ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
A. M. 3560. B.C. 444. (Title.) This Psalm, which was probably composed by Ezra, is another of the alphabetical Psalms: it consists of twenty-two parts, answering to the number of the Hebrew letters; every part being divided into eight verses, and each verse beginning with that letter which forms the title of the part; that is, the first part of eight verses with [Aleph] the second with [BÍyth] etc. It is an elegant, important, and useful composition; the chief subjects of which are the excellence of God's laws, and the happiness of those who observe them. ALEPH
or, perfect, or sincere.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
thy righteous judgments
Heb. judgments of thy righteousness.
I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
O let me
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
Gemol, "reward" thy servant: let him have the return of his faith and prayers. From this word is derived the name of [GÓymel] gimmel, the third letter of the alphabet, which is prefixed to every verse in this part: this is a stroke of the Psalmist's art and ingenuity.
I may live
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.
My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.
at all times
Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.
for I have
Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.
Heb. men of my counsel.
DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.
Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
so shall I talk
My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
Heb. droppeth. strengthen.
Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.
I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
HE. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
I shall keep
Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
and not to
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
Heb. Make to pass.
Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
who is devoted
Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.
Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.
So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.
have wherewith, etc
or, answer him that reproacheth me in a thing.
for I trust
And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.
for I have
So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
The language of this verse is very emphatic. Perfect obedience will constitute a large proportion of heavenly happiness to all eternity; and the nearer we approach to it on earth, the more we anticipate the felicity of heaven.
And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
And I will
Heb. at large.
for I seek
I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
I will delight
My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
and I will
ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.
I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.
Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
Zil‚phah properly signifies the pestilential burning wind called by the Arabs Simoom, (see Ps 11:6.) It is here used in a figurative sense for the most horrid mental distress; and strongly marks the idea the Psalmist had of the corrupting, pestilential, and destructive nature of sin.
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.
This I had, because I kept thy precepts.
CHETH. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.
I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
or, The companies.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.
The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.
with my whole
Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.
heart is as fat
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.
that I may
They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.
I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.
for my comfort
Heb. to comfort me.
Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.
Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.
but I will
Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.
Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
that I be
CAPH. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.
Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.
like a bottle in the smoke
As the bottles in the East are made of skin, it is evident that one of these hung up in the smoke must soon be parched, shrivelled up, lose all its strength, and become unsightly and useless. Thus the Psalmist appeared to himself to have become useless and despicable, through the exhausted state of his body and mind, by long bodily afflictions and mental distress.
yet do I
How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?
The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.
This metaphor is taken from the mode in which wild beasts are caught in the East: deep pits are dug in the earth, and slightly covered over with reeds, turf, etc., so as not to be discerned from the solid ground; and the animals attempting to walk over them, the surface breaks, they fall in, and are taken alive. Thus the Psalmist's enemies employed craft as well as power in order to effect his ruin.
All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.
Heb. faithfulness. they.
They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.
but I forsook
Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.
so shall I
LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
unto all generations
Heb. to generation and generation.
They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.
They continue this
Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.
I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.
I am thine
for I have
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.
I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.
I have seen
That is, I have seen that all human wisdom or knowledge, however extensive, noble, and excellent, has it bounds, and limits, and end; but Thy law, a transcript of Thine own mind, is infinite, and extends to eternity.
MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
they are ever
Heb. it is ever.
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.
that I will
I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.
Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.
My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.
Rather, "My life naphshee is continually in my hand;" i.e., it is in constant danger; every hour I am on the confines of death. The LXX., Syriac, and Ethiopic read, "in thy hand;" but this is a conjectural and useless alteration.
yet do I not
The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.
yet I erred
Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.
I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.
Heb. do. the end.
SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.
Or, "divided thoughts," sai‚phim, or, as Gesenius renders, bie Bneybeutigen (in ber Religion) "ambiguities (or indecisions) in Religion;" Luther, Flattergeister, "inconstant fellows;" LXX. [paranomoi] "transgressors," Vulgate iniqui, "iniquitous," and Jerome, tumultuosos, "tumultuous."
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.
Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
for I will
Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
and let me
Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.
and I will
Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.
Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.
When Thou triest them in the refining fire, they are burnt up, fly off in fumes, or in scoriÊ, which Thou sweepest away.
Heb. causest to cease.
My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.
AIN. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.
Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.
Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.
Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.
I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.
I am thy
It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.
That is, "to take vengeance," as ‚sah signifies, Jer 18:23; Mal 3:17, by an ellipsis of the noun. When infidels, profligates, and Pharisees, "make void the law of God," generally, then it is time for God to arise to vindicate His own honour and maintain His cause among men.
Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
Kol, "all" seems to have been omitted by all the versions, except the Chaldee; which reads simply, "all thy precepts;" and this renders the text more perspicuous and unembarrassed.
PE. Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
Or, "opening;" paithach: the Scriptures give satisfactory light to the mind upon every subject of which they treat; and speedily communicate more useful knowledge to the simplest believer, upon the most important topics, than the acutest philosophers have been able to develop through successive ages.
I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.
Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.
as thou usest to do unto those
Heb. according to the custom toward those.
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.
TZADDI. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.
Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.
Heb. righteousness. faithful. Heb. faithfulness.
My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
or, cut me off. because.
Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
Gold has need to be refined; but thy word is purity itself, reflecting the holiness of Jehovah's character and government, and requiring and leading to purity of heart and life.
Heb. tried, or refined.
I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.
Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
Men, as Bp. Horne observes, may decree wickedness by a law; or they may change their decrees, and with them what is right to-day may be wrong to-morrow; but the law of God is righteousness, and it is truth, to-day and for ever.
Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.
taken hold on me
Heb. found me. yet thy.
The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.
KOPH. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.
I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
and I shall keep
or, that I may keep.
I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
That is, I anticipated, or rose before, the morning dawn; and was before hand with the light itself.
Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
the night watches
The ancient Jews divided the night into three watches of four hours each, beginning at six o'clock in the evening; before the last of which, "the day break," or "morning watch," as the LXX. and Vulgate read, the Psalmist was awake.
Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.
They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.
Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.
Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.
Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.
Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.
Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.
Heb. Many. are thy.
Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.
yet do I
I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.
Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
Thy word is true from the beginning
Heb. The beginning of the word is true.
and every one
SCHIN. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.
Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.
That is, probably many times, or frequently, as the term seven frequently denotes; but Rabbi Solomon says that this is to be understood literally; for they praised God twice in the morning before reading the decalogue, and once after; twice in the evening before the same reading, and twice after; making in the whole seven times.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
nothing shall offend them
Heb. they shall have no stumbling block.
LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.
My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
and I love
I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.
for all my
TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.
Let my cry
Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
my lips, etc
Or, more literally, and accordant with the context. "My lips shall pour forth (tabb‚nah) praise; for (kee) thou hast taught me thy statues."
My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
for all thy
Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.
and thy law
Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
and let thy
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.