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Psalms 119:1-6

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.

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 “walk in his ways.”

5 tn Heb “you, you commanded your precepts, to keep, very much.”

6 tn Heb “if only my ways were established.”

7 tn Or “when.”

8 tn Heb “I gaze at.”

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