Matthew Poole's Commentary
ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.THE ARGUMENT
The author of this Psalm was David; which I know none that deny, and of which there is no just reason to doubt. The scope and design of it is manifest, to commend the serious and diligent study, and the stedfast belief and the constant practice of God’s word, as incomparably the best counsellor and comforter in the world, and as the only way to true blessedness. And this he confirmeth by his own example, which he proposeth to them for their imitation; and he declareth the great and frequent experience which he had of its admirable sweetness and manifold benefits in all conditions, and especially in the times of his distresses. And because it was a hard thing rightly to understand this word in all its parts, and harder to put it in practice, he therefore intermixeth many prayers to God for his help therein, thereby directing and encouraging others to take the same course. And because this Psalm was very large, and the matter of it of greatest importance, the psalmist thought fit to divide it into two and twenty several parts, according to the number of the Hebrew letters, that so he might both prevent tediousness, and fix it in the memory. It is further observable that the word of God is here diversely called by the names of law, statutes, precepts or commandments, judgments, ordinances, righteousness, testimonies, way, and word; by which variety he designed to express the nature and the great perfection and manifold parts and uses of God’s word: which is called his word, as proceeding from his mouth, and revealed by him to us; his way, as prescribed by him for us to walk in; his law, as binding us to obedience, his statutes, as declaring his authority and power of giving us laws, his precepts, as declaring and directing our duty; his ordinances, as ordained and appointed by him; his righteousness, as exactly agreeable to God’s righteous nature and will; his judgments, as proceeding from the great Judge of the world, and being his judicial sentence to which all men must submit; and his testimonies, as it contains the witnesses of God’s mind and will, and of man’s duty. And there are very few of these 176 verses contained in this Psalm, in which one or other of these titles is not found.
This Psalm contains the commendation of God’s word; David’s love to it; a prayer for grace to carry himself according to it; with an account of God’s law, institutions, commandments, testimonies, precepts, word, promises, ways, judgments, name, righteousness, truth, &c.; with a prayer for help and assistance.
The undefiled; or, the perfect or sincere, as this word properly and most frequently signifies; such whose hearts and course of life agree with their profession.
In the way; either,
1. In their way or course of life, which in Scripture is oft called a man’s way; or,
2. In the way of the Lord, as it seems to be explained by the next clause.
Who walk in the law of the Lord; who order their lives according to the rule of God’s law or word.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.That keep, in mind and heart, that carefully and diligently observe,
his testimonies; his precepts. For the reason of this and the other titles of God’s word, see the argument or preface to this Psalm.
That seek him, to wit, the Lord, expressed Psalm 119:1, that seek his presence, and favour, and acquaintance.
With the whole heart; sincerely, industriously, and fervently, above all other things. This is opposed to hypocrisy, and sloth, and lukewarmness in religion.
They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.Do no iniquity; or, are not workers of iniquity, i.e. do not knowingly, and resolvedly, and industriously, and customarily continue in sinful courses. So this phrase is understood Job 31:3 34:8 Psalm 5:5 6:8 125:5 Proverbs 10:29 Luke 13:27; otherwise there is not a just man upon earth that sinneth not, Ecclesiastes 7:20.
They walk: this is their constant practice, and the general course of their lives, which is commonly signified by walking, as Psalm 1:1, and every where.
In his ways; in the paths which God hath prescribed to them.
Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.Nor is it strange that thy people do so exactly and diligently observe and practise thy precepts, because they are commanded so to do by thee their sovereign Lord.
O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!My desires answer thy commands.
Directed, or established, to wit, by thy grace and Holy Spirit; for the direction of God’s word he had already.
Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.Then shall I not be ashamed; either of my actions, or of my profession of religion, or of my hope and confidence in thy favour. When sinners shall be ashamed both here, Romans 6:21, and hereafter, Daniel 12:2, I, having the conscience of mine own integrity, shall lift up my head with courage and boldness, both before men, when they either accuse or persecute me, and before God in the day of judgment, as it is said, 1Jo 4:17.
Respect; a due and true respect, which implies high valuation, hearty affection, diligent study, and common practice.
Unto all thy commandments; so as not to be partial in my obedience, not to allow myself in the practice of any known sin, or in the neglect of any known duty.
I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.Praise thee, i.e. worship thee; one eminent duty of God’s worship being put for all, as is frequent in Scripture.
With uprightness of heart; or, with a right mind or heart; in a right manner, so as may be acceptable to thee, and beneficial to myself.
When I shall have learned thy righteous judgments; when by thy good Spirit I shall be more fully instructed in the meaning of thy word; which is the only rule of thy worship; for want of a sound knowledge whereof many persons run into superstitious or erroneous practices.
I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.I will keep thy statutes; it is my full purpose to do so, whatsoever it cost me.
Forsake me not utterly; not totally and finally; for then I shall fall into the foulest sins and greatest mischief. Not that he was contented to be forsaken in the least degree, but this he more especially deprecates, as he had great reason to do.
BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.BETH
Young man; or, any man. But he names the
young man, because such are commonly void of wisdom and experience, heady and wilful, and impatient of admonition, full of violent passions and strong lusts, and exposed to many and great temptations.
Cleanse his way; reform his life, or purge himself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit.
By taking heed thereto according to thy word; by a diligent and circumspect watch over himself, and the examination and regulation of all his actions by the rules of thy word.
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.Deny me not thy grace and assistance, which I have so sincerely and earnestly desired, and laboured to obtain.
Let me not wander, Heb. do not make me to wander, to wit, by leading me into temptation, by withdrawing thy grace, which is necessary to keep me from wandering.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.I have not contented myself with bare hearing or reading thy word, but have received it in the love of it, have diligently pondered it, and laid it up in my mind and memory like a choice treasure, to be ready upon all occasions, to counsel, or comfort, or quicken, or caution me, as need requires; that by a diligent and affectionate consideration of thy precepts, and promises, and threatenings, I might be kept from sinful courses, against which these are the best antidote.
Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.Blessed art thou; thou art infinitely blessed, and most worthy of all blessing and praise, and therefore do thou bless me in teaching me, as it follows. Or, Blessed be thou. I bless and praise thee for that great blessing of thy word, Psalm 119:11.
Teach me thy statutes, both to know and to practise them better.
With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.If thou wilt teach me, I will teach others, as I have already done; and so thou shalt have glory, and others benefit by it.
I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.In the way of thy testimonies; in the study and practice of them.
I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.I will diligently and seriously consider the nature, and design, and extent of thy precepts, and especially so far as they concern my own duty.
Have respect unto thy ways; or, look unto them, as workmen constantly and carefully look to their rule to guide themselves by it.
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.No text from Poole on this verse.
GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.GIMEL
Deal bountifully; I plead no merit, but only thy free grace and rich mercy.
That I may live; safely and comfortably, in spite of all the attempts of mine enemies to take away my life.
And keep thy word: I do not desire life that I may satisfy my own lusts, but that I may spend it in thy service.
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.Open thou mine eyes; enlighten my mind by the light of thy Holy Spirit, and dispel all ignorance and error.
Wondrous things out of thy law; those great and marvellous depths of Divine wisdom and goodness, and those profound mysteries of Christ and of God’s grace to mankind, and of that future and everlasting state, which are contained in God’s law, and which were not to be known but by divine illumination, Matthew 16:17 1 Corinthians 2:11,14 2 Corinthians 3:14 4:4,6 Eph 1:17, especially in the times of the Old Testament.
I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.Stranger, or sojourner. I am not here as in my home, but as a pilgrim travelling homeward in a strange land; which calls for thy pity and help. That law of nature, which thou hast planted in all men’s minds, teacheth them to show humanity to strangers, and to direct travellers; much more may this be expected from thee.
Thy commandments; which are my chief support and guide in my pilgrimage.
My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.Breaketh; fainteth, as it frequently doth, when a thing vehemently desired is denied or delayed. Compare Proverbs 13:12.
Unto thy judgments; to a more sound knowledge and serious practice of them.
Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.Hast rebuked, or dost rebuke, i.e. severely punish and destroy. And therefore I justly long for thy judgments, as for the love which I have to them, so for fear of those terrible judgments which thou sendest upon the despisers of them.
The proud; obstinate and presumptuous sinners, who sin with a high hand, and with contempt of God, and of his laws, and of his judgment; all which is the effect of pride.
That are cursed; that have the curse of God upon them, and upon all which they have or do; which is the depth of misery.
Do err; or, wander; knowingly, and wilfully, and maliciously, as proud sinners use to do.
Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.Reproach, which I suffer unjustly and for thy sake, as he elsewhere complains.
I have kept thy testimonies, and therefore I am innocent from those crimes for which they censure and reproach me. Or, and therefore thou wilt maintain mine honour and interest according to thy promise made to such as keep thy testimonies, and I beg with some confidence that thou wilt do it.
Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.Did sit and speak; did speak against me continually, (for sitting notes continuance,) and when they sat upon their seats of judicature, and when they sat together in companies, entertaining one another with discourses.
Did meditate in thy statutes; all their contumelies and reproaches did not discourage nor divert me from the study, belief, and practice of thy word.
Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellers.My delight; my chief comfort under all their censures and persecutions.
My counsellors, to teach me how to carry myself under them.
DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.DALETH
My soul cleaveth unto the dust; I am in evident danger of present death, through the rage and power of mine enemies; I am like one laid in the grave, without all hopes of recovery. So this phrase is used Psalm 22:15.
Quicken thou me; preserve my life, or revive me and raise me out of the dust by thy almighty power.
According to thy word; according to thy promise.
I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.My ways; my sins, in way of confession; and all my cares, and fears, and troubles, and concerns, in way of humble petition to thee, as appears from God’s answer.
Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.Make me to understand, more thoroughly and more practically, the way of thy precepts; either,
1. The full mind and meaning of thy precepts, which are exceeding broad, as he saith afterwards; or,
2. The way wherein I may walk according to thy precepts; how to demean myself in all the varieties of my condition, and in all my affairs and actions, so as is most agreeable to thy precepts.
Thy wondrous works; even the wonders of the law mentioned before, Psalm 119:18.
My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.Melteth, like wax before the fire; it hath no strength nor consistency left in it, but consumeth or pineth away.
For heaviness; through grief, partly for my extreme danger and misery; and principally for my sins, and thy wrath and terrors following upon them.
Strengthen thou me, that so I may bear my burdens patiently and cheerfully, and vanquish all my temptations.
Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.The way of lying; or, of falsehood; either,
1. The practice of lying, and dissembling, and cheating, which is so rife in Saul’s court, and in the courts of most princes; but, Lord, let it not be so in my courts. Or rather,
2. Every false way of doctrine or worship; for to this way he opposeth God’s law in the next clause. And he justly prayeth to God to keep him from apostacy, heresy, idolatry, and superstition, because his own corrupt nature of itself and without God’s grace was prone to these errors, and not only heathens, but many Israelites, did frequently fall into them.
Grant me thy law graciously; vouchsafe unto me an accurate knowledge and firm belief of thy word, and that I may constantly attend and adhere to it, and govern myself by it in all things.
I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.I have chosen the way of truth, to wit, thy word or law, for my portion, and the rule of my worship and whole life.
Laid before me; or, set before me, as the phrase is fully expressed, Psalm 16:8, as a delightful object, or as a mark to aim at, or as a rule to direct me.
I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.I have stuck unto thy testimonies; I have resolutely persisted in the practice of thy precepts, in spite of all temptations, reproaches, persecutions, and discouragements, to which I was exposed in and for so doing.
Put me not to shame; either,
1. By giving me over to apostacy or transgression, which will bring shame; or rather,
2. By the disappointment of my hopes and confidence in those promises of the blessings of this life. as well as of the next, which thou hast made to the obedient, of which I have made in boast.
I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.I will run the way of thy commandments, I will obey thy precepts with all readiness, fervency, and diligence,
when thou shalt enlarge my heart: either,
1. When thou shalt bring me out of my present straits or distresses. This in deed is called enlarging, as Psalm 4:1 18:36, but never, to my remembrance, the enlarging of the heart. Or rather,
2. When thou shalt replenish my heart with more wisdom and love to and delight in thee and thy law; for this enlargement of heart in Scripture is ascribed to wisdom, 1 Kings 4:29, and love, 2 Corinthians 6:11, and joy, Isaiah 60:5; when thou shalt knock off those fetters of remaining corruption, and give me a more noble and generous disposition towards thee, and stablish me with thy free spirit, as it is expressed, Psalm 51:12. Thus David both owns his duty, and asserts the absolute necessity of God’s grace to the performance of it.
HE. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.HE
Or, that I may keep it, &c. That I may persevere; for apostacy proceeds from the want of a good understanding.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.No text from Poole on this verse.
Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.Make me to go, by directing my mind into the right way, by inclining my will, and strengthening my resolution.
For therein do I delight: forsake not him who delighteth in the: and in thy service; and as thou hast wrought in me to will work in me also to do.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.Unto thy testimonies; to the love and practice of them.
Not to covetousness; not to the inordinate love and desire of riches: which particular lust he mentions, partly, be cause this lust is most spreading and universal, and there is scarce any man who doth not desire riches either for the love of riches, or upon pretence of necessity, or for the service of pride or luxury, or some other lust; partly, because, this lust is most opposite to God’s testimonies, and doth most commonly hinder men from receiving God’s word, and from profiting by it; see Matthew 13:22 Luke 16:2 and partly, because this lust is most pernicious, as being the root of all evil, 1 Timothy 6:10, and is most mischievous in princes and governors, such as David was, and therefore in a special manner forbidden to them, Exodus 18:21.
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.Vanity; the vain things and lusts of this present evil world, such as riches, honours, pleasures; from beholding them, to wit, with admiration and inordinate affection; for such a sight of the eyes doth usually affect the heart, and stir up men’s lusts and passions; of which see Numbers 15:39 Job 31:1 Proverbs 4:25 23:5,6 Mt 5:28Quicken thou me in thy way; as I desire that I may be dull and dead in afflictions to worldly vanities; so, Lord, make me lively, and vigorous, and fervent in thy work and service.
Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.Confirm and perform thy promises, as concerning the kingdom, so also for the giving of gracious assistances, directions and comforts to those that fear thee, of which number I am one.
Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.Turn away my reproach; either,
1. For the shameful disappointment of my hopes and confident boastings concerning the truth and certainty of thy promises; or,
2. For my manifold failings, and particularly for that shameful matter about Uriah and Bathsheba; or,
3. For my instability in or apostacy from thy ways; which in respect of mine own weakness and folly I have great cause to fear. For thy judgments are good: this may be a reason either,
1. Why he prayed and hoped that God would turn away reproach from him, because God’s word and statutes were good, and therefore it was not fit for any to suffer reproach in and for his diligent observation of them; or,
2. Why he feared reproach, because he had, and feared he might hereafter, transgress those judgments or statutes of God which were, and he very well knew to be, good, i.e. just, and holy, and excellent, and therefore it was a shameful thing to violate them.
Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.After thy precepts; after a more solid knowledge and constant performance of thy precepts.
Quicken me; do thou preserve and maintain both my natural and spiritual life.
In thy righteousness; according to thy justice or faithfulness, which obligeth thee to make good thy promises.
VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.VAU
Let promised mercies be performed to me.
So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.That reproacheth me; that chargeth me with folly for my piety and trust in thy promises.
For I trust in thy word; or, because I trust, &c. This was the matter of their reproach.
And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.Do not deal so with me, that I shall be altogether ashamed to mention thy word, which I have so often affirmed to be a word of truth and infallible certainty, of which I have often made my boast.
In thy judgments; either in thy word and promises, or in thy judicial administrations and government of the world, which as it is matter of terror to the wicked, so it is matter of comfort and hope to me.
So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.So shall I be obliged and encouraged to the constant and perpetual study and observation of thy laws.
And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.I will walk at liberty; or, I shall walk at large, as it is in the margin; I shall be delivered from all my present straits, both of the outward and inward man, and enjoy great freedom and comfort in thy ways.
I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.Before kings; who commonly entertain all godly discourses with scorn and contempt.
And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.Whereas other princes place their delight in the glories and vanities of this world, and the study and practice of religion is generally irksome and loathsome to them, thy law shall be my chief delight and recreation.
My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.Lift up; to lay hold upon them, to receive and embrace thy precepts and promises by faith and love, and cheerfully and vigorously to put them in practice; for as the hanging down of the hands is a gesture of sloth and listlessness, as 2 Chronicles 15:7, and elsewhere; so the lifting up of the hands is the posture of a man entering upon action, as Genesis 41:44 2 Samuel 20:21.
I will meditate in thy statutes; my deepest thoughts, as well as my hands, shall be exercised in them.
ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.ZAIN
The word; thy promises.
Caused me to hope, by thy command requiring it of me, and by thy grace working it in me.
This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.This, to wit, thy word, as is evident both from the foregoing and following words.
Hath quickened me; hath preserved my life in manifold dangers, and hath revived and cheered my spirit.
The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.Greatly in derision, for my godliness and trust in thy word, as the following words imply.
I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.Thy judgments of old; thy former and ancient dispensations to the children of men in punishing the ungodly, and protecting and delivering thy faithful servants, whose experience is my encouragement.
Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.Horror; a mixed passion made up of indignation at their persons as sinful, and abhorrency of their sins, and dread and sorrow at the consideration of the judgments of God coming upon them.
Because of the wicked that forsake thy law; for the dishonour which they bring to God, the scandal and mischief to others, and their own certain ruin.
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.My songs; the matter of my songs, my delight and recreation.
In the house of my pilgrimage; either,
1. In this present world, which I do not own for my home, wherein I am a stranger and pilgrim, as all my fathers were, Psalm 39:12: compare Genesis 47:9. Or,
2. In mine exile, and in the wildernesses and other places where I have been oft forced to wander, when I was banished from all my friends, and from the place of thy worship, and had no other support or comfort but the remembrance of thy statutes.
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; all which come under the title of God’s name.
In the night, when darkness causeth fear in others, I took pleasure in remembering thee; and when others abandon all business, and wholly give themselves up to rest and sleep, my thoughts and affections were working towards thee.
And have kept thy law; this was the fruit of my serious remembrance of thee.
This I had, because I kept thy precepts.This I had, this comfortable and profitable remembrance and contemplation of thy name and statutes, of which he spoke Psalm 119:54,55, because I kept thy precepts; which if I had wilfully and wickedly broken, the remembrance of these things would have been sad and frightful to me, as now it is comfortable, because I kept them.
CHETH. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.CHETH
Whereas other men place their portion and happiness in worldly things, I have chosen thee for my portion and chief treasure, as he said, Psalm 16:5 73:26, and thou hast an all-sufficient and an excellent portion for me.
I have said; I have not only purposed it in my own heart, but have professed and owned it before others, and I do not repent of it.
I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.Thy favour; thy gracious presence and merciful assistance, as it follows.
I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.I seriously considered both my former counsels and courses, that I might be humbled for my past errors, and might now amend them, and my duty in all my future actions. And finding that my feet had too often swerved from thy rule, I turned them to it. And although the ways of sinful pleasure and advantage were presented to my mind, yet I rejected them, and turned myself wholly to thy ways.
I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.Being fully convinced of the necessity and excellency of obedience, I presently resolved upon it, and immediately put it in execution.
The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.Robbed me; or, made a prey of me; done me many injuries for my respect to thy law.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.I will rise out of my bed to praise thee in a solemn manner; not being contented with those short ejaculations which he might have used lying in his bed. Thy righteous judgments, i.e. laws, which are so useful to direct and comfort me.
I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.Not excepting the poorest and meanest, whose society other princes disdain.
The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.Thou dost satisfy the just desires and necessities of all men and all creatures with the fruits of thy goodness. The generality of other men chiefly desire the blessings of this life; but, Lord, give me thy spiritual blessings, the saving knowledge, love, and practice of thy law.
TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.TETH
No text from Poole on this verse.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.Good judgment; whereby I may rightly discern between truth and falsehood, good and evil, between the mind of God and my own or others’ inventions; that so I may be kept from those mistakes and errors in which many are involved, that I may truly judge what thy law requires or permits, and what it forbids. Heb. the goodness of taste, an experimental sense and relish of divine things. Compare Psalm 34:8.
Knowledge; a spiritual and experimental knowledge. And judgment, or taste, and knowledge may, by a usual figure called hendiadis, be put for judicious, or solid, or practical knowledge.
I have believed thy commandments; I have believed the Divine authority of them, and the truth and certainty of those promises and threatenings which thou hast annexed to them.
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.I went astray, as men generally do in their prosperity. See Deu 32:15 Psalm 73:4-6, &c.; Proverbs 1:32 Jeremiah 22:21.
Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.Thou art good; gracious and bountiful in thy nature.
And doest good to all men, both good and bad, Matthew 5:45, and in all things, yea, even when thou afflictest.
Teach me thy statutes; which is the good that I desire above all things.
The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.Forged a lie; a slander, charging me with hypocrisy towards God, and rebellion against my prince.
But I will keep thy precepts; my practice shall confute their calumnies.
Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.Their heart is as fat as grease; the sense is either,
1. They are stupid, and insensible, and past feeling, not affected either with the terrors or comforts of God’s word. So the like phrase is used Isaiah 6:10, compared with John 12:40. Or,
2. They prosper exceedingly, and are even glutted with the wealth and comforts of this life.
But I delight in thy law; but I do not envy them their jollity, and I have as much delight in God’s law as they have in worldly things.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.Good; necessary, and greatly beneficial. He repeats what in effect he said before, Psalm 119:67, partly to intimate the certainty and importance of this truth, and partly because it is a great paradox to worldly men, who generally esteem afflictions to be evil, yea, the worst of evils.
The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.Not only thy promises, but even thy precepts, which are so unpleasant and hard to ungodly men, to me they are more desirable and more needful and profitable, because they do not only give me abundant satisfaction and comfort in this life, but also they conduct me with safety and delight unto that eternal and most blessed life, where gold and silver bear no price.
JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.JOD
I am thy creature, and therefore obliged to serve and obey thee with all my might; which that I may do aright I beg thy instruction or assistance. Or, thou hast made me once, make me a second time, and renew thy decayed image in me, that I may know and serve thee better; and that as I was made by thee, so I may be guided by thy grace to serve and glorify my Creator.
They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.Will be glad; partly for my sake, of whose innocency and piety they are convinced, and therefore sympathize with me; and partly for their own sakes, both for the encouragement they have by my example to trust in God, and for the manifold benefits, both spiritual and temporal, which they expect from my government.
See me, to wit, alive and in safety, notwithstanding all the force and malice of mine enemies, and advanced to the kingdom.
I have hoped in thy word; in thy promise, and have not been disappointed of my hope, which is a great confirmation of their faith and hope in God, that, they shall obtain all the good things which God hath promised them.
I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.I know by the convictions of my own conscience, and by experience.
Thy judgments, i.e. thy corrections, as the next clause explains this.
In faithfulness; in pursuance of thy promises, and in order to my good, that by my afflictions thou mightest purge me from those sins which might provoke thy wrath against me, and prepare me for a better administration, and more lasting and comfortable enjoyment of my kingdom.
Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.Yet in judgment remember mercy, and give me that comfort and assistance in, and that deliverance out of, my troubles which thou hast promised me.
Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.That I may live; that I may be preserved from that violent and untimely death which mine enemies design to bring upon me.
For thy law is my delight; I humbly beg and expect thy protection, because I am thy faithful servant.
Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.They dealt perversely with me, Heb. they have perverted me; either by their calumnies, whereby they have put false and perverse constructions upon all my words and actions; or by endeavouring to overthrow and destroy me, or to turn me out of the way of thy precepts. But all their wicked attempts against me shall never drive me from the study, and love, and practice of thy precepts.
Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.Turn unto me; either,
1. Turn their eyes to me as a spectacle of God’s wonderful mercy; or rather,
2. Turn their hearts and affections to me, which have been alienated from me, either by the artifices and calumnies of my adversaries, or by my sore and long distresses, which made them prone to think that either I had deceived them with false pretences, or that God for my sins had utterly forsaken me; which doubtless was a very grievous burden to David, who had a far greater esteem and affection for such persons than for all other men, and desired above all things to stand right in their opinions.
Known, i.e. loved and practised them; as words of knowledge are oft used.
Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.Sound, Heb. perfect, or entire, that I may love and obey them sincerely, constantly, and universally.
That I be not ashamed, to wit, for my sins, which are the only just causes of shame, and for the disappointment of my hopes following upon them.
CAPH. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.CAPH
Fainteth, with longing desire, and earnest expectation, and hope deferred, and hitherto disappointed.
Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?Mine eyes fail, with looking hither and thither, and to thee for help.
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.In the smoke; hung up in a smoking chimney. My natural moisture is dried and burnt up; I am withered, and deformed, and despised, and my case grows worse and worse every day.
How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?The days; either,
1. The days of my life, as the word days is commonly used, Genesis 6:3 Job 7:1,6 Psa 39:5,6. I have but a little while to live in the world, give me some respite before I die, and help me speedily, otherwise it will be too late. Or rather,
2. The days of my misery, as the next clause implies, and as days are taken, Psalm 37:13 116:2, and elsewhere. How long, Lord, shall my miseries last? for ever?
The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.Have digged pits for me; have sought to destroy me by deceit and treachery, as well as by violence.
1. Which men have no respect to thy law, which forbids such things. Or rather,
2. Which thing, to wit, to dig pits for me, an innocent and just man, is not agreeable to thy law, but directly contrary to it.
All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.Are faithful; they are in themselves most just and true, and they require justice and faithfulness from men, promising many blessings to those that perform it, and severely forbid all fraud and falseness, threatening grievous punishments to those that use it; and such promises and threatenings are true, and shall certainly be executed.
They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.They had almost consumed me upon earth, as to my present life and all my happiness upon earth; whereby he implies that his immortal soul and eternal happiness in heaven, of which he speaks, Psalm 16:11 17:15, and elsewhere, was safe, and out of their reach.
Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.Heb. and I will keep. I will testify my gratitude to thee by my obedience.
LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.LAMED
Although many things happen upon earth which seem contrary to thy word, and at which men take occasion to question the truth of thy word, yet in heaven it is sure and certainly true.
In heaven; either,
1. With thee in thy heavenly habitation, or in thy breast; as thy nature is unchangeable, so thy word is infallible. Or rather,
2. In the heavenly bodies, which are not subject to those changes and decays which are in this lower world, but constantly continue the same in their substance, and order, and courses, and this by virtue of that word of God by which they were made and established in this manner; and therefore God’s word delivered to his people upon earth, which is of the same nature, must needs be of equal certainty and stability. This sense best suits with the following verses, and with other scriptures, wherein the certainty of God’s word is set forth by comparing it with the stability of the heaven and the earth, as Matthew 5:18, and elsewhere.
Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.Every age gives fresh proofs of the truth of thy word.
The earth abideth in that place and state in which thou didst establish it. See Ecclesiastes 1:4.
They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.They continue; the heaven and the earth last mentioned.
According to thine ordinances; as thou hast appointed, and by virtue of thine appointment.
All are thy servants; all things are subject to thy power and pleasure, and none can resist thy will or word.
Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.Then; at the very instant; I could not have outlived one stroke of thine afflicting hand.
I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.Revived and cheered me, when my heart was ready to sink and die within me.
I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.I am thine by creation and redemption, and manifold obligations, as also by my own choice and designation. I have devoted myself to thy service, and committed myself to thy care.
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.As my best comforters, and counsellors, and defenders against all the assaults and designs of mine enemies.
I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.I have seen an end of all perfection; I have observed by my experience that the greatest and most perfect accomplishments and enjoyments in this world, the greatest glory, and riches, and power, and wisdom, are too narrow and shortlived to make men happy.
Thy commandment; thy word; one part of it being synecdochically put for the whole.
Broad, or large, both for extent and for continuance; it is useful to all persons in all times and conditions, and for all purposes, to inform, direct, quicken, comfort, sanctify, and save men; it is of everlasting truth and efficacy; it will never deceive nor forsake those who trust to it, as all worldly things will, but will make men happy both here and for ever.
MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.MEM
O how love I thy law! O Lord, thou knowest it, and to thee I appeal herein against all the censures and calumnies of mine enemies to the contrary.
Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.Thou, through thy commandments, hast made me wiser than mine enemies, because by that means I have thy wisdom to guide me, and thy power engaged to protect and save me; which is a more certain and effectual way to obtain my desires and ends than all the policy and craft of mine enemies is to hinder them, as I have found by experience. They are ever with me; they are continually before mine eyes, as a rule by which to govern all my actions, whereby I am kept from splitting upon those rocks whereby others are ruined.
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.Understanding: he speaks not here of notional, but of spiritual, and practical, and experimental knowledge.
Than all my teachers; than all or most (for that general word is oft so understood) of those who taught me formerly, or of the public teachers in Saul’s time; which probably were for the generality of them neither so knowing nor so good as they should have been.
My meditations; the matter of my constant and most diligent study.
I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.Ver. 100. By which reason he intimates that the practice of religion is the best way to understand it, and that men’s vicious hearts and lives are the greatest hinderances of all true and solid knowledge of it.
I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.Ver. 101. Evil way; or, way of evil; which either is evil, or leads to it; sin, and the temptations or occasions of sin.
That, I might keep thy word; I did this not for any carnal reasons, as some men abstain from divers sins for their credit or advantage, but out of pure respect to thy word.
I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.Ver. 102. To wit, by thy blessed Spirit, illuminating my mind, and working upon my heart, which other teachers cannot do.
How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!Ver. 103. The study and obedience of thy words yields me more satisfaction and delight than any worldly men find in their sensual pleasures.
Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.Ver. 104. Understanding; true, and useful and powerful knowledge.
Therefore; because that discovers to me, as the wickedness, so the folly and mischief of such practices.
Every false way; every thing which is contrary to that rule of truth and right, all false doctrine and worship, and all sinful or vicious courses.
NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.NUN
Ver. 105. To direct me in all my doubts and difficulties, to preserve from sin and misery, both which oft come under the name of darkness, and to comfort me in all my fears and distresses.
I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.Ver. 106. I have sworn; obliged myself by serious purpose and solemn vow, or by a formal oath, which was not unusual amongst God’s people, as 2 Chronicles 15:15 Nehemiah 10:29.
Will perform it; I do not repent of it, but by God’s grace I will fulfil it.
I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.Ver. 107. No text from Poole on this verse.
Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.Ver. 108. The free-will offerings of my mouth; either,
1. Those which I have promised with my mouth, though I am not now in a capacity of performing my promises, as being banished from thy house. Or rather,
2. The sacrifices of prayer and praises, which I do freely and frequently offer unto thee; which are called sacrifices, as Psalm 50:14, and calves of our lips, Hosea 14:2.
My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.Ver. 109. In my hand; exposed to perpetual and extreme danger, as any precious and frail thing is which a man carrieth openly in his hand, whence it may easily fall or be snatched away by a violent hand. See the same or like phrase, Judges 12:3 1 Samuel 19:5 Job 13:14.
The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.Ver. 110. No text from Poole on this verse.
Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.Ver. 111. I have chosen them for my chief portion, from which I will never part.
I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.Ver. 112. As I prayed to thee to incline mine heart to them, above Psalm 119:36, so I did not neglect my duty, but cheerfully complied with the motions of thy Spirit, and yielded up my mind and heart to the study and practice of them.
SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.SAMECH
Ver. 113. Thoughts -this word signifies thoughts, Job 4:13 20:2, or opinions, 1 Kings 18:21; which being indifferent to good and evil, is here taken in an evil sense, for vain thoughts, as we render it, or for thoughts, or opinions, or devices of men differing from or opposite to God’s law, as may be gathered from the next clause, where God’s law is opposed to these, and as some both Jewish and Christian expositors understand it. Nor is it unusual in the Hebrew text for one and the same word to be taken both in a good and an ill sense in several places; whereof we have one instance in a word of the same signification with this, mezimmah, which signifies a thought, and is sometimes taken in a good sense, as Proverbs 1:4 3:8 8:12 13:16 Jeremiah 51:11; but elsewhere in a bad sense, as Job 21:27 Psalm 10:2,4 Pr 12:2 14:17. The like hath been observed concerning another Hebrew word of the same or near signification, hormah which is taken in a good sense, Proverbs 1:4 13:16, &c., and in an ill sense, as Exodus 21:14 Joshua 9:4 Job 5:13. And the like may be said concerning this word also. But the ancient interpreters understand this word not of things, but of persons, and so it may be understood of men that think evil, that devise wicked devices, or that have false and evil opinions, opposite to God’s law, or tending to seduce men from it.
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.Ver. 114. No text from Poole on this verse.
Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.Ver. 115. And therefore will avoid your society and conversation, lest I should be hindered from that which is good, and drawn to sin by your evil counsel or example.
Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.Ver. 116. Or, because of my hope, or confidence in thy promises, of the certainty whereof I have oft made my boast before others.
Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.Ver. 117. And being freed from those distractions and diversions which my pressing dangers occasion, I will wholly devote myself to the study and practice of thy blessed word.
Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.Ver. 118. All their crafty and deceitful devices, by which they design to insnare and ruin me, and other good men, shall deceive them and their own expectations, and bring that destruction upon themselves which they design for others.
Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.Ver. 119. Thou puttest away; thou removest them from thy presence, and from the society of thy people, and from the land of the living.
Like dross; which, though for a season it be mixed with gold or silver, is not only separated from it as a useless and contemptible thing, but also is utterly consumed by fire.
Therefore I love thy testimonies; because they are the best preservatives against wickedness, and against those dreadful punishments attending upon it, of which he professeth his fear in the next verse.
My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.Ver. 120. The observation of thy terrible judgments against ungodly men, and the conscience of my own infirmity and manifold sins, makes me fear lest thou shouldst punish me also, as thou mightest justly do, if thou shouldst be strict to mark what is amiss in me; or lest I should partake with them in their sins, and consequently in their plagues.
AIN. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.AIN
Ver. 121. Judgment and justice, i.e. just judgment, as Ecclesiastes 5:8, to wit, towards mine oppressors, whom I have no way injured.
Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.Ver. 122. Do thou undertake and plead my cause against all mine enemies, as a surety rescues the poor persecuted debtor from the hands of a severe creditor.
For good; for my safety and comfort.
Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.Ver. 123. For the performance of thy righteous, or faithful, or merciful word or promise.
Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.Ver. 124. Not according to strict justice, nor according to my sins.
I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.Ver. 125. No text from Poole on this verse.
It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.Ver. 126. It is time; it is high time, or a fit season. To work; to put forth thy power for the vindication of thy own name and cause, and for the restraint and punishment of evildoers.
They, to wit, mine oppressors, or the wicked; whom it was needless to express, both because they had been lately and frequently mentioned before, and partly because it was evident from the following words.
Have made void thy law; or, abrogated thy law; have professedly and openly cast off its authority, resolvedly preferring their own wills and lusts before it, trampled upon thy plain commands, and despised both thy promises and thy threatenings. They have not only sinned through ignorance and infirmity, but presumptuously and. maliciously.
Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.Ver. 127. Partly, because it is one evidence of their excellency, that they are disliked by the vilest of men; partly, out of a just indignation and opposition against my sworn enemies; and partly, because the great and general apostacy of others makes this duty more necessary to prevent their own and other men’s relapses.
Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.Ver. 128. Therefore, for the reasons now mentioned, I do not make void all thy precepts, as they did, Psalm 119:126, nor yet am I partial in my approbation of them, as others are, who reject all such as are opposite to their lusts and interests; but I approve all of them without any exception, and that not only in my judgment, but in my heart and life, as appears by that hatred of sin which is opposed to it in the next clause.
PE. Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.PE
Ver. 129. Wonderful; in regard of the deep and wonderful mysteries, and most excellent counsels and directions, far exceeding all the rules of the greatest philosophers, and the exceeding great and precious promises of God contained in them. This is the reason of his high estimation of them, expressed in the last verse.
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.Ver. 130. The entrance of thy words; the very beginnings and rudiments of them; the first discoveries of those sacred mysteries; and much more the depths of them, in which their chief excellency consists. Or, as others both ancient and later interpreters render the place, The opening of thy words; by which may be understood, either,
1. The opening of men’s minds by the word of God; but that seems to be the same thing with giving light, which here follows; or,
2. The opening or declaration of God’s mind made in and by his word.
Unto the simple; to the most ignorant and unlearned persons, who are but willing to learn.
I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.Ver. 131. I thirst after thy precepts, and pursue them eagerly, as it were with open mouth, ready and greedy to receive them. It is a metaphor from one that makes great haste after another, whereby he is forced to pant and to open his mouth for air to refresh himself.
Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.Ver. 132. Look thou upon me, to wit, favourably, as the next clause explains it, and as this phrase is commonly used; whereby also he implies that God at present did hide his face and favour from him.
As thou usest to do unto those that love thy name; as thou hast done in all former ages. Do not deny me the common privilege of all the faithful.
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.Ver. 133. Order my steps; by thy grace direct and govern all my motions and actions.
In thy word; in the way prescribed in thy word; or, by thy word. Let thy Spirit accompany thy word, and ingraft it within me, so that I may be guided and ruled by it. And although I have evil inclinations and affections within me, let them not bear sway in me, nor withdraw me from the course of obedience.
Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.Ver. 134. As he prayed against the inward impediment of his obedience, Psalm 119:133, so here he prayeth against an external impediment of it, and a common temptation to sin.
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.Ver. 135. Look upon me with a pleased and favourable countenance. Compare Numbers 6:25 Proverbs 16:15.
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.Ver. 136. Rivers of waters; plentiful and perpetual tears, witnesses of my deep sorrow for God’s dishonour and displeasure, and for the miseries which sinners bring upon themselves and others. They, to wit, the wicked, as before, Psalm 119:126, who were not worthy to be mentioned; for this pronoun is oft used in way of contempt, as Luke 14:24 19:27 John 7:11 8:10 Acts 16:36.
TZADDI. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.TZADDI
Ver. 137. Righteous art thou, by thine essence and nature, and therefore it is impossible that thou shouldst be unjust in any of thy laws or providences.
Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.Ver. 138. But this verse is otherwise rendered by all the ancient interpreters, and by divers others, and that more agreeably to the order of the words in the Hebrew text, Thou hast commanded righteousness, even
thy testimonies (or, the righteousness of thy testimonies; or, thy righteous testimonies, by a common Hebraism; or rather, righteousness in or by thy testimonies; nothing being more frequent than the ellipsis of the prefix beth, which signifies in or by) and truth, (or, and true, thy righteous and true testimonies; although the other seems to be the better translation,) earnestly. So the sense is, Thou hast strictly and severely, under the highest obligations and penalties, commanded in thy word that men should be just and true in all their actions. And this agrees very well with the next foregoing verse, wherein he affirmed that God is righteous, and doth righteous things; and then here he adds that he requires righteousness and truth from all men.
My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.Ver. 139. Hath consumed me; I am tormented and cut to the heart with grief and anger at it.
Have forgotten thy words, i.e. despise and disobey them; which in Scripture use is oft called a forgetting of them, as the remembering of them is oft put for loving and practising them.
Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.Ver. 140. Very pure; without the least mixture of any falsehood or sin, both which are frequent in the words or precepts of men.
Therefore; because of that exact purity and holiness of it, for which very reason ungodly men either despise or hate it.
I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.Ver. 141. Small; or, a little one; not for age, but in respect of my condition in the world; mean and obscure.
Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.Ver. 142. An everlasting righteousness; constant and unchangeable, the same in all ages and places, and to all persons, of eternal truth and justice, never to be dispensed with, nor to be made void.
The truth; nothing but truth; or as true as truth itself.
Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.Ver. 143. Outward troubles and anguish of spirit, or great anguish or distress.
The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.Ver. 144. I shall be kept from those sins which deserve and bring death.
KOPH. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.KOPH
Ver. 145. No text from Poole on this verse.
I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.Ver. 146. No text from Poole on this verse.
I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.Ver. 147. The dawning of the morning, Heb. the twilight, to wit, of the morning, by comparing Psalm 88:13. And so this word is used 1 Samuel 30:17.
Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.Ver. 148. The night watches, Heb. the watches; which were kept only by night. And these watches were then three, as hath been more than once observed. And this is not to be understood of the first watch, which was at the beginning of the night, for the prevention thereof was very easy, and frequent, and inconsiderable; but of the middle watch, as it is called, Judges 7:19, which was set in the middle of the night; and especially of the morning watch, as it is called, Exodus 14:24, which was set some hours before the dawning of the day; and so this is an aggravation and addition to what he said Psalm 119:147.
Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.Ver. 149. According to thy word, which is oft called God’s judgment; or, according to thy custom or manner of dealing with me and with others of thy people; as this word is taken above, Psalm 119:132.
They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.Ver. 150. They draw nigh, to wit, to me, or against me, as Psalm 27:2; they are at hand, and ready to seize upon me.
They are far from thy law; they cast away far from them all thoughts of and respect to thy law, which forbids such wicked practices.
Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.Ver. 151. Thou art near to me. Thou art as ready and present to succour me as they are to molest me.
Thy commandments; considered with the promises and threatenings, which are frequently annexed to them. Or, the promises, as this word seems to be used, Psalm 111:7, and elsewhere in this Psalm. And God is said to command not only his precepts, or the observation thereof, but also his covenant, Psalm 105:8 111:9, which is a collection or body of the promises; and his loving-kindness, Psalm 42:8, which is the fountain of the promises; and his blessing, Psalm 133:3, which is the fruit of his promises; and deliverances, Psalm 44:4, which are the things promised. And therefore it is not strange if he promises be sometimes called commandments.
Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.Ver. 152. Known of old, by my own long experience, ever since I arrived at any knowledge in those matters.
That thou hast founded them for ever; that thou hast established them upon sure and everlasting foundations.
RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.RESH
Ver. 153. No text from Poole on this verse.
Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.Ver. 154. No text from Poole on this verse.
Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.Ver. 155. And therefore, on the contrary, I trust that thou wilt save me because I do seek them. My wicked enemies shall certainly be destroyed, by which means I shall be delivered.
Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.Ver. 156. According to the manner of thy administrations towards thy people, as Psalm 119:149.
Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.Ver. 157. Though they tempt me to do so, and persecute me because I will not do it.
I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.Ver. 158. I observed and considered their ungodly courses.
Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.Ver. 159. I love thy precepts; which was the cause of my grief for their violation of them.
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.Ver. 160. From the beginning; either from the beginning of the world, or ever since thou hast revealed thy mind by thy word to the sons of men; all thy words have been found to be true and certain, and so they will be to the end of the world, as is implied in the next clause. Or, as it is in the margin, the beginning (or, as others render it, the sum, as this very word is used, Exodus 30:12 Numbers 26:2 31:26, to wit, the whole of it, there is not the least part of it which is not so) of thy word is true.
SCHIN. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.SCHIN
Ver. 161. Princes; who had power to do it, and who ought to have used their authority to protect me, whom they knew to be innocent and injured.
But my heart standeth in awe of thy word; but I feared thine offence and displeasure more than their wrath.
I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.Ver. 162. No text from Poole on this verse.
I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.Ver. 163. Lying; or, falsehood; either,
1. In my speech and actions; all hypocrisy and deceit, which is the common practice of mine enemies, and of all godless politicians: or,
2. In doctrine and worship, as this word seems to be used, Psalm 119:29, because both there and here it is opposed to God’s law.
Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.Ver. 164. Seven times; many times; that definite number being oft taken indefinitely, as Leviticus 26:28, and elsewhere.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.Ver. 165. Great peace; either outward prosperity and happiness, which God in his law hath expressly promised to good men; or at least inward peace, satisfaction and tranquility of mind, arising from the sense of God’s love to them and watchful care over them in all the concerns of this life and of the next.
Have they, Heb. is to them, or shall be to them; for the verb being not expressed, it may be understood either way. Although they may meet with some disturbance, yet their end shall be peace, as is said, Psalm 37:37.
Nothing shall offend them, Heb. they shall have no stumbling-block, to wit, such at which they shall stumble and fall into mischief and utter ruin, as ungodly men have, before whom God doth oft lay stumbling-blocks, or occasions of sin and destruction, as it is affirmed by God himself, Jeremiah 6:21 Ezekiel 3:20 Romans 9:33, out of Isaiah 8:14.
LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.Ver. 166. Thus performing the condition which thou hast required, I justly and confidently hope for thy mercy promised.
My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.Ver. 167. I have not only obeyed thy commands, which a hypocrite may sometimes and in part do for worldly ends, but I have done it with my very soul, and from a hearty love to them.
I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.Ver. 168. For, or because, all my ways are before thee. This is added either,
1. As the reason or motive of his obedience, which was the consideration of God’s omniscience, and his desire to approve himself and his ways to God; or,
2. As a proof and evidence of it. Whereas this and all his former professions of his piety were charged by his enemies with deep hypocrisy, and might seem to savour of pride and vainglory, here in the close of them he makes a solemn appeal to that God who knew his heart and all his ways, and whether these things were not true and real; which if they were not, he tacitly imprecates God’s judgment upon himself.
TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.TAU
Ver. 169. Near before thee; which at present thou seemest to shut out, as the church complained, Lamentations 3:8.
Understanding; whereby I may both know and perform my duty in all particulars.
Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.Ver. 170. No text from Poole on this verse.
My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.Ver. 171. No text from Poole on this verse.
My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.Ver. 172. Shall speak, Heb. shall pour forth, freely and abundantly, like a fountain. Of thy word; in praise of it, for its righteousness, as it here follows, its truth, and purity, and other excellencies.
Thy commandments; even those which to men of corrupted minds seem harsh and unjust.
Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.Ver. 173. For my guide and companion, and chief joy and treasure.
I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.Ver. 174. For thy salvation; either,
1. For deliverance from my present straits and calamities, that I may serve thee with more freedom, and may glorify thy name in a more solemn and public manner; or,
2. That thou wouldst completely save me, not only from my outward pressures, but also from my sins, from my dulness and deadness in thy service, from all inclinations and temptations to apostacy and impiety, and from my other indispositions and corruptions, against which he prayeth in divers parts of this Psalm; and that at last thou wouldst crown me with eternal salvation in thy kingdom, which it is apparent that David did believe and expect, and hath been already proved from divers passages of this book.
Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.Ver. 175. Either,
1. Thy providential dispensation, whereby thou judgest and rulest the world, punishing the wicked, and protecting and delivering the godly. Or,
2. Thy word or testimonies, as this word most commonly signifies in this Psalm, which are the only ground of my hope in thy help.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.Ver. 176. I have gone astray like a lost sheep: this is meant either,
1. Of sinful errors. I have too often swerved from the path of thy precepts through mine own infirmity, or the power of temptation. Or,
2. Of penal errors. I have been banished by the power and tyranny of mine enemies from all my friends and relations, and, which is far worse, from the place of thy worship and presence, and forced to wander hither and thither, hiding myself in mountains, and caves, and woods, exposed to a thousand snares and dangers.
Seek thy servant, as the shepherd doth his wandering sheep, and bring me back into thy fold.