Bible blog 2353 active and continuing¡

THIS TRANSLATION IS STILL ACTIVE 18/11/21! Continuing my translation with comment of Psalm 119. More added 25/11/21

PSALM 119 (This psalm in 26 sections of 8 verses, each beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.)

All happiness for those whose ways are wholesome

Who walk in the teaching of Yahweh!

All happiness for those who value his advice

Who approach him with all their heart!

Indeed they do no wrong

But walk in his ways.

You insist that your precepts

Are carefully kept.

I truly wish that my ways were aligned

To keeping your decrees.

Then I shall not be shamed

When I attend to all your commandments.

I will praise you with an honest heart

When I learn your just judgements.

I will keep your decrees:

do not desert me!


By what means can a young man keep his act clean?

By observing your sayings.

With all my heart I approach you;

Stop me straying from your commandments!

I have hidden your word in my heart

To avoid any sin against you.

May you be blessed by mortals, Yahweh!

Make me memorise your decrees!

I will relate with my lips

All the just judgements of your mouth.

I am delighted with your wise directions

As if with the wealth of the world.

I will ponder your precepts

And behold your highways.

I will delight in your decrees

And I will not forget your word.


Care for your slave with kindness

That I may live to watch over your word.

Unseal my eyes that I may see

The treasures of your Teaching.

I am an immigrant on your land;

Do not conceal your commandments from me!

My soul is squeezed with eagerness

For your true judgements at all times.

You reprove proud people, whose ways are doomed

For they wander from your wise commands.

Set me free from scorn and shame

Since I value your advice.

Though princes sit and slander me

Your slave will ponder your precepts.

Your advice is very pleasant to me,

It gives me guidance.


Dust is the destiny of my soul;

Enliven me with your law!

I have revealed my life to you and you responded;

Set me to learn your statutes!

Help me see the road of your rules,

So that I can meditate on your marvels.

My soul sinks down in sadness;

Lift me up by your law!

Remove me from the road of deception

And grant me the grace of your teaching.

I have taken the road of truth;

I have placed your fair judgements before me;

I have adhered to your advice.

Please, Yahweh, do not put me to shame.

I will run the road of your commandments,

For you are helping my heart to grow.


Educate me Yahweh in the lifestyle of your statutes

And I will keep to it continually.

Give me the wit to be guided by your Teaching

And to heed it with all my heart

Forward me on the footpath of your commandments

For I find pleasure in it;

Turn my heart towards your testimony

Not to the love of lucre.

Turn my gaze away from gain

And revive me on your road.

Perform for your slave the promise

Made to those who fear you.

Turn away from me the taunts that I fear;

For sure, your judgements are fair.

In truth I desire your statutes;

Join me to life in your justice.


Favour, your favour Yahweh, may it flow to me!

Your welfare, as promised by your word!

Then I shall have something to tell those who taunt me

For I have put my trust in your promise.

Do not snatch from my lips all mention of your loyalty

For I await your wise judgements.

Then I will retain your Teaching

At all times for all time;

And I will walk as in a wide space

Since I practice your precepts.

I will mention your recorded wisdom before monarchs

And will not be made ashamed.

Your commandments captivate me

I love them dearly.

I will lift up my hands to your commands that I love

And murmur over the laws that you have made.


God, you have given me hope;

Please remember your promise to your slave

For this is my medicine in misery:

Your law gives me life.

Arrogant people ridicule me

But I do not turn away your Teaching.

By bringing to mind your judgements of former times

I can medicine myself, Yahweh.

Horror at wrongdoers takes hold of me

When they trash your Teaching.

Your statutes have been my songs

In the place of my pilgrimage.

Your name I have remembered at night Yahweh

And I will treasure your Teaching.

This has been my blessing:

To have kept your commandments.


Here is my inheritance Yahweh:

Keeping your commandment.

I hope for your smile with all my heart;

Be good to me, as you have guaranteed.

I will watch over my ways

And turn my feet to your established truth.

I step to it and do not saunter

In keeping your commandments.

Though snarled in the snares of criminals

I do not turn from your Teaching,

But get up at midnight to give thanks

For your just judgements.

I am a friend to all who fear you

Who practice your precepts.

The earth, Yahweh, is laden with your lovingkindness;

Discipline me in your decrees!


Indeed you have done good to your slave

Yahweh, as you promised!

Train me in good taste and understanding

As I cleave to your commands.

Before I was brought low, I would go wrong

But now I respect your sayings.

You are good and do good;

Discipline me in your decrees!

Presumptuous people plaster me with lies

But with all my heart I perform your precepts.

Their hearts are heavy as if with fat

While I tread lightly with your Teaching.

It is good for me that I was brought low

So that I might be disciplined in your decrees.

More precious to me is the teaching of your mouth

Than gold and silver coins in plenty!


Your hands have formed and fashioned me;

Give me the wit to learn your wishes.

Those who fear you will feel joy when they see me

Because I wait on your word.

I know Yahweh that your judgements are just:

Out of loyal love you brought me low.

May your lovingkindness comfort me

As you have assured your slave.

May your compassion mother me so that I may live

For your teaching entrances me.

May arrogant people be put to shame

Who by deceit have slandered me;

As for me, I will study your statutes.

May those who fear you not be far from me

The ones who know your wisdom.

Let me be perfect in your precepts

So that I may not be put to shame!

Readers if I have any, may have anticipated the dread with which I have approached Psalm 119, the longest of all psalms. And it’s not just the length; it has a reputation for repetition and a legalistic piety that many find unattractive. Well, it’s a complex set of linked poems celebrating the Torah, the Teaching of God.

A: it consists of 26 sections of 8 verses

each section beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew u

B. Each section includes the same range of words that point to the Torah; commands, precepts, words, precepts, decrees, and so on, which are used in slightly different contexts throughout the psalm.

So, although each section can be appreciated individually, only the whole psalm can reveal the author’s meaning.

The distance between our culture and that of the psalmist can be seen if we ask: do we any longer expect a young man to find delight in the decrees of God?

When we can read every day the words of politicians and other leaders, which come from their limited experience and inadequate values, we can identify with the psalmist, whose soul is “squeezed with eagerness” for God’s true judgements, and who values God’s advice. He is not boasting, but quietly asserting the worth of what he has learned in faith. Students of the wisdom that comes from faith and clear thinking should not be over modest in expressing their values.

Please note in section D the repetition of the word “road” each time in slightly different contexts. Although the psalm is meditative, the aim of faith is practical living. The student who must walk/run as well as meditate. It is a lovely idea that the practice of goodness enlarges the heart.

In section F, note the expression about walking as in a wide place, which is a beautiful metaphor for living by God’s wisdom. This is not grim legalism but delighted discipleship.

In section G the Hebrew Torah is repeated. It stands for the Books of Moses, sometimes called the Law in English. The psalmist is emphasising its centrality in his/ her life.

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