Psalm 119:39
Turn away my reproach which I fear: for your judgments are good.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(39) My reproach which I fear.—The word for fear is an unusual one, used in Deuteronomy 9:19; Deuteronomy 28:60, for very strong dread. The reproach may be either the disgrace in God’s sight of violating His commands, or, as the context (Psalm 119:42) suggests, a reproach from men for keeping God’s law.

Psalm 119:39-40. Turn away my reproach which I fear — For my instability in thy ways; which, in respect to my own weakness, I have great cause to fear; I have longed after thy precepts — After a more solid knowledge and constant performance of them. Quicken me — Do thou preserve and maintain both my natural and spiritual life; in thy righteousness — According to thy faithfulness, which obligeth thee to make good thy promises.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 my reproach - The reproach which is likely to come upon me from being a professed worshipper of God. In all ages good men have been exposed to this reproach.

Which I fear - Which I have reason to apprehend will come upon me. This may not mean that he was personally afraid of it, but merely that he had reason to apprehend that he was exposed to it. The prayer is proper, for there is nothing which our nature makes us shrink back from more than reproach. Compare Psalm 119:22; Psalm 69:9, Psalm 69:20; Romans 15:3; 2 Corinthians 12:10. The word repreach in the original is the same which denotes shame or dishonor.

For thy judgments are good - Thy statutes; thy laws. I know they are good. I feel that I desire to obey them. I pray, therefore, that obedience on my part to that which is good may not subject me to shame; that people may see that thy laws are good, and that it is not a matter of reproach to obey them.

39, 40. Our hope of freedom from the reproach of inconsistency is in God's power, quickening us to live according to His Word, which He leads us to love.

for thy judgments are good—The time must therefore be at hand when Thy justice will turn the "reproach" from Thy Church upon the world (Isa 25:8; 66:5; Zep 2:8-10).

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. Turn away my reproach which I fear,.... Either for the sake of religion, which was disagreeable to him; and he might be afraid it would be too heavy for him to bear, and be a temptation to him to forsake the good ways of God: or rather by reason of sin, which brings a reproach on good men; and causes the enemy to speak reproachfully, and is therefore dreaded by them who desire to be kept from sin, for that reason as well as others; see Psalm 39:8. Jarchi and Kimchi think that David has some reference to his sins, in the case of Uriah and Bathsheba; lest they should be a perpetual reproach on his name and family, which he greatly feared;

for thy judgments are good; the laws of God, and punishment of sin according to them; the Scriptures, and the doctrines contained in them; the ways of God, and true religion; which are evil spoken of, through the sins of the professors of them.

Turn away {e} my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

(e) Let me not fall to your dishonour but let my heart still delight in your gracious word.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
39. my reproach] Here, as in Psalm 119:22-23; Psalm 119:42, the scorn which he has to bear for his loyalty to God’s law.

for thy judgments are good] And therefore I ought not to suffer for observing them. For judgments see Psalm 119:13; Psalm 119:20; Psalm 119:30.Verse 39. - Turn away my reproach, which I fear; i.e. "turn away from me the only reproach of which I am afraid - the reproach of transgressing against thy Law" (comp. ver. 31). For thy judgments are good. Right in themselves, and conducive to man's happiness. The 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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