“As for the offerings
That you made
In the towns of Judah,
In the streets of Jerusalem,
Did not Yahweh remember them?
That is you with
The people of the land,
Did it not come into his mind?
Yahweh could no longer
Bear the sight
Of your evil doings,
That you committed.
Therefore your land
Became a desolation,
As it is to this day.
Because you burned offerings,
Because you sinned
You did not obey
The voice of Yahweh.
You did not
Walk in his law,
Walk in his statutes,
Walk in his decrees.
Thus this disaster
Has befallen you,
As is still evident today.”
Jeremiah justifies the punishment that they have today, based on their idolatrous sacrifices that they, their ancestors, their kings, their officials, and all the people had made earlier in Judah and Jerusalem. Did they think that Yahweh, their God, would forget this? Yahweh could no longer bear the sight of these evil abominations, so that he made their land desolate, a waste, and cursed, without inhabitants until the present time. They had sinned by offering these burnt sacrifices. They did not obey Yahweh. They would not follow his laws, statutes, or decrees. Thus this disaster has come upon them until the present day. Jeremiah thought that these refugees were too defiant against Yahweh.
“Yahweh swore to David a sure oath.
Yahweh will not turn back.
‘I will set on your throne
One of the sons of your body.
If your sons keep my covenant,
If they keep my decrees
That I shall teach them,
Their sons also forevermore
Shall sit upon your throne.’”
This section is based on the Prophet Nathan’s dream in 2 Samuel, chapter 7, as Yahweh swore an oath or covenant with David. This will be different from the covenant with Abraham and Moses. This covenant sets up a direct line of the sons of David who will be on the throne forever. However, there is a condition to it. They must keep his covenant and the decrees that Yahweh was going to teach them. If they followed his decrees, their sons would sit on the throne forever.
“Princes persecute me without cause.
But my heart stands in awe of your words.
I rejoice at your word,
Like one who finds great spoil.
I hate falsehood.
I abhor falsehood.
But I love your law.
Seven times a day,
I praise you
For your righteous ordinances.
Those who love your law have great peace.
Nothing can make them stumble.
I hope for your salvation.
I fulfill your commandments.
My soul keeps your decrees.
I love them exceedingly.
I keep your precepts.
I keep your decrees.
All my ways are before you.”
Princes persecute the psalmist without cause, but his heart is in awe of Yahweh. He rejoiced at the word of Yahweh like one who had found great spoil after a victory. He loved the law. He hated and abhorred falsehood. He prayed 7 times a day, much like the later Christian choral prayers. He praised God for his righteous ordinances. He wanted peace for those who loved the law because nothing could make them stumble. He fulfilled the commandments of Yahweh. He kept his commandments, decrees, and precepts. Everything was laid out for Yahweh to see. So ends this section on the twenty-first consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Shin.
“Look on my misery!
I do not forget your law.
Plead my cause!
Give me life
According to your promise!
Salvation is far from the wicked.
They do not seek your statutes.
Great is your mercy!
Give me life
According to your justice!
Many are my persecutors.
Many are my adversaries.
Yet I do not swerve from your decrees.
I look at the faithless with disgust.
Because they do not keep your commands.
Consider how I love your precepts!
Preserve my life
According to your steadfast love!
The sum of your word is truth.
Every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.”
This psalmist wanted to be rescued from his misery because he had not forgotten the law. He wanted a defense attorney and a redeemer. He wanted his life as Yahweh had promised. The wicked would not be saved because they did not seek Yahweh’s statutes. Yahweh’s mercy was great so that his justice would also help him. Although he had many persecutors and adversaries the psalmist did not swerve from Yahweh’s decrees. He looked at the unfaithful in disgust because they did not keep Yahweh’s commands. He, on the other hand, loved Yahweh’s precepts. He wanted his life preserved because of Yahweh’s love. The word of Yahweh is truth so that every one of his just ordinances would endure forever. So ends this section on the twentieth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Resh.
“With my whole heart
I will keep your statutes.
I cry to you.
Thus I may observe your decrees.
I rise before dawn.
I cry for help.
I put my hope in your words.
My eyes are awake before each watch of the night.
Thus I may meditate on your promise.
In your steadfast love,
Hear my voice!
In your justice,
Preserve my life!
Those who persecute me with evil purpose,
They are far from your law.
You are near.
All your commandments are true.
I learned from your decrees.
You have established them forever.”
This psalmist cried for help to Yahweh from his heart. He wanted to be saved because he kept the statutes of Yahweh. He rose before dawn with his crying prayer to Yahweh. In the middle of the night, he would get up and meditate on the promises of Yahweh. He wanted the steadfast love of Yahweh in his justice to preserve his life. He was being persecuted with an evil purpose by those who were far from Yahweh’s law. He wanted Yahweh near him because his commandments were true. He had long ago learned from Yahweh’s decrees that had been established forever. So ends this section on the nineteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Qoph.
“You are righteous!
Your judgments are right.
You have appointed your decrees in righteousness.
You have appointed your decrees in all faithfulness.
My zeal consumes me.
Because my foes forget your words.
Your promise is well tried.
Your servant loves it.
I am small.
I am despised.
Yet I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.
Your law is the truth.
Trouble has come upon me.
Anguish has come upon me,
However your commandments are my delight.
Your decrees are righteous forever.
Give me understanding!
Thus I may live.”
The psalmist declared that Yahweh was righteous. His judgments and decrees were righteous and faithful. The zeal of the psalmist consumed him when he found out that his foes had forgotten the words of Yahweh. He, the servant of Yahweh, loved the decrees. Although he was small and despised, he never forgot the precepts of Yahweh. Yahweh’s righteousness was everlasting because his law was the truth. Even though he was in trouble and anguish, the psalmist delighted in Yahweh’s commandments. All he asked for was understanding, so that he might live. So ends this section on the eighteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Cade.
“Your decrees are wonderful.
Therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light.
It imparts understanding to the simple.
With open mouth I pant.
Because I long for your commandments.
Turn to me!
Be gracious to me!
It is your custom toward those who love your name.
Keep my steps steady
According to your promise!
Never let iniquity have dominion over me!
Redeem me from human oppression!
Thus I may keep your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your servant.
Teach me your statutes!
My eyes shed streams of tears.
Because your law is not kept.”
The psalmist wanted to remain steady in his steps that were following the law, since Yahweh’s decrees are wonderful. The unfolding of his words gives light so that he has a simple understanding. He longed and panted for Yahweh’s commandments. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him because Yahweh loved him. He wanted his steps kept steady just as Yahweh had promised. He did not want iniquity to have dominion over him. He wanted to be redeemed from human oppression. He would then be able to keep the precepts of Yahweh because his face shines on him. He wanted to learn the statutes. He cried when he learned that some people did not keep the law. So ends this section on the seventeenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Phe.
“I hate the double-minded people.
But I love your law.
You are my hiding place.
You are my shield.
I hope in your word.
Go away from me!
Thus I may keep the commandments of my God.
Uphold me according to your promise!
Thus I may live.
Let me not be put to shame in my hope!
Hold me up!
Thus I may be safe.
I have regard for your statutes continually!
You spurn all who go astray from your statutes.
Their cunning is in vain.
All the wicked of the earth,
You count as dross.
Therefore I love your decrees.
My flesh trembles for fear of you.
I am afraid of your judgments.”
The psalmist did not like those who were double minded since he loved single minded people and the law. He used the law as a shield as he hoped in the word of God. He wanted the evildoers to go away so that he could keep the commandments of God. He wanted God’s promise to sustain his life so that he would not be put to shame. He wanted to be held safe according to the statutes of God. He knew that God spurned those who went astray from the commandments. Their cunning ways were useless and not worth anything. This psalmist, on the other hand, loved the decrees of God. He trembled with fear because he was afraid of God’s judgments. So ends this section on the fifteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Samek.
“Yahweh is my portion.
I promise to keep your words.
I implore your favor with all my heart.
Be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think of your ways,
I turn my feet to your decrees.
I do not delay
To keep your commandments.
Even though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
I rise to praise you,
Because of your righteous ordinances.
I am a companion of all
Who fear you.
I am a companion of
Those who keep your precepts.
The earth is full of your steadfast love.
Teach me your statutes!”
This psalmist promised to keep the words of Yahweh. He wanted Yahweh to continue with his gracious promise. When he thought about Yahweh, he turned his feet to Yahweh’s decrees. He hurried to keep all the commandments of God. Even though the wicked ones tried to ensnarl him, he did not forget the law. In fact, he rose at midnight to praise Yahweh and his righteous ordinances. He was a companion to those who fear God and keep his precepts. The earth is full of the steadfast love of Yahweh. This psalmist wanted to learn more about the statutes of Yahweh. So ends this section on the eighth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Het.
“Let your steadfast love come to me!
Let your salvation come to me according to your promise!
Then I shall have an answer for those who taunt me.
I trust in your word.
Do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth.
My hope is in your ordinances.
I will keep your law continually,
Forever and ever.
I shall walk at liberty.
I have sought your precepts.
I will also speak of your decrees before kings.
I shall not be put to shame.
I find my delight in your commandments.
I love them!
I revere your commandments.
I love them!
I will meditate on your statutes.”
The psalmist wants the steadfast love of Yahweh to be with him. He wanted to be saved as Yahweh had promised. He trusted in the word of Yahweh. He did not want to be taunted. He had hope in the ordinances and laws of Yahweh. He wanted to continually walk in the liberty that God’s ordinances brought him. He wanted to tell kings about his God’s decrees. He delighted and loved the commandments of God. He wanted to meditate on all God’s statutes. So ends this section on the sixth consonant of the Hebrew alphabet, Vav.