A pilgrim and stranger guided day and night by the Law of the Lord

If psalm 117 is the shortest, this is the longest. It is unusual in many respects. It is divided into twenty-two sections, so being commensurate with the Hebrew alphabet. Each section is prefixed with the respective letter of the alphabet, as also is the beginning of each verse in every section. It is thought that this facilitated easier memorising for the Jewish children.

Another peculiar feature is, that apart from two verses all the rest contain a synonym for the Word of God. So there is reference to testimonies, judgments, statutes, precepts, etc. The whole psalm describes devotion to, and persuasion of, the Word of God as containing all the principles of true religion and practice. Without it we have no light to our path, nor lamp for our feet; and by it, as with the book of Proverbs, there is given divine wisdom for conducting ourselves in all circumstances of life. One has written of v. 174, “Religion will decay or flourish as it (the Law) is our duty or delight.”

Psalm 119:41-80

Vau - the 6th part

 41  Let thy sweet mercies also come
        and visit me, O Lord;
     Ev'n thy benign salvation,
        according to thy word.

 42  So shall I have wherewith I may
        give him an answer just,
     Who spitefully reproacheth me;
        for in thy word I trust.

 43  The word of truth out of my mouth
        take thou not utterly;
     For on thy judgments righteous
        my hope doth still rely.

 44  So shall I keep for evermore
        thy law continually.
 45  And, sith that I thy precepts seek,
        I'll walk at liberty.

 46  I'll speak thy word to kings, and I
        with shame shall not be moved;
 47  And will delight myself always
        in thy laws, which I loved.

 48  To thy commandements, which I loved,
        my hands lift up I will;
     And I will also meditate
        upon thy statutes still

Zain - the 7th part

 49  Remember, Lord, thy gracious word
        thou to thy servant spake,
     Which, for a ground of my sure hope,
        thou causedst me to take.

 50  This word of thine my comfort is
        in mine affliction:
     For in my straits I am revived
        by this thy word alone.

 51  The men whose hearts with pride are stuffed
        did greatly me deride;
     Yet from thy straight commandements
        I have not turned aside.

 52  Thy judgments righteous, O Lord,
        which thou of old forth gave,
     I did remember, and myself
        by them comforted have.

 53  Horror took hold on me, because
        ill men thy law forsake.
 54  I in my house of pilgrimage
        thy laws my songs do make.

 55  Thy name by night, Lord, I did mind,
        and I have kept thy law.
 56  And this I had, because thy word
        I kept, and stood in awe.

Cheth - the 8th part

 57  Thou my sure portion art alone,
         which I did choose, O Lord:
     I have resolved, and said, that I
        would keep thy holy word.

 58  With my whole heart I did entreat
        thy face and favor free:
     According to thy gracious word
        be merciful to me.

 59  I thought upon my former ways,
        and did my life well try;
     And to thy testimonies pure
        my feet then turned I.

 60  I did not stay, nor linger long,
        as those that slothful are;
     But hastily thy laws to keep
        myself I did prepare.

 61  Bands of ill men me robbed; yet I
        thy precepts did not slight.
 62  I'll rise at midnight thee to praise,
        ev'n for thy judgments right.

 63  I am companion to all those
        who fear, and thee obey.
 64  O Lord, thy mercy fills the earth:
        teach me thy laws, I pray.

Teth - the 9th part

 65  Well hast thou with thy servant dealt,
        as thou didst promise give.
 66  Good judgment me, and knowledge teach,
        for I thy word believe.

 67  Ere I afflicted was I strayed;
        but now I keep thy word.
 68  Both good thou art, and good thou do'st:
        teach me thy statutes, Lord.

 69  The men that are puffed up with pride
        against me forged a lie;
     Yet thy commandements observe
       with my whole heart will I.

 70  Their hearts, through worldly ease and wealth,
        as fat as grease they be:
     But in thy holy law I take
        delight continually.

 71  It hath been very good for me
        that I afflicted was,
     That I might well instructed be,
        and learn thy holy laws.

 72  The word that cometh from thy mouth
        is better unto me
     Than many thousands and great sums
        of gold and silver be.

Jod - the 10th part

 73  Thou mad'st and fashion'dst me: thy laws
        to know give wisdom, Lord.
 74  So who thee fear shall joy to see
        me trusting in thy word.

 75  That very right thy judgments are
        I know, and do confess;
     And that thou hast afflicted me
        in truth and faithfulness.

 76  O let thy kindness merciful,
        I pray thee, comfort me,
     As to thy servant faithfully
        was promised by thee.

 77  And let thy tender mercies come
        to me, that I may live;
     Because thy holy laws to me
        sweet delectation give.

 78  Lord, let the proud ashamed be;
        for they, without a cause,
     With me perversely dealt: but I
        will muse upon thy laws.

 79  Let such as fear thee, and have known
        thy statutes, turn to me.
 80  My heart let in thy laws be sound,
        that shamed I never be.


Recommended Tunes

Contemplation (Verses 41-48)

St Andrew (Verses 49 - 56)

St Minver (Verses 57 - 64)

Wetherby (Verses 65 - 72)

St Etheldreda (Verses 73 - 80)