Psalm 119:54
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(54) Songs.—Or, Thy statutes were my music in the house of my sojournings. Possibly with reference to the exile (comp. Psalm 137:4), but with comparison with Psalm 119:9 (see Note), more probably the reference is to the transitoriness of human life. In connection with the next verse comp. Job 35:10.

Psalm 119:54-56. Thy statutes have been my songs — The matter of my songs, my delight and recreation; in the house of my pilgrimage — In this present world, wherein I am a pilgrim, as all my fathers were. I have remembered thy name — Thy holy nature and attributes; thy blessed word and thy wonderful works; in the night — When darkness causeth fear to others, I took pleasure in remembering thee; and when others gave themselves up to sleeps my thoughts and affections were working toward thee; and have kept thy law — This was the fruit of my serious remembrance of thee. This I had — This comfortable and profitable remembrance of thy name and statutes; because I kept thy precepts — Which if I had wilfully and wickedly broken, the remembrance of these would have been a cause of grief and terror to me, as now it is a source of peace and comfort.119:49-56 Those that make God's promises their portion, may with humble boldness make them their plea. He that by his Spirit works faith in us, will work for us. The word of God speaks comfort in affliction. If, through grace, it makes us holy, there is enough in it to make us easy, in all conditions. Let us be certain we have the Divine law for what we believe, and then let not scoffers prevail upon us to decline from it. God's judgments of old comfort and encourage us, for he is still the same. Sin is horrible in the eyes of all that are sanctified. Ere long the believer will be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. In the mean time, the statutes of the Lord supply subjects for grateful praise. In the season of affliction, and in the silent hours of the night, he remembers the name of the Lord, and is stirred up to keep the law. All who have made religion the first thing, will own that they have been unspeakable gainers by it.Thy statutes - Thy law; thy commandments.

Have been my songs - Have been to me a source of joy; have been my happiness, my consolation, my delight. I have found pleasure in meditating on them; I have had peace and joy in them in the day of loneliness and trouble. The psalmist rejoiced, doubtless, as the good now do,

(a) in law itself; law, as a rule of order; law, as a guide of conduct; law, as a security for safety;

(b) in such a law as that of God - so pure, so holy, so suited to promote "the happiness of man;

(c) in the stability of that law, as constituting his own personal security, the ground of his hope;

(d) in law in its influence on the universe, preserving order, and securing harmony.

In the house of my pilgrimage - In my life considered as a journey to another world; in my pilgrimage through the desert of this world; amidst rocks, and sands, and desolation; among tribes of savage men, wanderers, robbers, freebooters; with no home, no place of shelter; exposed to cold, and rain, and sleet, and ice, and snow, as pilgrims are - for to all these is the "pilgrim" - the way-farer - exposed, and all these represent the condition of one passing through this world to a better (compare Hebrews 11:13). Here, says the psalmist, I sang. I found joy in these scenes by thinking on the pure law - the pure and holy truth of God. I comforted myself with the feeling that there "is" law; that there is just government; that there is a God; that I am under the protection of law; that I am not alone, but that there is one who guides me by his truth. Compare the notes at Job 35:10. See Acts 16:25; Psalm 34:1.

54. songs—As the exile sings songs of his home (Ps 137:3), so the child of God, "a stranger on earth," sings the songs of heaven, his true home (Ps 39:12). In ancient times, laws were put in verse, to imprint them the more on the memory of the people. So God's laws are the believer's songs.

house of my pilgrimage—present life (Ge 17:8; 47:9; Heb 11:13).

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. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. Meaning either his unsettled state, fleeing from place to place before Saul; or, literally, his house of cedar, his court and palace, which he considered no other than as an inn he had put into upon his travels homeward; or rather the earthly house of his tabernacle, in which, as long as he continued, he was but a pilgrim and stranger; or, best of all, the whole course of his life; which Jacob calls the days of the years of his pilgrimage, Genesis 47:9; so Hipparchus the Pythagorean (i) calls this life a sort of a pilgrimage; and Plato also. This world is not the saints house and home; this is not their rest and residence; they confess themselves pilgrims and strangers here; and that they belong to another city, and a better country, an heavenly one, which they are seeking and travelling to, Hebrews 11:13. And as travellers sing songs to themselves as they pass on, which makes the way the more easy and pleasant to them, so the psalmist had his songs which he sung in his pilgrimage state; and these were the statutes, or word of the Lord, and the things in it, which were as delightful to him as the songs of travellers to them. Or the songs he made and sung were composed out of the word of God; and which may serve to recommend the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, made by him, the sweet psalmist of Israel, to the Gospel churches, to be sung by them, Ephesians 5:19.

(i) De Anim. Tranquill. inter Fragm. Pythagor. p. 11. Ed. Gale.

Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my {e} pilgrimage.

(e) In the course of this life and sorrowful exit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
54. God’s statutes form the theme of his songs; they calm his mind and refresh his spirit in this transitory life of trial (Genesis 47:9; 1 Chronicles 29:15), as songs beguile the night (Job 35:10), or cheer the traveller on his journey.

pilgrimage] Lit. sojoumings. Cp.v. 19.Verse 54. - Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage; literally, songs have thy statutes been to me in the house of my sojournings. I have made thy statutes the theme of my songs, as they are of this present one. "The house of my sojournings" is either this present world, where all men are "strangers and pilgrims" (Hebrews 11:13), or perhaps some foreign land in which the writer had been a sojourner. The eightfold Vav. He prays for the grace of true and fearlessly joyous confession. The lxx renders Psalm 119:41: καὶ ἔλθοι ἐπ ̓ ἐμε ̓ τὸ ἔλεός σου; but the Targum and Jerome rightly (cf. Psalm 119:77, Isaiah 63:7) have the plural: God's proofs of loving-kindness in accordance with His promises will put him in the position that he will not be obliged to be dumb in the presence of him who reproaches him (חרף, prop. a plucker, cf. Arab. charûf, a lamb equals a plucker of leaves or grass), but will be able to answer him on the ground of his own experience. The verb ענה, which in itself has many meanings, acquires the signification "to give an answer" through the word, דּבר, that is added (synon. השׁיב דּבר). Psalm 119:43 also refers to the duty of confessing God. The meaning of the prayer is, that God may not suffer him to come to such a pass that he will be utterly unable to witness for the truth; for language dies away in the mouth of him who is unworthy of its before God. The writer has no fear of this for himself, for his hope is set towards God's judgments (למשׁפּטך, defective plural, as also in Psalm 119:149; in proof of which, compare Psalm 119:156 and Psalm 119:175), his confidence takes its stand upon them. The futures which follow from Psalm 119:44 to Psalm 119:48 declare that what he would willingly do by the grace of God, and strives to do, is to walk בּרחבה, in a broad space (elsewhere בּמּרחב), therefore unstraitened, which in this instance is not equivalent to happily, but courageously and unconstrainedly, without allowing myself to be intimidated, and said of inward freedom which makes itself known outwardly. In Psalm 119:46 the Vulgate renders: Et loquebar de (in) testimoniis tuis in conspectu regum et non confundebar - the motto of the Augsburg Confession, to which it was adapted especially in connection with this historical interpretation of the two verbs, which does not correspond to the original text. The lifting up of the hands in Psalm 119:48 is an expression of fervent longing desire, as in connection with prayer, Psalm 28:2; Psalm 63:5; Psalm 134:2; Psalm 141:2, and frequently. The second אשׁר אהבתי is open to the suspicion of being an inadvertent repetition. שׂיח בּ (synon. בּ הגה) signifies a still or audible meditating that is absorbed in the object.
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