PSALM 119:17-24  



Verses 17-24

The Hebrew letter, gimmel, means a camel and represents travel. It therefore speaks of the believer's life outside the home with emphasis on service to God.

Throughout this psalm, this believer is shown to be a wanderer; a nomad, with no permanent and secure place to dwell. He is under great persecution but continues to proclaim truth whenever he can. As he travels throughout the land he continues to focus on truth and to live it.

Accordingly, the Holy Spirit has enabled him to put into writing these truths that should be the foundation of every believer’s life.

Verse 17 - Provision entry:

1. Deal bountifully: gAmal means to deal adequately, fully, appropriately.

            a. Thus, God can deal fully in a beneficial way based on his character. Ps. 13:6; 142:7

            b. He can express his beneficent attitude (love) to us based on our conformity to His
                 standards. Ps. 18:20-24; 103:10-11

            c. Here, in the qal imperative, the believer addresses himself to God in true

                humility which recognizes God's resources as the basis for maintaining life.

            d. The resources in view are those which maintain physical life in a cursed earth.

                1. Food provisions 2. Shelter provisions  3. Protection provisions

            e. The COMMAND mode of true humility is used many times in this psalm.
                The repetition reminds us of the confidence that we can have in God’s love for us.

2. With your servant: `ebhed

            a. This is a humility term that recognizes the believer's true purpose on earth as a
                representative of truth.

            b. The fact that the believer writes “your (God’s) servant,” indicates that God dictates the

                standards and policy for service, and the believer ACCEPTS this.

            c. He uses this expression 13 times in this psalm.

3. I will live: There is no purpose clause here like the NASB and KJV (“that I may live”). It is just a qal imperfect of chAyAh. It is a statement of fact; an expression of his confidence in God’s plan. There is not even an “and” here as with the NIV

It refers to the perpetuation of physical life based on God's resources.

4. And will keep your word: shAmAr + dAbhAr

            a. This fulfills the purpose of verse 4; the design behind God's revelation to man.

            b. Physical life provisions deal with the detail of life distractions which hinder the
                believer's fulfillment of his service responsibilities.

            c. God's faithfulness in this area enables the believer to concentrate on preparation and follow-
                through in his ambassadorship.

            d. Thus the next logical entry would focus on that preparation – verse 18


Verse 18 - The study entry:

1. Open my eyes:

            a. The command mode further expresses humility toward God as the source.
            b. It indicates perpetuation of positive volition in the perception stage of spiritual growth.

2. That I may see: the Hebrew connective “we” indicates the result of perception and should be translated as an “and.” Thus, “and I shall see . . .”

            a. the verb, nAbat, is a hiphil imperfect. It has the idea of “focus on” and consider.
               The emphasis is on the insight gained through diligence in the growth process.

            b. nAbat occurs only 3 times in Ps. 119, verses 6, 15 and 18.

                1. Verse 6 and 15 indicate the application result of perception.

                2. Verse 18 indicates the content result of perception; what the believer has in his soul.

3. Wonderful things: pAlA is a niphal participle and functions as an adjective or noun.

This word describes the actions of God from the viewpoint of their supernatural origin and effects.  Alternate meanings are magnificent, miraculous, awesome, and wondrous.

4. from your law: torAh again, and in this case it refers to the fantastic insight and guidance for life in a darkness environment which is found in God's revelation to man in human language; the bible.

5. And of course these magnificent things, ideas, principles and guidelines are the basis for ability, stability and security as the believer navigates through the antagonistic environment of the world around him.

6. God's Wondrous Things

Verse  19, the service entry via the believer’s ambassador status

1. I am a stranger: gar, means a sojourner; a temporary dweller in a foreign land.  Therefore he is not an official citizen, but instead, one who is an alien or stranger.

    A. Usually the word is used; of a person in a foreign country especially in Israel.

    B. But there is also the principle of 1 Chronicles 29:10-15, where an attitude of dependence on
        God is expressed by the believer.

    C. Thus here at verse 19 and at verse 54, this ambassador believer is further expressing his dependence
         on God for spiritual provisions in order to fulfill his service responsibilities.

    D. This is reflected in the New Testament at Philip. 3:20 and 1 Peter 2:11.

2. In the earth: which includes his native Palestine

    A. He recognizes that because of his status in LIGHT, he is a stranger on the earth with the responsibility
         to represent light to those around him.

    B. It also indicates that he is indeed, a WANDERER throughout the land and has no secure and
        permanent place to dwell.

    C. This is the reason for his plea to have access to all the divine viewpoint needed.

3. Do not hide: sAthAr – The hiphil imperative once again expresses his humility attitude which recognizes dependence on God to faithfully supply access to God’s revealed truth.

4. Your commandments: mitswAh refers to God’s policies for proper living with Him, and in service to Him.

5. It refers to that which must be communicated, perceived and followed in order for the believer to fulfill his ambassadorship.

    A. That’s the purpose:  to provide what man needs for relationship and fellowship with God.

    B. Man’s future is mentioned at verse 21.

Verse  20 – The desire entry – hunger for Bible truth

1. My soul: nephesh here, refers to the inner person which includes intellect and emotion.

2. is crushed:  the verb, gAras as a qal perfect indicates intense pressure upon this believer.

3. with longing: taabhAh occurs only here.

    A. the verb is  tAabh, and only occurs 2 times; Psalm 119:40 and 174.

    B. Probably developed from AbhAh which means to be willing.

    C. Thus, it indicates an intense desire directly from the volition of the self-consciousness.
          It is an expression of deliberate choice.

4. For your ordinances: mishpAt occurs as a plural and refers to the standards of Divine justice communicated to man via God’s revelation.

5. At all times:

    A. bekAl - at every

    B. time: `ath - singular

    C. Thus, at every moment of my Life.

    D. Regardless of the antagonism and pressure that this believer is facing, the GREATER pressure within
         his soul is the need to remember and mediate on God’s word.

 Verse 21 - the justice entry: This is given to relate the consequences of rejecting, the message of God's policies

1. You rebuke: gA`ar is an expression of Divine disfavor based on his standards of justice..

2. Arrogant ones: There is no definite article. The noun, zādh, refers to those who set themselves up as independent from God by rejecting his creator policies for the human race (mitswAh).

3. Cursed: Arar as a qal passive participle is used to make a statement.
It refers to the natural and applied consequences of rejecting God’s policies.

4. are those who wander: shAgAh is a qal participle and means to stray off course.

In the context of arrogance, it indicates rejection.


A. The curse is basically enslavement to the spiritual darkness in which you live.

     1. The darkness system: Eph. 2:2 with 5:8a
     2. The sin nature: Eph.. 2:3; Ec. 7:29
     3. John 12:35 and 1 John 2:11: darkness has blinded the eyes. (Is. 8:20)

B. Thus, a total dependence on your own resources instead of God’s resources.
Proverbs 1:29-31 compared with Job 29:3.

C. And locked into the process of soul destruction. Proverbs 1:32; 8:36; 11:17; 14:12
The corpse in the soul of Psalm 5:9

D. And of course no peace in the soul. Isaiah 57:21, “There is no peace to the wicked.”

E. The darkness process described: Ephesians 4:17-19; Romans 1:18-23

F. God’s specific attitude: Romans 1:24-28; Ps. 119:118

Verse 22 -The testimony entry

1. Take away from me: gAlal means to roll away and suggests a gradual effect based on the
believer's character consistency.

2. reproach: cherpAh refers to criticism which verbally attaches blame upon someone.

3. and contempt: buz refers to an attitude of negative judgment and dislike reflected in actions.
The command once again presents the humility attitude of DEPENDENCE on God for deliverance
from the persecution situation he is in. This attitude realizes that there just might
NOT BE any vindication while he is alive here on earth, but it all depends on God’s specific plan for him.

4. The reason for this reproach is found in the production file at verses 137-144.

    A. Verse 139: zeal – is diligent and dogmatic proclamation of bible truth.

    B. Therefore, verses 141 and 143.

5. For: kiy gives the reason or basis for vindication.
The irony here, is that the thing which is the cause of the persecution is also the basis for vindication.

6. I have observed: nAtsar again, means to focus on or concentrate on; to examine, and thus, follow and observe. As a qal perfect, it indicates both past and present activity, “I have observed.”

7. Your testimonies: dah - God's character and, works are what is proclaimed.
The focus is on Him – not on me.

8. This believer realizes that he must never compromise. He knows that the only vindication that will come to him will come to him BASED ON knowledge and application of  God’s word.

Verse  23 -The meditation entry

1. Even though: gAm works together with the gAm at the start of verse 24 to indicate an “even though . . . still” idea.  This indicates the reality of this believer’s persecution experience.

2. princes: sar refers to a political ruler

3. sit: yAshabh - this word communicates organization. There is an organized attack on him.

4. And talk against me: dAbhar as a niphal perfect + the preposition, be, indicates the organized verbal attack against this righteous believer.

5. your servant: As already stated, this communicates the attitude of SERVICE humility, and dedication to God.

6. meditates: siyach – This verb indicates the constant mental application of bible truth. In this context, it is during a time of extreme persecution from this believer’s own countrymen.

7. On your statutes: choq refers to the standards for social behavior in a Theocratic nation; a nation that is governed by God. Thus, he still concentrates, on his moral and spiritual responsibilities as a servant of God.

8. The principle of Psalm 1:1-3, mediation on God’s word “day and night.”

Verse 24 - Pleasure entry: When al1 is said and done, in the midst of any and every pressure in life, there is exciting pleasure in the pursuit and application of Bible Truth.

  1. At the beginning of this verse is - gAm – which is used in conjunction with the gAm of verse 23. This grammatical device contrasts the reality of persecution with the GREATER reality of God’s word in the soul.

    2. Your testimonies: dAh - refers to the principles and facts which center around God's character
         and actions.

     3. are my delight: Sha`ashu`iym - as previously noted in the domestic file, this attitude is the key to
        stability in the antagonistic environment. Verses 92, 143


4. my counselors: Lit: men of my counsel – tsAh, refers to advice, guiding wisdom.

    A. The provision from wisdom: Proverbs 8:14 compared with verses 1:25, 30.

    B. Psalm 73:21-24

    C. The nature of Divine counsel - Isaiah 26:29; Psalm 33:11

    D. Compare with human viewpoint: Proverbs 19:21 and Job 38:2

5. If you have Bible truth you don’t need human counselors except those who promote bible truth in their own life.

6. And then, these simply serve as correlators, reminders and confirmers of what you believe about God's word.


1. The Provision Entry, verse 17: God is faithful to provide detail of life necessities which enable the believer to concentrate on growth and service.

2. The Study Entry, verse 18: The believer is dependent on God’s grace resources for the availability and perception of His word.

3. The Service Entry, verse 19: As an ambassador/servant of God, the believer must rely on God’s care and protection while serving here on earth.

4. The Desire Entry, verse 20: The functional  believer maintains a continuous dedication attitude toward the pursuit and application of God’s word.

5. The Justice Entry, verse 21: The believer can trust that God’s justice will be expressed toward those who reject truth according to His perfect plan and timing.

6. The Testimony Entry, verse 22: Sinless consistency cultivates peace with others.

7. The Meditation Entry, verse 23: The functional believer is not intimidated by persecution, but maintains concentration on God’s word.

8. The Pleasure Entry, verse 24: For the functional believer, God’s word provides counsel and pleasure in this life.


Questions and comments are always welcome

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