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Psalms 119:1

Context
Psalm 119 1 

א (Alef)

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

who obey 3  the law of the Lord.

Psalms 119:32

Context

119:32 I run along the path of your commands,

for you enable me to do so. 4 

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.

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

3 tn Heb “walk in.”

4 tn Heb “for you make wide my heart.” The “heart” is viewed here as the seat of the psalmist’s volition and understanding. The Lord gives the psalmist the desire and moral understanding that are foundational to the willing obedience depicted metaphorically in the preceding line. In Isa 60:5 the expression “your heart will be wide” means “your heart will swell with pride,” but here the nuance appears to be different.



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