“My soul clings to the dust.
Revive me according to your word!
When I told of my ways,
You answered me.
Teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts.
I will meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow.
Strengthen me according to your word!
Put false ways far from me!
Graciously teach me your law!
I have chosen the way of faithfulness.
I set your ordinances before me.
I cling to your decrees.
Let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of your commandments.
You enlarge my understanding!”
This psalmist prays to Yahweh. He wanted to be revived by Yahweh since he had formerly answered his prayers. He wanted to know more about the statutes. Apparently the statutes were difficult things to learn. He was going to meditate on the these decrees so that he might better understand the wondrous works of Yahweh. He wanted to stay away from false ways. He wanted to be faithful as he clung to these decrees. He did not want to be put to shame. He was seeking a better understanding of the commandments. This section on the fourth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Dalet, ends with this plea.
“Happy are those whose way is blameless!
They walk in the law of Yahweh.
Happy are those who keep his decrees!
They seek him with their whole heart.
They also do no wrong.
They walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precept.
You have commanded it to be kept diligently.
O that my ways may be steadfast!
That I may keep your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame.
I have my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart.
I will learn your righteous ordinances.
I will observe your statutes.
Do not utterly forsake me!”
Psalm 119 is one of the longest psalms. However, there are not any titles to this acrostic alphabet psalm about the importance of the law. There are 8 verses to every consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet instead of just a line or two as in some of the other acrostic psalms. In this eulogy to the law, the happy ones are the blameless ones because they walk in the law of Yahweh. They are happy because they keep his decrees. They seek Yahweh with their whole hearts. They do not do anything wrong because they keep Yahweh’s commandments diligently. They are steadfast in their determination to follow the law. The psalmist will try not to be ashamed as he tries to follow the law. He gets personal since he has an upright heart. Using the first person singular, he wanted to learn all the right ordinances and statutes. He wanted to observe them. He asked Yahweh not to forsake him. This section on the first consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph, comes to an end.
“Moses and Aaron were among his priests.
Samuel also was among
Those who called on his name.
They cried to Yahweh.
He answered them.
He spoke to them in the pillar of the cloud.
They kept his decrees.
They kept the statutes that he gave them.”
We see that there are 3 main figures of the past that dominate, Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. Moses and Aaron were called priests. Samuel was more of a prophet intercessor. They cried to Yahweh who answered them in the cloud pillar. Why were these ancient ones of Moses, Aaron, and Samuel successful? They kept the decrees and statutes of Yahweh. These decrees and statutes came directly from Yahweh, so that there was very little dispute about them.
“Your decrees are very sure.
Holiness befits your house.
This short psalm ends with the praise of Yahweh’s decrees that are clear and sure. Holiness surrounds his house, the Temple, now and forever.