The Righteous Word

I. This stanza emphasizes the qualities of the Word of God.

A. There are seven terms and one synonym use to differentiate the Word.

1. The “Judgments” [Hebrew jpvm, mishpat] denoting the sentences, judicial orders, the active justice of God. (Psalm 119:137)

a. Psalm 1:5-6 – Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
b. Psalm 9:16 – The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth

2. The “Testimonies” [Hebrew hde, ‘edah] in Psalm 119:138 is more formal than [ twde, ‘eduth ] in Psalm 119:144

a. ‘EDAH in Psalm 119:138 more often stresses the written testimony (10 commandments, etc.)
b. ‘EDUTH in Psalm 119:144 more often is used of the objects of witness (Ark of the Testimony; Tablets of the Testimony; Veil of the Testimony; Tabernacle of Witness, etc.)

3. The “Words” [Hebrew rbd, dabar] is most frequently used of a saying or a chronicle. (Psalm 119:139)

a. John 8:43, 46 – Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word....And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
b. John 10:27 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me

4. The “Word” [Hebrew hrma, ‘imrah] is most often used of speech or verbal command. (Psalm 119:140)

a. Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
b. 1 Peter 2:2 – As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

5. The “Precept” [Hebrew dwqp, piqquwd] denotes a statute, command, ordinance, or principle of God. (Psalm 119:141)

a. Psalm 19:8 – The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
b. Jeremiah 23:1 – Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.
c. Colossians 2: 8 – Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

6. The “Law” [Hebrew hrwt, towrah] is the formal word for the Old Testament Law, and is most often connected with the five Books of Moses. (Psalm 119:142)

a. John 12:49-50 – For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting:
b. Matthew 22:40 – On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

7. The “Commandments” [Hebrew hwum, mitsvah] is most often translated “commandments” – used in the sense of an “order” given from a Commander to a subordinate. (Psalm 119:143)

a. Romans 7:22 – For I delight in the law of God after the inward man
b. Psalm 94:19 – In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul

8. The “Testimonies” [Hebrew twde, ‘eduth] is most often used of the objects that “testify” of some aspect of God’s teaching {see A, 2, b above}.  (Psalm 119:144)

a. Psalm 1:1-2 – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
b. 1 John 5:20 – And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

B. The clear emphasis on God’s word is easy to understand.

1. Every aspect of how God communicates to us is righteous.

2. Every use of God’s word is necessary for our righteousness.

3. Every utterance of God will be completed as given.

4. Every promise of God will be granted and fulfilled.

II. This stanza uses a rich comparison of descriptive terms to define the quality of God’s word.

A. There are the terms for righteousness.

1. The LORD is “righteous” [Hebrew qydu, tsaddiyq] that emphasis the just and lawful character of God. (Psalm 119:137)

2. The witness of God is “righteous” [Hebrew qdu, tsedeq] which emphasizes the result as “just” or “right.” (Psalm 119:138)

3. The “righteousness” of God [Hebrew hqdu, ts@daqah] stresses the “justness” of God’s righteous acts. (Psalm 119:142)

B. There are the terms that define the quality of God’s dealings with men.

1. The sentences of God are “upright” [Hebrew rvy, yashar] emphasizing that God’s actions are “clear” and “strait” – even “obvious.”                     (Psalm 119:137)

2. The formal witness of God is “very faithful” [Hebrew dam hnwma, m@‘od‘emuwnah] which could easily be translated “exceedingly stable.”    (Psalm 119:138)

3. The verbal commands of God are “very pure” [Hebrew dam Pru, m@‘od tsaraph] and can be trusted to be “exceedingly refined.” (Psalm 119:140)

4. The righteousness of God is “everlasting” [Hebrew Mlwe, ‘owlam] simply means that the righteousness of God is “perpetual” or “continuous.’ (Psalm 119:142)

5. The Towrah of God is “the truth” [Hebrew tma, ‘emeth] essentially a confidence that what God has decreed is sure, reliable, stable, will continue, and is unchangeable. (Psalm 119:142)

6. The resulting impact on God’s people should be that we “delight” [Hebrew evev, sha‘shua‘] in what God has revealed to us. (Psalm 119:143)

III. This stanza also expresses the Psalmists reaction to God’s Word.

A. There is reaction to the enemies of God’s word.

1. His “zeal has consumed him” because his enemies have forgotten God’s word.

a. Zeal [Hebrew hanq, qin’ah] is most often translated “jealously.”
b. The context would indicate that the Psalmist is “jealous” for the Lord’s honor or reputation.
c. John 2:17 – And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
d. Colossians 4:13 – For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you.

2. His enemies have “forgotten” [Hebrew xkv, shakach] – “ignored” God.

a. Psalm 50:22 – Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
b. Psalm 78:10-11 – They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; and forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.
c. Jeremiah 2:13 – For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
d. Philippians 3:18 – (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

3. He feels “small and despised” (Psalm 119:141)

a. The Hebrew [ryeu hzb, tsa‘iyr bazah] could easily be translated “young and looked down upon.”
b. 1 Samuel 17:42 – And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.

4. He experiences “trouble and anguish” yet “delights” in God’s commandments (Psalm 119:143)

a. Psalm 3:1 – LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
b. Psalm 31:9 – Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.
c. Psalm 37:4 – Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

B. There is satisfaction as God’s servant and student.

1. As God’s “servant” [Hebrew dbe ‘ebed] he acknowledges that he is a “bondman” of the Creator. (Psalm 119:140)

a. Deuteronomy 16:12 – And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.
b. Jude 1:1 – Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called

2. As God’s servant he “loves” [Hebrew bha, ‘ahab] God’s Word.

a. 1 John 2:5 – But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
b. 1 John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

3. As God’s servant he prays for “understanding” [Hebrew Nyb, biyn] recognizing his need for discernment. (Psalm 119:144)

a. John 15:15 – Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
b. Deuteronomy 29:29 – The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

            PSALM 12 [ESV]

Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone;

    for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.

Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;

    with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,

    the tongue that makes great boasts,

those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,

    our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

 “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,

    I will now arise,” says the LORD;

    “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

The words of the LORD are pure words,

    like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,

    purified seven times.

You, O LORD, will keep them;

    you will guard us from this generation forever.

On every side the wicked prowl,

    as vileness is exalted among the children of man

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