sinners.

Verse 157

Many [are] my persecutors and mine enemies; [yet] do I not decline from thy testimonies.

Many are my persecutors — Truth never wanted an adversary; and goes seldom without a scratched face.

Yet do I not decline — But still adhere to thy word; when others fall off as fast as leaves fall from trees in autumn.

Verse 158

I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved — Or, I abhorred them, or, I contended with them; not so much because they were mine as thine enemies.

Because they kept not thy word — Which all men are bound not only to observe, but to preserve as much as may be.

Verse 159

Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.

Consider how I love thy precepts — And love facilitateth duty, helping us over all the hardship of holiness. It yieldeth also much boldness to a man to offer it to God, as here, for a proof of his sincerity.

Verse 160

Thy word [is] true [from] the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments [endureth] for ever.

Thy word is true from the beginning — Heb. The beginning of thy word is true; Primarium illud est in verbo tuo quod est firmissimum, this is a special praise of thy word, that it is very sure. These words are faithful and true, Revelation 22:6 , from the one end of the Bible to the other. Some render it thus, Thy most excellent word is truth. This most excellent word Kimchi interpreteth to be particularly that in the head or preface to the decalogue, Hear, O Israel, Jehovah thy God, Jehovah is one. Theodoret will have it to be that promise made to Abraham that in his seed all nations of the earth should be blessed. Some read it, every chapter of thy word is truth.

Verse 161

SCHIN. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

Princes have persecuted me without a cause — And

But better without a cause than for evil-doing, 1 Peter 4:12-19 David suffered by these potentates, because he was small and despised, Psalms 119:141 , as a little dog is worried by the bigger, as the lesser fishes are devoured by the greater.

But my heart standeth in awe of thy word — The fear of God driveth out the fear of the creature, Isaiah 8:12-13 .

Verse 162

I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

I rejoice at thy wordLibenter omnibus omnes opes concesserim, …, I would gladly leave all the wealth in the world to others, saith Cicero (Epist. lib. 9), so that I might without disturbance live and die in the study of learning. What marvel, then, that David was so taken with heavenly learning?

As one that findeth great spoil — Which as it Cometh oft unexpectedly (and is therefore the better welcome), so the profit is usually very great (as was at the sack of Constantinople), and the pleasure (besides the honour) is no less than the profit, because gotten from an enemy. George Fransperg, a general in the Imperial army, under the conduct of Charles Bourbon, that sacked Rome in the time of Pope Clement VII, caused a halter to be carried near his colours, saying that with that he would hang the pope, the better to encourage his soldiers, who were almost all Lutherans, whom he promised to lead to Rome; showing them the great opportunity they had to enrich themselves with the spoils of that city (Hist. of the Counc. of Trent, p. 43).

Verse 163

I hate and abhor lying: [but] thy law do I love.

I hate and abhor lyingUtitur atroci verbo, abominatus sum, I hate it as I hate hell itself; and yet lying was David’s sin after a special manner. See Psalms 119:29 . See Trapp on " Psalms 119:29 "

But thy law do I love — All hatred comes from love of the contrary. "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil," Psalms 97:10 .

Verse 164

Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

Seven times a day do I praise theeSepties, id est, saepissime, very oft in the day; whensoever God setteth me up an altar I am ready with my sacrifice. Mahometans pray constantly five times a day; those of Morocco six times. Papists foolishly and superstitiously allege this text for their seven Canonical hours, as they call them. The Jews pronounce a hundred benedictions every day (Leo Modena).

Verse 165

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Great peace have they which love thy law — The fruit of righteousness shall be peace, Isaiah 32:17 , even the peace of God, the joy of faith, a heaped up happiness.

And nothing shall offend them — Heb. they shall have no stumbling block; non pereunt, quicquid accidat, though they fall, they shall arise; for the Lord putteth under his hand, Psalms 37:24

Verse 166

LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation — This saying he borrowed from good old Jacob, Genesis 49:18

And done thy commandments — Done them as I could; done them to Divine acceptation through Christ; and hence I have hoped: 1 John 3:3 "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, as God is pure."

Verse 167

My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.

My soul hath kept thy testimoniessc. As well as mortality will afford.

And I love them exceedingly — "I delight in the law of God after the inward man," Romans 7:22 . "I trust I have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly," Hebrews 13:18 .

Verse 168

I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways [are] before thee.

I have kept thy precepts — All thy laws are in my sight; like as all my ways are in thy sight. I desire to approve myself to thee in the discharge of every part and point of my duty; in all my ways I acknowledge thee, Proverbs 3:6 . Here note, that all along this 21st octonary the psalmist propoundeth himself for a pattern of piety.

Verse 169

TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.

Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord — That is, as some will have it, let this whole preceding psalm, and all the petitions (whereof we have here a repetition) therein contained, be highly accepted in heaven.

Verse 170

Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.

Let my supplication, … — The same again; neither is this battology, A needless and tiresome repetition in speaking or writing. but fervency in begging audience.

Verse 171

My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.

My lips shall utter praiseEructabunt labia mea hymnum. A metaphor either from a fountain casting out waters; vel a ructu qui eibum copiosum sequitur. Semper, et hilariter.

Verse 172

My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments [are] righteousness.

My tongue shall speak — True goodness is diffusive; charity is no churl.

Verse 173

Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.

Let thy hand help me — To do what I have promised.

For I have chosen thy precepts — Refusing Satan’s cut-throat kindness.

Verse 174

I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law [is] my delight.

I have longed for thy salvation — So do all men; but then David will take a right course for it (so will not all).

And thy law is my delight — This the most men mind not.

Verse 175

Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.

Let thy judgments help mesc. To heaven: together with God’s word, there goeth forth a power.

Verse 176

I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

I have gone astray, … — And of myself shall never return.

Seek thy servant — Do all the offices of a good shepherd for me, Luke 15:4-7

For I do not forget — The root of the matter is still in me, I am recallable, and ready to hear thy voice, John 10:3 .

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 119". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/psalms-119.html. 1865-1868.
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