Psalm 19:10
More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Honeycomb.—(See margin.) The honey that drops from the comb is the finest and purest.

Psalm 19:10. More to be desired are they than gold — Than the wealth of this world, although so generally preferred before them; yea, than much fine gold — Than gold of the best quality, and in the greatest quantity; than all the treasures and precious things which are brought from other countries. Sweeter also — Namely, to the soul of the pious believer; than honey and the honeycomb — Than the sweetest thing we know of is to the bodily taste: yielding more true, and noble, and lasting satisfaction and happiness than any or all the delights of sense. Observe, reader, the pleasures of sense are the delight of brutes, and therefore debase the soul of man: the pleasures of religion are the delight of angels, and exalt it. The pleasures of sense are deceitful, they soon surfeit, and yet never satisfy; but those of religion are substantial, and satisfying, and there is no danger of exceeding in the pursuit or enjoyment of them.19:7-10 The Holy Scripture is of much greater benefit to us than day or night, than the air we breathe, or the light of the sun. To recover man out of his fallen state, there is need of the word of God. The word translated law, may be rendered doctrine, and be understood as meaning all that teaches us true religion. The whole is perfect; its tendency is to convert or turn the soul from sin and the world, to God and holiness. It shows our sinfulness and misery in departing from God, and the necessity of our return to him. This testimony is sure, to be fully depended on: the ignorant and unlearned believing what God saith, become wise unto salvation. It is a sure direction in the way of duty. It is a sure fountain of living comforts, and a sure foundation of lasting hopes. The statues of the Lord are right, just as they should be; and, because they are right, they rejoice the heart. The commandments of the Lord are pure, holy, just, and good. By them we discover our need of a Saviour; and then learn how to adorn his gospel. They are the means which the Holy Spirit uses in enlightening the eyes; they bring us to a sight and sense of our sin and misery, and direct us in the way of duty. The fear of the Lord, that is, true religion and godliness, is clean, it will cleanse our way; and it endureth for ever. The ceremonial law is long since done away, but the law concerning the fear of God is ever the same. The judgments of the Lord, his precepts, are true; they are righteous, and they are so altogether; there is no unrighteousness in any of them. Gold is only for the body, and the concerns of time; but grace is for the soul, and the concerns of eternity. The word of God, received by faith, is more precious than gold; it is sweet to the soul, sweeter than honey. The pleasure of sense soon surfeit, yet never satisfy; but those of religion are substantial and satisfying; there is no danger of excess.More to be desired are they than gold - That is, his law; or, as in the preceding verse, his judgments. They are more valuable than gold; they are of such a nature that the soul should more desire to be in possession of them than to be in possession of gold, and should value them more. The psalmist here and in the following verses describes his estimate of the worth of revealed truth as he perceived it. In the previous verses he had shown its value in the abstract; he here speaks of his own feelings in regard to it, and shows that he esteems it more than he did the objects most prized and valued among men.

Yea, than much fine gold - The word used here - פז pâz - means properly that which is purified or pure, and thus becomes an epithet of gold, particularly of gold that is purified. It is rendered fine gold here, as in Psalm 119:127; Proverbs 8:19; Sol 5:11, Sol 5:15; Isaiah 13:12; Lamentations 4:2; and pure gold in Psalm 21:3. The word does not occur elsewhere. Gold is an article of principal value among men; and the object here is to show that to a pious mind the revealed truth of God is esteemed to be the most valuable of all things - a treasure above all which men can accumulate, and all which men can prize. Every truly pious heart will respond to the sentiment expressed here.

Sweeter also than honey - Honey, the sweetest of all substances, and regarded as an article of luxury, or as most grateful to the taste. It entered largely into the food of the inhabitants of Palestine, as it does now in Switzerland and in some parts of Africa. The idea is that the truth of God, as revealed, is more grateful to the heart, or affords more pleasure to the soul, than that which is esteemed as the highest luxury to the palate. The meaning is, that it is loved; it is pleasant; it is agreeable; it is not regarded merely as necessary, and admitted to the soul because it is needful, as medicine is, but it is received into the soul because it is delighted in, or is more agreeable and pleasant than the most luscious article of food is to the taste. To this, also, the heart of every one who "has tasted the good word of God" will respond.

And the honeycomb - Margin, dropping of honeycombs. So the Hebrew. The allusion is to honey that drops from the combs, and therefore the most pure honey. That which is pressed from the combs will have almost inevitably a mixture of bee-bread and of the combs themselves. That which naturally flows from the comb will be pure.

7-9. The law is described by six names, epithets, and effects. It is a rule, God's testimony for the truth, His special and general prescription of duty, fear (as its cause) and judicial decision. It is distinct and certain, reliable, right, pure, holy, and true. Hence it revives those depressed by doubts, makes wise the unskilled (2Ti 3:15), rejoices the lover of truth, strengthens the desponding (Ps 13:4; 34:6), provides permanent principles of conduct, and by God's grace brings a rich reward. Than much fine gold; than gold of the best quality, and in the greatest quantity.

Sweeter also than honey; which was most sweet in those Eastern countries.

The honeycomb; than that honey which the bees have most diligently wrought in their combs, and which freely flows from them; which is sweeter than the rest. More to be desired are they than gold,.... This refers to all the truths in the word of God; to all the doctrines of the Gospel; which, by good men, are more desirable, and by them more prized and valued, than all worldly riches and treasure;

yea, than much fine gold: more than gold, and the best of gold, and a great deal of it, than thousands of gold and silver; see Psalm 119:72, Proverbs 8:10;

sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb; or "the dropping of the honeycombs" (h), which is the purest and sweetest of the honey; and what honey is to the natural taste of men, that is the Gospel, and the truths of it, to the spiritual taste of believers, Psalm 119:103; and when the presence of Christ is enjoyed, his love is shed abroad, and the blessings of his grace are partook of, the ordinances of the Gospel are very delightful, Sol 2:3; eloquence, and eloquent orators, are sometimes described by mellifluous words; or by their expressions being like honey, and sweeter than that (i).

(h) "stillatione favorum", Vatablus, Rivetus, Cocceius; so Ainsworth. (i) , Homer. Iliad. 1. v. 249.

More to be {i} desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

(i) Unless God's word is esteemed above all worldly things, it is contemned.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. Such is the law in all its parts; a treasure to be coveted; the sweetest of enjoyments when received into the heart. Cp. Psalm 119:72; Psalm 119:103; Psalm 119:127.

the honeycomb] Lit. the droppings of the honeycomb, the purest honey which drops naturally from the comb.Verse 10. - More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold. (For the difference between "gold" (זהב) and "fine gold" (פז), see the 'Homiletic Commentary on Job,' p. 458.) God's Law is a far greater good to man, and therefore far more to be desired, than any amount of riches; much more must it be preferable to honey and the honeycomb. (Heb.: 19:5-7) Since אמר and דברים are the speech and words of the heavens, which form the ruling principal notion, comprehending within itself both יום and לילה, the suffixes of קוּם and מלּיהם must unmistakeably refer to השׁמים in spite of its being necessary to assign another reference to קולם in Psalm 19:4. Jeremiah 31:39 shows how we are to understand קו in connection with יצא. The measuring line of the heavens is gone forth into all the earth, i.e., has taken entire possession of the earth. Psalm 19:5 tells us what kind of measuring line is intended, viz., that of their heraldship: their words (from מלּה, which is more Aramaic than Hebrew, and consequently more poetic) reach to the end of the world, they fill it completely, from its extreme boundary inwards. Isaiah's קו, Psalm 28:1-9 :10, is inapplicable here, because it does not mean commandment, but rule, and is there used as a word of derision, rhyming with צו. The ὁ φθόγγος αὐτῶν of the lxx (ὁ ἦχος αὐτῶν Symm.) might more readily be justified, inasmuch as קו might mean a harpstring, as being a cord in tension, and then, like τόνος (cf. τοναία), a tone or sound (Gesenius in his Lex., and Ewald), if the reading קולם does not perhaps lie at the foundation of that rendering. But the usage of the language presents with signification of a measuring line for קו when used with יצא (Aq. κανών, cf. 2 Corinthians 10:13); and this gives a new thought, whereas in the other case we should merely have a repetition of what has been already expressed in Psalm 19:4. Paul makes use of these first two lines of the strophe in order, with its very words, to testify to the spread of the apostolic message over the whole earth. Hence most of the older expositors have taken the first half of the Psalm to be an allegorical prediction, the heavens being a figure of the church and the sun a figure of the gospel. The apostle does not, however, make a formal citation in the passage referred to, he merely gives a New Testament application to Old Testament language, by taking the all-penetrating praeconium coelorum as figure of the all-penetrating praeconium evangelii; and he is fully justified in so doing by the parallel which the psalmist himself draws between the revelation of God in nature and in the written word.

The reference of בּהם to השׁמים is at once opposed by the tameness of the thought so obtained. The tent, viz., the retreat (אהל, according to its radical meaning a dwelling, from אהל, cogn. אול, to retire from the open country) of the sun is indeed in the sky, but it is more naturally at the spot where the sky and the קצה תבל meet. Accordingly בהם has the neuter signification "there" (cf. Isaiah 30:6); and there is so little ground for reading שׁם instead of שׂם, as Ewald does, that the poet on the contrary has written בהם and not שׁם, because he has just used שׂם (Hitzig). The name of the sun, which is always feminine in Arabic, is predominantly masculine in Hebrew and Aramaic (cf. on the other hand Genesis 15:17, Nahum 3:17, Isaiah 45:6, Malachi 4:2); just as the Sabians and heathen Arabs had a sun-god (masc.). Accordingly in Psalm 19:6 the sun is compared to a bridegroom, who comes forth in the morning out of his חפּה. Joel 2:16 shows that this word means a bride-chamber; properly (from חפף to cover) it means a canopy (Isaiah 4:5), whence in later Hebrew the bridal or portable canopy (Talmud. בּית גּננא), which is supported by four poles and borne by four boys, at the consecration of the bridal pair, and then also the marriage itself, is called chuppa. The morning light has in it a freshness and cheerfulness, as it were a renewed youth. Therefore the morning sun is compared to a bridegroom, the desire of whose heart is satisfied, who stands as it were at the beginning of a new life, and in whose youthful countenance the joy of the wedding-day still shines. And as at its rising it is like a bridegroom, so in its rapid course (Sir. 43:5) it is like a hero (vid., on Psalm 18:34), inasmuch as it marches on its way ever anew, light-giving and triumphant, as often as it comes forth, with גּבוּרה (Judges 5:31). From one end of heaven, the extreme east of the horizon, is its going forth, i.e., rising (cf. Hosea 6:3; the opposite is מבוא going in equals setting), and its circuit (תּקוּפה, from קוּף equals נקף, Isaiah 29:1, to revolve) על־קצותם, to their (the heavens') end ( equals עד Deuteronomy 4:32), cf. 1 Esdr. 4:34: ταχὺς τῷ δρόμῳ ὁ ἥλιος, ὅτι στρέφεται ἐν τῷ κύκλῳ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ πάλιν ἀποτρέχει εἰς τὸν ἑαυτοῦ τόπον ἐν μιᾷ ἡμέρᾳ. On this open way there is not נסתּר, anything hidden, i.e., anything that remains hidden, before its heat. חמּה is the enlightening and warming influence of the sun, which is also itself called חמּה in poetry.

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