Psalm 119 - Greatness and Mystery of God's Law




[New International Version] Psalm 119 belongs to Book V of the Book of Psalms. It is a meditation and praise on the way God, with his law, defined the paths for human behavior.

The  PS 119  belong to Book V  Book of Ps , which is composed of a collection of texts 150 arranged by 5 poetry books. The Book of Psalms, for its  wisdom  and  basic principles  of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book V encompasses  Psalms 107  to  150 . Psalm 119 is divided into 176 Verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 119 - Greatness and Mystery of God’s Law

1  Blessed are those who follow a righteous path,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.

2  Happy are those who keep his precepts
and seek him with all their heart,

3  who do not do wickedness,
but walk in the ways of the Lord.

4  You have established your precepts,
to be faithfully carried out.

5  May my steps be firm,
to carry out your decrees.

6  Then I will not have to be ashamed, paying attention
to all your commandments.

7  I will be able to praise you with a sincere heart,
instructed by your righteous judgments.

8  I will fulfill your laws;
never leave me.

9  How can a young man keep his path intact?
Keeping your words.

10  I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me deviate from your commandments.

11  I keep your words in my heart, that I may
not sin against you.

12  Blessed are you, Lord!
Teach me your laws.

13  With my lips have I proclaimed
all the decrees of your mouth.

14  I have more joy in following your orders
than with all riches.

15 I will  meditate on your precepts
and pay attention to your ways.

16  In thy laws are my delights;
I will not forget your words.

17  Do your servant a favor:
that I may live and keep your word!

18  Open my eyes that I may see
the wonders of your law.

19  I am a pilgrim in this land,
hide not your commandments from me.

20  My soul faints,
in the desire of your sentences, at all times.

21  You rebuke the proud;
cursed are those who transgress your commandments.

22  Keep insults and contempt from me,
because I have observed your teachings.

23  Though the great ones feel conspiring against me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.

24  Yes. Your precepts are my delights;
they are the members of my council.

25  My soul is glued to the dust;
restore my life according to your word.

26  I told you my ways and you answered me;
teach me your laws.

27  Make me understand the way of your precepts,
to meditate on your wonders.

28  My soul weeps with sorrow;
comfort me according to your word.

29  Depart from me the ways of lying,
and grant me the grace of your law.

30  I chose the path of fidelity
and gave preference to your sentences.

31 I  clung to your teachings, Lord,
don’t let me be ashamed.

32  I want to run in the way of your commandments,
because you give breadth to my heart.

33  Teach me, Lord, the way of your laws,
that I want to keep them as a reward.

34  Give me understanding that I may fulfill your law;
I will obey him with all my heart.

35  Make me walk in the path of your commandments,
because in them I feel satisfaction.

36  Incline my heart to your teachings,
not to covetousness.

37  Turn my eyes away from what is false;
make me live in your ways.

38  Confirm to your servant your promise,
destined to those who fear you.

39 Take  away from me the affront that I fear,
for your judgments are pleasing.

40  See how I have desired your precepts;
make me live according to your justice.

41  Let your mercy
come upon me, Lord, let your salvation come, according to your promise.

42  Then I will give an answer to those who insult me,
because I trust in your word.

43  Never take the word of truth out of my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your judgments.

44 I will  keep your law continually
for ever and ever.

45  I will walk in wide paths,
for I have sought your instructions.

46  Before kings I will speak of your precepts,
and I will not be ashamed.

47 I  put my delights in your commandments,
which I love very much.

48  I will lift up my hands
for your commandments which I love,
and I will meditate on your laws.

49  Remember the word given to your servant,
of which you made my hope.

50  My consolation in my anguish
is that your word gives me life.

51  The proud mocked me greatly,
but I did not depart from your law.

52  I remember your decrees of old;
in them I find consolation, O Lord.

53  I am overcome by indignation against evildoers,
who reject your law.

54  Your decrees are my songs
in the house of my sojourn.

55  At night I remember your name, Lord,
and I keep watch with your law.

56  One thing has always counted for me:
keeping your precepts.

57  I said: my inheritance is the Lord, it
is to put into practice thy words.

58 With  all my heart I implore you,
have mercy on me according to your promise.

59  I reflected on my ways
and I return to direct my steps by your precepts.

60  I hastened and did not let myself be discouraged
in keeping your commandments.

61  The nets of evildoers have surrounded me,
but I have not forgotten your law.

62  In the middle of the night I rise to praise you
because of your judgments of justice.

63  I am a friend to all who fear you
and to those who carry out your orders.

64  O Lord, the earth is full of thy goodness;
teach me your laws.

65 You  treated your servant with kindness
according to your word, Lord.

66  Teach me common sense and knowledge,
for I trust in Your commandments.

67  Before I was humiliated, I was a transgressor;
but now I keep your word.

68  You are good and do good,
teach me your laws.

69  The proud forge lies against me,
but I carry out your instructions with all my heart.

70  His heart became heavy and unfeeling;
as for me, in your law are my delights.

71  It was good for me to have been afflicted,
for thus I learned your laws.

72  The law of your mouth is better for me
than millions in gold and silver.

73  Your hands created and formed me;
give me intelligence to learn your commandments.

74  When they see me, those who fear you will rejoice,
because I have put my hope in your word.

75  Lord, I know that your sentences are fair
and it is truly that you humiliate me.

76  I ask your mercy to comfort me,
as you promised your servant.

77  May your compassion come upon me and I will live,
for in your law are my delights.

78  Let the proud
who mislead me with false hoods be confounded,
while I meditate on your precepts.

79  Let those who fear you
and who know your precepts return to me.

80  May my heart be perfect in your laws,
and in this way I shall not be ashamed.

81  My soul is consumed waiting for your salvation:
I trust in your word.

82  My eyes are consumed by your promise,
asking when you will come to comfort me.

83  I’m like someone crying over smoke,
but I haven’t forgotten your precepts.

84  How many days will your servant have?
When will you bring justice to those who persecute me?

85  The proud have dug pits for me;
this is not in accordance with your law.

86  All your commandments are true;
they chase me for no reason. Help me!

87  They nearly eliminated me from the earth,
but I never forsook your precepts.

88  Give me life for your mercy,
and I will do the bidding of your mouth.

89  Lord, your word stands forever,
more stable than the heavens.

90  Your faithfulness lasts from generation to generation;
you established the land and it stands firm.

91  Your decrees still stand today,
because they are all your work.

92  If I had not my delights in your law,
I would have already succumbed to my affliction.

93  I will never forget your precepts,
for it is for them that you give me life.

94  I am yours: save me,
for I have always sought your precepts!

95  The evildoers wait for my doom,
but I heed your orders.

96  For all perfection I saw limits;
but the breadth of your commandments is great.

97  How I love your law, Lord!
I meditate on it all day long.

98  Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
because it is always with me.

99  I became better educated than all my teachers,
because your precepts are my meditation.

100  I have more understanding than the elders,
because I have carried out your instructions.

101  I turned my feet away from every evil way,
to obey your word.

102  I have not deviated from your sentences,
for it was You who instructed me.

103  How sweet is your word to my taste!
Sweeter than honey to my mouth.

104  From your precepts I received understanding;
that’s why I hate any way of lying.

105  Your word is a lantern for my steps
and a light for my paths.

106  I swore and I will do it myself;
I will observe your just decrees.

107  I feel deeply anguished,
give me life, Lord, according to your word.

108  Accept, Lord, the praises of my mouth,
and teach me your decrees.

109  My soul is in the hands of the eternal,
and I do not forget your law.

110  The evildoers set a trap for me,
but I never strayed from your precepts.

111  Your orders are my inheritance forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.

112 I have  guided my heart to fulfill your laws:
this is the reward forever.

113  I hate false spirits
and I love your law.

114  You are my refuge, my protective shield;
in your word I put my trust.

115  Depart from me, you perverse ones,
for I want to keep the commandments of my God.

116 Support  me, according to your promise, and I will live;
and do not embarrass me because of my hope.

117  Help me and thus I will be saved;
and I will always be attentive to your decrees.

118  You repudiate all who deviate from your laws,
because their projects are false.

119 You  regard all the wicked on earth as garbage;
so I love your precepts.

120  My body trembles with fear of you
and your sentences instill fear in me.

121  I have practiced right and justice;
do not hand me over to my oppressors.

122  Be surety of your servant for good;
let the proud not oppress me.

123  My eyes were consumed, waiting for your help
and the justice you promised.

124  Treat your servant according to your mercy,
and teach me your laws.

125  I am your servant, give me understanding,
that I may know your precepts.

126  It is time for you to act, Lord;
they despised your law.

127  That’s why I love your commandments so
much more than gold, fine gold.

128  Therefore, I followed all your precepts
aright, and I hate the ways of lying.

129  Your precepts are admirable;
so my soul has fulfilled them.

130  The explanation of your words enlightens,
gives intelligence to the simple.

131  I open my mouth greedily,
because I hunger for your commandments.

132  Turn to me and treat me kindly,
as is your standard with those who love your name.

133 Make  my steps sure, according to your promise;
do not let any evil dominate me.

134  Deliver me from those who oppress humans
and I will keep your precepts.

135  Let your face be lighted for your servant;
and teach me your laws.

136  Rivers of water flow out of my eyes,
because your law is not being fulfilled.

137  Thou art righteous, O Lord,
and thy sentences are right.

138  Thou hast established thy precepts with justice
and with full fidelity.

139  My zeal consumes me,
because my enemies despise your words.

140  Your promise has been proven;
therefore your servant loves him.

141  I am still young and unappreciated,
but I do not forget your precepts.

142  Your righteousness is righteousness forever
and your law is truth.

143  Affliction and anguish have hit me,
but my delights are in your commandments.

144  The justice of your orders is forever;
help me understand them and I will live.

145  I cry out to you, Lord, with all my heart;
answer me, for I want to carry out your decrees.

146 I  cry for you, save me,
and I will fulfill your precepts.

147  Early in the morning I’m going to beg your help,
because I have confidence in your word.

148  My eyes anticipate the watches of the night,
to meditate on your promise.

149  Hear my voice, Lord, by your mercy,
give me life, according to your sentence.

150  Those who run after iniquity
and depart from your law come near.

151  Thou art nigh, Lord,
and all thy commandments are true.

152  From a very early age I know your precepts;
for You established them forever.

153  See my affliction and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.

154  Defend my cause and rescue me;
give me life according to your promise.

155  Salvation is far from evildoers,
because they do not seek your decrees.

156  Great is your compassion, Lord,
give me life, according to your sentence.

157  Many are the enemies that persecute me,
but I do not deviate from your precepts.

158  I saw the traitors and I was displeased,
because they didn’t keep your word.

159  See how I love your decrees:
Lord, give me life through your mercy.

160  The truth is the beginning of your word;
the decrees of your righteousness are eternal.

161  The mighty persecute me without reason,
but my heart only fears your word.

162  I feel as happy with your promise
as someone who has found great spoils.

163  I hate and abhor lies,
but I have great love for your law.

164  Seven times a day I praise you
for your decrees of justice.

165  Great peace awaits those who love your law;
there’s nothing they can trip over.

166  I look for your salvation, Lord,
and keep your commandments.

167  My soul observes your precepts,
and I love them deeply.

168  I observe your precepts and your laws,
for all my ways are before you.

169  Lord, let my cry come near to your presence,
give me understanding, according to your word.

170  Let my supplication come before you;
deliver me, according to your promise.

171  From my lips springs praise,
for you teach me your precepts.

172  Let my tongue answer your word,
for all your commandments are of righteousness.

173  Be your hand ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.

174  I long for your salvation, Lord!
In your law are my delights.

175  May my soul have life and may praise you,
and may your decrees help me.

176  I have wandered, like a lost sheep;
come and look for your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commandments.

Meaning and interpretation

The Psalm 119 is a long meditation of wisdom model. It is the longest of the Psalms. The general theme of the Psalm is meditation and praise on the way in which God, with his law, defined the paths for human behavior.

Above all, the personal dimension of ethics is what stands out the most. The law is not just a set of rules; it is mainly the manifestation of all kinds of personal and subtle, normative and affective relationships between God and his people . The resonance that is underlined here lies primarily within the consciousness of every human being. This core of meanings appears diluted in a wide variety of synonyms: laws, commandments, precepts, decrees, sentences, promises, words, among others.

The Sapiential Psalms are books of Sacred Scripture ( Libri Sapientiales ) that contain, above all, moral sentences from ancient Israel - Proverbs, Job, Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Song of Songs, Wisdom. These prayers are filled with ancient inspiration and wisdom, life experiences and the history of peoples. They analyze human behavior , ethical choices and their consequences, and the search for the meaning of life and death for each one of us and as a society.

Various themes are addressed in these Psalms such as justice / injustice; sinful / righteous; wisdom/foolishness; bad / good; fidelity / infidelity; the honor or lack of it, the virtue that exists in prudence in speaking, in being fair, in knowing how to be rich. The existence of God is never questioned. He is Creator, Lord, Judge, Wise.

The Wisdom Psalms are also understood as a guide for everyone to meditate on the issues of their daily lives and the mysteries of life. The Psalmist uses his own and others’ experiences to discern the path to take based on correct moral principles. They are based on the assumption that what we do in this world, we pay in this life. The wisdom style appears in Psalm 1; 14; 34; 36; 37; 39; 49; 53; 73; 74.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy.