Psalm 119:37
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(37) From beholding vanity.—Perhaps from looking on idols.

Psalm 119:37-38. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity — The vain things of this world, such as riches, honours, pleasures; from beholding them with desire or affection. Quicken thou me in thy way — Make me lively, vigorous, and fervent in thy service. Establish thy word — Confirm and perform thy promises; unto thy servant — Who is subject to thy authority, obedient to thy laws, and devoted to thy fear — Those are indeed God’s servants who, though they have infirmities and defects, yet are sincerely devoted to his fear, and have all their affections and motions governed thereby.

119:33-40 Teach me thy statutes, not the mere words, but the way of applying them to myself. God, by his Spirit, gives a right understanding. But the Spirit of revelation in the word will not suffice, unless we have the Spirit of wisdom in the heart. God puts his Spirit within us, causing us to walk in his statutes. The sin here prayed against is covetousness. Those that would have the love of God rooted in them, must get the love of the world rooted out; for the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Quicken me in thy way; to redeem time, and to do every duty with liveliness of spirit. Beholding vanity deadens us, and slackens our pace; a traveller must not stand gazing upon every object that presents itself to his view. The promises of God's word greatly relate to the preservation of the true believer. When Satan has drawn a child of God into worldly compliances, he will reproach him with the falls into which he led him. Victory must come from the cross of Christ. When we enjoy the sweetness of God's precepts, it will make us long for more acquaintance with them. And where God has wrought to will, he will work to do.Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity - Vain things; wicked things; things which would be likely to lead me astray from what is real and true. Compare Isaiah 33:15; Job 31:1. Margin, here, as in Hebrew, "make to pass." Make my eyes to pass rapidly from such objects, that I may not look at them, may not contemplate them, may not dwell upon them. There is danger in looking on sin steadily; in surveying its features; in returning to contemplate it. An ugly object loses much of its deformity when we look often upon it; and this is a benevolent law, lest we should be miserable when we are under a necessity of looking on it. Sin follows this general law, and is to be avoided altogether, even in its contemplation, if we would be safe. A man should be thankful in this world that he has eyelids; and as he can close his eyes, so he should often do it.

And quicken thou me in thy way - Endow me with life, energy, vigor, that I may walk in thy way.

37. Turn away mine eyes—literally, "Make my eyes to pass, not noticing evil."

vanity—literally, "falsehood;" all other objects of trust than God; idols, human power, &c. (Ps 31:6; 40:4; 60:11; 62:9).

quicken … in thy way—make me with living energy to pursue the way marked out by Thee. Revive me from the death of spiritual helplessness (Ps 119:17, 25, 40, 50; 116:3).

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.

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity,.... As the things of this world, the riches, honours, and pleasures of it, which are all vanity and vexation of spirit; and yet these catch the eye, and allure the heart: and all false doctrines, glided over with the specious pretence of truth; and all false worship and superstition, set off with pomp and pageantry, with which the eyes of the body or the eyes of the mind are taken, and by which the heart is ensnared; and therefore it is desirable to have the eyes turned away from such objects unto better;

and quicken thou me in thy way; so as to walk and even run in the path of truth, in the way of true religion and godliness; and, instead of looking upon vanity, press towards the mark for the prize; keep Christ in view, while running the race; and look to things unseen, and not things that are seen; and set the affections on things above, and serve the Lord fervently; all which is done when God quickens the hearts of his people, and the graces of his Spirit in them.

Turn away mine {d} eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

(d) Meaning, all his senses.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
37. vanity includes all that is false, unreal, worthless. Cp. 1 John 2:15-17.

in thy way] So the LXX. The Heb. text as pointed reads in thy ways. He prays to God the author of life for vigour to resist temptation and walk in His ways.

“’Tis life, whereof our nerves are scant,

Oh life, not death, for which we pant,

More life, and fuller, that I want.”

Verse 37. - Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity. Let me not be distracted from thy service by the "vanities" of the world - wealth, honor, power, glory, and the like; rather, quicken thou me in thy way. Give me increased life, strength, and vigor, to walk continually in the way of thy commandments. Psalm 119:37The eightfold He. He further prays for instruction and guidance that he may escape the by-paths of selfishness and of disavowal. The noun עקב, used also elsewhere as an accus. adverb., in the signification ad extremum (Psalm 119:33 and Psalm 119:112) is peculiar to our poet. אצּרנּה (with a Shebג which takes a colouring in accordance with the principal form) refers back to דּרך. In the petition "give me understanding" (which occurs six times in this Psalm) חבין is causative, as in Job 32:8, and frequently in the post-exilic writings. בּצע (from בּצע, abscindere, as κέρδος accords in sound with κείρειν) signifies gain and acquisition by means of the damage which one does to his neighbour by depreciating his property, by robbery, deceit, and extortion (1 Samuel 8:3), and as a name of a vice, covetousness, and in general selfishness. שׁוא is that which is without real, i.e., without divine, contents or intrinsic worth, - God-opposed teaching and life. בּדרכך

(Note: Heidenheim and Baer erroneously have בּדרכיך with Jod. plural., contrary to the Masora.)

is a defective plural; cf. חסדך, Psalm 119:41, וּמשׁפּטך, Psalm 119:43, and frequently. Establishing, in Psalm 119:38, is equivalent to a realizing of the divine word or promise. The relative clause אשׁר ליראתך is not to be referred to לעבדּך according to Psalm 119:85 (where the expression is different), but to אמרתך: fulfil to Thy servant Thy word or promise, as that which (quippe quae) aims at men attaining the fear of Thee and increasing therein (cf. Psalm 130:4; Psalm 40:4). The reproach which the poet fears in Psalm 119:39 is not the reproach of confessing, but of denying God. Accordingly משׁפּטיך are not God's judgments i.e., acts of judgment, but revealed decisions or judgments: these are good, inasmuch as it is well with him who keeps them. He can appeal before God to the fact that he is set upon the knowledge and experience of these with longing of heart; and he bases his request upon the fact that God by virtue of His righteousness, i.e., the stringency with which He maintains His order of grace, both as to its promises and its duties, would quicken him, who is at present as it were dead with sorrow and weariness.

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