Psalm 119 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Psalm 119)

Verse 6

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

Respect — A due respect, which implies hearty affection, diligent study, and constant practice.

To all — So as not to allow myself in any known sin, or in the neglect of any known duty.

Verse 7

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

When — When by thy good spirit I shall he more fitly instructed in the meaning of thy word.

Verse 8

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

Forsake me not — For then I shall fall into the foulest sins.

Verse 9

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

A young man — Or, any man. But he names the young man, because such are commonly void of wisdom and experience, and exposed to many and great temptations.

Cleanse — Purge himself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit.

Verse 11

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

Hid — I have laid it up in my mind like a choice treasure, to be ready upon all occasions to counsel, quicken or caution me.

Verse 17

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

Live — Safely and comfortably.

Verse 18

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

Open — Enlighten my mind by the light of thy Holy Spirit, and dispel all ignorance and error.

Behold — Those great and marvellous depths of Divine wisdom and goodness, and those profound mysteries of Christ, and God's grace to mankind, and of that everlasting state, which are not to be known but by Divine illumination.

Verse 19

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

A stranger — I am not here as in my home, but as a pilgrim travelling homeward in a strange land.

Commandments — Which are my chief support and guide in my pilgrimage.

Verse 20

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

Breaketh — Faints, as it frequently does, when a thing vehemently desired is delayed.

Judgments — To a more sound knowledge and serious practice of them.

Verse 21

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

The proud — Obstinate and presumptuous sinners, who sin with an high hand.

Err — Or, wander, knowingly or wilfully.

Verse 25

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

The dust — I am in danger of present death: I am like one laid in the grave.

Quicken — Preserve my life, or raise me out of the dust.

Word — According to thy promise.

Verse 26

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

My ways — My sins; and all my cares, and fears, and troubles.

Verse 27

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

Understand — More throughly.

Verse 28

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

Melteth — Like wax before the fire.

Verse 29

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

Grant me — Vouchsafe me an accurate knowledge of thy word, and let me govern myself by it in all things.

Verse 30

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

Laid — Or, set before me as a mark to aim at; as a rule to direct me.

Verse 32

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

Run — I will obey thy precepts with all readiness, fervency, and diligence.

Enlarge — When thou shalt replenish my heart with wisdom, and love to thee and thy law.

Verse 36

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

Covetousness — He mentions this in particular, because it is most opposite to God's testimonies, and does most commonly hinder men from receiving his word, and from profiting by it: and because it is most pernicious, as being the root of all evil.

Verse 37

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

Vanity — The vain things of this present world, such as riches, honours, pleasures: from beholding them, with desire or affection.

Quicken — Make me lively, vigorous and fervent in thy service.

Verse 38

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

Stablish — Confirm and perform thy promises.

Verse 39

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

I fear — For my instability in thy ways; which in respect to my own weakness, I have great cause to fear.

Verse 40

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

Longed — After a more solid knowledge and constant performance of them.

In — According to thy faithfulness.

Verse 43

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

Take not — Do not deal so with me, that I shall be ashamed to mention thy word.

Judgments — In thy word.

Verse 45

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

At liberty — Enjoy great freedom and comfort in thy ways.

Verse 48

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

Lift up — To receive and embrace thy precepts and promises.

Verse 49

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

Thy word — Thy promises.

Verse 52

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

Judgments — Thy ancient dispensations to the children of men in punishing the ungodly.

Verse 53

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

Horror — A mixed passion, made up of abhorrence of their sins, and dread and sorrow at the consideration of the judgments of God coming upon them.

Verse 54

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

The house — In this world, wherein I am a stranger and pilgrim, as all my fathers were.

Verse 55

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

Thy name — Thy holy nature and attributes, thy blessed word, and thy wonderful works.

In the night — When darkness causes fear in others, I took pleasure in remembering thee; and when others gave themselves up to sleep, my thoughts and affections were working towards thee.

Verse 56

[56] This I had, because I kept thy precepts.

This — This comfortable remembrance.

Verse 57

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

Said — I have professed and owned it.

Verse 59

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

Thought — I seriously considered both my former courses, and my duty in all my future actions.

Verse 61

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

Robbed — Done me many injuries, for my respect to thy law.

Verse 66

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

Judgment — Whereby I may rightly discern between truth and falsehood.

Knowledge — A spiritual experimental knowledge.

Verse 70

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

Fat — They are stupid and insensible.

Verse 74

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

Glad — For the encouragement they have by my example to trust in God. See me|-Alive and in safety.

Word — In thy promise, and have not been disappointed of my hope.

Verse 75

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

Judgments — Thy corrections.

Of faithfulness — In pursuance of thy promises, and in order to my good.

Verse 79

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

Known — Loved and practised them.

Verse 80

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

Sound — That I may love and obey them sincerely, constantly, and universally.

Verse 81

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

Fainteth — With long desire and earnest expectation.

Verse 83

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

Bottle — A leathern bottle. My natural moisture is dryed and burnt up.

Verse 84

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

The days — The days of my life. I have but a little while to live; give me some respite before I die.

Verse 85

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

Who — Who have no respect to thy law.

Verse 86

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

Faithful — Just and true.

Verse 89

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

In heaven — With thee in thy heavenly habitation.

Verse 91

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

They — The heaven and the earth.

Ordinances — As thou hast appointed.

For — All things are subject to thy power and pleasure.

Verse 96

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

Perfection — Of the greatest and most perfect enjoyments in this world.

Commandment — Thy word; one part of it being put for the whole.

Broad — Or, large, both for extent, and for continuance: it is useful to all persons: it is of everlasting truth and efficacy; it will never deceive those who trust to it, as all worldly things will, but will make men happy both here and for ever.

Verse 100

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

Because — The practice of religion is the best way to understand it.

Verse 102

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

Taught me — By thy blessed spirit, illuminating my mind, and working upon my heart.

Verse 108

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

Offerings — The sacrifices of prayer and praise.

Verse 109

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

Is — Exposed to perpetual danger.

Verse 118

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

Deceit — Their deceitful devices, shall bring that destruction upon themselves which they design for others.

Verse 121

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

Judgment, … — Just judgment.

Verse 122

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

Surety — Do thou undertake and plead my cause.

Verse 123

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

The word — For the performance of thy faithful or merciful promise.

Verse 126

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

To work — To put forth thy power for the restraint of evil-doers.

They — The wicked.

Made void — Or, abrogated thy law, have openly cast off its authority.

Verse 127

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

Therefore — Because the general apostacy of others makes this duty more necessary.

Verse 129

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

Wonderful — In regard of the deep mysteries, the most excellent directions, and the exceeding great and precious promises of God contained in them.

Verse 131

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

Panted — I thirst after thy precepts, and pursue them eagerly.

Verse 133

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

Steps — My motions and actions.

Verse 136

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

Rivers — Plentiful tears, witness of my deep sorrow for God's dishonour, and for the miseries which sinners bring upon themselves.

Verse 140

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

Pure — Without the least mixture of falsehood.

Verse 142

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

Everlasting — The same in all ages and places.

Verse 143

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

Trouble — Outward troubles and anguish of spirit.

Verse 148

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

Watches — The middle watch, which was set in the middle of the night; and the morning watch, which was set some hours before the dawning of the day.

Verse 149

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

Judgment — According to thy word.

Verse 150

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

Nigh — To me, they are at hand and ready to seize upon me.

Are far — They cast away from them all thoughts of thy law.

Verse 152

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

Of old — By long experience.

Founded — Thou hast established them upon everlasting foundations.

Verse 160

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

The beginning — From the beginning of the world.

Verse 161

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

But — But I feared thine offence and displeasure more than their wrath.

Verse 164

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

Seven times — Many times; a certain number being put for an uncertain.

Verse 165

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

Offend — Heb. they shall have no stumbling-block, at which they shall stumble and fall into mischief.

Verse 175

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

Judgments — Thy word or testimonies, which are the only ground of my hope in thy help.