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Mazmur 119:1-16

Psalm 119 1 

א (Alef)

119:1 How blessed are those whose actions are blameless, 2 

who obey 3  the law of the Lord.

119:2 How blessed are those who observe his rules,

and seek him with all their heart,

119:3 who, moreover, do no wrong,

but follow in his footsteps. 4 

119:4 You demand that your precepts

be carefully kept. 5 

119:5 If only I were predisposed 6 

to keep your statutes!

119:6 Then I would not be ashamed,

if 7  I were focused on 8  all your commands.

119:7 I will give you sincere thanks, 9 

when I learn your just regulations.

119:8 I will keep your statutes.

Do not completely abandon me! 10 

ב (Bet)

119:9 How can a young person 11  maintain a pure life? 12 

By guarding it according to your instructions! 13 

119:10 With all my heart I seek you.

Do not allow me to stray from your commands!

119:11 In my heart I store up 14  your words, 15 

so I might not sin against you.

119:12 You deserve praise, 16  O Lord!

Teach me your statutes!

119:13 With my lips I proclaim

all the regulations you have revealed. 17 

119:14 I rejoice in the lifestyle prescribed by your rules 18 

as if 19  they were riches of all kinds. 20 

119:15 I will meditate on 21  your precepts

and focus 22  on your behavior. 23 

119:16 I find delight 24  in your statutes;

I do not forget your instructions. 25 

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[119:1]  1 sn Psalm 119. The psalmist celebrates God’s law and the guidance it provides his people. He expresses his desire to know God’s law thoroughly so that he might experience the blessings that come to those who obey it. This lengthy psalm exhibits an elaborate acrostic pattern. The psalm is divided into twenty-two sections (corresponding to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet), each of which is comprised of eight verses. Each of the verses in the first section (vv. 1-8) begins with the letter alef (א), the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This pattern continues throughout the psalm as each new section highlights a successive letter of the alphabet. Each verse in section two (vv. 9-16) begins with the second letter of the alphabet, each verse in section three (vv. 17-24) with the third letter, etc. This rigid pattern creates a sense of order and completeness and may have facilitated memorization.

[119:1]  2 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness of those who are blameless of way.”

[119:1]  3 tn Heb “walk in.”

[119:3]  4 tn Heb “walk in his ways.”

[119:4]  5 tn Heb “you, you commanded your precepts, to keep, very much.”

[119:5]  6 tn Heb “if only my ways were established.”

[119:6]  7 tn Or “when.”

[119:6]  8 tn Heb “I gaze at.”

[119:7]  9 tn Heb “I will give you thanks with an upright heart.”

[119:8]  10 tn Heb “do not abandon me to excess.” For other uses of the phrase עַד מְאֹד (’ad mÿod, “to excess”), see Ps 38:6, 8.

[119:9]  11 tn Heb “young man.” Hebrew wisdom literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle of the psalm is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, the gender specific “young man” has been translated with the more neutral “young person.”

[119:9]  12 tn Heb “purify his path.”

[119:9]  13 tn Heb “by keeping according to your word.” Many medieval Hebrew mss as well as the LXX read the plural, “your words.”

[119:11]  14 tn Or “hide.”

[119:11]  15 tn Heb “your word.” Some medieval Hebrew mss as well as the LXX read the plural, “your words.”

[119:12]  16 tn Heb “[are] blessed.”

[119:13]  17 tn Heb “of your mouth.”

[119:14]  18 tn Heb “in the way of your rules.”

[119:14]  19 tn Heb “as upon,” meaning “as if” (see 2 Chr 32:19).

[119:14]  20 tn Heb “all wealth.” The phrase refers to all kinds of wealth and riches. See Prov 1:13; 6:31; 24:4; Ezek 27:12, 18.

[119:15]  21 tn The cohortative verbal forms in this verse express the psalmist’s resolve.

[119:15]  22 tn Heb “gaze [at].”

[119:15]  23 tn Heb “ways” (referring figuratively to God’s behavior here).

[119:16]  24 tn The imperfects in this verse emphasize the attitude the psalmist maintains toward God’s law. Another option is to translate with the future tense, “I will find delight…I will not forget.”

[119:16]  25 tn Heb “your word.” Many medieval Hebrew mss as well as the LXX read the plural here.

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