Psalm 119:38
Establish your word to your servant, who is devoted to your fear.
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(38) Who is devoted to thy fear.—This is an improbable explanation of this elliptical expression. There are two renderings, each in accordance with the general drift of the psalm: (1) Stablish to Thy servant Thy word, which leads to fear of Thee; or, more likely, (2) Stablish to Thy servant Thy promise which is to those who fear Thee, as apparently the LXX.

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.Stablish thy word unto thy servant - Confirm it; make it seem firm and true; let not my mind be vacillating or skeptical in regard to thy truth. This seems to be a prayer against the influence of doubt and scepticism; a prayer that doubts might not be suffered to spring up in his mind, and that the objections and difficulties of scepticism might have no place there. There is a class of people whose minds are naturally skeptical and unbelieving, and for such people such a prayer is especially appropriate. For none can it be improper to pray that the word of God may always seem to them to be true; that their minds may never be left to the influence of doubt and unbelief.

Who is devoted to thy fear - literally, "Who," or which, "to thy fear." This may refer either to the author of the psalm, or to the word of God. It may mean that he was among those who feared - that is, worshipped God; or, that the word of God had reference to the "fear," that is, to the worship of God, or was designed to secure that. The construction seems to demand the latter interpretation; and then the prayer is, that God would confirm his faith in that "word" - in that revealed truth - which was designed to secure the worship of God.

38. who is devoted to thy fear—or better, "which (that is, Thy word) is for Thy fear," for producing it. "Which is to those who fear Thee." God's word of promise belongs peculiarly to such (compare Ge 18:19; 1Ki 2:4; 8:25) [Hengstenberg]. 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. Stablish thy word unto thy servant,.... Either God's word of promise, which never fails, is firm and stable in Christ; and the sense is, that God would assure him of the fulfilment of it, and give him a strong faith and firm belief of it; for otherwise the word of the Lord cannot be surer or more stable than it is: or else the word of his grace; and then the sense is, that he might be established in it, and the truths of it, and be established by it; for the word is a means of establishment, and a good thing it is to have the heart established with grace, with the doctrine of grace, Hebrews 13:9;

who is devoted to thy fear; who served the Lord with reverence and godly fear; who feared the Lord and his goodness; that grace being a reigning one in his heart, and ever before his eyes. Or, "which is unto thy fear" (d); that is, which word is unto thy fear; which leads unto it, and has a tendency to promote and increase it; and so is a commendation of the word of God from this effect of it.

(d) "quod ad timorem tuum", Pagninus, Montanus; "quod ad timorem tui facit", Musculus; "et ducit", Schmidt; "quod datum est ad timorem tui", Michaelis.

Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
38. who is devoted to thy fear] This rendering is retained in R.V. marg., but the order of the words is in favour of rendering

Confirm unto thy servant thy promise

Which belongeth to the fear of thee,

or, Which maketh for the fear of thee. Perform for me the promises made to those who fear Thee: or, which aim at promoting and encouraging reverence for Thee. Cp. Psalm 130:4.Verse 38. - Stablish thy Word unto thy servant; or, "make good thy promise unto thy servant" - thy promise of aid and support in all times of temptation and difficulty. Who is devoted to thy fear; rather, which belongeth unto thy fear. The antecedent to the relative is "word" or "promise," and not "servant;" and the prayer is that God will make good to his servant that promise, which lies at the root of all reverence and godly fear (comp. Psalm 130:4, "There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared"). The eightfold Daleth. He is in deep trouble, and prays for consolation and strengthening by means of God's word, to which he resigns himself. His soul is fixed to the dust (Psalm 44:26) in connection with such non-recognition and proscription, and is incapable of raising itself. In Psalm 119:25 he implores new strength and spirits (חיּה as in Psalm 71:20; Psalm 85:7) from God, in conformity with and by reason of His word. He has rehearsed his walk in every detail to God, and has not been left without an answer, which has assured him of His good pleasure: may He then be pleased to advance him ever further and further in the understanding of His word, in order that, though men are against him, he may nevertheless have God on his side, Psalm 119:26-27. The complaint and request expressed in Psalm 119:25 are renewed in Psalm 119:28. דּלף refers to the soul, which is as it were melting away in the trickling down of tears; קיּם is a Piel of Aramaic formation belonging to the later language. In Psalm 119:29-30 the way of lies or of treachery, and the way of faithfulness or of perseverance in the truth, stand in opposition to one another. חנן is construed with a double accusative, inasmuch as תּורה has not the rigid notion of a fixed teaching, but of living empirical instruction. שׁוּה (short for שׁוה לנגד, Psalm 16:8) signifies to put or set, viz., as a norma normans that stands before one's eyes. He cleaves to the testimonies of God; may Jahve not disappoint the hope which to him springs up out of them, according to the promise, Psalm 119:31. He runs, i.e., walks vigorously and cheerfully, in the way of God's commandments, for He has widened his heart, by granting and preserving to the persecuted one the joyfulness of confession and the confidence of hope.
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