Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Gift of God's Word Part II


This Psalm does not name its author nor does it give us the reason why it was written. It doesn’t even have a title. Most scholars believe it was written by David. The argument goes like this; after you read David’s writings a number of times in the Psalms that are attributed to David you can begin to get a feel for the style, language, and feeling that distinguishes his writings. Most people believe that you can sense David throughout this Psalm.

Charles Spurgeon wrote: “The fashion among modern writers is, as far as possible, to take every Psalm from David. As the critics of this school are usually unsound in doctrine and unspiritual in tone, we gravitate in the opposite direction, from a natural suspicion of everything which comes from so unsatisfactory a quarter. We believe that David wrote this Psalm. It is Davidic in tone and expression, and it tallies with David's experience in many interesting points. In our youth our teacher called it "David's pocket book” and we incline to the opinion then expressed that here we have the royal diary written at various times throughout a long life. No, we cannot give up this Psalm to the enemy. "This is David's spoil". After long reading an author one gets to know his style, and a measure of discernment is acquired by which his composition is detected even if his name be concealed; we feel a kind of critical certainty that the hand of David is in this thing, yea, that it is altogether his own.”

Though we don’t have evidence or proof, this Psalm is general considered to be authored by David. Of course many others including Daniel and Ezra have also been suggested by some as a possible author. I think this Psalm is from David’s pen. But it doesn’t really matter does it? The Holy Spirit is the author, it is inspired, profitable, and has been preserved by God’s grace for our benefit.


For the record, there is no real outline for this Psalm. There are different key features or subjects that are touched on throughout the Psalm. Some of those features are touched upon repeatedly.

Psalm 119 is considered to be an acrostic Psalm. It is composed of twenty two sections, with each section containing eight (8) lines. All eight (8) lines in each section begin with the same letter from the Hebrew alphabet. The author continues using each letter of the Hebrew alphabet until all twenty-two (22) letters are used.

Nathaniel Hardy, (1618-1670) made this observation, "that the 119th Psalm is disposed according to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, perhaps to intimate that children, when they begin to learn their alphabet, should learn that Psalm." Children could learn the Hebrew alphabet and this Psalm at the same time.

Each of the eight (8) verse stanzas are begun by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. We don’t see this in English. So, let me write the first eight verses as they were when David wrote them so you can get a feel for this: (This is verses 1-8)

A blessing is on them that are undefiled in the way and walk in the law of Jehovah;

A blessing is on them that keep his testimonies, and seek him with their whole heart;

Also on them that do no wickedness, but walk in his ways.

A law hast thou given unto us, that we should diligently keep thy commandments.

Ah! Lord, that my ways were made so direct that I might keep thy statutes!

And then shall I not be confounded.While I have respect unto all thy commandments.

As for me, I will thank thee with an unfeigned heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

An eye will I have unto thy ceremonies, O forsake me not utterly.


BeeZee said...

After completing the main section of prayers in each of the daily services, we say verses for our names that are taken from somewhere in the Tenach. These either include our names, begin and end with the same letters that our names begin and end with, or have some other connection to our names. The verse for my first name is verse 12 from this Psalm, "Boruch ata Hashem, lamdeini chukecha."

Lisa said...

My goodness. I love learning more and more about the Bible. I read some of the book of Psalms with my devotions, so will read with a leaning toward understanding the style of writing as well as what is being said. When you ask for understanding from Him, He is faithful to give it to you!


This is another thing I have learned from yoour blog, Thanks Gregg.



Many so called Christian evangelist that give out a feel good watered down gospel need to read Psalm 119, especially verse 27 and ask God to give them understanding and wisdom when they share His plan of salvation.

Psalm 119:27
Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

Gregg said...

BeeZee - thank you for commenting. I see from the Hebrew words how your name is linked to this verse. I find your comment interesting in the sense that you have a verse for your name - to say it in our vernacular, I think that is cool.

Lisa - glad you are learning something, my goal is to be a blessing! Yes, He is faithful!

Yvonne - glad you have been blessed and I was able to share something.

OG - as you would agree, a watered down gospel is no gospel. It is sad that we have lost the meaning of Romans 1:16, the gospel is the power of God - we have removed the power and replaced with so many other things.