Psalm 119:137 Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

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Psalm 119:137
| Verses 1-48 | Verses 49-88 | Verses 89-136 | Verses 137-176 |

u, TZADDI.--The Eighteenth Part.

Verse 137. TZADDI. Righteous [art] thou, O Lord,.... Essentially, originally, and of himself; naturally, immutably, and universally, in all his ways and works of nature and grace; in his thoughts, purposes, counsels, and decrees; in all the dispensations of his providence; in redemption, in the justification of a sinner, in the pardon of sin, and in the gift of eternal life through Christ;

and upright [are] thy judgments; they are according to the rules of justice and equity; the precepts of the word, the doctrines of the Gospel, as well as the judgments of God inflicted on wicked men, and all the providential dealings of God with his people, and also the final judgment.

Verse 138. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded [are] righteous,.... The Scriptures are holy, just, and good; and what is contained in them are according to godliness; are for instruction in righteousness, and teach men to live soberly, righteously, and godly;

and very faithful; or "true" {u}: all the sayings in them are true and faithful sayings; for they are the sayings of God that cannot lie; the promises in them are faithfully performed by him that made them; they are all yea and amen in Christ. The words may be rendered, "thou hast commanded righteousness [in] thy testimonies, and truth" or faith "exceedingly": so the Arabic version. God in the law requires of men a perfect righteousness, every way agreeable to its demands; and in his Gospel he reveals the complete righteousness of his Son, which he has commanded to be published in it, to be laid hold on and received by faith as a justifying righteousness, as it is to all that believe: this, with every other truth of the Gospel, is made manifest by the Scriptures according to the commandment of the everlasting God, Romans 16:25.

{u} dam hnwmaw "et verissimae," Vatablus, "veritas valde, i.e. prorsus verissima," Gejerus.

Verse 139. My zeal hath consumed me,.... Zeal for God and his glory, for his word and ordinances and worship; which is a fervour of the mind, burning love, and flaming affections for God, shown in a holy indignation against sin and sinners. This was a zeal according to knowledge, sincere and hearty, and what continued; and which was shown in embracing and defending the truths of the word, and resenting every indignity cast upon them; to such a degree, that it ate up his spirit, wore away his flesh, and almost consumed him; see Psalm 69:9;

because mine enemies have forgotten thy words; not merely through an indifference to them, and inattention in hearing them; nor through want of an earnest heed to keep and retain them; nor through negligence in laying them up, and a carelessness in making use of proper means to recollect them; but through an aversion to them, an hatred of them, and a spiteful malicious contempt of them, casting them away and despising them; which stirred up the spirit of the psalmist, and raised such an emotion in him as was almost too much for him.

Verse 140. Thy word is very pure,.... Or, "exceedingly purified" {w}: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times, Psalm 12:6; free from, all drossy matter; from any mixtures, or the corruptions and doctrines of men; and which tends and leads to purity of heart and life;

therefore thy servant loveth it; that which carnal men hate the word of God for, because it forbids and condemns all impurity of flesh and spirit, all impure thoughts, words, and actions; that a good man loves it for, and which is an evidence of a sanctified heart.

{w} dam hpwru "purificatum valde," Montanus; "liquatum, vel expurgatum valde," Gejerus.

Verse 141. I [am] small and despised,.... Or, "I have been" {x}. Some versions render it "young" {y}; as if it had respect to the time of his anointing by Samuel, when he was overlooked and despised in his father's family, 1 Samuel 16:11; but the word here used is not expressive of age, but of state, condition, and circumstances; and the meaning is, that he was little in his own esteem, and in the esteem of men, and was despised; and that on account of religion, in which he was a type of Christ, Psalm 22:6; and which is the common lot of good men, who are treated by the world as the faith of it, and the offscouring of all things;

[yet] do not I forget thy precepts; to observe and keep them: the ill treatment of men on account of religion did not cause him to forsake it, or to leave the ways, word, and worship of God; see Psalm 119:83.

{x} ykna "ego fui, et adhuc sum," Michaelis. {y} ryeu newterov, Sept. "adolescentulus," V. L.

Verse 142. Thy righteousness [is] an everlasting righteousness,.... Or, "is for ever" {z}. The rectitude of his nature, his faithfulness in his promises, and his kindness and beneficence to his people; and particularly the righteousness of God revealed in the Gospel; the righteousness of his Son, which he approves and accepts of, and imputes to him that believes. This is a righteousness that will last for ever, will never be abolished; it will answer for them that have it in a time to come; it is of use throughout the whole of life, at death, in the day of judgment, and to all eternity; see Daniel 9:24;

and thy law [is] the truth; or "thy doctrine"; or "thy word," as the Arabic version. The Scriptures are called the Scriptures of truth, Daniel 10:21 they come from the God of truth, and all that is contained in them is truth; the legal part of them is truth, and so is the Gospel; that is called the word of truth, and truth itself: it is concerning Christ, who is the truth; and it is directed into and made effectual by the Spirit of truth, and contains in it many excellent truths; and is therefore deservedly valued and esteemed by all good men; see John 17:17.

{z} Mlewl "in seculum," Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus; "in aeternum," V. L. Michaelis.

Verse 143. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me,.... Or, "found me" {a}. Outward troubles and inward distress; troubles arising from his enemies, the men of the world, that hated and persecuted him; and from a body of sin and death, from the temptations of Satan, and divine desertions; some from without, and others from within; troubles both of body and mind, which is what all good men are liable to;

[yet] thy commandments [are] my delights; so far from being grievous, that they were a pleasure to him; yea, exceedingly delighted him, and cheered and refreshed his spirits amidst all his troubles.

{a} ynwaum "invenerunt me," V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Gejerus, Michaelis.

Verse 144. The righteousness of thy testimonies [is] everlasting,.... Or, "for ever" {b}. The righteousness which they require, or which they publish; the righteousness revealed in the Gospel, which is the righteousness of Christ; See Gill on "Ps 119:142";

give me understanding, and I shall live; an understanding of the testimonies of the Lord, of the word of God, the law of God, and Gospel of Christ; an understanding of divine and spiritual things; a clearer and larger understanding of them, which is the gift of God; both that itself at first, and an increase of it here prayed for, the end, issue, and effect of which is life. Such live spiritually, and by faith; they live cheerfully and comfortably, and "for ever," as Aben Ezra and Kimchi repeat from the former clause: for "this is life eternal know the only true God and Jesus Christ"; or to have spiritual understanding of them, and of those things which relate to spiritual peace and comfort here, and eternal happiness hereafter, John 17:3.

{b} Mlwel "in seculum," Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "in aeternum," V. L.

q, KOPH.--The Nineteenth Part.

Verse 145. KOPH. I cried with [my] whole heart,.... Prayer is often expressed by crying; which sometimes signifies mental, and sometimes vocal prayer; and generally supposes the person praying to be in distress, either outward or inward. This prayer of the psalmists was hearty and cordial, not with his mouth and lips only, but with his heart also; it did not proceed from feigned lips, but was put up in sincerity and truth; yea, it was with his whole heart, with all the powers and faculties of his soul employed; his affections set on God, the desires of his soul after him, and his will submitted to his; it denotes the intenseness, earnestness, and fervency of prayer;

hear me, O Lord: the prayer he had put up, and answer it. Some persons pray, and that is enough; they do not concern themselves whether their prayers are heard or not: but David desired an answer, and looked after that;

I will keep thy statutes; not in his own strength, but in the strength of the Lord; and it is to be understood not merely as a resolution what he would do; nor as a promise, which he uses as a plea, argument, or motive to be heard; but rather it expresses the end of his being heard, or the thing for which he desires to be heard: for so it may be rendered, "that I may keep thy statutes"; hear me, and give me grace and strength to enable me to observe them.

Verse 146. I cried unto thee; save me,.... In his distress he cried and prayed to the Lord; and this was a principal and leading petition, that he would "save" him out of all his troubles and afflictions, and out of the hands of all his enemies; and with a temporal, spiritual, and eternal salvation which he knew he was able to do, and none else;

and I shall keep thy testimonies; such salvation will affect my heart, and the sense of it influence and engage me to have the utmost regard to the word of God, its truths and doctrines, precepts and ordinances, so as carefully to observe them.

Verse 147. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried,.... That is, he awoke and got up, and prayed, before the day broke, the morning looked forth, or the sun arose: he was early as well as earnest in his supplications to God; see Psalm 5:3; as Christ, his antitype, rose early in the morning, a great while before day, and went out to a solitary place, and prayed, Mark 1:35;

I hoped in thy word; which is a great encouragement to prayer, the grace of hope itself is, though a man can only put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope; and especially when it is grounded on the word of promise, that God will hear and answer his people, when they call upon him in a time of trouble: and particularly hope in Christ, the essential Word, is a great encouragement; many encouraging arguments to prayer are taken from the person, office, advocacy, and mediation of Jesus Christ, Hebrews 4:14.

Verse 148. Mine eyes prevent the [night] watches,.... The Targum is, "the morning and evening watches." There were three of them; Kimchi interprets it of the second and third; the meaning is, that the psalmist was awake and employed in one religious exercise or another, praying, reading, or meditating; either before the watches were set, or however before the time that some of them took place, or at least before they were all over;

that I might meditate in thy word; he rose so early, in order to give himself up to meditation on the word of God; that he might be better instructed in the knowledge of divine things; that he might have solace and comfort from thence under his afflictions; and that he might be better furnished for the work of prayer; for the more familiar the word of God is to us, the better able we are to speak to God in his own language.

Verse 149. Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness,.... Not according to his own merits and deserts, or works of righteousness done by him, for the sake of which he did not present his supplications to God; nor according to his love to him, which often waxed cold, and he in a poor lukewarm frame of spirit; but according to the lovingkindness of God, which is always the same, and which is a great encouragement to faith and hope in prayer; that since God is gracious and merciful, kind and bountiful, plenteous in mercy, and ready to forgive, on a throne of grace, and full of love, yea, love itself, invariably the same, he will hear, and saints shall find grace and mercy to help them in time of need;

O Lord, quicken me according to thy judgment; either according to his word of promise, or according to his manner and wonted method he used towards his people; see Psalm 119:25; This is a prayer, not for the first work of quickening grace, or the first implantation of a principle of spiritual life, which the psalmist had had an experience of; but for the reviving of the work and principle in him, that he might be refreshed and comforted, and be animated and stirred up to a lively exercise of grace and performance of duty: finding himself in dead and lifeless frames, and not able to quicken himself.

Verse 150. They draw nigh that follow after mischief,.... Or "evil" {c}; that which is sinful in itself, and injurious to others. Some cannot sleep unless they do mischief; they are bent upon it, and proceed from evil to evil: they are eager in their pursuit of it, as the huntsman after his sport, to which the allusion is; though it is to their ruin, even to their death, Proverbs 11:19; These the psalmist says "draw nigh"; not unto God, unless feignedly and with their mouths only; but to him they drew nigh, to David, in an hostile way they pursued after him, in order to take away his life, and they had very nearly overtaken him, and were just ready to seize him; his life drew nigh to those destroyers, and those destroyers drew nigh to that, so that he was in great danger; and the more as these were abandoned creatures, that neither feared God nor regarded man, as follows:

they are far from thy law; from the knowledge of it, of its equity and purity; and especially of its spirituality, and of its power and influence upon their minds; and so far from subjection and obedience to it; so far from it, that they treat it with the utmost contempt, cast it away from them and despise it, Romans 8:7.

{c} hmz "iniquitati," V. L. "scelus," Tigurine version; so Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Michaelis.

Verse 151. Thou [art] near, O Lord,.... This was the comfort of the psalmist, that though his enemies drew nigh with a mischievous design upon him, yet his God was also near, and nearer than they; he was near as to relation to him, being his God and Father; near as to union, the bond of which is his everlasting love, which can never be dissolved; near as to communion, which he admits all his people to at one time or another; so that they are said to be "a people near unto the Lord"; Psalm 148:14; and near as to his gracious presence, and the divine assistance he affords; he is a present help in time of need; he is nigh to all that call on him in truth, and in all things in which they do call upon him for, Psalm 145:18;

and all thy commandments [are] truth; not only the precepts of the word of God, but his covenant, and the promises of it; the word which he has commanded to a thousand generations, Psalm 105:8; and even the whole word of God, doctrines and duties; see John 17:17.

Verse 152. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old,.... Or, "from thy testimonies, I have known of old" {d}: by carefully reading the Scriptures which testify of God, his mind an will, and frequently meditating on them, he had learned a long time ago, even from his youth, what follows,

that thou hast founded them for ever; that the things contained in them are sure and certain, established and eternal truths; the moral law and the precepts of it are eternal, and of perpetual obligation; not one jot or tittle of them shall ever fail; the Gospel, and the truths of it, are everlasting, and shall ever remain; in spite of all the opposition, craft and cunning, fury and force of men, to undermine and root them out; see Psalm 119:89.

{d} Kytdem "ex obtestationibus tuis," Tigurine version; so Cocceius, Gejerus.

r, RESH.--The Twentieth Part.

Verse 153. RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me,.... Or, "look upon mine affliction" {e}; as in Psalm 25:18. The Lord seems as if he did not, when he does not grant his gracious presence to his people; or does not arise to the help and deliverance of them so soon as they desire and expect: but he always sees and beholds their afflictions; he cannot do otherwise, since he is the omniscient God; and not only so, but he is the author, appointer, and orderer of them; yea, he looks upon them with an eye of pity and compassion, which is what is here prayed for: he sympathizes with his people in all their afflictions, supports them under them, pays kind visits to them, sanctifies his hand, and in his own time delivers them out of all; which none else can but himself, and he has power to do it, and has promised it, and does perform: see Psalm 50:15;

for I do not forget thy law: the precepts of it; to observe it as a rule of walk and conversation, as a lamp to the feet, and a light to the path, as a directory of the good and perfect will of God: or, "thy doctrine"; the doctrine of the word, the precious truths of it, which were his support under afflictions; and when either of them have a place in the heart, and are written there, they cannot easily be forgotten. This the psalmist mentions, not as if his not forgetting the law or doctrine of God was meritorious of deliverance from affliction, but as a descriptive character of such the Lord does deliver.

{e} har "vide," Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Cocceius; "intuere," Gejerus.

Verse 154. Plead my cause, and deliver me,.... This shows that his affliction was chiefly from men, wicked, ungodly, and unreasonable men; such as were Saul and his courtiers, and a whole ungodly nation: his cause was a good one, and therefore he puts it into the hand of the Lord, and who otherwise would not have undertaken it; and this he did also because he could not plead it himself, nor any other for him but the Lord; his enemies that strove with him being so many, mighty, and crafty; see Psalm 35:1. Christ is the advocate of his people, their Redeemer, who is mighty, and thoroughly pleads their cause against the accusations of Satan, the charges of law and justice, and the condemnation of their own hearts; as well as defends their innocence from the calumnies of wicked men, and rights their wrongs, and redresses their grievances;

quicken me according to thy word; See Gill on "Ps 119:25."

Verse 155. Salvation [is] far from the wicked,.... Christ, the author of salvation, is far from them: he was far from the unbelieving Jews, even though salvation was of them, and he, the Saviour, was among them; and he is far from all unconverted persons, as to knowledge of him, faith in him, or love to him; and from all those that seek for salvation elsewhere, let them make ever such pretences to religion: the word of salvation is far from them, as Kimchi; the Gospel of salvation, which they put away from them, as the Jews did in the times of Christ and the apostles; an experimental knowledge of salvation, a sense of need of it, and an application of it, are far from them; and the enjoyment of it in heaven, which, though nearer the saints than when they first believed, is far off from the wicked, and whose damnation is near: Aben Ezra interprets it, "the days of salvation;"

for they seek not thy statutes; either to know them, or keep them: they seek not after God, to know him, his mind and will; the language of their hearts and actions is, "depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways"; no, not of life and salvation, and therefore it must be far from them, Job 21:14.

Verse 156. Great [are] thy tender mercies, O Lord,.... Not his providential mercies only, which are many and undeserved, and constantly repeated; but his special mercies in Christ, which flow from the tenderness of his heart; and his merciful lovingkindness to his people, and which are great or many {f}, as to quantity; there being a multitude of them, not to be reckoned up: and for quality they are wonderful beyond expression and conception; proceed from unmerited love, rich, free, sovereign grace, and last for ever;

quicken me according to that judgments; See Gill on "Ps 119:149."

{f} Mybr "multae," Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Michaelis.

Verse 157. Many [are] my persecutors and mine enemies,.... Because they were his enemies, therefore they were his persecutors; and they became enemies to him, or hated him, because of his religion, and on that account persecuted him: and this has always been the lot and case of God's people in all ages; and whose persecutors are many, even the whole world, as well as fierce and furious;

[yet] do I not decline from thy testimonies; from reading and hearing the word of God; and from embracing and professing the doctrines contained in it; and from the worship of God according to it, for which he was hated and persecuted: yet none of these things moved him from them, which showed that his heart was principled with the grace of God; for otherwise, when persecution arises because of the word, carnal professors are offended, and apostatize from it; see Matthew 13:22.

Verse 158. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved,.... Transgressors of the law of God, profane sinners; such as among whom he dwelt in Mesech and Kedar; it grieved him when he beheld their wicked life and conversation; as Lot in Sodom; and Isaiah and Jeremiah, among persons of unclean lips, and an assembly of treacherous men: and the word here used signifies "treacherous" {g} persons; and may design not the profane only, but professors also; that dealt treacherously with God and men, made a profession of religion, but walked not agreeably to it, which is matter of grief to good men; see Philippians 3:18; as well as the conduct of abandoned sinners; with whom the psalmist was grieved, not so much on his own account, being hated and persecuted by them, as on their account, because of the ruin they brought upon themselves; but chiefly because of the dishonour of God, and their disregard to his righteous law. Joseph Kimchi paraphrases it, "I saw them prosper, and was weary of my life;" and refers for the sense of the word to Job 10:1; as does also Aben Ezra; but David Kimchi and the Targum interpret it "I strove," or "contended" with them; that is, with the transgressors;

because they kept not thy word: did not regard the doctrines, nor observe the precepts of it; but despised, rejected, and cast them away from them.

{g} Mydgwb "perfidos," Vatablus, Cocceius, Michaelis; "perfide agentes," Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Verse 159. Consider how I love thy precepts,.... How ardently and affectionately, how cordially and sincerely, Psalm 119:127; and that was the reason why he was so grieved and distressed when wicked men transgressed and despised them;

quicken me, O Lord, according to thy loving kindness; See Gill on "Ps 119:88."

Verse 160. Thy word [is] true [from] the beginning,.... Every word of promise God made from the beginning of the world, and in any period of time; as to Adam, to Abraham, to the Israelites, or to any other person or persons; was true in itself, and faithfully performed, not one ever failed; particularly the promise concerning the Messiah, made to Adam in Eden; and which has been spoken of by all the prophets which have been since the world began, Genesis 3:15. Or it maybe rendered, as the Targum, "the beginning of thy word is truth {h}:" which a man finds to be so as soon as ever he enters upon the reading of it. Some refer this to the first chapter of Genesis; others to the first part of the decalogue, concerning the unity of God and his worship; so Aben Ezra, and R. Jeshua, as cited by him, and Jarchi; the same is mentioned by Kimchi as one of the senses, though the first he gives is agreeable to our version: but there is no need to restrain the sense to those particulars, or to the first part of the Scriptures, since the whole is truth; and the meaning may be, "the sum of thy word is truth" {i}: so the word here used is sometimes taken for the sum of anything, Numbers 26:2; all that is contained in the word of God is truth; its promises, precepts and doctrines, histories, prophecies and proverbs, all the sayings of it are faithful and true;

and everyone of thy righteous judgments [endureth] for ever; every precept of the word, and doctrine of it; see Psalm 119:152.

{h} tma Kyrbd var "principium verbi tui veritas," Pagninus, Musculus; "vel verborum tuorum," V. L. {i} "Summa verbi tui est veritas," Cocceius, Schmidt.

v, SCHIN.--The Twenty-first Part.

Verse 161. SCHIN. Princes have persecuted me without a cause,.... These were either the princes of the Philistines at the court of Achish; or the princes of Israel, who joined in the conspiracy with Absalom; or the princes in Saul's court, as Kimchi observes; who insinuated that David had evil designs against the king, drove him from abiding in the Lord's inheritance, and pursued him from place to place, as a partridge on the mountains, 1 Samuel 29:4; and all which was without any cause or reason on his part; and which, as it was an aggravation of the sin of his persecutors, so it was an alleviation of his affliction: in this he was, a type of Christ, against whom the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together; Herod, Pontius Pilate, and others, the princes of this world, who crucified the Lord of glory, and hated him without a cause; who was holy and harmless, and never did any injury to any man's person or property, Psalm 2:2;

but my heart standeth in awe of thy word: not in awe of the princes, but of the word of God; he had a greater regard to that than to them: when they in effect said, "go, serve other gods," 1 Samuel 26:19; he remembered what the word of God says, "thou shall have no other gods before me," Exodus 20:3; and this was a means of preserving him from sinning. Kimchi thinks some respect is had to the word of God by Nathan the prophet, "I will raise up evil against thee out of thine house," &c. 2 Samuel 12:11; and he was afraid, on account of this word, lest he should fall into the hands of the princes: but it seems not to be an excruciating tormenting fear that is here meant; but a high regard for, and a holy reverence of the word of God, or a reverential affection for it; such as is consistent with the highest joy on account of it, as follows.

Verse 162. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. At having it, which is a distinguishing blessing; all are not favoured with it; and is an inestimable treasure, a field in which a treasure lies; which those that find rejoice at, and especially at the understanding of it, as Kimchi notes: for such only delight in it who spiritually understand it, or have an application of it to them; find it, and eat it, and then it is the joy and rejoicing of their hearts. The doctrines of it are matter of great joy, particularly which concern the grace of God, the person of Christ, and peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation by him; and each of its promises, which are exceeding great and precious; and, when opened and applied in a time of need, occasion great joy; such as is expressed at finding a great spoil, when much substance comes into the hands of the conqueror, as well as victory. The word is a part of the believer's spiritual armour, by which he overcomes his enemies; as well as it acquaints him with the conquest Christ has obtained over them, and made him a sharer in; and directs him to unsearchable riches, to things more valuable than thousands of gold and silver; so that he has great reason to rejoice at it in such a manner indeed! see Isaiah 9:2.

Verse 163. I hate and abhor lying,.... The sin of lying in common conversation, which owes its rise to Satan, the father of lies; is common to human nature, though very dishonourable to it; exceeding unbecoming a professor of religion; and was greatly hated by David, as it ought to be by all good men, Psalm 101:7. Or "falsehood" {k}; false doctrine; everything contrary to the truth of the word of God, with all false worship, superstition, and idolatry; and this may the rather be thought to be designed, since the law or doctrine of God is opposed to it in the next clause;

[but] thy law do I love; because holy, just, and true; he being a regenerate man, and having it written on his heart, he loved both the precepts of the law and the doctrines of the Gospel: or, "thy doctrine"; the doctrine concerning God, his mind and will, his grace and love; see Psalm 119:97.

{k} rqv "falsitatem," Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.

Verse 164. Seven times a day do I praise thee,.... That is, very often in a day; not a day passed over his head but he praised the Lord, and often in the day; so the phrase "seven times" is used, Psalm 12:6. Praise is comely for the saints, delightful and well pleasing to God, being offered up in faith and through Christ; and should be frequent, since our mercies, temporal and spiritual, are daily renewed; and therefore we should always, in everything, for everything, and at all seasons, give thanks to God, Ephesians 5:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:18;

because of thy righteous judgments: either upon his enemies, the persecuting princes, as Aben Ezra; so saints may and should, and will praise the Lord, for his righteous judgments on the enemies of his church and people, because not only of their deliverance from them, but because of the honour of his justice, and the glory of his name; see Revelation 18:20; or because of the word of God, the precepts, ordinances, and doctrines of it, which are all righteous; for his knowledge of them, and for the benefit and comfort received from them; see Psalm 119:7.

Verse 165. Great peace have they which love thy law,.... The Targum adds, "in this world." Great prosperity, especially prosperity of soul, inward peace, peace of conscience, peace in Christ, and from him, flowing from his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, and a view of interest therein; which is usually enjoyed in a way of believing, and frequently had in the ways, worship, and ordinances of God. Such as love the law of God, his word, precepts, and doctrines, have a large share of it; a peace so great, that it passes the understanding of unregenerate men, and cannot be fully expressed by the saints themselves; there is none to the wicked, it is peculiar to them that love the Lord, and what belong to him: the Arabic and Ethiopic versions render it, "which love thy name";

and nothing shall offend them; the Targum is, "in the world to come." Nothing shall disturb their minds, and break their peace; nothing from without, though sin, temptations, and desertions do; not outward afflictions, the reproaches and persecutions of wicked men, nor the reproof of good men; nor what God does to them in a providential way: though in the world they have tribulation, in Christ they have peace, which the world can neither give nor take away. "There is no stumbling block unto them" {l}, as it may be rendered; nothing that shall cause them to be offended and depart out of the good ways of God, which is the case of carnal formal professors, Matthew 13:21; such stumble not at the word, as others do, at any of the doctrines of it; and the true light shining in them, and the word without being a light unto them, there is no occasion of stumbling in them; they see their way, and what lies in it, and so avoid that at which they might stumble, 1 John 2:10. Moreover, such do not easily either give or take offence; they are possessed of that charity or love, which is not suspicious or easily provoked; and they endeavour to give no offence to any, but live without it, in the midst of a perverse generation, 1 Corinthians 13:5, Philippians 2:15.

{l} lwvkm wml Nya "non est ipsis offendiculum," Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.

Verse 166. Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation,.... Either temporal salvation and deliverance from enemies, and from afflictions, which God had promised, and therefore he had reason to hope for; or spiritual and eternal salvation, resolved on in the mind of God, provided in covenant, promised to be wrought out by Christ, and which since has been accomplished; and therefore there is a sufficient foundation to hope for it;

and done thy commandments: this was not the cause, ground, and foundation of his hope; for then it would not have been like an anchor, sure and steadfast, but as the hope of the hypocrite, which is as the spider's web; but this was the effect of his hope; because he had a good hope of salvation, therefore he was studiously concerned to do the commandments of God; his hope prompted him to it, and encouraged him in it; see 1 John 3:2. Kimchi's note here is a good one; "and done thy commandments," not for hope of reward; but I have done them as thy commandments are with me and I know that I shall have salvation, and I have hoped for it.

Verse 167. My soul hath kept thy testimonies,.... The word of God, which he kept cordially and heartily; and in his heart, laid it up there; and with his whole soul observed the doctrines and kept the precepts of it;

and I love them exceedingly; and kept them from a principle of love, and not with mercenary and selfish views; and this love was exceeding great, not cold nor lukewarm, but ardent and fervent, love in the superlative degree.

Verse 168. I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies,.... Both the preceptive and doctrinal part of the word, he preserved and observed both; this is repeated for the certainty of it, and to show his great affection to them;

for all my ways [are] before thee; this is either an appeal to God for the truth of what he had said, who saw and knew all the ways in which he walked, and which he had endeavoured should be conformable to the word of God; or it is a reason why he kept the precepts and testimonies of the Lord, because he knew his eyes were upon him; the omniscience of God had an influence over him, and caused him to be more attentive to the word, as the rule of his actions; see Psalm 139:1.

t, TAU.--The Twenty-second and last Part.

Verse 169. TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord,.... Not "my praise," as the Syriac version; but "my prayer," put up in great distress, and with great vehemence and importunity; see
Psalm 119:145; and when it is desired it might "come near before" the Lord, it does not so much suppose distance of place between the petitioner and the petitioned as earth is from heaven, as Aben Ezra observes, as distance of state and condition; the petitioner being a creature, and a sinful creature, and whose sins had separated between God and him: and now the only way of access is by Christ; prayer can only pass to God through him, who is the only Mediator between God and man; by whom persons and services are brought near unto, him with acceptance. The sum of this request is, that his prayer might not be rejected and shut out; but that it might be admitted, might come up before God, and into his ears, and be regarded by him, and accepted with him;

give me understanding according to thy word; meaning not natural, but spiritual understanding; not that he was without any, as natural men are, whose understandings are darkened; for he had a large share of understanding of spiritual things; but he wanted more, he desired to know more of himself, of his wants and weaknesses; to know more of God in Christ, and of Christ, his person, offices, and grace; to know more of the doctrines of the word, and of the duties of religion; and particularly that he might have a better understanding of the business of prayer, and might know both what to pray for, and how to pray as he ought; all which is a gift from God: and he desires in all to be directed "according to the word" of God, the means of enlightening the understanding, and of increasing spiritual knowledge; or else he means the promise of God, that he would give him more knowledge and understanding; that he might be taught of God, and follow on to know him, and increase in every branch of spiritual knowledge.

Verse 170. Let my supplication come before thee,.... The same with his "cry" in Psalm 119:169; only expressed by another word, signifying a petition for grace and favour, in an humble and submissive manner; which it is entreated might be received and accepted, as before;

deliver me according to thy word; of promise, such as that in Psalm 50:15; meaning from all troubles and afflictions; out of the hands of all his enemies, and from the power of sin, Satan, and the world; and from all fears of wrath, ruin, and destruction. Kimchi observes, that this is not to be understood of a deliverance of the body from distress, but of the soul from the stumbling block of sin.

Verse 171. My lips shall utter praise,.... Like water flowing from a fountain, as the word {m} signifies. The heart of a good man is like a fountain of water, abounding: with good things, and his mouth is a well of life; out of the abundance of grace and good things in his heart his mouth speaks, John 4:14; and particularly his heart is filled with praise and thankfulness for the many blessings of providence and grace enjoyed; his lips show it forth; it comes flowing from him freely and readily, without force and compulsion, largely and plentifully, constantly and continually, and with great vehemence and strength, as streams from a fountain;

when thou hast taught me thy statutes: which is what the psalmist often prays for in this psalm; and signifies he should be very thankful to God for, and should sincerely praise him, could he obtain this favour; see Psalm 119:7.

{m} hnebt "profundent," Vatablus, Musculus; "ebullient," Piscator, Gejerus; "scaturiunt," Cocceius; "scaturient," Michaelis.

Verse 172. My tongue shall speak of thy word,.... Of the word of God in general; of the truth of it, which he knew by certain experience; of the purity of it, tending to promote holiness of heart and life; of the power and efficacy of it, enlightening his mind, and working effectually in him; of the profit of it, to his learning, to his instruction, comfort, and refreshment; of the preciousness of it, being of more worth than thousands of gold and silver; and of the pleasantness of it, being sweeter than the honey or honeycomb, and more to be esteemed than one's necessary food; and of the promises of it in particular, of the worth and value of them, of their suitableness and use, and of the faithful fulfilment of them; and of the doctrines of the word, especially those which relate to the grace of God, and salvation by the Messiah; and also of the precepts of the word, as follows:

for all thy commandments [are] righteousness; not only righteous, but righteousness itself, being strictly just and equitable in the highest sense; and not only some of them, but all of them; see Psalm 119:128. Aben Ezra's paraphrase of the words is, "I will teach the children of men thy word, that they may know that thy commandments are righteousness;" which is not amiss: and to the same sense is Kimchi's note, who observes, that author of the Masorah interprets it of praise; as if he had said, My tongue shall praise thy word, because all of it is righteousness.

Verse 173. Let thine hand help me,.... Let thine hand of power help me against mine enemies, and deliver me from them; and let thine hand of providence and grace communicate to me, and supply me with and help me to everything needful for me, for body and soul; for time and eternity, all grace here, and glory hereafter; let thy right hand help me on in my way, hold and uphold me, keep and preserve me safe to heaven and happiness;

for I have chosen thy precepts; not only the good part, which shall not be taken away, and the way of truth, Psalm 119:30; but even the commandments of God, which he preferred to the commandments of men, and choose rather to obey the one than the other; having a most ardent affection for them, an high esteem of them, and a strong attachment to them; see Psalm 119:127.

Verse 174. I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord,.... For temporal salvation and deliverance from enemies; and for spiritual and eternal salvation by the Messiah; and for the Messiah himself, the author of it: Kimchi interprets it of the salvation of the soul in the world to come; see Psalm 119:81;

and thy law [is] my delight; or "delights" {n}; his exceeding great delight, as being pure and perfect, holy, just, and good; a transcript of the divine nature, a revelation of the divine will; as in the hands of Christ, his surety and Saviour, who had engaged to fulfil it for him; and as written in his heart; and as delivered from the curse and condemnation of it, through the suretyship engagements of Christ.

{n} yevev "deliciae meae," Montanus, Tigurine version.

Verse 175. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee,.... The psalmist desires the continuance of his natural life, not for his own personal advantage, nor for the sake of his family, nor with any worldly, sinister, and selfish views; but for the glory of God, and for the sake of praising him: or his desire is, that his soul might be lively and comfortable; or that he might be in a lively and cheerful frame of spirit, and so be in fit and proper circumstances to praise the Lord; for it is the living man in both senses, natural and spiritual, that is capable of praising the Lord, Isaiah 38:19;

and let thy judgments help me; that is, to praise him: meaning either judgments on his enemies, as Aben Ezra; which furnish out matter and occasion of praise and thanksgiving; see Revelation 15:3; or the word of God, the doctrines and precepts of it; see Psalm 119:164.

Verse 176. I have gone astray like a lost sheep,.... In desert places, as it is the nature of sheep to do {o}. A sheep he was, a sheep of Christ, given him by the Father; known by him, and that knew him; knew his voice, and followed him; a sheep of his hand, and of his pasture; one of the lost sheep of the house of Israel, who had been lost in Adam, though recovered by grace; and had gone astray before conversion, but now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of souls; and since conversion had gone astray from the Shepherd and fold, from the word and precepts of it, through inadvertence, the prevalence of corruption, the snares of the world, and the temptations of Satan; which he both deprecates and owns, Psalm 119:10; though it may be understood, as it is by many interpreters, of his being forced, by the persecutions of his enemies, to wander from the courts of God, and from place to place:

seek thy servant; as a shepherd does his sheep when gone astray, which will not return of itself unless sought after: thou art my Shepherd, as if he should say, look me up, restore my soul; suffer me not to wander from thee, and go astray from thy word and ordinances: and when he calls himself his servant, it carries in it an argument for being looked up and sought out; since he was his servant, not by nature, but by grace; not by force, but willingly; he was his and devoted to his service. And another follows:

for I do not forget thy commandments; he retained a knowledge of them, an affection for them, and a desire to observe them; though he had gone astray from them, either in a criminal way, through the power and prevalence of sin, or against his will, through the force of persecution.

{o} So Aristotle observes, Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 3. the same word that is used for feeding sheep is also translated "wander," Num. xiv. 33. so "errant" is used by Virgil for feeding with security, Bucolic. Eclog. 2, Vid. Servium in ib.

  • John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible