Psalm 71:19
Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) Very high.—Literally, to the height, i.e., to the heavens, as in Psalm 36:5; Psalm 57:10. The clauses should be arranged, Thy righteousness also, O God, to the height—Thou who doest great things—God, who is like unto thee? (Comp. Exodus 15:11.)

Psalm 71:19. Thy righteousness also is very high — Most eminent and evident, as high things are; and that which thou hast in righteousness done for thy people is very great. God’s righteousness, here intended, includes the rectitude of his nature; the equity of his providential dispensations; the righteous laws which he hath given us to be ruled by; the righteous promises he hath given us to depend upon; and the everlasting righteousness which his Son hath brought in, by his obedience unto death, for our justification.

71:14-24 The psalmist declares that the righteousness of Christ, and the great salvation obtained thereby, shall be the chosen subject of his discourse. Not on a sabbath only, but on every day of the week, of the year, of his life. Not merely at stated returns of solemn devotion, but on every occasion, all the day long. Why will he always dwell on this? Because he knew not the numbers thereof. It is impossible to measure the value or the fulness of these blessings. The righteousness is unspeakable, the salvation everlasting. God will not cast off his grey-headed servants when no longer capable of labouring as they have done. The Lord often strengthens his people in their souls, when nature is sinking into decay. And it is a debt which the old disciples of Christ owe to succeeding generations, to leave behind them a solemn testimony to the advantage of religion, and the truth of God's promises; and especially to the everlasting righteousness of the Redeemer. Assured of deliverance and victory, let us spend our days, while waiting the approach of death, in praising the Holy One of Israel with all our powers. And while speaking of his righteousness, and singing his praises, we shall rise above fears and infirmities, and have earnests of the joys of heaven. The work of redemption ought, above all God's works, to be spoken of by us in our praises. The Lamb that was slain, and has redeemed us to God, is worthy of all blessing and praise.Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high - See the notes at Psalm 36:5. The purpose of the psalmist is to exalt that righteousness as much as possible, and he, therefore, compares it with that which is high - the heavens - the highest thing of all. The literal rendering would be, "even to the high," or the height; that is, to the highest place. The passage is designed to express his confidence in God, in the infirmities and troubles which he must expect to come upon him with advancing years.

Who hast done great things - In his work of creation; in his providence; in his manifested mercy toward his people. He had done things so great as to show that he could protect those who put their trust in him.

O God, who is like unto thee! - Who can be compared to thee! See the notes at Psalm 35:10. Compare the notes at Isaiah 40:18. See also Psalm 89:8; Exodus 15:11; 2 Samuel 7:22.

19. is very high—distinguished (Ps 36:5; Isa 55:9).19 Thy righteousness also, O God: is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!

20 Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

21 Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side."

Psalm 71:19

"Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high." Very sublime, unsearchable, exalted, and glorious is the holy character of God, and his way of making men righteous. His plan of righteousness uplifts men from the gates of hell to the mansions of heaven. It is a high-doctrine gospel, gives a high experience, leads to high practice, and ends in high felicity. "Who hast done great things." The exploits of others are mere child's play compared with thine, and are not worthy to be mentioned in the same age. Creation, providence, redemption, are all unique, and nothing can compare with them. "O God, who is like unto thee." As thy works are so transcendent, so art thou. Thou art without compeer, or even second; and such are thy works, and such, especially, thy plan of justifying sinners by the righteousness which thou hast provided. Adoration is a fit frame of mind, for the believer. When he draws near to: God, he enters into a region where everything is surpassingly sublime; miracles of love abound on every hand, and marvels of mingled justice and grace. A traveller among the high Alps often feels overwhelmed with awe, amid their amazing sublimities; much more is this the case when we survey the heights and depths of the mercy and holiness of the Lord. "O God, who is like unto thee."

Psalm 71:20

"Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shall quicken me again." Here is faith's inference from the infinite greatness of the Lord. He has been strong to Smite; he will be also strong to save. He has shown me many heavy and severe trials, and he will also show me many and precious mercies. He has almost killed me, he will speedily revive me; and though I have been almost dead and buried, he will give me a resurrection, and "bring me up again from the depths of the earth." However low the Lord may permit us to sink, he will fix a limit to the descent,: and in due time will bring us up again. Even when we are laid low in the tomb, the mercy is that we can go no lower, but shall retrace our steps and mount to better lands; and all this, because the Lord is ever mighty to save. A little God would fail us, but not Jehovah the Omnipotent. It is safe to lean on him, since he bears up the pillars both of heaven and earth.

Psalm 71:21

"Thou shalt increase my greatness." As a king, David grew in influence and power. God did great things for him, and by him, and this is all the greatness believers want. May we have faith in God, such as these words evince. "And comfort me on every side." As we were surrounded with afflictions, so shall we be environed with consolations. From above, and from all around, light Shall come to dispel our former gloom; the change shall be great, indeed, when the Lord returns, to comfort us.

Very high, i.e. most eminent and evident, as high things are.

Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high,.... Or, "unto the place on high" (f); it reaches unto heaven, as the mercy, truth, and faithfulness of God, are said to do, Psalm 36:5. The righteousness of Christ is accepted of with God the Father in heaven; it is in Christ, who is there at the right hand of God; and it is higher and infinitely above any righteousness of a creature, angel's or man's;

who hast done great things; in nature, in forming the world out of nothing, and in upholding all creatures in their beings; in providence, in governing the world, and ordering all things in it for the best, and to answer the wisest purposes; in grace, in the salvation of lost sinners by Christ; in the justification of them by his righteousness; and in the atonement and pardon of their sins, through his blood and sacrifice; in the regeneration of them by his grace; in making and performing exceeding great and precious promises, and in giving them eternal life;

O God, who is like unto thee? either for greatness or goodness; for power or for mercy; for justice, truth, and faithfulness; for the perfections of his nature, or the works of his hands; and to be praised, reverenced and adored, as he is; see Psalm 89:6.

(f) "usque in excelsum", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus; "in altum usque", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Thy {n} righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!

(n) Your just performance of your promise.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. is very high] Lit., (reacheth) unto the height, of heaven. Cp. Psalm 36:5; Psalm 57:10; Job 11:8.

who hast done &c.] It is better with R.V. to connect this clause with what follows: Thou who hast done great things, O God, who is like unto thee? Jehovah is incomparable for power and goodness. The fundamental passage is Exodus 15:11; cp. Psalm 35:10; Psalm 86:8; Psalm 89:6; Psalm 89:8; Micah 7:18.

Verse 19. - Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high; or, reaches to the height (comp. Psalm 7:7; Psalm 10:5; Psalm 18:16, etc.). Who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! (comp. Psalm 35:10; Psalm 89:6, 8). Psalm 71:19The thought of this proclamation so thoroughly absorbs the poet that he even now enters upon the tone of it; and since to his faith the deliverance is already a thing of the past, the tender song with its uncomplaining prayer dies away into a loud song of praise, in which he pictures it all to himself. Without Psalm 71:19-21 being subordinate to עד־אגיד in Psalm 71:18, וצדקתך is coupled by close connection with בגורתך. Psalm 71:19 is an independent clause; and עד־מרום takes the place of the predicate: the righteousness of God exceeds all bounds, is infinite (Psalm 36:6., Psalm 57:11). The cry כמוך מי, as in Psalm 35:10; Psalm 69:9, Jeremiah 10:6, refers back to Exodus 15:11. According to the Chethb, the range of the poet's vision widens in Psalm 71:20 from the proofs of the strength and righteousness of God which he has experienced in his own case to those which he has experienced in common with others in the history of his own nation. The Ker (cf. on the other hand Psalm 60:5; Psalm 85:7; Deuteronomy 31:17) rests upon a failing to discern how the experiences of the writer are interwoven with those of the nation. תּשׁוּב in both instances supplies the corresponding adverbial notion to the principal verb, as in Psalm 85:7 (cf. Psalm 51:4). תּהום, prop. a rumbling, commonly used of a deep heaving of waters, here signifies an abyss. "The abysses of the earth" (lxx ἐκ τῶν ἀβύσσων τῆς γῆς, just as the old Syriac version renders the New Testament ἄβυσσος, e.g., in Luke 8:31, by Syr. tehūmā') are, like the gates of death (Psalm 9:14), a figure of extreme perils and dangers, in the midst of which one is as it were half hidden in the abyss of Hades. The past and future are clearly distinguished in the sequence of the tenses. When God shall again raise His people out of the depth of the present catastrophe, then will He also magnify the גּדלּה of the poet, i.e., in the dignity of his office, by most brilliantly vindicating him in the face of his foes, and will once more (תּסּוב, fut. Niph. like תּשׁוּב ekil .h above) comfort him. He on his part will also (cf. Job 40:14) be grateful for this national restoration and this personal vindication: he will praise God, will praise His truth, i.e., His fidelity to His promises. בּכלי נבל instead of בּנבל sounds more circumstantial than in the old poetry. The divine name "The Holy One of Israel" occurs here for the third time in the Psalter; the other passages are Psalm 78:41; Psalm 89:19, which are older in time, and older also than Isaiah, who uses it thirty times, and Habakkuk, who uses it once. Jeremiah has it twice (Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:5), and that after the example of Isaiah. In Psalm 71:23, Psalm 71:24 the poet means to say that lips and tongue, song and speech, shall act in concert in the praise of God. תּרנּנּה with Dagesh also in the second Nun, after the form תּקוננּה, תּשׁכּנּה, side by side with which we also find the reading תּרנּנּה, and the reading תּרנּנה, which is in itself admissible, after the form תּאמנה, תּעגנה, but is here unattested.

(Note: Heidenheim reads תּרנּנּה with Segol, following the statement of Ibn-Bil'am in his טעמי המקרא and of Mose ha-Nakdan in his דרכי הנקוד, that Segol always precedes the ending נּה, with the exception only of הנּה and האזנּה. Baer, on the other hand, reads תונּנּה, following Aben-Ezra and Kimchi (Michlol 66b).)

The cohortative after כּי (lxx ὅταν) is intended to convey this meaning: when I feel myself impelled to harp unto Thee. In the perfects in the closing line that which is hoped for stands before his soul as though it had already taken place. כי is repeated with triumphant emphasis.

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