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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 119

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Psalms 119:0


Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of GodNo MT Intro Meditations on the Excellencies of the Word of GodMeditations on the Law of GodThe Law of the LordIn Praise of the Divine Law
Psalms 119:1-8(Aleph)Psalms 119:1-8Psalms 119:1-8Psalms 119:1-8Psalms 119:1-8
Obedience to the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:9-16(Beth)Psalms 119:9-16Psalms 119:9-16Psalms 119:9-16Psalms 119:9-16
Happiness in the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:17-24(Gimel)Psalms 119:17-24Psalms 119:17-24Psalms 119:17-24Psalms 119:17-24
Determination to Obey the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:25-32(Daleth)Psalms 119:25-32Psalms 119:25-32Psalms 119:25-32Psalms 119:25-32
A Prayer for Understanding
Psalms 119:33-40(He)Psalms 119:33-40Psalms 119:33-40Psalms 119:33-40Psalms 119:33-40
Trusting the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:41-48(Vav)Psalms 119:41-48Psalms 119:41-48Psalms 119:41-48Psalms 119:41-48
Confidence in the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:49-56(Zayin)Psalms 119:49-56Psalms 119:49-56Psalms 119:49-56Psalms 119:49-56
Devotion to the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:57-64(Heth)Psalms 119:57-64Psalms 119:57-64Psalms 119:57-64Psalms 119:57-64
The Value of the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:65-72(Teth)Psalms 119:65-72Psalms 119:65-72Psalms 119:65-72Psalms 119:65-72
The Justice of the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:73-80(Yodh)Psalms 119:73-80Psalms 119:73-80Psalms 119:73-80Psalms 119:73-80
A Prayer for Deliverance
Psalms 119:81-88(Kaph)Psalms 119:81-88Psalms 119:81-88Psalms 119:81-88Psalms 119:81-88
Faith in the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:89-96(Lamedh)Psalms 119:89-96Psalms 119:89-96Psalms 119:89-96Psalms 119:89-96
Love for the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:97-104(Mem)Psalms 119:97-104Psalms 119:97-104Psalms 119:97-104Psalms 119:97-104
Light from the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:105-112(Num)Psalms 119:105-112Psalms 119:105-112Psalms 119:105-112Psalms 119:105-112
Safety in the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:113-120(Samekh)Psalms 119:113-120Psalms 119:113-120Psalms 119:113-120Psalms 119:113-120
Obedience to the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:121-128(Ayin)Psalms 119:121-128Psalms 119:121-128Psalms 119:121-128Psalms 119:121-128
Desire to Obey the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:129-136(Pe)Psalms 119:129-136Psalms 119:129-136Psalms 119:129-136Psalms 119:129-136
The Justice of the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:137-144(Tsadhe)Psalms 119:137-144Psalms 119:137-144Psalms 119:137-144Psalms 119:137-144
A Prayer for Deliverance
Psalms 119:145-152(Qoph)Psalms 119:145-152Psalms 119:145-152Psalms 119:145-152Psalms 119:144-152
A Plea for Help
Psalms 119:153-160(Resh)Psalms 119:153-160Psalms 119:153-160Psalms 119:153-160Psalms 119:153-160
Dedication to the Law of the Lord
Psalms 119:161-168(Shin)Psalms 119:161-168Psalms 119:161-168Psalms 119:161-168Psalms 119:161-168
A Prayer for Help
Psalms 119:169-176(Tav)Psalms 119:169-176Psalms 119:169-176Psalms 119:169-176Psalms 119:169-176

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


I. Opening Statement

As one who loves the Bible and has spent his life stuyding it, this Psalm is a special treasure (as is Psalms 19:0). The Bible, God's written word, has allowed me to come to know God's Living Word, Jesus (cf. John 1:1-14; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:13-16; Hebrews 1:2-3). The Spirit's illumination has allowed me to do as Ezra did (Ezra 7:10). Psalms 119:0 has truly been

A. a blessing, Psalms 119:1

B. a lifestyle faith, Psalms 119:1-2

C. a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, Psalms 119:105

I commend it to you with great joy, peace, and hope that it will effectively produce

A. a desire to study the Bible

B. a desire to live the Bible

C. a deeper personal relationship with the Triune God

One more explanation about how I approached this lengthy Psalm. It is so long and repetitive that I decided to deal with each stanza (i.e., each consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet). I have tried to deal with the uniqueness of each unit and not do an overall summary.

II. Historical Setting

A. The Arabic translation lists David as the author.

B. Dahood, in the Anchor Bible Commentary, asserts that a united monarchal (Saul - Solomon) date is very possible. He comes to this by

1. comparing this Psalm with its translation found among the Dead Sea Scrolls and

2. this Psalm contains many pre-exilic elements.

C. Leupold sees the setting as post-exilic (Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Malachi). He bases this on:

1. the problems related to resettlement and persecution mentioned so often in the Psalms

2. the absence of any mention of the sacrificial system caused him to believe that the absence of the temple and its ritual, along with an increase in the place of Bible study, fits an early post-exilic setting best.

D. The occasion for this Psalm is joy (cf. Psalms 119:14, Psalms 119:16, Psalms 119:24, Psalms 119:35, Psalms 119:47, Psalms 119:70, Psalms 119:77, Psalms 119:92, Psalms 119:111, Psalms 119:143, Psalms 119:162, Psalms 119:174) and trust in God and His revealed truth amidst persecution. This knowledge brings peace and stability.

III. Literary Elements

A. This, like Psalms 9-10; Psalms 25:0; Psalms 34:0; Psalms 37:0; Psalms 111:0; Psalms 112:0; and 145, is an acrostic based on the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This same form is found in Proverbs 31:10-31 and the first four chapters of Lamentations. This is the longest and most highly developed acrostic in the Bible. Each Hebrew letter starts eight verses.

B. There is a recurrent theme in every verse of this Psalm related to God's teachings to mankind. The author uses several synonyms for the Law (see SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION, cf. Psalms 19:7-9):

1. the Law - used 25 times

2. the testimonies - used 23 times

3. the precepts - used 21 times

4. the statutes - used 20 times

5. the commandments - used 22 times

6. the judgments - used 23 times

7. the Word - used 24 times

8. the words - used 19 times

9. the way - used 13 times

10. the truth or faithfulness - used 5 times

11. the righteousness - used 14 times

C. Kimchi's (i.e., a Jewish commentator, a.d. 1160-1235) definitions of the synonyms used for God's revelation to man:

1. the Law - “it is the setting down of duties and how they are to be done”

2. the testimonies - “precepts that are for a testimony or federal communication”

3. the precepts - used “precepts which reason teaches that are, as it were, deposited in our nature”

4. the statutes - “precepts whose reason is not known”

5. the judgments - “the judgments that pass between a man and his neighbor”

6. the way - “the way is the rule upon which the Scripture is grounded”

D. God's revelation and God's person are merged in this Psalm. To know God's revelation is to know Him. To cling to God's revelation is to cling to Him (i.e., compare Psalms 119:31a with Deuteronomy 10:20).

Verses 1-8

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:1-8 (Aleph) 1How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the Lord. 2How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart. 3They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways. 4You have ordained Your precepts, That we should keep them diligently. 5Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes! 6Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Your commandments. 7I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments. 8I shall keep Your statutes; Do not forsake me utterly!

Psalms 119:1 This strophe describes the “blessed” (BDB 80, cf. Psalms 1:1, see SPECIAL TOPIC: BLESSING [OT]).

1. those whose way (i.e., lifestyle) is blameless (see SPECIAL TOPIC: BLAMELESS, INNOCENT, GUILTLESS, WITHOUT REPROACH, Innocent, Guiltless, Without Reproach), Psalms 119:1a

2. those who walk in the law of the Lord - another way to speak of an obedient lifestyle, Psalms 119:1b, Psalms 119:3b

3. those who observe His testimony, Psalms 119:2a

4. those who seek Him with all their heart; Psalms 119:2b (see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE HEART), cf. Psalms 9:10; 14:12 (and they seek His law, Psalms 119:45, Psalms 119:94, Psalms 119:155)

5. they do no unrighteousness, Psalms 119:3a

6. they keep God's covenant, Psalms 119:4; Psalms 119:4b, Psalms 119:5b, Psalms 119:8b

7. they keep His statutes, Psalms 119:8a

Notice the emphasis on knowing God's revelation and then keeping it! See Special Topic: Keep.

There are several terms which describe God's revelation (see SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION).

1. law (BDB 435), Psalms 119:1b

2. testimonies (BDB 730), Psalms 119:2:a

3. ways (BDB 202), Psalms 119:3b, Psalms 119:5a

4. precepts (BDB 824), Psalms 119:4a

5. statutes (BDB 349), Psalms 119:5b, Psalms 119:8a

6. commandments (BDB 846), Psalms 119:6b

7. judgments (BDB 1048), Psalms 119:7b

Also, every verse in this long acrostic Psalm makes mention of one of these (or several others, such as “word” in Psalms 119:9, Psalms 119:11, Psalms 119:16, or “ordinances,” Psalms 119:13, Psalms 119:30, Psalms 119:39, Psalms 119:43, Psalms 119:52, Psalms 119:62, Psalms 119:75, Psalms 119:84, Psalms 119:102, Psalms 119:106, Psalms 119:120, Psalms 119:137, Psalms 119:147, Psalms 119:149, Psalms 119:156, Psalms 119:160, Psalms 119:164, Psalms 119:175).

Psalms 119:2 “observe” This is a key aspect of godly living. It is used of several things.

1. keep the statutes - Psalms 119:2, Psalms 119:22, Psalms 119:129

2. keep the decrees - Psalms 119:33, Psalms 119:34, Psalms 119:145

3. keep the precepts - Psalms 119:56, Psalms 119:69, Psalms 119:100

4. keep the commands - Psalms 119:115

5. keep the law - Psalms 119:34

“with all their heart” Total dedication is crucial (cf. Deuteronomy 4:29; Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 11:13; Deuteronomy 13:3; Deuteronomy 30:2). This becomes an idiom for total yieldedness to YHWH and His will. David had a heart like this, as did Solomon until his old age! Devotion at one point in one's life is not enough! David sinned but he repented. Maintaining the relationship is the key, not sinlessness (cf. 1 John 1:9).

Psalms 119:6 “I shall not be ashamed” In the ANE “shame” had both

1. inward aspect - feelings of shame at being publicly humiliated, sense of rejection by family and friends, loss of reputation

2. outward aspect - being poor, powerless

3. religious aspect - rejected by YHWH, cf. Psalms 25:20; Psalms 31:1; Psalms 71:1; Psalms 119:6, Psalms 119:31, Psalms 119:46, Psalms 119:80

Often the Psalms ask God “to shame” the enemies (cf. Psalms 35:4; Psalms 70:2; Psalms 71:13; Psalms 86:17; Psalms 119:78; also note Matthew 10:33; Mark 8:38; Luke 12:9).

Psalms 119:8 “Do not forsake me utterly” This verb (BDB 736, KB 806, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense) is a repeated cry to YHWH (cf. Psalms 38:21; Psalms 71:9, Psalms 71:18). Do not be distant, or leave me to my own resources!

Verses 9-16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:9-16 (Beth) 9How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. 10With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. 11Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. 12Blessed are You, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes. 13With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth. 14I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. 15I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. 16I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.

Psalms 119:9 “a young man” The author of Psalms 119:0 often expresses the need for “young” followers to maintain their godly living.

The pure way is defined as keeping God's revelation (i.e., word). This demands a constant “guarding” (BDB 1036, KB 1581).

Psalms 119:10 “With all my heart” See note at Psalms 119:2b.

“I have sought You” This verb (BDB 205, KB 233) is used often in this Psalm (cf. Psalms 119:2, Psalms 119:10, Psalms 119:45, Psalms 119:94, Psalms 119:155). It denotes a diligent life of prayer, study, and worship.

“wander” This verb (BDB 993, KB 1413, Hiphil imperfect used in a jussive sense) is found in a negative statement in Psalms 119:21, Psalms 119:118. It is used only three times in Psalms, but six times in Proverbs. It was used of “unintentional sins” in Leviticus 4:13; Numbers 15:22. Be careful of “that” which causes faithful followers to take their eyes off the clearly marked paths of YHWH.

Psalms 119:11 “Your word I have treasured in my heart” This phrasing is used of Mary's response to the angel's message (cf. Luke 2:19, Luke 2:51). God's word is extremely valuable (cf. Psalms 19:10; Psalms 119:14b). Is your Bible valuable to you? Do you read it, study it, do it, and teach it to others (cf. Ezra 7:10)?

This verb (BDB 860, KB 1049, Qal perfect) is literally “hide” and is an idiom for memorizing God's word (cf. Job 23:12; Proverbs 2:1; Proverbs 7:1).

Psalms 119:12 “teach me” This is a Piel imperative (BDB 540, KB 531). It is used often in Psalms 119:0 (cf. Psalms 119:7, Psalms 119:12, Psalms 119:26, Psalms 119:64, Psalms 119:66, Psalms 119:68, Psalms 119:71, Psalms 119:73, Psalms 119:99, Psalms 119:108, Psalms 119:124, Psalms 119:135, Psalms 119:171). Truth does not come by human effort but by

1. the Spirit of God

2. God's revelation

3. personal commitment to God

4. diligent study

5. personal application

Psalms 119:13 This line of poetry implies a worship setting in the temple.

Psalms 119:14 To the faithful follower God's revelations are the most valuable things on earth (cf. Psalms 19:10; Psalms 119:72; Psalms 127:0; Proverbs 8:10, Proverbs 8:11, Proverbs 8:19).

Psalms 119:15 This verse has two cohortatives.

1. meditate - BDB 967, KB 1319, Qal, cf. Psalms 119:23, Psalms 119:27, Psalms 119:48 (twice), 78,148. Meditation on God's word starts the Book of Psalms (cf. Psalms 1:2). This meditation is illustrated in Deuteronomy 6:6-9.

2. regard - BDB 613, KB 661, Hiphil, cf. Psalms 119:6, Psalms 119:15, Psalms 119:18

These two imply diligent study! This takes time, effort, commitment, and scheduling! See Seminar of Bible Interpretation online at www.freebiblecommentary.org.

Psalms 119:16 “I will delight” BDB 1044, KB 1613, Hithpalpel imperfect, cf. Psalms 119:24, Psalms 119:35, Psalms 119:47, Psalms 119:70, Psalms 119:77, Psalms 119:92, Psalms 119:143, Psalms 119:174.

“I will not forget” BDB 1013, KB 1489, Qal imperfect, negated, cf. Psalms 119:61, Psalms 119:83, Psalms 119:93, Psalms 119:109, Psalms 119:141, Psalms 119:153, Psalms 119:176 (the final line of Psalms 119:0).

Verses 17-24

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:17-24 (Gimel) 17Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word. 18Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. 19I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me. 20My soul is crushed with longing After Your ordinances at all times. 21You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, Who wander from Your commandments. 22Take away reproach and contempt from me, For I observe Your testimonies. 23Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes. 24Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors.

Psalms 119:17 Notice that the psalmist asks for God's blessing (i.e., “deal bountifully,” BDB 168, KB 197, Qal imperative) to help him be a better “servant” (BDB 713).

1. that I may live - BDB 310, KB 309, Qal imperfect used in a cohortative sense

2. that I may keep Your word - BDB 1036, KB 1581, Qal cohortative

The blessings are not for personal use or comfort but to strengthen, deepen, and enlarge God's work on earth.

“Your word” See note at Psalms 119:1 and SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION.

Psalms 119:18 The same worldview that God must empower His servants is expressed in this verse. One cannot see (lit. “uncover,” BDB 162, KB 161, Piel imperative) or understand God's will and ways without His help. See SPECIAL TOPIC: ILLUMINATION.

“Wonderful things” See Special Topic: Wonderful Things.

“Your law” See note at Psalms 119:1.

Psalms 119:19 “I am a stranger in the earth” This is the worldview of a faithful follower. The Fall of Genesis 3:0 transformed this planet into a place of sojourn and pilgrimage (cf. 1 Chronicles 29:15; Psalms 119:54; Hebrews 11:13-16). We long for a deep fellowship with our Creator, a fellowship we were created for (cf. Genesis 1:26, Genesis 1:27; Genesis 3:8). This world is no longer our home!

The metaphor of a “stranger/sojourner” (BDB 158) comes from YHWH's word to Abraham about his descendants being strangers in Egypt (cf. Genesis 15:13). Abraham calls himself by this term in Genesis 23:4. It becomes the name of one of Moses' sons in Exodus 2:22. The Israelites are told to give justice and mercy to “strangers/aliens” because they were once the same (cf. Exodus 23:9). Abraham is said to have been looking for a city of God (cf. Hebrews 11:10). This points beyond this life. YHWH wants to share eternity with His faithful followers!

“Do not hide Your commandments from me” Sin has caused a spiritual blindness (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12). The Bible recognizes two kinds of spiritual blindness.

1. God-imposed (see SPECIAL TOPIC: GOD HARDENED)

2. self-imposed (i.e., John 9:13-41)

Psalms 119:20 The true faithful follower seeks God and His word with a single-minded diligence!

The verb “crushed” (BDB 176, KB 203, Qal perfect) occurs only here and Lamentations 3:16. The word “longing” (BDB 1060) occurs only here.

“soul” The “soul” longs for YHWH (cf. Psalms 42:2; Psalms 63:2; Psalms 119:81; Psalms 143:6). For a discussion of nephesh (BDB 659) see note at Genesis 35:18 online at www.freebiblecommentary.org.

Psalms 119:21 Faithless ones are characterized as

1. arrogant (i.e., those who knew but chose to rebel) - BDB 267, cf. Psalms 86:14; Psalms 119:51, Psalms 119:69, Psalms 119:78, Psalms 119:85, Psalms 119:122

2. the cursed - BDB 76, KB 91

3. who wander from God's commandment - BDB 993, KB 1413

Psalms 119:22 “Take away reproach and contempt” The verb (lit. “roll away,” BDB 164, KB 193, Qal imperative) is a prayer for forgiveness.

1. reproach - BDB 357, cf. Psalms 69:19, Psalms 69:20

2. contempt - BDB 100 II, cf. Psalms 123:3-4

The reason why God should forgive is because the psalmist observes His commands (i.e., the two ways, cf. Deuteronomy 30:15, Deuteronomy 30:19).

There is some discussion among scholars as to which Hebrew root the verb of Psalms 119:22a comes from.

1. uncover - (lit. “make bald,” גלה, BDB 164 [MT])

2. roll away - גלל, BDB 164 II from Joshua 5:9; Psalms 22:9

Psalms 119:23-24 “Even though princes sit and talk against me” The use of “princes” (BDB 978, cf. Psalms 118:9) implies

1. the psalmist is a wealthy, powerful leader, possibly the king

2. there is tension within the national leadership

However, with tumult raging the psalmist focuses on the truth and promises of God's revelation. True peace and stability can be found only in Him, not circumstances or fleeting fame, power, wealth, or position.

The Peshitta translates “princes” (BDB 978, cf. Psalms 119:161) as “ungodly” or “evil men,” which removes any hint of the psalmist's position as a leader.

Verses 25-32

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:25-32 (Daleth) 25My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. 26I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; Teach me Your statutes. 27Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders. 28My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word. 29Remove the false way from me, And graciously grant me Your law. 30I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me. 31I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame! 32I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart.

Psalms 119:25 The first line gives the existential setting of the psalmist (cf. Psalms 44:25). He feels he is close to death, whether by sickness or rebellion is unstated, but Psalms 119:23 implies court intrigue (although because of the acrostic structure of the Psalm, it is uncertain if literary context or rhyming is the guiding factor).

The psalmist has a series of prayer requests.

1. revive me according to Your work, Psalms 119:25b - BDB 310, KB 309, Piel imperative, cf. Psalms 119:37, Psalms 119:40, Psalms 119:88, Psalms 119:93, Psalms 119:107, Psalms 119:149, Psalms 119:154, Psalms 119:156, Psalms 119:159. It can mean

a. preserve

b. revive

2. teach me Your statutes, Psalms 119:26b - BDB 540, KB 531, Piel imperative, cf. Psalms 119:12, Psalms 119:26, Psalms 119:64, Psalms 119:68, Psalms 119:108, Psalms 119:124, Psalms 119:135, Psalms 119:171

3. make me understand the way of Your precepts, Psalms 119:27a - BDB 106, KB 122, Hiphil imperative, cf. Psalms 119:34, Psalms 119:73, Psalms 119:125, Psalms 119:144, Psalms 119:169

4. strengthen me according to Your word, Psalms 119:28b - BDB 827, KB 1086, Piel imperative. BDB suggests the verb in Piel means

a. fulfill, in Psalms 119:106

b. confirm, here

5. remove the false way from me, Psalms 119:29a - BDB 693, KB 747, Hiphil imperative. “The false way” is a direct contrast to “the everlasting way” of Psalms 139:24.

6. graciously grant me Your law, Psalms 119:29b - BDB 335, KB 334, Qal imperative, God's revelation is the “faithful way” (cf. Psalms 119:30).

Psalms 119:30-32 Notice the number of things the psalmist will do, or has done, because of God's providing understanding through His revelation.

1. he prayed (Piel perfect), Psalms 119:26a

2. he chose (Qal perfect) the faithful way, Psalms 119:30a

3. he placed (Piel perfect) God's revelation before himself (lit. “accounted God's ordinances worthy”), Psalms 119:30b

4. he cleaved (Qal perfect, cf. Psalms 119:25) to God's revelation, Psalms 119:31a (in Deuteronomy 10:20 it is used of clinging to God; in this Psalm God's person and revelation are merged)

5. he will run (Qal imperfect) the way of God's revelation, Psalms 119:32a

Psalms 119:32b “For You will enlarge my heart” God will increase (lit. “enlarge,” BDB 931, KB 1210, Hiphil imperfect) the psalmist's capacity to understand and act on that knowledge of God.


Verses 33-40

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:33-40 (He) 33Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall observe it to the end. 34Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart. 35Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. 36Incline my heart to Your testimonies And not to dishonest gain. 37Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways. 38Establish Your word to Your servant, As that which produces reverence for You. 39Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your ordinances are good. 40Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness.

Psalms 119:33-40 This strophe is characterized by requests (9 imperatives) for God to instruct and enable the psalmist to live out those instructions. This is similar to the verb shema (BDB 1033, KB 1570), which means “to hear so as to do.” God's revelation is more than rules or a creed, it is godly living!

The term “way,” used so often in Psalms, denotes this lifestyle, daily, volitional obedience. See Special Topic: Keep. Notice how:

1. teach me - I shall observe it, Psalms 119:33

2. give me understanding - I may observe it, Psalms 119:34

Psalms 119:35 For the faithful follower obedience is not tedious or legalistic, but joyful.

Psalms 119:36-39 The psalmist mentions two things he fears would take his heart away from God.

1. dishonest gain, Psalms 119:36b

2. eyes looking at vanity, Psalms 119:37a

He senses that he cannot accomplish spiritual things without God's help.

1. teach me, Psalms 119:33 - BDB 434, KB 436, Hiphil imperative, cf. Psalms 25:4; Psalms 27:11; Psalms 86:11

2. give me understanding, Psalms 119:34 - BDB 106, KB 122, Hiphil imperative

3. make me walk in the path, Psalms 119:35 - BDB 201, KB 231, Hiphil imperative

4. incline my heart, Psalms 119:36 - BDB 639, KB 692, Hiphil imperative

5. turn away my eyes, Psalms 119:37a - BDB 716, KB 778, Hiphil imperative

6. revive me, Psalms 119:37b - BDB 310, KB 309, Piel imperative

7. establish Your word, Psalms 119:38 - BDB 877, KB 1086, Hiphil imperative

But also notice that divine actions (Hiphil imperatives) must be accompanied by godly choices and decisions (series of cohortatives and perfects used of human actions).

1. I shall observe it, Psalms 119:33b - BDB 665, KB 718, Qal imperfect used in a cohortative sense

2. I may observe it, Psalms 119:34a - same as #1 but Qal cohortative

3. keep it, Psalms 119:34b - BDB 1036, KB 1581, Qal imperfect used in a cohortative sense

4. I delight in it, Psalms 119:35b - BDB 342, KB 339, Qal perfect

5. I long for Your precepts, Psalms 119:40a - BDB 1060, KB 1672, Qal perfect


Psalms 119:34 “with all my heart” See note at Psalms 119:2.

Psalms 119:37 “vanity” This could refer to idolatry (cf. Psalms 24:4; Psalms 101:3). Psalms 119:48 mentions “lift palms” (i.e., “lift up my hands”), which in Psalms 44:20-21 is used of idolatry.

“revive” This is a repeated theme (cf. Psalms 119:25, Psalms 119:37, Psalms 119:40, Psalms 119:88, Psalms 119:93, Psalms 119:107, Psalms 119:149, Psalms 119:154, Psalms 119:156, Psalms 119:159). The verb (lit. “live,” BDB 310, KB 309, Piel imperative, has a wide semantic field) is “live.” The only “true” life is life in fellowship with YHWH, the giver of life. True life has two components.

1. physical life

2. spiritual life

Psalms 119:38 “that which produces reverence for You” See Special Topic: Fear (OT).

Psalms 119:39 “Your ordinances are good” Notice again attributes ascribed to God's revelation are also ascribed to God Himself (cf. 1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalms 25:8; Psalms 34:8; Psalms 73:1; Psalms 86:5; Psalms 100:5; Psalms 106:1; Psalms 107:1; Psalms 118:1, Psalms 118:29; Psalms 119:68; Psalms 135:3; Psalms 136:1; Psalms 145:9; Jeremiah 33:11). Here it is the adjective “good” (BDB 373 II).

This Psalm is not just about God's revelation, but God Himself!

Psalms 119:40 “righteousness” See Special Topic: Righteousness.

Verses 41-48

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:41-48 (Vav) 41May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O Lord, Your salvation according to Your word; 42So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word. 43And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I wait for Your ordinances. 44So I will keep Your law continually, Forever and ever. 45And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. 46I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings And shall not be ashamed. 47I shall delight in Your commandments, Which I love. 48And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, Which I love; And I will meditate on Your statutes.

Psalms 119:41-48 This strophe is characterized by cohortatives and singular verbs.

1. I will have an answer, Psalms 119:42a - BDB 772, KB 851, Qal imperfect used in a cohortative sense

2. I trust, Psalms 119:42b - BDB 105, KB 120, Qal perfect, singular

3. I wait, Psalms 119:43b - BDB 403, KB 407, Piel perfect, singular

4. I will keep, Psalms 119:44a - BDB 1036, KB 1581, Qal cohortative, singular

5. I will walk, Psalms 119:45a - BDB 229, KB 246, Hithpael cohortative, singular

6. I seek, Psalms 119:45b - BDB 205, KB 233, Qal perfect, singular

7. I will also speak, Psalms 119:46a - BDB 180, KB 210, Piel cohortative, singular

8. I will delight, Psalms 119:47a - BDB 1044, KB 1613, Hithpalpel imperfect used in a cohortative sense

9. I love, Psalms 119:47b - BDB 12, KB 17, Qal perfect, singular

10. I will lift up, Psalms 119:48a - BDB 669, KB 724, Qal imperfect, singular, used in a cohortative sense

11. I love, Psalms 119:48b - same as #9

12. I will meditate, Psalms 119:48; Psalms 119:48c - BDB 967, KB 1319, Qal cohortative, singular

Knowing God and His revelation demands a personal response!

Psalms 119:41 Notice that “lovingkindness” (see Special Topic: Lovingkindness [hesed]) and “salvation” (see Special Topic: Salvation [OT]) are personified as things that come to faithful followers. Because of this they act in godly ways.

Psalms 119:43a This verb (BDB 664, KB 717, Hiphil jussive) means “to snatch away.” It is used in the sense of deliver from

1. death - Deuteronomy 32:39; Psalms 22:20; Psalms 33:19; 56:14; Psalms 86:13; Proverbs 24:11

2. sin - Psalms 39:9; Psalms 79:9

Here it seems to be related to Psalms 119:42, which denotes an answer from God's revelation to those who reproach the psalmist (a good NT application is Matthew 10:19-22; Mark 13:9-12, esp. Mark 13:11; Luke 21:12-19).

Psalms 119:44 This line of poetry emphasizes the current and future relevance of God's revelation (cf. Matthew 5:17-19).

Psalms 119:46 This denotes the faithful followers'

1. witness to defeated kings

2. an aspect of covenant making with foreign nations

3. a metaphor for powerful or educated people

Psalms 119:48a “Lifting the hands” was the normal position for prayer in Israelite culture (cf. Psalms 28:2; Psalms 63:4; Psalms 134:2; Psalms 141:2; Psalms 143:6; Lamentations 2:19; 1 Timothy 2:8). Again, usually one “lifts the hands” to God Himself but here to His revelation.

“I will meditate” See note at Psalms 119:15.

Verses 49-56

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:49-56 (Zayin) 49Remember the word to Your servant, In which You have made me hope. 50This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me. 51The arrogant utterly deride me, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law. 52I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O Lord, And comfort myself. 53Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, Who forsake Your law. 54Your statutes are my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. 55O Lord, I remember Your name in the night, And keep Your law. 56This has become mine, That I observe Your precepts.

Psalms 119:49 “Remember” This verb (BDB 269, KB 269) occurs three times in this strophe.

Psalms 119:1. Psalms 119:49 - Qal imperative

Psalms 119:2. Psalms 119:52 - Qal perfect

Psalms 119:3. Psalms 119:55 - Qal perfect

The psalmist asks for YHWH to remember him (Psalms 119:49) because he remembers and obeys Him (cf. Psalms 119:55b, Psalms 119:56b).

Notice all the verbs (except the first imperative) are perfects or imperfects with waw (see SPECIAL TOPIC: HEBREW GRAMMAR). The psalmist's knowledge and actions are settled worldview, lifestyle realities! God's word is not just information but

1. hope, Psalms 119:49b

2. comfort, Psalms 119:50a, Psalms 119:52b

3. preservation, Psalms 119:50b

4. guide for life, Psalms 119:51b

5. song, Psalms 119:54a

6. thought in the night, Psalms 119:55a

7. Psalms 119:56a

a. happiness - TEV

b. blessing - NRSV

c. comfort - Peshitta

“Your servant” Here it refers to a faithful follower who seeks, knows, and hopes in God's word. See note at Deuteronomy 34:5 online at www.freebiblecommentary.org. See Special Topic: My Servant.

“hope” This is literally “wait” (BDB 430, KB 407, Piel perfect). The idea of waiting for God's promises to come to pass is an act of both faith and hope. Not maybe, could be, hope, but-sure-of-the-event-yet-uncertain-of-the-time hope (similar to NT usage related to the Second Coming). It is a recurrent theme of the Psalter (cf. Psalms 31:24; Psalms 33:18, Psalms 33:22; Psalms 71:4; Psalms 119:49, Psalms 119:74, Psalms 119:81, Psalms 119:114, Psalms 119:147; in a corporate sense in Psalms 130:7; Psalms 131:3). This thought is expressed well in Romans 15:4.

Psalms 119:50 “comfort” This noun (BDB 637) occurs only here and Job 6:10, but the verb (BDB 636, KB 688) is common.

This comfort amidst affliction is the trustworthiness of God's word! He is with faithful followers, even in times of distress, failure, attack, depression, and doubt (cf. Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5; 1 Samuel 12:22; 1 Kings 6:13; 1 Kings 8:57; 2 Corinthians 4:9; Hebrews 13:5). How do I know when the circumstances scream different? His word! Psalms 119:52 reminds us to look at God's past acts!

Psalms 119:51 The psalmist has experienced the attacks of those who know God's law but reject it (cf. Psalms 119:51b, Psalms 119:53). True faith has observable characteristics. Obedience is the visible evidence of true faith (see Special Topic: Keep).

“turn aside” This verb (BDB 639, KB 692, Qal perfect) has a wide semantic field and usually denotes “stretching out,” spreading out,” or “bending,” but here it has the specialized metaphorical sense of deviation from the path, the path being “the way of God” (i.e., Psalms 139:24). God's word is a clearly marked road, path, way. The path leads to life, peace, joy, and fellowship with God (cf. Psalms 119:105; Proverbs 6:23). The first title of the NT church in Acts was “The Way.” Any deviation from the clear guidelines of God's word brings problems!

The OT idiom of “turning to the right or left” can be seen in Deuteronomy 5:32; Deuteronomy 17:11, Deuteronomy 17:20; Deuteronomy 28:14; Proverbs 4:27). Stay on the path!

Psalms 119:53 Often in the OT it seems that godly people are calling down wrath on their enemies, but in reality they are calling on God to be faithful to His previous word (i.e., Leviticus 26:0; Deuteronomy 27-30). A good example of this is Psalms 119:158. The wrath is deserved because of intentional, purposeful disobedience. Sin and rebellion have consequences both in time and eternity. Stay on the God-given path!

Psalms 119:54 This verse seems (cf. Psalms 119:19) to be talking about life. God's word, for those who know it and keep it, brings a daily, lifelong song (cf. Psalms 42:8)! Are you singing?

Psalms 119:55 “Your name” See Special Topic: “The Name” of YHWH.

“in the night” “The night” can have several connotations.

1. a time of reflection

a. Psalms 16:7

b. Psalms 63:6

c. Psalms 77:6

2. a time of distress - Psalms 77:2

3. a time of prayer/praise

a. Psalms 42:8

b. Psalms 92:1-2

c. Psalms 119:62

d. Psalms 149:5

e. Isaiah 26:9

f. Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12

g. Acts 16:25

“And keep Your law” Night time reflection, prayer, and praise should result in daytime daily godly living! Obedience is the evidence of faith (cf. Luke 6:46).

Psalms 119:56 The first line is ambiguous because there is no obvious antecedent.

However, notice it reemphasizes obedience in the second line! Remember the large number of terms for God's revelation (i.e., word, law, ordinances, precepts, etc.). See SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION.

Verses 57-64

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:57-64 (Heth) 57The Lord is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. 58I sought Your favor with all my heart; Be gracious to me according to Your word. 59I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies. 60I hastened and did not delay To keep Your commandments. 61The cords of the wicked have encircled me, But I have not forgotten Your law. 62At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You Because of Your righteous ordinances. 63I am a companion of all those who fear You, And of those who keep Your precepts. 64The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes.

Psalms 119:57 “The Lord is my portion” This term “portion” (BDB 324) has several usages.

1. no land allotment for Levi

a. Numbers 18:20

b. Deuteronomy 18:2

c. Joshua 13:33

d. Ezekiel 44:28

2. division of the Promised Land to the tribes

a. Joshua 17:5, Joshua 17:14; Joshua 19:9

b. Ezekiel 47:13

3. Israel as a special people among humanity

a. Jeremiah 10:16

b. Jeremiah 51:19

4. something given by God to both the righteous and the wicked

a. Job 20:29; Job 27:13; Job 31:2

b. Ecclesiastes 2:20, Ecclesiastes 2:21; Ecclesiastes 3:22; Ecclesiastes 5:17-18; Ecclesiastes 9:9

5. used metaphorically of a special faith relationship with YHWH

a. Psalms 16:5; Psalms 73:26; Psalms 119:57; Psalms 142:5

b. Lamentations 3:24

“I have promised to keep Your words” This verb (BDB 1036, KB 1581) characterizes this strophe as “remember” (Psalms 119:49-56).

Psalms 119:1. Psalms 119:57 - Qal infinitive construct

Psalms 119:2. Psalms 119:60 - Qal infinitive construct

Psalms 119:3. Psalms 119:63 - Qal active participle

4. also note Psalms 119:55

Obedience is crucial! Obedience reveals the heart! See Special Topic: Keep.

Psalms 119:58 “with all my heart” This is an idiom from Deuteronomy (cf. Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 11:13; Deuteronomy 13:3; Deuteronomy 30:2) which denotes a complete devotion. Later in Israel's history this phrase was used to

1. show David's complete devotion to God

2. show Solomon's partial devotion to God


Notice the prayer request (i.e., Qal imperative, cf. Psalms 41:4; Psalms 56:1; Psalms 57:1) is based on YHWH's faithfulness to His word/promise (cf. Psalms 119:41, Psalms 119:58, Psalms 119:76, Psalms 119:116, Psalms 119:170). The trustworthiness of YHWH and His revelation is a crucial pillar of biblical faith (see four sermons on the trustworthiness of the Bible online at www.freebiblecommentary.org, home page, first paragraph, link).

Psalms 119:59-60 As YHWH is called on to be faithful to His promises, now the psalmist affirms his faithfulness (cf. Psalms 119:57b, Psalms 119:61b). Immediate obedience to God's law reveals a complete devotion!!

Notice the emphasis of the two verbals.

1. make haste - BDB 301, KB 300, Qal perfect

2. tarry (negated) - BDB 554, KB 552, Hithpalpel imperfect

God is called on to answer quickly (cf. Psalms 69:17; Psalms 79:8; Psalms 102:2; Psalms 143:7), so too, must the faithful follower quickly respond to the Spirit's prompting.

Psalms 119:59 “turned” This verb (BDB 996, KB 1427, Hiphil imperfect with waw) has a wide semantic field but is the key term used for “repentance.” Therefore, some commentators (UBS Handbook, p. 1014) see this verse referring to one who has violated God's law but has turned again to keeping it and revering God.

Psalms 119:61 It has not been easy for the psalmist to live a faithful life because there are always enemies.

The verb (BDB 728, KB 795, Piel perfect) is found only here and is translated (see NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 339):

1. NASB - “encircled”

2. NKJV - “bound”

3. LXX, NRSV, NJB - “ensnare”

4. TEV - “lay a trap”

5. JPSOA - “coiled around”

6. Peshitta - “beset”

The AB (p. 181) relates it to Psalms 116:3 and, as usual, sees the line as referring to personified death/grave.

“I have not forgotten Your law” This is a recurrent theme in this Psalm (cf. Psalms 119:61, Psalms 119:83, Psalms 119:109, Psalms 119:141, Psalms 119:153, Psalms 119:176). The wicked forget God's law (cf. Psalms 50:22; Psalms 119:139).

Psalms 119:62 This nighttime meditation links to Psalms 119:55.

Psalms 119:63 Notice how the faithful followers are characterized.

1. those who fear/revere You

2. those who keep Your revelation

There can be no claim of fellowship with God while living a life of known disobedience.

Psalms 119:64 Notice the universal aspect of this verse. For “earth” see Special Topic: Land, Country, Earth.

The term translated “lovingkindness” by NASB is hesed. See SPECIAL TOPIC: LOVINGKINDNESS (HESED) and the note at Psalms 33:5!

“Teach me Your statutes” This is only the second imperative in this strophe (cf. Psalms 119:58b). Although the psalmist meditates on God's word/promise he still needs to understand it more! Regular, Spirit-led Bible study is crucial for a mature, growing believer (see Psalms 119:12, Psalms 119:26, Psalms 119:64, Psalms 119:108, Psalms 119:124, Psalms 119:135, Psalms 119:171)!

Verses 65-72

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:65-72 (Teth) 65You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord, according to Your word. 66Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments. 67Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word. 68You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes. 69The arrogant have forged a lie against me; With all my heart I will observe Your precepts. 70Their heart is covered with fat, But I delight in Your law. 71It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. 72The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Psalms 119:65 This verse sums up the faithful follower's worldview. Knowledge (Psalms 119:66) and obedience (Psalms 119:67, Psalms 119:69) of God's revelation bring a happy, healthy, peaceful life. True life is found only in Him. Remember in this Psalm knowledge of God's word is equated with knowing God Himself!

Almost every verse of this Psalm has a Hebrew word that denotes God's revelation (see SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION).

The Hebrew word טוב (BDB 373) begins verses, Psalms 119:65, Psalms 119:66, Psalms 119:68, Psalms 119:71, and 72. It is the key word for this stanza.

Psalms 119:66 Although the psalmist knows God's revelation, he is conscious that he needs to understand it more and more (cf. Psalms 119:68, both verbs “teach,” BDB 540, KB 531, are Piel imperatives, i.e., prayer request, cf. Psalms 119:12, Psalms 119:26, Psalms 119:64, Psalms 119:66, Psalms 119:68, Psalms 119:108, Psalms 119:124, Psalms 119:135, Psalms 119:171).

“I believe” There are several perfect verbs that describe the psalmist's attitude.

1. I believe - BDB 52, KB 63, Hiphil perfect (see Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith and Faithfulness in the OT)

2. I keep - BDB 1036, KB 1581, Qal perfect (see Special Topic: Keep)

3. I delight - BDB 1044, KB 1613, Pilpel perfect, cf. Psalms 1:2; Psalms 112:1; Psalms 119:16, Psalms 119:24, Psalms 119:35, Psalms 119:47, Psalms 119:70, Psalms 119:77, Psalms 119:92, Psalms 119:143, Psalms 119:174

Notice how mental ascent must be matched by an obedient life (cf. James 1:22-25).

Psalms 119:67 The psalmist is confessing his disobedience in the past that resulted in God's discipline. God's discipline is the act of a loving parent (cf. Hebrews 12:5-13). The cursings of Leviticus 26:0 and Deuteronomy 27-30 are God's reaction to covenant disobedience and His desire for His followers to change their ways! He desires to bless us! Discipline always has a redemptive purpose!

Psalms 119:68 This first line of poetry describes God's character. He is “good” (BDB 373 II, cf. Psalms 25:8; Psalms 86:5; Psalms 100:5; Psalms 106:1; Jeremiah 33:11; Nahum 1:7). See Special Topic: Characteristics of Israel's God.

“Teach me Your statutes” This is the second use of the Piel imperative of this verb (cf. Psalms 119:66). God wants to reveal Himself and His will through Scripture.

Psalms 119:69-70 As is so often the case in Psalms, the psalmist feels attacked. The arrogant have lied about him. It is contextually difficult to identify who these attackers are. They are often the rich and powerful of society, as here (i.e., “fat,” BDB 316, Psalms 119:70a, cf. Psalms 17:10; Psalms 73:7; this is spiritually parallel to Isaiah 6:10, BDB 1031 I). But true wealth for the psalmist is a knowledge of God and His revelation (Psalms 119:72, cf. Psalms 19:10).

Psalms 119:69 The verb (BDB 381, KB 378, Qal perfect) in line 1 means to plaster or smear (cf. Job 13:4). This stanza has two imperfects which describe the psalmist's ongoing action.

1. I will observe, Psalms 119:69 - BDB 665, KB 718, Qal imperfect

2. I may learn, Psalms 119:71 - BDB 540, KB 531, Qal imperfect

Psalms 119:70 “heart” See Special Topic: Heart.

Psalms 119:70b There is no “but” in the Hebrew text. However, a sharp contrast is implied. “The two ways” of Deuteronomy 30:15-20 and Psalms 1:1 are implied.

Psalms 119:71 The psalmist acknowledges that God's discipline was a benefit because it caused him to turn back to Him and His word. The unfairness of life, the terrible consequences to personal choices are often a chance to trust God more. A book that has helped me in this area is Hannah Whithall Smith's The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life.

Verses 73-80

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:73-80 (Yodh) 73Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. 74May those who fear You see me and be glad, Because I wait for Your word. 75I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. 76O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, According to Your word to Your servant. 77May Your compassion come to me that I may live, For Your law is my delight. 78May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; But I shall meditate on Your precepts. 79May those who fear You turn to me, Even those who know Your testimonies. 80May my heart be blameless in Your statutes, So that I will not be ashamed.

Psalms 119:73 This verse asserts God's creation of the psalmist. This is expressed in several ways.

1. an allusion to Genesis 2:7 (“formed” [body] - BDB 427; “formed days” - Psalms 135:16)

2. Your hands made me - BDB 793 I, cf. Job 10:8; Job 31:15; Psalms 139:15

3. work of Your hands - Job 10:3; Job 14:15; Psalms 138:8

4. both verbs appear in Deuteronomy 32:6 and refer to corporate Israel

Humans are special creatures created in God's image and likeness (cf. Genesis 1:26-27) for fellowship (cf. Genesis 3:8). Each is a unique creation (cf. Psalms 139:14-16). To recognize this is a biblical worldview! We are not the result of random events or processes. There is purpose in each person's creation.

“Give me understanding” This is the only imperatival (Psalms 119:73-80) prayer request in this stanza (BDB 106, KB 122, Hiphil imperative), but there are several jussives.

Only God can open the mind of fallen human creatures to learn (BDB 540, KB 531, Qal cohortative) about Himself by understanding His revelation. This learning (like the verb shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-9) implies daily lifestyle application of God's revelation.

Psalms 119:74 “may” This is the sign of a jussive construction (cf. Psalms 119:74, Psalms 119:76, Psalms 119:77, Psalms 119:78, Psalms 119:70, Psalms 119:80). These also reflect prayer requests.

In this verse there are two.

1. see - BDB 906, KB 1157, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense

2. be glad - BDB 970, KB 1333, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense

Notice these realities are based on the psalmist's

1. patience (lit. “await,” “hope,” Psalms 119:74b)

2. knowledge of God's revelation (Psalms 119:75)

3. divine affliction (Psalms 119:75; Psalms 119:67)

The verb “wait” (BDB 403, KB 407, Piel prefect) denotes patience. Usually this verb denotes hope/patience in God Himself (cf. Job 13:15; Psalms 31:24; Psalms 33:22; Psalms 38:15; Psalms 39:7; Psalms 42:5, Psalms 42:11; Psalms 43:5; Psalms 69:3; Psalms 130:7; Psalms 131:3), but in Psalms 119:0 the theological concept of God's revelation (see Special Topic: Terms for God's Revelation) is substituted for God Himself. They are the same. To know God's word is to know God. One is informative and the other relational but they must go together!

Psalms 119:75 “in faithfulness You afflicted me” YHWH is true to His word and faithful to His purposes for His faithful followers. There is a larger purpose in creation. See Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan. Even “affliction” has an ultimate purpose (cf. Lamentations 3:19-38; Hebrews 5:8; Hebrews 12:1-13). The goal of salvation is not just fellowship in some future state/place but intimate fellowship now, which reflects the family characteristics of the followers of YHWH to those who He created, but due to the Fall, do not yet know Him!

It must be remembered that problems in this life have several possible origins/purposes.

1. judgment on sin to restore or initiate a relationship of faith in YHWH (cf. Psalms 69:26)

2. the result of the Fall. Evil has entered our world. Bad things happen that are not God's will (see Special Topic: Tribulation).

3. they cause us to trust God and develop our faith (cf. Romans 5:3-5; Hebrews 5:8; Hebrews 12:10-11)

Since I never know which one it is, I choose to focus on #3! My worldview is that nothing just happens to God's people!

“judgments” See Special Topic: Judge, Judgment, Justice.

“righteous” See Special Topic: Righteousness.

Psalms 119:76 “Your lovingkindness” See SPECIAL TOPIC: LOVINGKINDNESS (HESED).

“According to Your word” This is a recurrent theme (cf. Psalms 119:65). God is true to His revelation.

Psalms 119:77 “Your law is my delight” See note at Psalms 119:70.

Psalms 119:78a This reflects Psalms 119:69-70. The arrogant will be ashamed (see note at Psalms 119:6), but not the faithful psalmist (cf. Psalms 119:80).

Psalms 119:78b “I shall meditate on Your precepts” Faithful followers spend time in God's word. They study, contemplate, and attempt to apply what it says. Our thoughts become our actions. Meditation on revelation is essential (cf. Psalms 1:2; Psalms 119:15, Psalms 119:23, Psalms 119:48, Psalms 119:78, Psalms 119:97, Psalms 119:148). How often do you spend time in God's word?

Psalms 119:79 This verse asserts the truth that seekers after God need to see Him in those who claim to follow Him. Faithful followers should be lights that lead to God.

“those who know” See Special Topic: Know.

Psalms 119:80 “blameless” See Special Topic: Blameless, Innocent, Guiltless, and Without Reproach.

Verses 81-88

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:81-88 (Kaph) 81My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word. 82My eyes fail with longing for Your word, While I say, “When will You comfort me?” 83Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your statutes. 84How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me? 85The arrogant have dug pits for me, Men who are not in accord with Your law. 86All Your commandments are faithful; They have persecuted me with a lie; help me! 87They almost destroyed me on earth, But as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts. 88Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.

Psalms 119:81-88 This stanza is dominated by perfect tense verbs. The psalmist felt attacked!

1. those who persecute me, Psalms 119:84

2. the arrogant have dug pits for me, Psalms 119:85

3. men who are not in accord with Your law, Psalms 119:85

4. they have persecuted me with a lie, Psalms 119:86

5. they almost destroyed me on earth, Psalms 119:87

He claims to be faithful to God's word and pleads with God to act on his behalf.

1. help me - BDB 740, KB 810, Qal imperative, Psalms 119:86

2. revive/preserve me - BDB 1036, KB 1581, Piel imperative, Psalms 119:88

Psalms 119:81 “soul” This is the term nephesh (BDB 659). For a full discussion see note at Genesis 35:18 online at www.freebiblecommentary.org.

“languishes” The psalmist uses several verbs to describe his physical and mental state.

1. languishes - BDB 477, KB 476, Qal perfect, Psalms 119:81

2. waits - BDB 403, KB 407, Piel perfect, Psalms 119:81

3. eyes fail - BDB 477, KB 476, Qal perfect, Psalms 119:82

4. become like a wineskin in the smoke - BDB 224, KB 243, Qal perfect. This is an unusual and rare idiom. It seems to mean “burnt” and “brittle. But because of the next line it could denote smoke blindness (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12).

Psalms 119:82 In the midst of the problems of life and personal attacks, even faithful followers call out to God with “why?” or “when will it be over?”

Psalms 119:83 The idiom of Psalms 119:83a is unusual and ambiguous (see note at Psalms 119:81, #4).

The second line is an attempt by the psalmist to assert his own faithfulness (cf. Psalms 119:81b, Psalms 119:87b; also note Psalms 119:61, Psalms 119:141, Psalms 119:153, Psalms 119:176). His persecutors deserve God's judgment but he does not. He throws himself on the faithfulness of God (cf. Psalms 119:88a).

Psalms 119:84 “How many are the days of Your servant” This asserts

1. the foreknowledge of God (cf. Matthew 10:29-31)

2. the limited time of human life (cf. Psalms 39:4)

3. a call to act appropriately in the time each of us has (cf. Psalms 90:12; Matthew 6:25-34; Ephesians 5:15-16)

Psalms 119:85 “dug pits” This is an idiom from hunting. A pit was dug to capture prey. It became a metaphor for human treachery (cf. Psalms 7:15; Psalms 57:6; Jeremiah 18:22).

The NEB and REB see the Hebrew root “tales” (BDB 967) instead of “pit” (BDB 1001). This is only a change from שׁ to שׂ.

Psalms 119:86 The “commandments” here may refer to the “curses” on those who violate God's revealed will (cf. Leviticus 26:0; Deuteronomy 27-30). These are the persecutors referred to in Psalms 119:85b who do not live in accordance with God's law.

They are the exact opposite of the faithful followers (cf. Psalms 119:81, Psalms 119:82, Psalms 119:83, Psalms 119:87).

“help me” This imperative (see note at Psalms 119:81-88) is similar to Psalms 109:26. God's covenant loyalty (i.e., hesed, cf. Psalms 119:88a; see Special Topic: Lovingkindness) is the basis of mankind's hope. It is His unchanging character of mercy and grace that brings hope and peace in this fallen world. See SPECIAL TOPIC: CHARACTERISTICS OF ISRAEL'S GOD.

Psalms 119:88a The UBS Handbook (p. 1022) mentions that the MT and LXX have the verb “spare my life” (BDB 310, KB 309, Piel imperative), while the DSS text has “be kind to me” (cf. TEV).

Psalms 119:88b This is the desire of God's faithful followers (cf. Psalms 19:14)!

The verb “keep” (BDB 1036, KB 1581) is a Qal cohortative. See Special Topic: Keep. Obedience to revelation is crucial and is evidence of one's faith relationship with YHWH and His Messiah (cf. Luke 6:46).

Verses 89-96

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:89-96 (Lamedh) 89Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. 90Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. 91They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants. 92If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction. 93I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me. 94I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts. 95The wicked wait for me to destroy me; I shall diligently consider Your testimonies. 96I have seen a limit to all perfection; Your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Psalms 119:89 “Forever” See Special Topic: Forever ('olam).


“Your word is settled in heaven” The verb's (BDB 662, KB 714, Niphal participle) basic meaning is “to stand.” This is the only usage of this verb in this idiom.

The idea of God's settled/established creation (cf. Isa. 54:18) is the thrust of Psalms 119:90-91 (different verb, BDB 763, KB 840). Notice the things that “stand.”

1. YHWH's word (Psalms 119:89b, Psalms 119:91a)

2. YHWH's faithfulness

3. YHWH's creation

They are all His servants (Psalms 119:91b). But note Psalms 119:96 seems to imply a contrast. However, the thrust of the contrast is uncertain.

Psalms 119:90a This truth is paralleled in Psalms 119:5 and 89:1-2. They speak of the eternality of God, His word, and creation. Faithfulness characterizes

1. God Himself

2. His revelation in word

3. His revelation in creation (cf. Psalms 119:91; Psalms 148:1-6; Jeremiah 31:35-37)

Psalms 119:91 “all things are Your servants” This idiom refers to all created things (i.e., Genesis 1, cf. Psalms 103:19; Ecclesiastes 11:5; Jeremiah 10:16; Jeremiah 51:19). God's word brought the physical into existence and sustains it. The physical has its limits (cf. Psalms 119:96), but God's word has no limits.

Psalms 119:92 “If” Notice the conditional nature of the following statements about the psalmist who needs saving/reviving and God's revelation, which is eternal. Notice the number of “I's” in Psalms 119:92-96 in the NASB (6) which describe the psalmist's thoughts and actions.

Psalms 119:93 “I will never forget Your precepts” See note at Psalms 119:83b.

“For by them You have revived me” This verb is a Piel perfect which denotes God's completed action of salvation. This is contrasted with the imperative of Psalms 119:88.

Psalms 119:94 “I am Yours” The psalmist is asserting that, like creation, he belongs to YHWH, the creator of all things which serve His purposes.

“save me” This is a Hiphil imperative, the only imperative in this stanza. See SPECIAL TOPIC: SALVATION (OLD TESTAMENT TERM) (OT). The psalmist feels attacked (Psalms 119:95a). In Psalms 119:92 the term “affliction” could refer to the agency of “the wicked” or God (Psalms 119:67, Psalms 119:71).

YHWH saves those who seek/trust Him (cf. Psalms 13:5; Psalms 25:2; Psalms 31:14; Psalms 52:8; Psalms 56:4; Psalms 86:2). There are two aspects to the covenant (the Divine and the human individual)!

“I have sought Your precepts” This idea of faithful followers actively seeking (BDB 205, KB 233, Qal perfect) God's revelation also occurs in Psalms 119:2, Psalms 119:45, Psalms 119:155. There is a Divine aspect to revelation and an individual aspect to revelation!

Psalms 119:96 This verse is difficult to understand. However, whatever is “limited” (seems to refer to the created order) is in contrast to God's eternal (lit. “broad”) revelation (i.e., has no limit).

The term “perfection” (BDB 479) is found only here.

The psalmist calls on the eternal One to save him. The wicked perish, creation will perish (i.e., 2 Peter 3:10, 2 Peter 3:12), but the eternal One remembers His faithful followers!

Verses 97-104

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:97-104 (Mem) 97O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, For they are ever mine. 99I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. 100I understand more than the aged, Because I have observed Your precepts. 101I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. 102I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, For You Yourself have taught me. 103How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.

Psalms 119:97 “O how I love Your law” In many ways Psalms 19:0 and 119 are the theological opposite of the historical books' and prophetic books' presentation of how Israel acted towards God's revelation.

Love (BDB 12, KB 17, Qal perfect, cf. Psalms 119:47, Psalms 119:48, Psalms 119:113, Psalms 119:127, Psalms 119:163, Psalms 119:165) is characterized as “meditation all the day” (cf. Psalms 119:15, Psalms 119:48, Psalms 119:99).

To love is (cf. Deuteronomy 6:5)

1. to spend time with

2. to rejoice in

3. to obey

4. to pass on to others

The phrase translated by NASB “all day long” is the Hebrew word 'olam. See Special Topic: Forever ('olam).

Psalms 119:98 A knowledge of God's revelation makes the faithful follower wiser than

1. his enemies, Psalms 119:98

2. his teachers, Psalms 119:99

3. the aged (i.e., experienced), Psalms 119:100

Psalms 119:100 Notice that wisdom is not just knowledge but lifestyle obedience (cf. Psalms 119:100b). This obedience is described as

1. restrained my feet from every evil way (cf. Psalms 1:1; Psalms 5:8; Psalms 16:11; Psalms 139:24; Proverbs 1:15; Proverbs 4:14)

2. not turned aside from Your ordinances (an idiom for deviation from God's revealed path, cf. Deuteronomy 17:20; Joshua 23:6)

The first name for the church was “The Way” (cf. Acts 9:2; Acts 18:25, Acts 18:26; Acts 19:9, Acts 19:23; Acts 22:4; Acts 24:14, Acts 24:22).

Psalms 119:101b “That I may keep Your word” This is the key theological truth. See Special Topic: Keep.

Psalms 119:102b In Psalms 119:0 God and His revelation are merged. To know Him is to know His word. God is the teacher and content of revelation. The request for God to teach the psalmist is found in Psalms 119:12, Psalms 119:26, Psalms 119:33, Psalms 119:64, Psalms 119:108, Psalms 119:124, Psalms 119:135, Psalms 119:171.

Psalms 119:103 This verse reflects Psalms 19:10b but with a different word for “sweet” (BDB 576, KB 594, Niphal perfect, lit. “smooth,” found only here in the OT). The idiom “sweetness” is a way to describe how the teachings of God make life enjoyable and peaceful!

Psalms 119:104 There is only one proper source of truth, life, peace, and joyYHWH. To know Him is to aggressively reject (lit. “hate”) all other ways (i.e., Psalms 119:53, Psalms 119:128, Psalms 119:163; Proverbs 13:5; Amos 5:15).

Verses 105-112

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:105-112 (Nun) 105Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. 106I have sworn and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous ordinances. 107I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word. 108O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, And teach me Your ordinances. 109My life is continually in my hand, Yet I do not forget Your law. 110The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts. 111I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart. 112I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, even to the end.

Psalms 119:105 There is no verb in this verse. God's word illumines life (cf. Psalms 43:3; Proverbs 6:23; 2 Peter 1:19). Life is described as a path, a clearly marked path, marked by Divine revelation (cf. Psalms 89:15; Isaiah 2:5; 1 John 1:7). To deviate to the right or left brings disaster.

We know from the NT that God's ultimate revelation is Jesus (cf. John 1:1-14; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:13-16; Hebrews 1:2-3). He is the light of the world (cf. John 1:4; John 8:12; John 9:5).

Psalms 119:106 The psalmist asserts that he has walked on God's path of revelation. The verb forms imply an initial decision and a continuing commitment to God's revelation. Biblical faith is a “gate” (initial, personal encounter with God) and “a path/way” (continuing lifestyle, daily obedience). Jesus teaches this in Matthew 7:13-14. It is a decision and a discipleship.

In modern Jewish life, young people study the Hebrew Bible, and at age 13 for boys and 12 for girls, they commit themselves to keep it (Bar-Mitzvah, Bat-Mitzvah).

Psalms 119:107 The nature of the affliction is uncertain. It could be

1. the wicked, Psalms 119:110 (cf. Job 24:13)

2. God Himself for the psalmist's previous disobedience (cf. Psalms 119:67, Psalms 119:71)

“Revive me” This is literally “give me life” (BDB 310, KB 309) and is a recurrent request (cf. Psalms 119:25, Psalms 119:37, Psalms 119:40, Psalms 119:50, Psalms 119:88, Psalms 119:93, Psalms 119:107, Psalms 119:149, Psalms 119:154, Psalms 119:156, Psalms 119:159, Psalms 119:175). Here it probably means physical life, but one who knows God's revelation also knows it denotes a healthy spiritual life also. Life comes “according to Your word.”

Psalms 119:108a This verse and others like it are the origin of the Jewish people worshiping YHWH in words and not sacrifices because their temple has been destroyed (cf. Isaiah 57:19; Hosea 14:2; Hebrews 13:15).

Psalms 119:108b Understanding is impossible without Divine help. God seeks to open our minds to Himself and His guidelines for life (cf. Psalms 119:12, Psalms 119:26, Psalms 119:64, Psalms 119:66, Psalms 119:68, Psalms 119:124, Psalms 119:135, Psalms 119:171).

Psalms 119:109 “soul” This is the Hebrew term nephesh (BDB 659). See full note at Genesis 35:18 online.

“in Your hand” This Hebrew idiom can be understood in two ways.

1. in a negative sense, where “hand” refers to power over another (cf. Judges 12:3; 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21; Job 13:14, see Special Topic: Hand)

2. in a positive sense, where “hand” refers to God's keeping power and protection (i.e., Psalms 31:5)

The MT has “in my hand,” while the LXX has “in Your hand.” The first would denote that following God's revelation means opposition in a fallen world. The second would denote God's keeping power and care (cf. NJB).

Psalms 119:110 The psalmist is being accused of some covenant violation but he asserts his fidelity to God's revelation.

The “snare,” like the “pit” of Psalms 119:85, is an animal trap, here used as a metaphor for human aggressive attacks.

Psalms 119:111-112 God's revelation to Israel was evidence of their special relationship to Him. The psalmist affirms his loyalty and obedience to that revelation. See Special Topic: Keep.

Psalms 119:111 “they are the joy of my heart” Israel gloried in God's revelation (cf. Psalms 1:2; Psalms 19:7-11). To those who know God it is not a burden but a delight (cf. Psalms 119:14, Psalms 119:16, Psalms 119:24, Psalms 119:35, Psalms 119:47, Psalms 119:70, Psalms 119:77, Psalms 119:92, Psalms 119:143, Psalms 119:162, Psalms 119:174).

Psalms 119:112 “forever” See Special Topic: Forever ('olam).

“to the end” See the same expressing of continual commitment (Psalms 119:106) to God's revelation in Psalms 119:33.

Verses 113-120

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:113-120 (Samekh) 113I hate those who are double-minded, But I love Your law. 114You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word. 115Depart from me, evildoers, That I may observe the commandments of my God. 116Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope. 117Uphold me that I may be safe, That I may have regard for Your statutes continually. 118You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes, For their deceitfulness is useless. 119You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross; Therefore I love Your testimonies. 120My flesh trembles for fear of You, And I am afraid of Your judgments.

Psalms 119:113 “I hate those who are double-minded” The adjective “double-minded” (BDB 704 II) occurs only here. The JPSOA translates it “divided heart.” It is related to the noun (BDB 704) found in 1 Kings 18:21. See James 1:8; James 4:8.

This stanza contrasts two types of individuals.

1. the psalmist's persecutors

a. double-minded, Psalms 119:113; Psalms 119:113a

b. evildoers, Psalms 119:115

c. those who wander from God's statutes, Psalms 119:118a

d. deceitful, Psalms 119:118; Psalms 119:118b

e. wicked, Psalms 119:119

2. the psalmist

a. loves God's law, Psalms 119:113; Psalms 119:113b

b. waits for God's word, Psalms 119:114b

c. observes God's commandments, Psalms 119:115b

d. has regard for God's statutes, Psalms 119:117b

e. loves God's testimonies, Psalms 119:119b

f. fears God's judgments, Psalms 119:120b

“I love” The stark contrast denotes the wide gap that develops between those who love God and His revelation and those who do not! There is no neutral ground.

Psalms 119:114 “God is my hiding place” This noun (BDB 712) denotes a shelter.

1. the tabernacle/temple - Psalms 27:5

2. God Himself - Psalms 31:20; Psalms 32:7, Psalms 32:10

3. shelter of His wings - Psalms 61:5

4. shadow of the Almighty - Psalms 91:1 (see Special Topic: Shadow As A Metaphor For Protection and Care)

“my shield” The noun (BDB 171) is personified as YHWH's protection of His followers.

1. Abraham - Genesis 15:1

2. Israel - Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalms 33:20; Psalms 59:11; Psalms 115:9, Psalms 115:10

3. the psalmist - Psalms 3:3; Psalms 18:2; Psalms 28:7; Psalms 84:9

4. righteous man - Psalms 5:12

5. the upright in heart - Psalms 7:10

6. those who take refuge in Him - Psalms 18:30, Psalms 18:35; Proverbs 30:5

7. those who walk uprightly - Psalms 84:11; Proverbs 2:7

8. those who fear Him - Psalms 115:11

9. His king - Psalms 144:2

“I wait for Your word” The verb (BDB 403, KB 407, Piel perfect) denotes hope and patient trust that God will fulfill His promises (cf. Psalms 31:24; Psalms 33:18, Psalms 33:22; Psalms 69:3; Psalms 119:43, Psalms 119:49, Psalms 119:74, Psalms 119:81, Psalms 119:114, Psalms 119:147).

Psalms 119:115-117 These lines of poetry all begin with an imperative (i.e., prayer request). All roots start with a samekh.

1. depart from me evildoer - BDB 693, KB 747, Qal imperative

2. sustain me according to Your word - BDB 701, KB 759, Qal imperative

3. uphold me - BDB 703, KB 761, Qal imperative

Notice how the second line gives the desired result.

1. that I may observe the commandments - Qal cohortative

2. that I may live - Qal imperfect used in a cohortative sense

3. that I may be safe - Niphal cohortative (Psalms 119:117a)

4. that I may have regard for Your statutes (Psalms 119:117b)

Psalms 119:118 This verse hints of idolatry (cf. Isaiah 28:15; Jeremiah 10:14; Jeremiah 51:17), not just disobedience to the covenant.

The term “reject” (BDB 699, KB 756) is found only here and in Lamentations 1:15. This is another example of a rare term chosen to fit the acrostic form.

Psalms 119:119-120 Notice that “love” (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4-6) and “fear” (Psalms 119:120) go together. There is a respect due the God of the universe (i.e., NIDOTTE, vol. 2, p. 529), who is also the Savior of the universe, who is also the Judge of the universe!

The term “tremble” (BDB 702, KB 760, Qal perfect) is found only here and the Piel only in Job 4:15. A related form (i.e., different vowels) is found only in Jeremiah 51:27. This is another rare word used to fit the acrostic form.

Psalms 119:119

NASB“You have removed the wicked” NKJV“You put away all the wicked” NRSV“All the wicked. . .you count as dross” NJB“In Your sight all the wicked. . .are like rust” JPSOA“You do away with the wicked” LXX“All sinners. . .I counted as transgressors”

The BDB 991 and KB 1409 have several suggestions for the Hiphil of this root.

1. cause to cease, put to an end, cf. Psalms 46:9

2. exterminate, destroy, cf. Psalms 8:2; 19:119

3. cause to desist from

4. remove, cf. Psalms 89:44

5. cause to fail

The UBS Text Project (p. 411) has two options.

1. you made stop

2. you consider/considered

It gives a “C” rating (considerable doubt) to #2.

The first word of Psalms 119:119 is “dross” (BDB 691), which is used out of its normal order to fit the acrostic pattern. It refers to the waste product of purifying metals. It is useless and is thrown away.

Verses 121-128

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:121-128 (Ayin) 121I have done justice and righteousness; Do not leave me to my oppressors. 122Be surety for Your servant for good; Do not let the arrogant oppress me. 123My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation And for Your righteous word. 124Deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness And teach me Your statutes. 125I am Your servant; give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies. 126It is time for the Lord to act, For they have broken Your law. 127Therefore I love Your commandments Above gold, yes, above fine gold. 128Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way.

Psalms 119:121-128 This stanza follows the common pattern. The psalmist describes himself in contrast to those who oppose him.

1. the psalmist

a. he has done justice (BDB 1048), Psalms 119:121

b. he has done righteousness (BDB 841), Psalms 119:121

c. his eyes fail for longing for God's salvation, Psalms 119:123a

d. his eyes fail for longing for God's righteous word, Psalms 119:123b

e. he is God's servant, Psalms 119:122, Psalms 119:124, Psalms 119:125

f. he loves God's commandments, Psalms 119:127

g. he esteems the right of all God's revelations, Psalms 119:128a

h. he hates every false way, Psalms 119:128; Psalms 119:128b (cf. Psalms 31:6; Psalms 119:104, Psalms 119:163; Proverbs 13:5)

2. his opponents are characterized as

a. my oppressors (BDB 798, KB 897, Qal participle), Psalms 119:121b

b. the arrogant, Psalms 119:122b (cf. Psalms 119:21, Psalms 119:51, Psalms 119:69, Psalms 119:78, Psalms 119:85)

c. they break God's law, Psalms 119:126; Psalms 119:126b

d. they love the false way (implied), Psalms 119:128b

Psalms 119:121 “justice” See Special Topic: Judge, Judgment, and Justice.

“righteousness” See Special Topic: Righteousness.

Psalms 119:122 This is the first of five prayer requests.

1. be surety for Your servant for good, Psalms 119:122a - BDB 786, KB 876, Qal imperative (lit. “give in pledge”), cf. Job 17:3; Isaiah 38:14

2. do not let the arrogant (BDB 267) oppress me, Psalms 119:122b - BDB 798, KB 897, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense. The Qal active participle is used in Psalms 119:121 to characterize his foes.

3. deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness, Psalms 119:124a - BDB 793, KB 889, Qal imperative. YHWH's hesed (BDB 338) is a recurrent theme, cf. Psalms 51:1; Psalms 106:45; Psalms 109:26; Psalms 119:88, Psalms 119:149, Psalms 119:159.

4. teach me Your statutes, Psalms 119:124b - BDB 540, KB 531, Piel imperative, this is another recurrent theme, cf. Psalms 119:12, Psalms 119:26, Psalms 119:64, Psalms 119:108, Psalms 119:135, Psalms 119:171

5. give me understanding, Psalms 119:125a - BDB 106, KB 122, Hiphil imperative, this is another recurrent theme, cf. Job 32:8; Psalms 119:27, Psalms 119:34, Psalms 119:73, Psalms 119:125, Psalms 119:130, Psalms 119:144, Psalms 119:169

“for good” Dahood might be correct (see AB, vol. 17A, p. 187) that the lamedh before “good” (BDB 373 II) may denote the vocative (i.e., O Good One), as it does in Psalms 119:126 before YHWH, translated “O Lord.”

The NASB Study Bible (p. 869) makes the interesting observation, following the Jewish Masora notes, that Psalms 119:122 is the only verse in Psalms 119:0 in which a direct or indirect (i.e., Psalms 119:90, Psalms 119:121, Psalms 119:132) reference to God's revelation (see Special Topic: Terms for God's Revelation) does not appear. However, Dahood in AB (p. 193) asserts that Psalms 119:37, Psalms 119:90, Psalms 119:121, Psalms 119:122, Psalms 119:132, and 149 do not have a specific word for God's revelation.

Psalms 119:123 Salvation usually refers to physical deliverance (see SPECIAL TOPIC: SALVATION (OLD TESTAMENT TERM) but here the next line implies a longing for all of God's promises to come to fruition (implying national and even eschatological promises).

Psalms 119:124 “lovingkindness” See Special Topic: Lovingkindness (hesed).

Psalms 119:125 “That I may know” In this context “know” (BDB 393, KB 390, Qal cohortative) surely refers to comprehension. However, the Hebrew verb often denotes an element of personal relationship. See Special Topic: Know.

Psalms 119:126 “It is time for the Lord to act” Faithful followers take God's word and promises seriously. They see the evil and chaos in creation and longingly desire for God to intervene in human history and fulfill all His word (cf. Romans 8:18-25)!

Psalms 119:127b This reminds me of Psalms 19:10 (cf. Psalms 119:103)! Oh, how precious is God's self-disclosure in revelation. He has not left believers in the hopeless relativity of this fallen world/age. He has communicated His will and way for us to find and maintain intimate fellowship with Him, even now!

Psalms 119:128 This is the faithful followers' worldview. Believers surely do not understand all of God's revelation, but they trust God. This is exactly opposite of those who

1. choose some of His revelations but not all (cf. Psalms 119:113)

2. choose other gods (i.e., idolatry, cf. Psalms 31:6; Psalms 119:104; Jeremiah 10:3)

There are several questions about Psalms 119:128.

1. Why does it start with “therefore,” when this does not logically connect to Psalms 119:127? Possibly to get the acrostic to fit (Psalms 119:127 also starts with “therefore” for acrostic purposes).

2. Why the repeated use of “all”?

3. Why the verb, ישׁר (BDB 448, KB 449, Piel perfect), which is usually translated “be smooth,” “be straight,” or “be right.” Possibly it denotes the true way/path (i.e., “righteous” as a measuring stick/reed, cf. Proverbs 3:6) versus “the false path/way.”

Verses 129-136

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:129-136 (Pe) 129Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul observes them. 130The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. 131I opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for Your commandments. 132Turn to me and be gracious to me, After Your manner with those who love Your name. 133Establish my footsteps in Your word, And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. 134Redeem me from the oppression of man, That I may keep Your precepts. 135Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes. 136My eyes shed streams of water, Because they do not keep Your law.

Psalms 119:129 “wonderful” See Special Topic: Wonderful Things.

“soul” This is nephesh (BDB 659), which denotes a person's life. See full note at Genesis 35:18 online.

“observes them” This is a recurrent emphasis (cf. Psalms 119:2, Psalms 119:22, Psalms 119:33, Psalms 119:34, Psalms 119:56, Psalms 119:69, Psalms 119:100, Psalms 119:115, Psalms 119:129, Psalms 119:145, Psalms 119:168, see Special Topic: Keep). Biblical faith is not just light but walking in the light (cf. Psalms 89:15; Psalms 119:105; Proverbs 6:23; Isaiah 2:5; 1 John 1:5-7).

Notice the same emphasis on obedience in Psalms 119:134b, “know,” Qal cohortative (BDB 1036, KB 1581).

Psalms 119:130 “The unfolding” This is the only use of the word (BDB 836) in the OT. Again a rare word is used to fit the acrostic form.

“the simple” This word (BDB 834) can have a negative (i.e., Proverbs 1:22) or positive connotation. Here it is positive. God desires all humans to know Him and His will. Here it denotes a teachable person (cf. Psalms 19:7) but one who, for whatever reason, does not know God's revelation.

Psalms 119:131 These are three idioms for a strong desire.

1. open mouth - Job 29:23

2. panting - Psalms 42:1

3. longing - Psalms 119:20

The last word (BDB 383) is found only here in the OT.

Psalms 119:132-135 There is a series of imperatival prayer requests.

1. turn to me - BDB 815, KB 937, Qal imperative, cf. Psalms 25:16; Psalms 69:16

2. be gracious to me - BDB 335, KB 334, Qal imperative

3. establish my footsteps - BDB 465, KB 464, Hiphil imperative

4. redeem me - BDB 804, KB 911, Qal imperative(see SPECIAL TOPIC: RANSOM/REDEEM)

5. shine upon Your servant - BDB 21, KB 24, Hiphil imperative

6. teach me - BDB 540, KB 531, Piel imperative

There is also one more request stated in a negative (i.e., “do not let any have dominion over me,” cf. Psalms 19:13, but a different verb). It is a Hiphil imperfect used in a jussive sense, Psalms 119:133b.

Psalms 119:132b What a beautiful characterization of God's faithful followers (cf. Psalms 5:11; Psalms 69:36; Isaiah 56:6)!

The name represents God Himself. See Special Topic: “The Name” of YHWH.

Psalms 119:133 “Establish my footsteps” This is the imagery of a clear, smooth, unobstructed path (cf. Psalms 17:5), which is made possible by God's revelation, actions, and promises (i.e., Isaiah 40:3-4).

Psalms 119:135 “Make Your face shine upon Your servant” This is an allusion to the Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:24-26. It is alluded to several times in the Psalter (cf. Psalms 4:6; Psalms 31:16; Psalms 67:1; Psalms 80:3, Psalms 80:7, Psalms 80:19, and here).

The opposite idiom would be for YHWH to hide His face (cf. Psalms 10:11; Psalms 13:1; Psalms 22:24; Psalms 27:9; Psalms 44:24; Psalms 69:17; Psalms 88:15; Psalms 102:2; Psalms 104:29; Psalms 143:7; Isaiah 57:17).

Psalms 119:136 This is an important verse because the majority of the references to those who do not keep God's law call out for judgment (i.e., Psalms 119:53, Psalms 119:158). This one shows the psalmist's grief and intercession for the wayward.

One wonders if the psalmist is thinking of his personal enemies or the sins of corporate Israel (cf. Jeremiah 9:1, Jeremiah 9:18; Jeremiah 14:17; Lamentations 3:48).

Verses 137-144

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:137-144 (Tsadhe) 137Righteous are You, O Lord, And upright are Your judgments. 138You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness And exceeding faithfulness. 139My zeal has consumed me, Because my adversaries have forgotten Your words. 140Your word is very pure, Therefore Your servant loves it. 141I am small and despised, Yet I do not forget Your precepts. 142Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth. 143Trouble and anguish have come upon me, Yet Your commandments are my delight. 144Your testimonies are righteous forever; Give me understanding that I may live.

Psalms 119:137-144 This stanza contrasts the qualities of YHWH and/or His revelations with the psalmist's current conditions.

1. YHWH/His revelations are characterized as

a. righteous

(1) adjective (BDB 843), Psalms 119:137

(2) noun (masculine, BDB 841), Psalms 119:138; Psalms 119:138, Psalms 119:144 (feminine, BDB 842, Psalms 119:142)

b. upright (BDB 449), Psalms 119:137

c. faithful (adverb, BDB 547), Psalms 119:138, cf. Psalms 119:86

d. pure (BDB 864, KB 1057, Qal passive participle), Psalms 119:140

e. eternal (BDB 761), Psalms 119:142, Psalms 119:144

f. truth (BDB 54), Psalms 119:142

2. the psalmist

a. he has a zeal for God's revelation (or against his enemies) but his adversaries have forgotten them, Psalms 119:139

b. he loves God's revelation, Psalms 119:140

c. he is small and despised but does not forget God's revelation, Psalms 119:141

d. trouble and anguish have come upon him yet he delights in God's revelation, Psalms 119:143

Psalms 119:137 “Lord” See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY.

Psalms 119:139 In context it seems that the psalmist's “zeal” (BDB 888) is directed, not positively, toward God's word but against those who have forgotten His word (cf. Psalms 69:9; Psalms 119:53). This is opposite of Psalms 119:136.

Psalms 119:140

NASB, NKJV“very pure” NRSV, LXX“well tried” TEV“certain” NJB, REB“well tested” JPSOA“exceedingly pure”

The verb (BDB 864, KB 1057, Qal passive participle) denotes that which has been refined by fire and the dross drained off leaving a pure metal.

Psalms 119:141

NASB, NKJV, NRSV, PESHITTA“small” TEV“unimportant” NJB“puny” JPSOA“belittled” LXX“young” REB“of little account”

The question is, does the word (BDB 859 I) denote

1. age (cf. Genesis 43:33; Genesis 48:14; Judges 6:15; Psalms 68:27)

2. physical size (cf. 1 Samuel 9:21; Isaiah 60:22; Jeremiah 48:4; Jeremiah 49:20; Jeremiah 50:45)

3. social reputation (cf. Micah 5:2; and here)

This is a classic example of OT role reversal. The faithful psalmist is called “despised” (BDB 102, KB 117, Niphal participle) when it should be those who purposefully forget/ignore God's revelation. Outward conditions (cf. Psalms 119:143) in this fallen world do not reflect the evaluation of the God who will one day set the record straight!

Psalms 119:142 “true” See Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith and Faithfulness in the OT.

Psalms 119:143 This is the mystery of why the righteous suffer (cf. Job; Psalms 73:0). The psalmist keeps, loves, and acts on God's revelation but still he suffers at the hands of godless men and fallen-age circumstances (i.e., illness, social unfairness, etc.).

The problem is not God or His word, but the fallen condition of creation (cf. Genesis 3:6, Genesis 3:11-12, Genesis 3:13; Psalms 14:3; Romans 1:18-31).

Psalms 119:144 The only imperatival prayer request in the stanza is Psalms 119:144b (cf. Psalms 119:27, Psalms 119:125). Note that understanding must result in godly living (BDB 310, KB 309, Qal imperfect used in cohortative sense).

Verses 145-152

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:145-152 (Ooph) 145I cried with all my heart; answer me, O Lord! I will observe Your statutes. 146I cried to You; save me And I shall keep Your testimonies. 147I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. 148My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word. 149Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your ordinances. 150Those who follow after wickedness draw near; They are far from Your law. 151You are near, O Lord, And all Your commandments are truth. 152Of old I have known from Your testimonies That You have founded them forever.

Psalms 119:145-152 As is so common in these acrostic strophes, the psalmist compares his actions and thoughts with those persecuting him.

1. the psalmist

a. I cried with all my heart, Psalms 119:145a

b. I will observe Your statutes, Psalms 119:145b

c. I cried to You, Psalms 119:146; Psalms 119:146a

d. I shall keep Your testimonies, Psalms 119:146b

e. I rise before dawn and cry for help, Psalms 119:147a

f. I wait for Your words, Psalms 119:147b

g. That I may meditate on Your word, Psalms 119:148b

h. Of old I have known from Your testimonies, Psalms 119:152a

2. his oppressors

a. Those who follow after wickedness draw near, Psalms 119:150a

b. They are far from Your law, Psalms 119:150; Psalms 119:150b

In light of this comparison the psalmist makes four prayer requests.

1. answer me, Psalms 119:145a - BDB 772, KB 851, Qal imperative

2. save me, Psalms 119:146a - BDB 446, KB 448, Hiphil imperative

3. hear my voice, Psalms 119:149a - BDB 1033, KB 1570, Qal imperative

4. revive me, Psalms 119:149b - BDB 310, KB 309, Piel imperative

This is an additional implied request in Psalms 119:151a. As the wicked draw near to him, he asserts YHWH is near, Psalms 119:151. It is a statement (no verb) but also a prayer!

Psalms 119:145 “with all my heart” This could be understood in two senses.

1. with all my being (like a similar idiom in Psalms 103:1, “all that is within me”)

2. asserting he is not a “double-minded” (cf. Psalms 119:113) or half-hearted follower (contrast David, a full heart with Solomon in his old age, a half heart)

“O Lord” There are three vocatives addressing YHWH in this stanza (Psalms 119:145, Psalms 119:149, Psalms 119:151). For “YHWH” see Special Topic: Names For Deity.

Psalms 119:148 The psalmist cannot sleep because of

1. the attack of faithless Israelites (possibly idolaters)

2. his whole-hearted devotion to God's revelation

Psalms 119:149 The psalmist asks YHWH to act because of

1. His character of lovingkindness

2. His revelation (i.e., Scripture)

3. the folly of the wicked (i.e., this unfair and fallen age)

Psalms 119:152 “Of old” This could refer to

1. God's ancient acts (cf. Psalms 24:2; Psalms 78:69; Psalms 89:11; Psalms 102:25; Psalms 104:5) and revelations to the Patriarchs

2. the psalmist's lengthy history of knowing and trusting God and His revelation

“forever” See Special Topic: Forever ('olam).

Verses 153-160

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:153-160 (Resh) 153Look upon my affliction and rescue me, For I do not forget Your law. 154Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word. 155Salvation is far from the wicked, For they do not seek Your statutes. 156Great are Your mercies, O Lord; Revive me according to Your ordinances. 157Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, Yet I do not turn aside from Your testimonies. 158I behold the treacherous and loathe them, Because they do not keep Your word. 159Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness. 160The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Psalms 119:153-160 There is a series (8) of imperatival prayer requests based on God's character (cf. Psalms 119:156a) and the psalmist's obedience to His revelation. This is the essence of covenant (see SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT).

1-2. look upon, Psalms 119:153, Psalms 119:159 - BDB 906, KB 1157, Qal imperative

3. rescue me, Psalms 119:153 - BDB 322, KB 321, Piel imperative

4. plead my cause, Psalms 119:154 - BDB 936, KB 1224, Qal imperative, cf. Psalms 35:23-24; Psalms 43:1

5. redeem me, Psalms 119:154 - BDB 322, KB 321, Piel imperative

6-8. revive me, Psalms 119:154, Psalms 119:156, Psalms 119:159 - BDB 310, KB 309, Piel imperatives

Psalms 119:153 “my affliction” The exact nature of the affliction is never stated but there are two main possibilities.

1. God-sent problems and adversaries (cf. Psalms 119:67, Psalms 119:71)

2. personal enemies (this fits this context best)

a. the wicked, Psalms 119:155

b. they do not seek Your statutes, Psalms 119:155

c. my persecutors, Psalms 119:157

d. my adversaries, Psalms 119:157

e. the treacherous, Psalms 119:158

f. those who do not keep God's revelation, Psalms 119:158

“For I do not forget Your law” Remember the Psalms are written within the theological scope of the performance-based Mosaic covenant (cf. Psalms 119:154b, Psalms 119:156b, Psalms 119:159b) The psalmist highlights his fidelity.

1. I do not forget Your law, Psalms 119:143, cf. Psalms 119:83, Psalms 119:109, Psalms 119:141

2. they do not seek Your statutes but I do (implied), Psalms 119:155

3. I do not turn aside from Your testimonies, Psalms 119:157

4. they do not keep Your word, but I do (implied), Psalms 119:158

5. I love Your precepts, Psalms 119:159

Psalms 119:154 “Plead my cause” This is a court word. One day all conscious life (angelic and human) will stand before God to give an account of the gift of life (cf. Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15). Romans 8:31-39 records the imagery.

1. God as Judge

2. Satan as the prosecuting attorney

3. Jesus as the advocate for faithful followers

4. angels as the spectators (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:9; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:10)

This phrase may also denote YHWH as a “kinsman redeemer” who advocates on behalf of a relative (cf. Leviticus 25:23-28; Ruth 3:0; Job 19:23-27; Proverbs 23:11; Jeremiah 50:34; Jeremiah 51:36; Lamentations 3:58).

Psalms 119:155 “salvation” See Special Topic: Salvation (OT).

Psalms 119:156-157 Notice the two words from the same root (BDB 912 I), “great,” Psalms 119:156 and “many,” Psalms 119:157.

There are many enemies (cf. Psalms 119:157) but there is also a great God (Psalms 119:156). This same truth is expressed in 1 Peter where one word (variegated) describes

1. manifold temptation, 1 Peter 1:6

2. the manifold grace of God, 1 Peter 4:10

Psalms 119:159 “I. . .loathe them” This seems harsh to NT believers. But remember this is the Mosaic covenant. Human emotions are often stated in hyperbolic imagery. The psalmist's love for God and His word causes him to react aggressively (cf. Psalms 139:21) toward those who

1. reject it

2. accept only selected parts of it

3. play the hypocrite

God Himself has revealed His own attitude (cf. Psalms 95:10) toward those who reject His revelation in Leviticus 26:0 and Deuteronomy 27-30. To whom much is given, much is required (cf. Luke 12:48). The adversaries of the psalmist seem to be fellow Israelites.

Psalms 119:160 There is no verb in this verse. The NASB provides two “to be” verbs.

“The sum” This means “the whole,” which forms a better parallel with the next line of poetry than “essence.”

“truth” This is not truth versus falsehood but faithfulness versus unfaithfulness. God's word is the exact opposite of fallen humanity's word. See Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith and Faithfulness in the OT.

“everlasting” See Special Topic: Forever ('olam).

“righteous” See Special Topic: Righteousness.

Verses 161-168

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:161-168 (Shin) 161Princes persecute me without cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your words. 162I rejoice at Your word, As one who finds great spoil. 163I hate and despise falsehood, But I love Your law. 164Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous ordinances. 165Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble. 166I hope for Your salvation, O Lord, And do Your commandments. 167My soul keeps Your testimonies, And I love them exceedingly. 168I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, For all my ways are before You.

Psalms 119:161-168 This stanza is characterized by perfect verbs which denote complete, finished, accomplished action. The psalmist is asserting what he has become because of God and His revelation.

1. my heart stands in awe of Your words, Psalms 119:161b, cf. Psalms 119:120

2. I rejoice at Your word, Psalms 119:162a

3. I hate and despise falsehood, Psalms 119:163a, cf. Psalms 119:104, Psalms 119:118; Proverbs 13:5

4. I love Your law, Psalms 119:163b

5. I praise You, seven times a day, Psalms 119:164a

6. those who love (i.e., of which the psalmist is one) Your law, Psalms 119:165a

7. I hope for Your salvation, Psalms 119:166; Psalms 119:166a

8. I do Your commandments, Psalms 119:166b

9. my soul keeps Your testimonies, Psalms 119:167a

10. I love Your testimonies, Psalms 119:167b

11. I keep Your precepts and testimonies, Psalms 119:168a

12. all my ways are before You, Psalms 119:168b

Psalms 119:161a The term “princes” (BDB 978) has a wide semantic usage which encompasses civil, tribal, and religious leaders (cf. Psalms 119:23). The author of Psalms 119:0 was not in this social category and is often persecuted by those in power.

Psalms 119:161b It is surprising that this line of poetry expresses a fearful awe of God's revelation, and the next line speaks of rejoicing in it. Yet both of these emotions are true of Scripture. It brings to fallen mankind fear, hope, peace, and joy!

The JPSOA translates “stands in awe” (BDB 808, KB 922, Qal perfect) as “my heart thrills at Your word” to form a parallel with Psalms 119:162a.

Psalms 119:162b Wealth is not associated with physical things but with a knowledge of God's revelation and a willingness to act on it!

Psalms 119:163 “seven times” See Special Topic: Symbolic Numbers in Scripture.

Psalms 119:165 This verse gives two specific benefits of loving God's revelation.

1. great peace (see Special Topic: Peace [shalom])

2. no cause for stumbling (BDB 506)

Another way to express this same truth is found in Proverbs 3:1-12, Proverbs 3:13-26, using the imagery of a father's teaching and wisdom! Knowing and following God brings benefits in this life and the next!

Remember, the word “stumble” (BDB 506) is an idiom related to the concept of God's revelation as a clearly marked, smooth, straight, and obstruction-free, path (Psalms 119:105; Proverbs 6:23).

Psalms 119:166 The hope of this verse is paralleled by “long for” of Psalms 119:174. God's deliverance is future but certain! He will do what He promised (individually and corporately).

Psalms 119:167 “keeps” Obedience is crucial both in the OT and the NT. The New Covenant (NT gospel) of Jeremiah 31:31-34 changed the mechanism but not the purpose. God wants a people to reflect His character to the nations that they may come to Him and be saved! See Special Topic: Keep.

The verb (BDB 1036, KB 1581, Qal perfect) is repeated in Psalms 119:168 for emphasis!

Psalms 119:168b The same truth is the essence of Psalms 139:0. God fully knows the heart and mind of each of His special creations (i.e., humans, cf. 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalms 7:9; Psalms 17:3; Psalms 66:10; Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 20:12; Luke 16:15; Acts 1:24).

Verses 169-176

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 119:169-176 (Tav) 169Let my cry come before You, O Lord; Give me understanding according to Your word. 170Let my supplication come before You; Deliver me according to Your word. 171Let my lips utter praise, For You teach me Your statutes. 172Let my tongue sing of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness. 173Let Your hand be ready to help me, For I have chosen Your precepts. 174I long for Your salvation, O Lord, And Your law is my delight. 175Let my soul live that it may praise You, And let Your ordinances help me. 176I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.

Psalms 119:169-176 This last strophe is characterized by jussives, three of them are followed by imperatives (Psalms 119:169, Psalms 119:170, Psalms 119:176).

1. let my cry come before You, Psalms 119:169a - BDB 897, KB 1132, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense

2. give me understanding, Psalms 119:169b - BDB 106, KB 122, Hiphil imperative

3. let my supplication come before You, Psalms 119:170a - BDB 97, KB 112, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense; note the parallel between Psalms 119:169 and 170a

4. deliver me, Psalms 119:170b - BDB 664, KB 717, Hiphil imperative

5. let my lips utter praise, Psalms 119:171a - BDB 615, KB 665, Hiphil imperfect used in a jussive sense

6. let my tongue sing, Psalms 119:172a - BDB 777, KB 854, Qal jussive

7. let my hand be ready to help, Psalms 119:173a - BDB 224, KB 243, Qal jussive

8. let my soul live, Psalms 119:175a - BDB 310, KB 309, Qal jussive

9. that it may praise You, Psalms 119:175a - BDB 237, KB 248, Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense

10. let Your ordinances help me, Psalms 119:175b - BDB 740, KB 810, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense

11. seek Your servant, Psalms 119:176a - BDB 134, KB 152, Piel imperative

The Psalm concludes with a plethora of prayer requests!

Psalms 119:171-173 Notice how the second line of each verse explains the reason for the request.

Psalms 119:176a This imagery of God's people as wayward sheep is also found in Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 50:6; Ezekiel 34:2-19; Zechariah 10:2-3. This is where the imagery of

1. God as Shepherd - Psalms 23:0; Ezekiel 34:0

2. Messiah as Shepherd - Zechariah 10-11; John 10:1-18

is grounded. Sheep need constant, personal, protective care!

The imperative of Psalms 119:176b reminds one of Matthew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:4-7. God does “seek” lost sheep! Hallelujah!

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Psalms 119". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/psalms-119.html. 2021.
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