Psalm 119:1-8

Submitted by admin on Sat, 2008-02-23 14:22.

Posted in | printer-friendly version »

Every verse starts with the Hebrew letter aleph.

All who are “blameless in the way” or faultless in the manner in which they conduct themselves are pronounced fortunate, happy, or in an enviable state of well-being. They walk in YHWH’s law, living a life that adheres to his commands. (Regarding the divine name [YHWH], see Psalm 1.)

Persons who keep God’s “testimonies” with all of their heart and seek him enjoy a contented life. They are fortunate or blessed with an inner happiness. The “testimonies” are God’s commands, solemn charges, or decrees. To observe them with all of one’s heart would mean to have one’s whole being involved. It would be an obedient response to divine commands—a response originating in the deep inner self. Seeking God would denote earnestly endeavoring to have and to maintain a good relationship with him, living in a manner that conforms to his will.

Those whom the psalmist pronounced fortunate do not engage in wrong. They walk in God’s ways, conducting themselves according to the guidance of his law. According to the Septuagint, persons who “work lawlessness” did not walk in God’s ways.

The Most High “commanded” his instructions or orders (“commands,” LXX). This indicates that instructions were given in an authoritative manner. They were to be observed with the utmost care.

In his ways or his conduct, the psalmist desired to be firm in keeping God’s statutes. The Septuagint represents him as wanting his ways to be regulated in order to keep them. With his attention focused on all of God’s commands, he would not be put to shame (as would one who had pursued a foolish course). Ultimately, only good results from faithful obedience to God’s law.

With an upright heart or with a purely motivated inmost self, the psalmist, upon learning God’s righteous judgments, wanted to praise him. As one who highly valued these judgments or ordinances, he desired to acknowledge the Most High as their source.

The psalmist resolved to observe God’s statutes, loyally adhering to divine regulations. He knew that the Most High had withdrawn his aid and protection from the Israelites when they disregarded his commands. Therefore, he pleaded that this would not happen to him, praying, “Do not completely forsake me.”