Psalm 19:7-14 Commentary

Psalm 19:7 The LAW of the LORD is PERFECT, RESTORING the soul;

The TESTIMONY of the LORD is SURE, MAKING WISE the simple.

8 The PRECEPTS of the LORD are RIGHT, REJOICING the heart;


9 The FEAR of the LORD is CLEAN, enduring forever;

The JUDGMENTS of the LORD are TRUE; they are RIGHTEOUS altogether.

10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;

Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.

11 Moreover, by them Your servant is WARNED;

In keeping them there is great REWARD.

12 Who can discern his errors?

Acquit me of hidden faults.

13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;

Let them not rule over me;

Then I will be blameless,

And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.


  • law: Ps 78:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 119:72,96, 97, 98, 99, 100,105,127,128 147:19,20 Dt 6:6, 7, 8, 9 17:18, 19, 17:20 Jos 1:8 Job 23:12 Ro 3:2 15:4)
  • perfect: Ps 18:30 111:7 Dt 32:4 Ro 12:2 Jas 1:17
  • Converting = KJV or restoring, Ps 23:3 119:9 Jas 1:21, 22, 23, 24, 25
  • testimony: Ps 93:5 119:14,24,111,152 Isa 8:16, 8:20 Jn 3:32,33 5:39 Acts 10:43 2Ti 1:8 1Jn 5:9, 10, 11, 12 Rev 19:10
  • sure: Ps 111:7 2Sa 23:5 2Ti 2:19 Heb 6:18,19
  • making: Ps 119:130 Pr 1:4,22,23 Col 3:16 2Ti 3:15, 16, 17)

John Phillip's Outline of Psalm 19 (from Exploring Psalms Volume One)

I. God's Revelation of Himself in the Sky (Ps 19:1-6)

A. An Unmistakable Witness (Ps 19:1)

B. An Untiring Witness (Ps 19:2)

C. An Understandable Witness (Ps 19:3-6)

II. God's Revelation of Himself in the Scriptures (Ps 19:7-14)

A. God's Word Is Precious (Ps 19:7-10)

1. It Challenges Us (Ps 19:7)

2. It Cheers Us (Ps 19:8)

3. It Changes Us (Ps 19:9-10)

B. God's Word Is Powerful (Ps 19:11-14)

It has the power to:

1. Convict Us (Ps 19:11)

2. Cleanse Us (Ps 19:12)

3. Correct Us (Ps 19:13-14)

a. It will Keep Me from Folly (Ps 19:13)

b. It Will Keep Me in Fellowship (Ps 19:14)

Greek Septuagint (LXX): NOTE: The NT passages are NOT cross references but passages what use the preceding Greek word

Ho nomos tou kuriou amomos {lit. absence of defects in sacrificial animals = unblemished; Christ in Heb 9.14 without fault} epistrephin {present tense [continually]: turn to God in conduct. The prefix epi = motion toward: fig. = moral change = repent Mk4.12; change of mind & return to Lk 17.4} psuchas e marturia {concrete & objective information = facts presented in court by one who speaks w authority because he has seen Jn5:34} kuriou piste {trustworthy, dependable, reliable Rev 19:11} sophizousa {Sophizo: present tense [continually]: make someone wise, instruct, give wisdom 2Ti 3.15} nepia (not yet speaking, a very young child infant 1Co13.11; pl. as used here = babes, infants Mt 21.16; of immature adults = childish, inexperienced people Ep 4.14).

Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint: The law of the Lord is perfect, converting souls: the testimony of the Lord is faithful, instructing babes.

William Law writes that…

From the witness of God's WORKS there is an easy transit to the witness of His WORD. Both spring from the same Source; both spread abroad the same truth—God's Glory. Six distinct titles here designate the Word. Each bears a separate character, and each describes a separate effect. How worthy is this glorious Word of constant study!

Let it be read on bended knee until all its efficacy molds our hearts.
None are so wise and happy as the Bible-taught.
This study is the richest feast.
It regales the soul far more than sweetest dainties can please the palate.
It gives wise warning for our every hour.
Obedience is wise blessedness.
(Psalm 19 - Exposition)

C. S. Lewis wrote…

I take this [Psalm 19] to be the greatest poem in The Psalms and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.

J M Boice comments that…

It would be hard to discover in all the Bible a more perfect example of Hebrew poetic parallelism than Ps 19:7-9. There are six parallel statements in these verses, and each contains three elements that are likewise parallel. There are six terms for the written revelation, six adjectives to describe it, and six statements of what the Bible does. (Boice Expositional Commentary - Psalms, Volume 1: Psalms 1-41)

Ps 19:7-10 is in fact an example of what is referred to as synthetic parallelism, where each succeeding clause contains some accessory idea enforcing the main idea. In other words synthetic parallelism is when the second line or clause explains and expands the first.

The Name of
the Word
The Character of
the Word
The Effect of
the Word
The Target
of the Word
Ps 19:7
Lacking nothing
Life giving
Giving new strength
Ps 19:7
Proper understanding of life,
of God,
of self,
of others
Ordinary People
Plain People
Ps 19:8
Rules set down
In accord w what is just & good
Appropriate & fitting
Sense of serenity
Making glad
Giving Well Being
Bringing Tranquility
"Control Center"
Ps 19:8
Untainted with evil or error
Giving Insight for life
Lighting up one's way
Making the eyes light up
"Window to/of the soul"
Ps 19:9
Reverential Awe
Obedient Respect
Worshipful submission
Free from impurity
Permanent, Unchanging,
Relevant, Up to date,
Never outdated
Never in need of alteration
Ps 19:9,11
Correspond to & accurately reflect reality
"Tell it like it really is"
Reflect what is right
/Completely fair
/Absolutely just
Moral guidance/Spiritual riches
Make conscious of danger

Jamieson comments that the multi-faceted, all sufficient Word…

revives those depressed by doubts, makes wise the unskilled (2Ti 3:15-note), rejoices the lover of truth, strengthens the desponding (Ps 34:6), provides permanent principles of conduct, and by God's grace brings a rich reward. (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary)

Related Resources:

THE LAW OF THE LORD - The law (instruction, doctrine, direction) consists of the instructions from God to His people on how to live life to the full, to the max, yes, even abundantly (cp Jn 10:10). Stated another way, the "law of the LORD" in context is a comprehensive term describing God's revealed will. Note that "law" does not have the definite article and therefore does not appear to refer specifically to the "Ten Commandments".

The revelation of God's law is clearer than the revelation in nature. Nature "declares," "proclaims," "pours forth," and "displays" the revelation of God's majesty, wisdom, and power. However, the revelation of the law is greater. It is greater because it is given by the covenant God, whose name is Jehovah (note) ("LORD," Ps 19:7, 8, 9), whereas nature reveals the glory of the Creator-God (El, Ps 19:1). It is also greater because of the comprehensive nature of the revelation (cp 2Pe 1:3-note and notice the promise is contingent upon "true knowledge", the only complete source being God's Word.)

Warren Wiersbe

The sun is to creation what the Law is to God's people, bringing light, warmth, life and growth… The heavens declare God’s glory, but the Scriptures tell us what God did so that we may share in that glory.

Law (08451)(torah), as alluded to above, is not just the scrolls of the Law which are often referred to as "The Torah" but refers to all of God's revelation which represents His instructions to His people regarding how they are to live in the midst of a godless, sin-saturated society. The law gives instruction, doctrine and direction.

Torah derives from a word that means to shoot an arrow, "for a teacher aims to hit the target and achieve specific goals in the lives of the students." (Wiersbe)

Adam Clarke writes that Torah is derived from…

yarah, to instruct, direct, put straight, guide. It is God's system of instruction, by which men are taught the knowledge of God and themselves, directed how to walk so as to please GOD, redeemed from crooked paths, and guided in the way everlasting.



Revelation is primarily the giving and receiving of information from God and is usually classified as either general or special revelation. As J B Phillips says…

The stars say: "God is almighty, He is eternal, He is omniscient, He is a God of infinite order and immeasurable power. The Scriptures tell us God is a Person who loves and feels, who knows and cares and rules. So David turns from what God has wrought to what God has written. (Exploring Psalms Volume One)

(1) General revelation = God's self-disclosure through the created world as in Ps 19:1 (cp Ro 1:20-note) The general revelation of God in His Creation prepares us for His special revelation in the Scriptures. The light of the created World leads sin blinded men to the light of the Word (Ps 119:105-note) which in turn leads men to the Light of the World (Jesus Christ, Jn 8:12 - Listen to Michael W. Smith's Here I Am To Worship which begins "Light of the World, You stepped down into darkness, opened my eyes… ". Has He opened your eyes dear reader? Hallelujah. Thank You Lord! He is worthy for us to take a moment to be still [Ps 46:10-note], to bow down and to praise and worship the glorious majesty of the majesty [Ps 145:5-note] of our soon coming [Rev 22:7-note] King of kings - Rev 19:16-note).

To know life's purpose
We must know life's Creator.

(2) Special revelation = God's disclosure of Himself by an act of direct revelation, specifically in His written Word as in Ps 19:7 (cp Heb 1:1,2-note, 2Pe 1:20, 21-note) Remember that the Bible makes no attempt to prove God's existence. It assumes it!

O Word of God Incarnate,
O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging,
O Light of our dark sky.


German philosopher Immanuel Kant alluded to the general revelation of Psalm 19…

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more seriously reflection concentrates upon them: the starry heaven above me and the moral law within me. (Ed comment: On "part A" Kant is correct. On "Part B" Kant is only partially correct, alluding to the conscience [Ro 2:14, 15-note] but not describing the sword that cuts, convicts and then cleanses the conscience. [Heb 4:12, 13-note, Heb 9:13-note])

Related Resources:

LORD (Jehovah - note) is derived from havah --''to be, to become''. Thus Jehovah speaks to God's being or essence. Jehovah makes one think in terms of being or existence and life. Since Jehovah is the self-existent One and all of life is contained in Him, why do we need to look elsewhere? Why do we not rest in His unchangeableness (cp Mal 3:6)? Here's a working definition of immutability. It means that God does not change in his basic character. There are several ways of expressing this truth:

His purposes do not change.
He never grows in knowledge or wisdom.
He never differs from Himself.
He never improves upon His own perfection.

He never "grows" or "develops" in any respect.

You can always use the word "always" with God, for He is always wise, always sovereign, always good, always just, always holy, always merciful, and always gracious. Whatever God is, he always is. There are no "sometimes" attributes of God. All of His attributes are "always" attributes. He always is what He is. The second verse of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" speaks to this truth…

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrow share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer!

Jehovah has never failed and will never fail, nor has His Word of Truth ever failed (cp Josh 21:45, 23:14, 2Cor 1:20KJV). Why would He begin to fail to be my all in all now? (You Are My All In All by Dennis Jernigan) He cannot fail for He is Jehovah, the self-existent, covenant-keeping God. Although God used this name in Genesis 2:4, it was not until Exodus 3:13ff that His people understood the significance of His name, and it was the name that went with His covenant promise to His people as emphasized by Exodus 6:2, 3, 4. When you need assurance that God is there, keeping His promises, never changing even though you may have wavered in your obedience or your "promises" to Him, run to the strong tower of the Name, Jehovah (see Pr 18:10-note) Trust in His name. He is Jehovah, the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8-note - Remember that Jehovah = Jesus!).

Wiersbe makes the interesting observation that when David described Creation, he…

used Elohim (See notes on Elohim: My Creator) (Ps 19:1), the name that speaks of God’s great power; but when he wrote about God’s Word, seven times he used the “covenant” name Jehovah (see notes), for the God of creation is also the God of personal revelation to His people. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary - Old Testament. Victor or Wordsearch)

Perfect (08549) (tamiym from tamam = complete, comprehensive, all-sided so as to cover all aspects of a thing, used in Ps 19:13, Ge 17:1 = 'blameless') means that the law of the LORD is without defect or blemish, whole, undefiled, of utmost integrity, sound, healthful, wholesome. As a moral concept, it speaks of uprightness, so fittingly tamiym is used to describe God - Dt 32:4 Job 37:16 2Sa 22:31 (Where Lxx = amomos)

The law of the LORD is complete, lacking nothing (see 2Pe 1:3-note) and is the very essence of integrity, entirely in accord with truth, complete, sound (cp 2Ti 1:13-note 2Ti 4:3-note), whole, without spot, undefiled. The word lacks nothing in order that it might be what it should be. It is complete as a revelation of Divine truth and complete as a rule of conduct.

J M Boice comments that…

The connection between the law's perfection and its ability to revive the soul is not easy to see at first glance, but it is found in the fact that being perfect means being so complete as to cover every aspect of life. It means that the Bible is not deficient in any way. It is an all-sufficient revelation. Therefore, no matter what our sins may have been or our problems are, the Bible is able to turn us from our sins, lead us through our problems, and both feed and enrich us so that we are able to enjoy the full benefits of spiritual life. Jesus testified to this when he told the devil, quoting from Dt 8:3, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Mt. 4:4). (Boice Expositional Commentary - Psalms, Volume 1: Psalms 1-41)

Thomas Watson

The Scripture contains in it the Credenda—the things which we are to believe; and the Agenda—the things which we are to practice.

The fact that the word is sound, "health filled" and wholesome helps understand the OT passages referring to the "ingestion" of the Word (Jer 15:16, Job 23:12-note). Scripture is the best "soul food." To sustain and maximize spiritual growth, there is no more perfectly balanced diet one can "ingest" than God's perfect precepts.

If a Christian is careless in Bible reading,
he will care less about Christian living.

The revealed Word of God has the same dominant influence over humankind as the sun does over nature. Whereas the sun restores natural life, the Law restores the life of the human soul. The sun dispels physical darkness, but the Word of God removes the darkness of ignorance from our understanding. It is flawless and reliable.

Perfect (tamiym) (Pr 30:5 Dt 32:47 Ps119:142 Ro 7:12,14, 1Ti1:8)

The "perfect law" represents the divine standard for man's attainment. Although the benefits of natural revelation ("the book of nature") are with us on a daily basis, the comprehensive benefits of God's revelation ("the book of revelation") in the law are much greater.

So tamiym describes that which is complete, entirely in accord with truth and fact. There is no error in the Bible, either in historical fact or in spiritual truth. Of course, the Bible records the lies of men and of Satan, but the total message of the Bible is that of truth. See Ps 119:128, 160.

Barnes writes that the law of the LORD being perfect means that…

It is absolutely true; it is adapted with consummate wisdom to the wants of man; it is an unerring guide of conduct. There is nothing there which would lead men into error or sin; there is nothing essential for man to know which may not be found there.


The law of the Lord is perfect; by which he means not merely the law of Moses but the doctrine of God, the whole run and rule of sacred Writ. The doctrine revealed by God he declares to be perfect, and yet David had but a very small part of the Scriptures, and if a fragment, and that the darkest and most historical portion, be perfect, what must the entire volume be? How more than perfect is the book which contains the clearest possible display of divine love, and gives us an open vision of redeeming grace. The gospel is a complete scheme or law of gracious salvation, presenting to the needy sinner everything that his terrible necessities can possibly demand. There are no redundancies and no omissions in the Word of God, and in the plan of grace; why then do men try to paint this lily and gild this refined gold? The gospel is perfect in all its parts, and perfect as a whole: it is a crime to add to it, treason to alter it, and felony to take from it. (Ps19:7 Treasury of David)

Restoring (reviving, converting, refreshing) (1Pe1:23, 24, 25) Hebrew = "restores life."

Elsewhere the Hiphil of ("return") when used with ("life") as object, means to "rescue or preserve one's life" (Job 33:30; Ps 35:17) or to "revive one's strength" (emotionally or physically; cf. Ru 4:15 La 1:11, 16, 19). Here one point seems to be that the law preserves the life of the one who studies it by making known God's will. Those who know God's will know how to please Him and can avoid offending Him (Ps 19:11a). The Word converts the sinner from his ways and restores the saint when he wanders. It refreshes and heals.

The Good Shepherd uses His Word to feed me and restore my soul (Ps 23:3) back to the point of departure from His leading. Shuwb also carries the idea of repentance & conversion when revelation is received (cp Nineveh Jon3:8). Contrast revelation rejected & its effects in (Ho 4:6)

While the "revelation" in God's creation will condemn the soul, only the written revelation can convert the soul.

Adam Clarke

Turning it back to God. Restoring it to right reason, or to a sound mind; teaching it its own interest in reference to both worlds.

E W Bullinger and Joseph Seiss have both written books describing the "gospel" in the stars but these interpretations have been seriously questioned by others (Is There a Gospel in the Stars). Without choosing sides on whether this theory is Biblical or not, let us continue to hold fast to and boldly proclaim the faithful word (Titus 1:9-note) of the written gospel of Christ (Mk 1:10).

The restorative quality of the Word gives healing to the whole person by assuring forgiveness (the NT words for forgiveness are aphesis and aphiemi which literally describe a sending away of the offense [cp the shadow of the scapegoat - Lev 16:20, 21], and in secular Greek referred to canceling a debt, paying for it in full [cp Jesus' payment in full Jn 19:30-note]) and cleansing and by giving life to the godly. It unleashes the promises of God by his gracious redemptive acts (Ps 80:3, 7, 19).

Restoring (07725) (shub/shuv) in the Hiphil (continual causative action) describes movement back to place of departure; commitment to a faith and way of life that involves turning from a previous way, to "repent." (Lxx = epistrepho in the present tense depicts that which continually turns about or around! That's probably why we don't want the Word when we are rebelling and walking our own path… we don't want to be turned around!)

The idea in this context is a definite turn to God in conduct as well as in one's heart. The effect of the law is to turn the soul from the ways of sin to holiness. Stated another way, shub/shuv describes a genuine change in heart is reflected by a movement back to the place of departure spiritually speaking (cp Mt 9:22} The idea is turning back the soul to His Maker or bringing the prodigal back home.

The basic meaning of shuv is movement back to the point of departure (Ge 3:19; 33:16). A good example of reversal in direction is found in 2 Kings. 20:10 concerning the sundial. In a number of places, shuv referred to the return from Exile (Ezra 2:1; Neh. 7:6; Isa. 10:22; Jer. 22:10; Zech. 10:9).


Better than any other verb it combines in itself the two requisites of repentance: to turn from evil and to turn to the good. The basic meaning of shuv/shub is one of movement, spatially or spiritually. It is sometimes translated "restore" but is also translated as "return" and "repentance."

One of the main themes of the OT is expressed with this verb--the prophets' promise that Israel would one day return from their exile to the Promised Land (cp God's promises in Dt 30:1,2, 3, Dt 30:8KJV - which will be fulfilled at the Second Coming which God will "circumcise" their hearts [Dt 30:6], turning their heart of stone to a heart of flesh [Ezek 11:19, 20] and fulfilling His New Covenant [see New Covenant in the Old Testament] first promised to Israel [Jer 31:31, 32, 33, 34]). In that future day Israel will be restored to relationship with God. But the return will come only after judgment (The final future judgment is referred to as the Great Tribulation, the last 3.5 years before Messiah returns, during which the world will see the climax of the anti-Semitism of Satan through his human "beast", the Anti-Christ, which will result in 2/3's of Israel dying [Zech 13:8, 9] but the salvation of the remaining 1/3 [Zech 12:10, Ro 11:25, 26, 27-note]). As the prophet Isaiah foretold

For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, Only a remnant within them will return; A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness." (Isa 10:22).

Shub/shuv can expresses the biblical concept of repentance. This verb is found >1000x in with a wide range of meanings. In 164x shub is used in a covenant context, it indicates turning from evil to God, from evil ways to God's ways, or from God to idols. Shub is that commitment to a faith and way of life that involves turning from a previous way, and this is to "repent." (See related study: metanoia = Greek for Repentance)

From death…

1Ki 17:21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the Lord, and said, “O Lord my God, I pray Thee, let this child’s life return (shuwb/shuv) to him.” 22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned (shuwb/shuv) to him and he revived.

The LAW'S restorative quality gives HEALING (cp Ps 107:20-note) to the whole person by assuring forgiveness and cleansing and by giving LIFE to the godly. The Word converts (TURNS) the sinner from his ways and restores (TURNS) the saint when he wanders. In secular Greek literature it was used of setting upright an object that had fallen down and of helping a person back on his feet after stumbling. (cp "for correction" - 2Ti 3:16-note) After exposing and condemning false belief and sinful conduct in believers, Scripture then builds them up through its divine correction… putting them back on their feet so to speak so that they can continue on the pilgrim path of growth in Christlikeness, holiness, sanctification.

David uses shuv/shub in Psalm 23…

He restores (shuv/shub) my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Ps 23:3)

Spurgeon comments (note): When the soul grows sorrowful He revives it; when it is sinful He sanctifies it; when it is weak He strengthens it. "He" does it. His ministers could not do it if he did not. His Word would not avail by itself. "He restores my soul." Are any of us low in grace? Do we feel that our spirituality is at its lowest ebb? He who turns the ebb into the flood can soon restore our soul. Pray to Him, then, for the blessing

"Restore thou me,
thou Shepherd of my soul!"

The Word of God is a living Word (Php 2:16-note; Heb 4:12-note), a Word that imparts supernatural life (1Pe 1:23-note), and a Word which supernaturally revives (Ps 119:25-note, Ps 119:37-note, Ps 119:40-note, Ps 119:88-note, Ps 119:107-note, Ps 119:149-note, Ps 119:156-note, Ps 119:159-note).

Henry Morris comments that…

While the "revelation" in God's creation ("General Revelation") will condemn the soul, only the written revelation (described in Ps 19:7, 8, 9) can convert or "restore" the soul. Note also the emphasis on the regenerating power of the Scriptures in such verses as 2Ti 3:15, 16, 17, 1Pe 1:23, 24, 25, etc. (Defender's Study Bible - highly recommended)


Converting the soul. Making the man to be returned or restored to the place from which sin had cast him. The practical effect of the Word of God is to turn the man to himself, to his God, and to holiness; and the turn or conversion is not outward alone, "the soul" is moved and renewed. The great means of the conversion of sinners is the Word of God, and the more closely we keep to it in our ministry the more likely we are to be successful. It is God's Word rather than man's comment on God's Word which is made mighty with souls. When the law drives and the gospel draws, the action is different but the end is one, for by God's Spirit the soul is made to yield, and cries, "Turn me, and I shall be turned." Try men's depraved nature with philosophy and reasoning, and it laughs your efforts to scorn, but the Word of God soon works a transformation. (Ps19:7 Treasury of David)

John Piper (The Bible Kindling for Christian Hedonism - recommended) writes that…

Martin Luther knew as well as any man who ever lived that every day with Jesus is not sweeter than the day before. And according to Roland Bainton, he wrote these words in the year of his deepest depression:

And though this world with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God has willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him—
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure:
One little word shall fell him.

In his introduction to his discussion of "Idea of Revelation" Cameron writes…

The central question of religion is that of revelation. May God be known? Has he revealed himself? If he may, if he has, where? In the Christian faith this question is asked side by side with that of salvation: If this God may be known, how may I come to him? What may be known of him? translates into How may I come to know him—for myself? To put these questions alongside each other is to show how central is the question of the knowledge of God. The Idea of Revelation. The claim of the Bible, from beginning to end, is that God has spoken. The repeated refrain, "And God said" tells how he called the universe into being and instructed his creatures to live. (Read the entire article)

A well-turned phrase and words that rhyme
Can give us inspiration,
Yet nothing but the Word of God
Can bring us His salvation. —Sper

Many books can inform;
only the Bible can transform.


It is "trustworthy" in the sense that his statutes are true in principle and are verifiable in the situations of life (cf. 93:5; 111:7).

Testimony (05715)('edut) in Scripture always refers to the testimony of God and in this context refers the truth of God's law. The Ark of the Covenant was also referred to as the Ark of the Testimony, of that which bears witness to what is true. Consider the root word of 'edut which is 'ed which means witness and thus refers to someone (or some thing) who will be bear a true testimony in various situations for various reasons.

1828 Webster's Dictionary says that testimony is

A solemn declaration or affirmation made for the purpose of establishing or proving some fact. Such affirmation in judicial proceedings, may be verbal or written, but must be under oath. Testimony differs from evidence; testimony is the declaration of a witness, and evidence is the effect of that declaration on the mind, or the degree of light which it affords.

John writes that…

If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. (1 Jn 5:9).

The testimony of men may or may not be true but that is not so with God. His testimony is certain.


The testimony of the Lord is sure. God bears his testimony against sin, and on behalf of righteousness; he testifies of our fall and of our restoration; this testimony is plain, decided, and infallible, and is to be accepted as sure. God's witness in his Word is so sure that we may draw solid comfort from it both for time and eternity, and so sure that no attacks made upon it however fierce or subtle can ever weaken its force. What a blessing that in a world of uncertainties we have something sure to rest upon! We hasten from the quicksands of human speculations to the terra firma of Divine Revelation. (Ps19:7 Treasury of David)

Sure (0539) (aman which is the root of the more familiar amen [word study] = so be it, truly) speaks of that which conveys the idea of certainty or of firmness (compare a firm foundation Mt 7:24). As such God's witness (in His Word) is dependable. We can stake our present and our future on Jehovah's testimony or witness concerning Himself - His self-disclosure. God's testimony is worthy of trust because it corresponds to reality.

At the heart of the meaning of "aman" is the idea of certainty. In the Qal aman expresses the basic concept of support and is used in the sense of the strong arms of the parent supporting the helpless infant.

To be firm or sure; to lean on God; to trust His word. At the heart of the meaning of the root is the idea of certainty. Faith is not a blind leap into the dark. Rather, faith is a confident commitment to One about whom abundant evidence bears ample testimony. The basic root idea is firmness or certainty. In the Qal it expresses the basic concept of support and is used in the sense of the strong arms of the parent supporting the helpless infant.

In the Hiphil (causative) as used in Ps 19:7, aman basically means "to cause to be certain, sure" or "to be certain about," "to be assured." In this sense the word in the Hiphil conjugation is the biblical word for "to believe" and shows that biblical faith is an assurance, a certainty, in contrast with modern concepts of faith as something possible, hopefully true, but not certain.

God's testimonies are so sure, so certain that one can stake their life on them and thus they prove a source of unshakable wisdom in a soon to be shaken world (cp our sure foundation in Heb12:28). God's covenant contains a clear, reliable witness to His moral character and His just demands.

Aman is first used in Ge 15:6

Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Abram (later changed to Abraham) leaned (so to speak) on God's promise, trusting that it was firm, faithful, steadfast. God spoke a promise and then illustrated the "fruit" of the promise in Ge 15:4,5. Abram responded to God's Word with in essence a loud "Amen!" I wonder how often when we say "amen" we truly understand what we are saying?! Simply repeating "Amen" can easily become a rote, ritualistic rut into which we can all easily slip!

The Word does not change; it is sure and steadfast, Ps. 119:89. Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.

It is God’s testimony to man, His witness of what is true and right. See Mt. 5:18.

Aman refers to that which is firm, steadfast & sure & is that which can be leaned on w/o falling. The corresponding Greek word used here is pistos which refers to God's Word (Titus 1:9 "faithful word") as well as to THE WORD, our Lord Jesus Christ Who is called "Faithful (pistos) & True" in [Rev 19:11,13].

The books men write are but a fragrance blown
From transient blossoms crushed by human hands;
But high above them all, splendid and alone,
Staunch as a tree, there is a Book that stands.

Making wise (Ps119:97-104 Isa 8:20 Jer 8:9 Col 1:9 Jas 1:5) Parallel thought in [2Ti 3.15] = "sacred writings"

The wise man fears God and lives in accordance with what God expects.

Wise (02449)(hakam/chakam, see discussion of Greek word for wisdom - sophia) refers to learning and applying God's truth to every situation in life. The opposite of the hakam is the "fool" or wicked person, who stubbornly refuses God's counsel and depends on his own understanding to their own destruction…

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them [Pr 1:32 3:35 Dt 32:5, 6]

God's Word makes us wise an effect that should be distinguished from intelligent. Wisdom has nothing to do with intelligence. Wisdom is the ability to respond correctly to life's situations. Wisdom gives you the ability to solve problems and get results. Wisdom is the insight into the true nature of things. Knowledge is the mental possession of powers of perceiving objects, wisdom is the power of right reasoning concerning them and forming right decisions accordingly. Wisdom is the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding.


Making wise the simple. Humble, candid, teachable minds receive the word, and are made wise unto salvation. Things hidden from the wise and prudent are revealed unto babes. The persuadable grow wise, but the cavillers continue fools. As a law or plan the Word of God converts, and then as a testimony it instructs; it is not enough for us to be converts, we must continue to be disciples; and if we have felt the power of truth, we must go on to prove its certainty by experience. The perfection of the gospel converts, but its sureness edifies; if we would be edified it becomes us not to stagger at the promise through unbelief, for a doubted gospel cannot make us wise, but truth of which we are assured will be our establishment. (Ps19:7 Treasury of David)


The one who is open enough to God's instructions to do that will become wise. On the other hand, the one who thinks himself too wise to adhere to God's wisdom will show himself to be a fool. (Ibid)

Baker New Testament Commentary

Letters of the alphabet (even when they are learned from the Bible!), the mere ABC, cannot make one wise for salvation; the sacred writings can! It is "the testimony of Jehovah" and His "commandments" which make a man wise (Ps 19:7; Ps 119:98; in both cases the same verb (sophizo) is used in the Septuagint as is used 2Ti 3:15-note). It is these that lead a person to choose the best means in order to achieve the highest goal. And that is real wisdom! (Exposition of Thessalonians, the Pastorals, and Hebrews)

Herbert Hoover had a good definition for wisdom as "knowing what to do next." A wise person sees through the haze of the problem to the solution on the other side. There are times in life when the choice between right and wrong may not always be clear. There are times when the choice between good and best are not clear, either. What do you need when you find yourself in those situations? You need wisdom. Where do you receive wisdom? You receive it as you read the Bible.

Spiritual wisdom is godly wisdom (contrasting with worldly wisdom - study and make a list of the contrasts in Jas 3:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 1Cor 1-2) which involves living life in the light of the revelation of God’s will in His Word (where is will is often clearly stated - 1Th 4:3-note, 1Pe 4:2-note, Eph 5:17-note, Ps 143:10, Col 1:9-note, Col 4:12-note, 1Th 5:18-note, Ro 12:2-note, Jn 7:17, 1Jn 2:17-note, Mt 7:21-note, etc) and applying this knowledge to specific situations. Biblical wisdom can also be succinctly summed up as skill for living. Spiritual wisdom is given only by the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, Solomon exemplified this wisdom (Mt 12:42).

Simple (06612)(pethiy from root = to open; Lxx = nepios [word study]) describes one who is gullible, easily susceptible to good or bad influence, weak-willed, irresponsible, but still correctable. The Lxx translates pethiy with the Greek noun nepios which means childish or silly. In context this word appears to refer to "the [morally] naive," that is, the one who is young and still in the process of learning right from wrong and distinguishing wisdom from folly.

J H Jowett Daily Meditation -

LET me listen to the exquisite chimes of this wonderful psalm as they ring out the blessedness of the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord. What shall he find in the ways of obedience?

He shall find restoration. “Restoring the soul.” He shall find new stores of food along the way. In every emergency he shall find fresh provision; every new need shall discover new supplies. When one store is spent, another shall take its place. “Thou re-storest my soul.” In the ways of righteousness the good Lord has appointed ample stores for the provision of all His faithful pilgrims.

He shall find joy. “Rejoicing the heart.” In the way of obedience there shall be springs of delight as well as stores of provision. “With joy shall ye draw waters out of the wells of salvation.” Fountains of delicious satisfaction rise in the realm of duty, the satisfaction of being right with God, and in union with the eternal will. There is no day without its spring, and “the joy of the Lord is our strength.”

He shall find vision. “Enlightening the eyes.” The eyes of the obedient are anointed with the eye-salve of grace, and wondrous panoramas break upon the sight. Visions of grace! Visions of love! Visions of glory!

Octavius Winslow (Evening Thoughts - Oct 1)

"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7 - Emanating from a Being infinitely perfect in every moral perfection, it follows as a natural sequence from this truth, that the law, designed to be a transcript of what God is—a copy of Himself—must be in every respect a most perfect law. How could it be otherwise? Is it rational to suppose that a Being of infinite holiness, wisdom, and goodness would form a rule for the government of moral creatures, that would fail to place before their eye the loftiest standard of excellence, and that should not demand and secure their supreme obedience and happiness? It follows, then, that the law being essentially and perfectly holy, all its requirements must be equally so. It cannot change, nor compromise, nor soften down either the nature or the outline or the enforcement of a single enactment. It demands of every creature the profoundest homage, the most implicit obedience, and the most perfect love. In requiring this, the creature shall have no ground for impeaching the Divine goodness. He shall have no reason for alleging of God that He is harsh and austere. As if fearful of perplexing the mind with a multitude of enactments, our Lord has presented one precept of the law, the perfect keeping of which resolves itself into a virtual fulfillment of all—"Jesus said unto him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment."

Who but an infinitely wise Lawgiver could have embodied all the requisitions of an extended code in a single one? What an unfolding of the wisdom of God is here! In securing to Himself the supreme love of His creatures, He wins a willing obedience to every precept of His law. Such is the all-commanding, all-constraining power of love to God! Employing no other than this gentle and persuasive motive, God asks your intellect—your time—your service—your rank—your substance—your person—your life—your all. In demanding this complete surrender, His law stands forth, in view of all created intelligences, as a rule worthy of Him from whom it emanates. Oh yes! it is a most righteous law. (Evening Thoughts)


  • Precepts: Ps 105:45 119:12,16,80,171 Ge 26:5 Ex 18:16 Dt 4:5,6 Eze 36:27
  • Right: Ps 119:128 Ne 9:13
  • Rejoicing: Ps 40:8 119:14,24,54,92,121,143 Dt 12:11,12 16:11,14 Ne 8:12 Isa 64:5 Jer 15:16 Ro 7:22
  • Pure: Ps 12:6 119:40 Pr 30:5 Ro 7:12, 13, 14
  • Enlightening: Ps 13:3 119:98, 99, 100,105,130 Pr 2:6 6:23 Ro 2:17, 18, 19, 20 3:20 7:7 Gal 2:19 3:10, 11, 12, 13,21)

Greek Septuagint (Lxx): NOTE: The NT passages are NOT cross references but passages what use the preceding Greek word

ta dikaiomata (a concrete expression of righteousness, of God’s requirements - ordinance, degree, regulation) kuriou eutheia (literally a roadway = straight; figuratively. of moral integrity = upright, right, correct Acts 8.21) euphrainonta (present tense [continually]: make glad, cheer up; spiritual jubilation Acts 2.26) kardian e entole kuriou telauges (Mk 8:25: far-shining, bright visible from afar, conspicuous, distinctly) photizousa (present tense [continually]: continually giving light or illuminating ~ giving guidance and understanding, making clear & causing to understand; see Ep 1.18-note) ophthalmous

Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint: The ordinances of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is bright, enlightening the eyes.

Precepts of the LORD: Precept (Latin praeceptum, from praecipere, “to instruct”) = principle instructing to do a certain action. That which is mandated (by God); commandment.

Precepts (06490) (piqqud from paqad = verb meaning to pay attention to persons, eg Ge 50:24, 25 [take care of], Ex 3:16 [concerned about]) refers to directions, orders, instructions. The root idea of this Hebrew masculine noun expresses the idea that God is paying attention to how He wants things ordered. God's precepts are sure (aman) (Ps111:7) and provide rules for daily living (rules given with the Father's love for our good and His glory and to be obeyed out of a heart of love for God, not out of a heart of legalism or license!)

Piqqud - 24x - Ps19:8 103:18 111:7 119:4,15,27,40,45, 56, 63, 69, 78, 87, 93, 94, 100, 104, 110, 128, 134, 141, 159, 168, 173. Let me make a suggestion. First, recall the unchangeable principle that obedience to God's precepts always brings blessing, in the present context bringing joy to the heart. Given this benefit, consider enlarging your Biblical definition of "precept" by studying the preceding uses of piqqud in Scripture. Make a list of what you learn about precept. For example, ask what are the benefits associated with the precepts? What are the actions associated with the precepts? Apply these actions to your life! You will be blessed indeed!

1828 Webster's dictionary says that precepts are principles, commandments or orders intended as an authoritative rules of action particularly respecting moral conduct. Precepts commonly suggest something advisory and not obligatory and are communicated often through teaching. In the Scriptures a precept is generally a divine injunction in which man’s obligation obligation is set forth.

Derek Kidner compares the 6 aspects of God's special revelation noting that while Law and testimony are the comprehensive terms for God’s revelation. Precepts and commandments indicate the precision and authority with which He addresses us, while fear, or reverence, emphasizes the human response fostered by His word. Ordinances, or judgments are the judicial decision he has recorded about various human situations.


The statutes of the Lord are right. His precepts and decrees are founded in righteousness, and are such as are right or fitted to the right reason of man. As a physician gives the right medicine, and a counselor the right advice, so does the Book of God. (Ps19:8 Treasury of David)

Right (03477) (yashar from root meaning to make or be straight, smooth, upright, level) means "straight" (literal use = 1Sa 6:12), and figuratively refers to that which is righteous, upright, just, correct, straightforward. God's word is not perverse or crooked but "straight" (like a straight edge by which we can measure our "spiritual growth" much like a parent records a child's height on a door - How much have you grown [spiritually] this past year? If you say not much, what is "stunting" your growth… sin, failure to take in the precepts of Jehovah [sin usually has this effect -- blunts hunger for the Word]) and thus encourages upright living.


Right does not mean correct as opposed to being wrong; that idea is seen more in the word trustworthy. Right means straight as opposed to being crooked and is linked to the idea of righteousness. Verse 8 teaches that walking in a straight path or in an upright manner brings joy. Charles Haddon Spurgeon saw a progression in these first three statements about the law of God that highlights the meaning of this one: conversion, leading to wisdom, leading to joy. He says of the latter: "Free grace brings heart-joy. Earthborn mirth dwells on the lip, and flushes the bodily powers; but heavenly delights satisfy the inner nature, and fill the mental faculties to the brim." (Ibid)

Literally the text means that the Scriptures give us the right path to walk on in contradistinction to the way of man which leads to death (Pr 14:12, cp Ps 1:1-note). The glorious thing about this Book is that when the story is all told, when everything is said and done, it will all end up just as it is written in the Book. This Book is right and it is the way things really are, should be and will be! This is good news in a world of fraud and deception. It is news which should comfort the afflicted, but it will undoubtedly afflict the "comfortable" (comfortable in their sin, their gross indifference to God, etc).


Rejoicing the heart. Mark the progress; he who was converted was next made wise and is now made happy; that truth which makes the heart right then gives joy to the right heart. Free grace brings heart joy. Earthborn mirth dwells on the lip, and flushes the bodily powers; but heavenly delights satisfy the inner nature, and fill the mental faculties to the brim. There is no cordial of comfort like that which is poured from the bottle of Scripture.

"Retire and read thy Bible to be joyful."
(Ps19:8 Treasury of David)

John Phillips (Exploring Psalms Volume One)…

Martin Luther tells us that when the words: "The just shall live by faith" first dawned upon his darkened soul it was "like entering into paradise." The words are his. "Before those words broke upon my mind, I hated God and was angry with Him because, not content with frightening us sinners by the law and by the miseries of life, He still further increased our torture by the gospel. But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood those words 'the just shall live by faith'—then I felt born again, like a new man. I entered in by the open doors into the very paradise of God. In very truth this text was to me the true gate of paradise." As the hymnwriter put it:

Heaven above was deeper blue,
Earth around was brighter green,
Something lived in every hue.
Christless eyes had never seen.

The psalmist writes…

Therefore I esteem right (yashar) all Thy precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way. (Ps 119:128)

Habakkuk writes…

Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right (yashar) within him, but the righteous will live by his faith. (Hab 2:4, quoted in Ro 1:17-note)

Rejoicing the heart (Je15:16 Ps40:8 119:14, 24, 54, 92, 121, 143 Dt12:11,12 16:11,14 Ne8:10 Isa 64:5 Je15:16 Ro7:22)

Rejoicing (08055) (samah - root meaning glad or joyful) means to be glad, to delight in.

W E Vine…(samah/samach) usually refers to a spontaneous emotion or extreme happiness which is expressed in some visible and/or external manner. It does not normally represent an abiding state of wellbeing or feeling. This emotion arises at festivals, circumcision feasts, wedding feasts, harvest feasts, the overthrow of one's enemies, and other such events… The emotion expressed in the verb samah usually finds a visible expression. In Jer. 50:11 the Babylonians are denounced as being glad and "jubilant" over the pillage of Israel. Their emotion is expressed externally by their skipping about like a threshing heifer and neighing like stallions. The emotion represented in the verb (and concretized in the noun simhah) is sometimes accompanied by dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments. This was the sense when David was heralded by the women of Jerusalem as he returned victorious over the Philistines (1Sa 18:6). This emotion is usually described as the product of some external situation, circumstance, or experience, such as found in the first biblical appearance of samah: God told Moses that Aaron was coming to meet him and "when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart" (Ex 4:14). This passage speaks of inner feeling which is visibly expressed. When Aaron saw Moses, he was overcome with joy and kissed him (v. 27). Therefore, the verb samah suggests three elements: (1) a spontaneous, unsustained feeling of jubilance, (2) a feeling so strong that it finds expression in some external act, and (3) a feeling prompted by some external and unsustained stimulus.

Samach refers to with one's whole disposition as indicated by its association with the heart (cf. Ex 4:14 Ps 104:15 105:3), the soul (Ps 86:4); and with lighting up of the eyes (Pr 15:30).

The heartfelt joy is equivalent to inner peace and tranquility. The first use of this Hebrew verb samach give a sense of what David is saying the precepts of the LORD will do for the hungry heart (Lv 23:40).

From an email I received from Grace Bible Church team ministering in Haiti Oct, 2000 helping establish Awana's (Bible memory program) among the poor children… an example of what God's precepts can do in real life

"As he was video taping and filming the Awana training, Rod Henegar sensed an overwhelming appreciation of how Awana is going to minister to the children of Haiti. When the children first arrived at the new club, their faces showed visible apprehension, but as they studied the Scriptures and God's Word, their countenance seemed to take on an "angelic aura" and their desire to come back again was so apparent--"Such a transformation!" (Ed: Beautiful example of supernatural word producing a supernatural result = "rejoicing the heart"!)

Heart (03820)(leb; Lxx = kardia) in Hebrew thought was the center of reason and decision, the deepest seat of emotions and decisions and encompasses the mind, emotions and will. The heart refers to the whole of our "inner-life", our thought-life, our values, our drives, our choices, and our sense of right and wrong, all of which find their seat in the "heart".

Stated another way, the heart is the center of the human spirit, from which spring emotions, thought, motivations, courage and action--the springs of life (Pr 4:23-see notes).

The great Puritan writer John Flavel wrote that…

The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best afterward; it is the seat of principles, and the fountain of actions. The eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be, principally fixed upon it. The greatest difficulty in conversion, is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion, is to keep the heart with God. Here lies the very force and stress of religion; here is that which makes the way to life a narrow way, and the gate of heaven a strait gate. (from Flavel's treatise on Proverbs 4:23 "Keeping The Heart" - This work has been called "one of greatest Christian books of all time" - Recommended Reading!)

Heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as "the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity," "the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will," and "the center of a person. The place to which God turns."

J C Philpot's Devotional (May 17) on Psalm 19:8

As without a revelation of the doctrine of salvation we would not know how a sinner could be saved, and thus could not glorify God by our faith; so without a revelation of the precept we would not know how to serve God, and thus could not glorify him by our obedience. Look at this point, believing child of God. You long to glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are his (1Cor. 6:20). You desire, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, to do all to the glory of God (1Cor. 10:31). There are times and seasons with you when you sigh and mourn over your barren, unprofitable heart and life, and earnestly long to think and speak and act to his honor and glory who has done so much for you in providence and grace. At least, if you have no such desires you are no Christian, and are at the best but a poor, worldly, dead professor.

When, then, and how far do you live to God's glory? Only then, and only so far as your life, and walk, and conduct harmonize with, and are guided by the precepts of the word. For see the connection. We can only glorify God outwardly by doing his will; we can only know that will, as regards our practical obedience to it, by the express revelation which he has given of it. Where is that revelation? In his word, and chiefly in the preceptive part of it. It is this which makes it "a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path." David therefore cried--"Order my steps in your word;" "Make me to go in the path of your commandments;" "O that my ways were directed to keep your statutes!" as feeling that it was only by walking in the word and by the word that he could please God and live to his praise.

We find thousands in this land who, as they think, are doing God service by plans and schemes of their own devising, priding themselves on their good works. But we may say of all these their duties and doings what Augustine said of the ancient Roman virtues, that they are but "splendid sins", or, to use the language of the Church of England, entitled, Works before justification, "for that they are not done as God has willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin." (May 1)


Scripture is "sovereign" (Webster = Supreme in power; supremely efficacious, effectual). His commandment is obligatory. It is what we must do. Why? David says it is without alloy of hypocrisy or impurity. It is the sincere (pure) milk of the Word (see 1Peter 2:2). The “sacred books” of some world religions are anything but pure, but God’s Word is pure, even when dealing with sin! Nothing in the Bible, rightly understood, could or should lead a person into sin. Such could not be said true of the so-called "sacred" books of many of the false religions of the world.

Commandment (04687)(miswa/miswah) is an authoritative directive or order, either written or verbal and given as instruction and/or prescription for subordinates. Many (if not most) OT uses of this word parallel the various meanings of torah and a number of passages use both words (Ge 26:5; Ex 16:28; 24:12; Lv 27:34; Nu 36:13; Dt 30:10 etc).


The commandment of the Lord is pure. No mixture of error defiles it, no stain of sin pollutes it; it is the unadulterated milk, the undiluted wine. (Ps19:8 Treasury of David)

Pure (01249) (bar) means pure (morally - Job 11:4, Ps 24:4), clean, radiant. In the present context the commandment is "radiant" and by extension gives understanding.

Bar - 7x in 7v in NAS - Job 11:4; Ps 19:8; 24:4; 73:1; Pr 14:4; Song 6:9, 10. NAS = clean(1), innocent(1), pure(4), who are pure(1).

Henry Morris comments that…

While the physical world gives mighty testimony to the existence of God, and His power in creation, only the written Word can give testimony to the power of God in salvation. Note that the Scriptures are “perfect,” “sure,” “right,” “pure,” “forever,” “true,” and “righteous altogether.” In a sense, God does have two books, but His written revelation is superior to His physical creation (note Psalm 138:2), and the latter can only be truly understood as expounded by the former. Many modern evangelicals are making the serious mistake of trying to make Scripture conform to current “science.” It should be the other way around. (Defender's Study Bible - highly recommended)

Enlightening the eyes - The internal joy radiates through the eyes. It expresses the joy of being alive and of receiving God's blessings (cf. Ps 13:3). Thus Yahweh has made the sun for light in creation and has given His word for light in redemption. God's commands "turn the (spiritual) light on" so to speak and enable us to see (spiritual realities - cp 2Cor 4:17, 18). The liar Satan, the "god of this world" blinds the mind of the unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel (2Cor 4:4). Study the following cross-references for a insights into what it means to enlighten the eyes -Pr 6:23 2Pe 1:19 Acts 26:18 2Co 4:6 Ps119:130 Ps 119:105.

Enlightening (0215) (or/owr) is used most often in the OT with the literal meaning to give light, to shine, to become light. The Aaronic blessing has a figurative use, asking the Lord to "make His face shine on you." (Nu 6:25, for other figurative uses see Ezra 9:8, Ps 13:3).

The eyes are commonly described in secular words as "the window of the soul" and indeed even dogs look for their master's intentions by looking at his eyes.


Enlightening the eyes, purging away by its own purity the earthly grossness which mars the intellectual discernment: whether the eye be dim with sorrow or with sin, the Scripture is a skilful oculist, and makes the eye clear and bright. Look at the sun and it puts out your eyes, look at the more than sunlight of Revelation and it enlightens them; the purity of snow causes snow blindness to the Alpine traveller, but the purity of God's truth has the contrary effect, and cures the natural blindness of the soul. It is well again to observe the gradation; the convert becomes a disciple and next a rejoicing soul, he now obtains a discerning eye and as a spiritual man discerneth all things, though he himself is discerned of no man. (Ps19:8 Treasury of David)

Boice explains enlightening as that which…

illumines a right life path enables us to walk in it without stumbling. This is the idea here, though the passage probably also carries the idea of purging darkness out of us and thus enabling us to see clearly and without distortion. Psalm 119:105 embraces these ideas when it says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Ibid)

Adam Clarke

Showing men what they should do. and what they should avoid. It is by God's commandments that we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the necessity of redemption, so that we may love the Lord with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. For this is the end of the commandment, and thus to enlighten the eyes is ITS use.


We teach God's Word because it enlightens (Ps 19:8). We trust it because it is true and righteous (Ps 19:9, Ps 9:10). We treasure it because it is more desired than gold (Ps 19:10). We may even "taste" the Word (1Pe 2:3-note)… The Bible is the book of our heart. Every time we read a book, watch TV or listen to a speaker, something is being written on our hearts. Let God write His Word on your heart. The heart sees what it loves. When we love the Lord with our hearts, we see Him in creation and in the Scriptures. (Warren Wiersbe. Prayer, Praise and Promises).


  • Fear: Ps 34:11, 12, 13, 14 36:1 115:13 Ge 22:12 42:18 1Sa 12:24 1Ki 18:3,4,12 Ne 5:15 Pr 8:13 Acts 10:22 Ro 3:10-18
  • Enduring: Ps 111:10 112:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • Judgments: Ps 10:5 36:6 72:1,2 119:7,39,62,75,106,137,138,142,1 Ps 147:19 Ex 21:1 Dt 4:8 Isa 26:8 Ro 2:2 11:22 Rev 15:3 16:7 19:2)

Greek Septuagint (LXX): NOTE: The NT passages are NOT cross references but passages what use the preceding Greek word

ho phobos kuriou hagnos (characterized by freedom from defilements or impurities; of things without moral defect, pure cp Php 4.8) diamenon (present tense: remains constant Gal 2:5; continues unchanged; is permanent > "Fear of the Lord" will last forever > Rev 19:5-note) eis aiona aionos ta krimata kuriou alethina dedikaiomena (dikaioo: perfect tense: set right; proved, tested; judged) epi to auto (Quoted in Rev 19:2-note)

Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint: The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring for ever and ever: the judgments of the Lord are true, and justified altogether.

THE FEAR OF THE LORD: In context (the other 5 nouns clearly refer to various aspects of God's Word) this phrase is best interpreted as a synonym for the Word of God (the law). Keil and Delitzsch state that this phrase refers to “the revealed way in which God is to be feared”. Fear of the Lord is intimately related to the Word of the Lord because study and meditation on God's Word births a holy respect and awe for His holy character and righteous standards. As David writes…

Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. (Ps 34:11)

Spurgeon: We must drive at the main point always, and keep the fear of the Lord ever uppermost in our teachings

Fear (03374) (yirah) depending on the context can refer to terror, reverence, awe; piety --of men (Dt2:25), of things (Isa7:25), of situations (Jon1:10), of God (Ge 20:11)

Yirah - 43x in 43v the NAS - Gen 20:11; Exod 20:20; Deut 2:25; 2 Sam 23:3; 2 Chr 19:9; Neh 5:9, 15; Job 4:6; 6:14; 15:4; 22:4; 28:28; Ps 2:11; 5:7; 19:9; 34:11; 55:5; 90:11; 111:10; 119:38; Prov 1:7, 29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26f; 15:16, 33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4; 23:17; Isa 7:25; 11:2f; 33:6; 63:17; Jer 32:40; Ezek 1:18; 30:13; Jonah 1:10. NAS = awesome(1), extremely*(1), fear(35), fearing(1), reverence(5).

To be sure the teaching of "the fear of the LORD" literally permeates the Bible and is not restricted (as sometimes misunderstood) to the OT (e.g., Acts 9:31 2Co 5:11, 2Co 7:1 1Pe 1:17, Rev 19:5). When used in this more general sense, it refers to a reverential trust of God. As noted above, the phrase "fear of the LORD" in Ps 19:9 most likely refers to the law (the Word of God), which teaches one how to proper piety and reverence toward the LORD. For example Moses reminds the new generation of Israel who is preparing to enter and conquer the promised land (possess their possessions)…

Remember [added by translators for clarity] the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when the LORD said to me, 'Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children. (Dt 4:10)

And so we see that the effect of a proper understanding of the Word is a holy fear (not a shaking, trembling fear).

God prophesies that Israel will reject Him as her King and seek a human king and so issues instructions that the human king (Dt 18:14, 15) is to follow so that he might be a more godly leader…

"Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left; in order that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel. (Dt 17:18, 19, 20)

These examples thus clearly link the law, the Word of God, with a holy fear which in turn serves to motivate a prompt obedience and a proper opinion of one's self (humility rather than pride).

Related Resource - The Fear of God by Wilhelmus A'Brakel


The fear of the Lord is clean. The doctrine of truth is here described by its spiritual effect, viz., inward piety, or the fear of the Lord; this is clean in itself, and cleanses out the love of sin, sanctifying the heart in which it reigns. Mr. Godly fear is never satisfied till every street, lane, and alley, yea, and every house and every corner of the town of Man soul is clean rid of the Diablolonians who lurk therein. (Ps19:9 Treasury of David)

Clean (02889) (tahor) means pure, genuine, flawless, free from impurity. The picture is that of precious metal which is unalloyed - "pure gold" (Ex 25:11 28:14).

David uses tahor to describe God's Word…

Psalm 12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times. (Compare Ps 18:30, Ps 119:140 where "pure" = refined so as to purge away impurities; Pr 30:5 where "tested" is refined)

Comment: Compare a parallel NT passage in Peter…

Like newborn babes, long for the pure (adolos - word study) milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation (1Peter 2:2-note) (Note: No intake of "pure milk" equates with no spiritual growth! There are simply no shortcuts! Are you in the Book, so that the Book might get in you and do its supernatural work on your heart and mind? 2Co 3:18, Jas 1:25-note)

The special revelation of God in Scripture is free from any mixture of truth and error and so is perfectly consistent with reality.

Adam Clarke notes that the "fear of the LORD" has as its object…

to purge away all defilement, to make a spotless character..

Thomas Watson says the "fear of the LORD is clean"

1. In its own nature—it is a pure, crystal, orient grace.

2. In the effect of it—it cleanses the heart and life. As a spring works out the mud—so the fear of the Lord purges out the love of sin. The heart is the temple of God, and the fear of the Lord sweeps and cleanses this temple, that it may not be defiled. (Religion Our True Interest)

Enduring (05975) ('amad) basically means to stand upright, literally as a soldier on watch (2Sa18:30) but in other contexts (such as this psalm, cp Ps 102:26) carries the sense of being established or immovable (cp Pr 12:7).

Forever (05703) ('ad) means forever, ever, everlasting evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world, etc (cp Ex 15:18, Ps 9:5, 18, Ps 10:16, 21:4, 37:29, etc). The fear of the LORD stands to perpetuity.

Enduring forever - The Scriptures are without error, deficiency, fault, or inadequacy and untouched by sin. Corrupt things decay but pure things endure. Because the Word is pure, it will endure forever (cp Mt 5:18-note, Mt 24:35). We do not need to have the Bible updated to accommodate modern thoughts and ideas. Contrary to the "enlightened" thinking of our age, truth is not relative but absolute and absolutely will endure forever because it is grounded in the unchanging (Immutable) character of the Eternal God. You can stake our life on this truth!


Enduring for ever. Filth brings decay, but cleanness is the great foe of corruption. The grace of God in the heart being a pure principle, is also an abiding and incorruptible principle, which may be crushed for a time, but cannot be utterly destroyed. Both in the Word and in the heart, when the Lord writes, he says with Pilate, "What I have written, I have written;" he will make no erasures himself, much less suffer others to do so. The revealed will of God is never changed; even Jesus came not to destroy but to fulfil, and even the ceremonial law was only changed as to its shadow, the substance intended by it is eternal. When the governments of nations are shaken with revolution, and ancient constitutions are being repealed, it is comforting to know that the throne of God is unshaken, and his law unaltered. (Ps19:9 Treasury of David)

Adam Clarke commenting on the enduring character writes that…

The fear that prevents us from offending God, that causes us to reverence him, and is the beginning as it is the safeguard of wisdom, must be carried all through life. No soul is safe for a moment without it. It prevents departure from God, and keeps that clean which God has purified.

Spurgeon - Happy is the man that fears always. Pr 28:14

THE fear of the Lord is the beginning and the foundation of all true religion. Without a solemn awe and reverence of God, there is no foothold for the more brilliant virtues. He whose soul does not worship will never live in holiness.

He is happy who feels a jealous fear of doing wrong. Holy fear looks not only before it leaps, but even before it moves. It is afraid of error, afraid of neglecting duty, afraid of committing sin. It fears ill company, loose talk, and questionable policy. This does not make a man wretched, but it brings him happiness. The watchful sentinel is happier than the soldier who sleeps at his post. He who foreseeth evil and escapes it is happier than he who walks carelessly on and is destroyed.

Fear of God is a quiet grace which leads a man along a choice road, of which it is written, No lion shall be there, neither shall any ravenous beast go up thereon. Fear of the very appearance of evil is a purifying principle which enables a man, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to keep his garments unspotted from the world. In both senses he that feareth always is made happy. Solomon had tried both worldliness and holy fear: in the one he found vanity, in the other happiness. Let us not repeat his trial, but abide by his verdict. Spurgeon, C. Faith's Checkbook

Holy Fear - He that fears the commandment shall be rewarded. Proverbs 13:13?

HOLY awe of God's Word is at a great discount. Men think themselves wiser than the Word of the Lord, and sit in judgment upon it. So did not I, because of the fear of God. We accept the inspired Book as infallible and prove our esteem by our obedience. We have no terror of the Word, but we have a filial awe of it.

We are not in fear of its penalties,
because we have a fear of its commands.

This holy fear of the commandment produces the restfulness of humility, which is far sweeter than the recklessness of pride. It becomes a guide to us in our movements, a drag when we are going downhill, and a stimulus when we are climbing it. Preserved from evil and led into righteousness by our reverence of the command, we gain a quiet conscience, which is a well of wine; a sense of freedom from responsibility, which is as life from the dead; and a confidence of pleasing God, which is heaven below. The ungodly may ridicule our deep reverence for the Word of the Lord, but what of that? The prize of our high calling is a sufficient consolation for us. The rewards of obedience make us scorn the scorning of the scorner.


Judgments (04941) (mishpat) refers to a verdict pronounced judicially, the act of deciding a legal dispute or case.

True (0571) ('emeth from aman = conveys the basic sense of firmness, of support, of certainty, of stability) in the present context refers to faithfulness, reliability, trustworthiness, a state of being dependable. In other words the picture is that of something that will stand the test of time.

Adam Clarke

All dispensations in providence and grace confirm them (God's judgments); they are certain, and have a fixed character… (God's judgments) give to all their due. They show what belongs to God, to man, and to ourselves. And hence the word altogether, ‏יחדו‎ yachdav, equally, is added; or truth and righteousness united.

God’s evaluations of men and things are true, for the omniscient God knows all things completely. It pays for us to believe what God says and not to depend on what men say about God or what men say about men (cp "secular humanism", etc).

Illustration - An infidel said, "There is one thing that mars all the pleasures of my life." "Indeed!" replied his friend, "What is that?" He answered, "I am afraid the Bible is true. If I could know for certain that death is an eternal sleep, I should be happy: my joy would be complete! But here is the thorn that stings me. This is the sword that pierces my very soul, - if the Bible is true, I am lost forever." (Amen or "Oh my!")

Alexander Maclaren wrote that…

All this rapture of delight in the law contrasts with the impatience and dislike which some men entertain for it. To the disobedient that law spoils their coarse gratifications. It is as a prison in which life is wearisomely barred from delights; but they who dwell behind its fences know that these keep evils off, and that within are calm joys and pure delights. (The Expositor's Bible)

Righteous (06663) (tsadaq) basically connotes conformity to an ethical or moral standard which in Scripture is the nature and will of God (Ps145:17) And thus God is righteous (Ps 51:4) as are His laws (Ps 19:9). When injustice prevails, God is the One who sets things right (Ex 23:6, 7; Ps 82:3). Man is not righteous by God's perfect standard, which is why we need the righteous standard of His Word.

Altogether (03162)(yachad) speaks of a unit, unitedness, association. Yachad conveys an inclusive sense of gathering up many things at once, leaving none out.

SpurgeonThe judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether; -- jointly and severally the words of the Lord are true; that which is good in detail is excellent in the mass; no exception may be taken to a single clause separately, or to the book as a whole. God's judgments, all of them together, or each of them apart, are manifestly just, and need no laborious excuses to justify them. The judicial decisions of Jehovah, as revealed in the law, or illustrated in the history of his providence, are truth itself, and commend themselves to every truthful mind; not only is their power invincible, but their justice is unimpeachable. (Ps 19:9 Treasury of David)


  • Gold: Ps 119:72,127 Job 28:15, 16, 17 Pr 3:13, 14, 15 8:10,11,19 16:16
  • Sweeter: Ps 63:5 119:103 Job 23:12 Pr 24:13
  • Honeycomb: the dropping of honey-combs, 1Sa 14:26, 27, 28, 29

The honey satisfies the body.
The Word satisfies the soul.

Greek Septuagint (LXX): NOTE: The NT passages are NOT cross references but passages what use the preceding Greek word

epithumeta (Epithumetos not found in NT but see epithumeo - precious, pleasant, to be desired Jer 12:10) huper (lit = over, above) chrusion kai lithon timion polun kai glukutera (literally sweet Jas 3.11) huper meli (honey from bees) kai kerion (honeycomb, a wax comb filled with honey Lk 24.42KJV).

Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint: To be desired more than gold, and much precious stone: sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb.


A glory gilds the sacred page,
Majestic like the sun;
It gives a light to every age,
It gives, but borrows none.
William Cowper

Desirable (02530) (chamad) means to take pleasure in something, to covet, to desire passionately or intensely. desire, covet, long for (describes the pleasant trees as well as the forbidden trees in Eden Ge2:9).“Do not covet” (Ex 20:17). In a negative sense chamad refers to an inordinate, ungoverned, selfish desire, whether it be the gold of idols (Dt 7:25), or lusting after prostitutes (Pr 6:25) but here David uses the verb in its positive sense. So just as strongly as one would lust for some unforbidden fruit (an attitude we can all identify with though the "fruit" may be different), we are to long for the Word of Jehovah because it is more valuable than the most precious metal known at that time. Do I have this intense longing? Has it been there but slowly been sapped by the cares of the world? Then cry out to Jehovah even as the psalmist (Ps 119:34, 35, 36, 37, 38, etc).

Chamad - 21x in 20v - Gen 2:9; 3:6; Exod 20:17; 34:24; Deut 5:21; 7:25; Josh 7:21; Job 20:20; Ps 19:10; 39:11; 68:16; Prov 1:22; 6:25; 12:12; 21:20; Song 2:3; Isa 1:29; 44:9; 53:2; Mic 2:2. NAS = attracted(1), covet(6), coveted(1), delight(1), desirable(2), desire(1), desired(2), desires(2), pleasing(1), precious(2), precious things(1), took great delight(1)

Much fine gold - David regarded the words of God as more valuable than gold, the most expensive substance in his day, and more pleasing and satisfying than honey, the sweetest substance.


More to be desired are they than fine gold, yea, than much fine gold. Bible truth is enriching to the soul in the highest degree; the metaphor is one which gathers force as it is brought out; -- gold -- fine gold -- much fine gold; it is good, better, best, and therefore it is not only to be desired with a miser's avidity, but with more than that. As spiritual treasure is more noble than mere material wealth, so should it be desired and sought after with greater eagerness. Men speak of solid gold, but what is so solid as solid truth? For love of gold pleasure is forsworn, ease renounced, and life endangered; shall we not be ready to do as much for love of truth? (Ps 19:10 Treasury of David)

Adam Clarke "nails" us all with his pithy comment on God's Word as more desirable than gold…

This is strictly true; but who believes it? By most men gold is preferred both to God and his judgments; and they will barter every heavenly portion for gold and silver!

The Bible is still "the most influential book in history" according to a 1996 survey of US citizens. The most influential book every written is… survey says

79.8 % Bible

4.7 % Dr. Spock's baby book

4.1 % Charles Darwin's The Origin Of The Species

2.4 % George Orwell's 1984

How many of those who praise the Bible's influence actually read it? And even if they read it, do they read it as the only source of their daily bread (Mt 4:4)? As someone has well said, if our approach to reading Scripture is "hit or miss", mostly likely it will "miss"!

Do we have a "system" that helps us read the Scripture accurately and methodically, taking care to plumb the depths of the whole counsel of God's Word, both old and new testaments? If your answer to the preceding question is "no", let me suggest an approach to your Bible reading that has literally transformed the reading of thousands of believers - Inductive Bible study (see discussion). This method takes some effort but teaches you skills that will enable you to discover Biblical truth for yourself, which in turn transforms Scripture reading from an onerous "duty" to a genuine "delight"! Do you believe and practice what you read in Scripture? Is the Bible radically influencing your life? (See discussion of Application)


Illustration - Beginning in 2000, Americans will have a new one-dollar coin. But officials say the Sacagawea dollar honoring the Native American woman who guided the Lewis and Clark expedition will avoid the problems of the Susan B. Anthony dollar. The new coin will be the same size and weight as the Anthony, but it will have smooth edges so it can easily be distinguished by touch from quarters and other coins. It will also be set apart by its gold tone although officials have not yet decided what metals will be used to give the coin its color. Not gold itself, obviously! So even though people may look like they have a pocketful of gold next year, looks will be deceiving. The writers of Scripture often compare God's Word to gold because it stands for something of the highest value. It takes a mature eye to look at 'all that glitters' and determine what is really valuable and what simply looks valuable. And it takes spiritual maturity to value the things of God above even the most sought-after wealth on earth. (Today in the Word. Moody Bible Institute)


What is the world’s greatest treasure? Some people might say it’s all the gold stored in Fort Knox. Others might suggest it’s the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Still others would think of the fabulous wealth once displayed in the czarist palaces of Russia. The answer that I hope would come to your mind is the Bible, God’s Word.

At the coronation of England’s Queen Elizabeth II, the Archbishop of Canterbury presented her with a Bible and said, “Our gracious Queen: To keep your Majesty ever mindful of the Law and the Gospel of God as the Rule for the whole life and government of Christian Princes, we present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords.”

If the world were somehow robbed of all the splendid things we call treasures, that would be an incalculable loss. Suppose, though, the world were somehow stripped of the Bible and every trace of its influence. What a barren, blighted desert this planet would be!

Yes, the Bible is our greatest treasure, worth far more than gold (Ps 19:10). But are we giving more than lip service to its worth? Are we obeying it as “the Rule for the whole life” because we believe the gospel and trust Christ personally as our Lord and Savior

It is God's will that we should read
His Word from day to day,
Not just for knowledge, but much more—
To love Him and obey. —Hess

The rich treasures of God's Word
are waiting to be discovered.

Sweeter than honey (Ps119:103, 92): God's words are like honey. Honey in Near East substituted for sugar to sweeten things. God's Word supernaturally counteracts the bitterness in our life and makes it sweet. The spiritual man has more pleasure in the precepts of the Lord than carnal men have in their evil deeds.

Dyer rightly advised…

Prize the Word of God by the worth of it—that you may never come to prize the Word of God by the want of it! (The Strait Way to Heaven)

Thomas Watson

Sickness takes away the TASTE. A sick man does not taste the sweetness in his food. Just so, the sinner, by reason of soul-sickness, has lost his taste for spiritual things. The Word of God is bread to strengthen, and wine to comfort; but the sinner tastes no sweetness in the Word. A child of God who is spiritualized by grace, tastes a savoriness in ordinances. The promise drops as a honeycomb (Psalm 19:10) — but a natural man is sick and his taste is gone. Since tasting of the forbidden tree, he has lost his taste for spiritual dainties. (The Souls Malady and Cure)

Wayne Mack says the sweetness of God's Word is…

able to remove the sourness, acidity, and bitterness caused by sin and to produce in us a sweetness of life that surpasses anything the world can provide. (The Sufficiency Of Scripture In Counseling - Wayne A. Mack)

Dictionary of Biblical Imagery notes that…

In biblical times honey was known for its sweetness (Jdg 14:14; Ps 19:10; 119:103; Pr 24:13; Ezek 3:3; Rev 10:9, 10) and its medicinal qualities (Pr 16:24). It was considered a delicacy and was sometimes presented as a valued gift (Ge 43:11; 1Ki 14:3; 2Chr 31:5; Ezek 16:13, 19; 27:17). For these reasons honey often indicated or symbolized abundance and prosperity (Dt 32:13; Job 20:17; Ps 81:16; Jer 41:8). At least twenty times (e.g., Ex 3:8, 17; 13:15) the OT calls the Promised Land of Palestine a “land flowing with milk and honey” (NIV), a description that appears to be a stock expression for a land abounding in pasture land and flowering plants. (Ryken, L., et al.. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press)

Sweeter (04966) (mathoq) means sweet and is sometimes translated "pleasant" in the 11 uses in the NAS - Jdg 14:14, 18; Ps 19:10; Prov 16:24; 24:13; 27:7; Eccl 5:12; 11:7; Song 2:3; Isa 5:20; Ezek 3:3.

Honey (01706) (debash) here refers to literal honey. See the dictionary discussion of Honey.

Debash - 54v in NAS - Gen 43:11; Exod 3:8, 17; 13:5; 16:31; 33:3; Lev 2:11; 20:24; Num 13:27; 14:8; 16:13f; Deut 6:3; 8:8; 11:9; 26:9, 15; 27:3; 31:20; 32:13; Josh 5:6; Judg 14:8f, 18; 1 Sam 14:25ff, 29, 43; 2 Sam 17:29; 1 Kgs 14:3; 2 Kgs 18:32; 2 Chr 31:5; Job 20:17; Ps 19:10; 81:16; 119:103; Prov 16:24; 24:13; 25:16, 27; Song 4:11; 5:1; Isa 7:15, 22; Jer 11:5; 32:22; 41:8; Ezek 3:3; 16:13, 19; 20:6, 15; 27:17

Honeycomb (06688) (tsuph) is used only here and in Pr 16:24.

Adam Clarke

Honey is sweet; but honey just out of the comb has a sweetness, richness and flavor, far beyond what it has after it becomes exposed to the air. Only those who have eaten of honey from the comb can feel the force of the psalmist's comparison: it is better than gold, yea, than fine gold in the greatest quantity; it is sweeter than honey, yea, than honey from the comb.

Two arguments for loving God's statutes --
Profit and Pleasure.


Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Trapp says, "Old people are all for profit, the young for pleasure; here's gold for the one, yea, the finest gold in great quantity; here's honey for the other, yea, live honey dropping from the comb." The pleasures arising from a right understanding of the divine testimonies are of the most delightful order; earthly enjoyments are utterly contemptible, if compared with them. The sweetest joys, yea, the sweetest of the sweetest falls to his portion who has God's truth to be his heritage. (Ps 19:10 Treasury of David)

The Word of God is often compared to food - Pr 24:13,14 Dt 8:3 Job23:12 Ps119:103 Je15:16 Eze2:8 3:1 Mt 4:4 1Pe 2:2


Soul Food - Grocery shopping with my wife, Martie, is like taking a seminar in nutrition. I’ll often pick up a box of something that looks good, and she’ll say: “Look at the label. Are there trans-fats? What’s the calorie count? How about the cholesterol rating?” I have to confess that if she weren’t the nutrition cop in my life, I’d look like Shamu the whale!

More important than making good choices in the grocery store is thinking carefully about the food we digest for our souls. I love the verse that says: “Your words were found, and I ate them” (Jer. 15:16).

When we read God’s Word, we have to be doing more than checking it off our to-do list. We have to read it to digest it. Slow, thoughtful absorption of the Word of God with quiet reflection on its implications is high in nutrition. His Word provides all the ingredients we need to thrive spiritually:

• a direct connection to the sustainer of our soul

• brain food that makes us wise and discerning

• a daily check-up revealing the condition of our hearts

• preventive medicine keeping us from sin

• a spiritual shower of peace, hope, and comfort

Eat God’s Word. It’s a spiritual feast!

God’s Word provides the nourishment
That Christians need if we’re to grow;
But if we do not feast on it,
A vibrant faith we’ll never know. —Sper

The Bible contains all the nutrients for a healthy soul.


Remember Cracker Jack? - I don’t know whether I’m going through a second childhood or what, but lately I’ve been craving a box of Cracker Jack. Do you know what I’m talking about —the candy-covered popcorn and peanuts in a box with young Sailor Jack on the label? I remember the slogan: “The more you eat, the more you want!”

Cracker Jack is great, but there is something far better. David said it is “sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Ps. 19:10). And like the candied popcorn, “the more you eat, the more you want.” The more you read the Bible, the more you will desire to read it. It is an appetite that grows as it feeds, and feeds as it grows.

Bible study is habit-forming; like your teatime or coffee break. One of the first things I do when I rise in the morning is put the kettle on. It’s a habit, for I want my coffee. And then with my coffee I sit down with the Book. Reaching for the Bible the first thing in the morning can become a real habit—and a good one. You wouldn’t think of going to work without breakfast, but are you going into the day without your spiritual food?

Get the early morning Bible-reading habit, and keep it up until you can’t break it. Reach for the Book!

Then let me love my Bible more
And take a fresh delight
By day to read these wonders o'er
And meditate by night. —Watts

Those who only sample the Bible
never acquire a taste for it.


1. Ps 19:10 - our most valuable Possession. - "more to be desired than gold"

2. Ps 19:10 - our most valuable Pleasure. - "sweeter than the honeycomb"

3. Ps 19:11 -our most valuable Protection - "moreover by them is thy servant warned."

4. Ps 19:11 -our most valuable source of Profit - "and in keeping of them there is great reward."

5. Ps 19:12, 13 our most valuable Purifier - "acquit… keep back.


  • Moreover: Ps 119:11 2Ch 19:10 Pr 6:22,23 Eze 3:17-21 33:3-9 Mt 3:7 Ac 20:31 1Co 4:14 1Th 5:14 Heb 11:7
  • Keeping: Pr 3:16-18 11:18 29:18 Isa 3:10,11 Mt 6:4,6,18 Heb 11:6,26 Jas 1:25 2Jn 1:8 Rev 14:13

Spurgeon's Sermon - Psalm 19:11 David Warned and Rewarded

Greek Septuagint (Lxx): NOTE: The NT passages are NOT cross references but passages what use the preceding Greek word

kai gar o doulos sou phulassei (3SPAI: Ac12:4) auta en to phulassein (present tense: Acts 22:20) auta antapodosis (stresses the action of repaying ~ reward Col 3.24 Ps 103:2) pole (much Mt 26:9)

Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint: For thy servant keeps to them: in the keeping of them there is great reward.

Moreover by them - Note that the most immediate antecedent noun is God's "judgments". They would certainly warn. But not everyone has "ears to hear". Only God's bondservants will hear with obedience (Ro 6:17)

Servant (05650)(`ebed; Lxx = doulos [word study]) applies to one who either by appointment, office, or choice commits himself to the execution of someone else's will--in this context, the covenant Lord. David a man after God's Own heart (Acts 13:22 "who will do all My will") sees himself as not his own but as a possession of the Most High God (cp Titus 2:14 1Co 6:19,20, Lev 20:26. Are you living as if you are "your own"? Are you living for time or for eternity? If you are living only for yourself and only for time you are living a vapid [dull, unanimated, spiritless, flat] life!).

Other OT servants of God - Moses Dt 34:5, Josh 1:1, 13, 15 8:31, 33 11:12 12:6 13:8 14:7 18:7, 22:2, 4, 5, 2Ki 18:12, 1Chr 6:49, 2Chr 1:3, 24:6, 9, Da 9:11, Joshua - Josh 24:29, Jdg 2:8, David - Ps 18:1, 36:1

Puritan writer John Bunyan was right when he said of the Bible

This Book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this Book.

Warned (02094) (zahar) means to teach, to warn, to shine, to enlighten by cautioning. The idea is that of shining upon so that the right way is illuminated, as is needed in cases of doubt, danger, ignorance or potential sin. God's servant (remembering that the servant's will is subsumed in the Master's will) sees clearly so that he might walk worthily of his high calling.

Zahar - 21x in 18v in the NAS - Ex 18:20; 2Ki 6:10; 2Chr 19:10; Ps 19:11; Ec 4:13; 12:12; Ezek 3:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 33:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. NAS = give them warning(1), receive instruction(1), take warning(2), taken warning(1), teach(1), took warning(1), warn(6), warned(7), warns(1).

Wiersbe writes the believer…

who fills his heart and mind with God's Word will have a "built-in radar" for detecting wrong thoughts. "Great peace have they which love Thy Law" (Ps 119:165). Right thinking is the result of daily meditation on the Word of God. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament. 1989. Victor or Logos or Wordsearch)


Moreover by them is thy servant warned. We are warned by the Word both of our duty, our danger, and our remedy. On the sea of life there would be many more wrecks, if it were not for the divine storm signals, which give to the watchful a timely warning. The Bible should be our Mentor, our Monitor, our Memento Mori, our Reminder, and the Keeper of our Conscience. Alas, that so few men will take the warning so graciously given; none but servants of God will do so, for they alone regard their Master's will. Servants of God not only find his service delightful in itself, but they receive good recompense (Ps 19:11 Treasury of David)

Keeping them - This can picture to hedge about as with thorns! The reward comes in the doing: “This man shall be blessed in his doing” (Jas 1:25) and in fact to NOT "DO" THEM is to delude one's self (Jas 1:22, 23, 24).

John 14:21 although using a different word for "keep" nevertheless illustrates one of the greatest rewards believers in this present life. What is the reward? Is it not enhanced intimacy and fellowship with the Holy One?

Keeping (08104) (samar; Lxx = phulasso [word study]) means to watch, keep, preserve, guard, watch carefully over, be on one's guard. The first Biblical use in Genesis 2:15 is quite instructive, for Adam failed to "keep" the garden entrusted to him by God and the consequences were eternally devastating!

The Lxx of "keeping" is the Greek verb phulasso [word study] - to guard, act as watchman) gives the added importance of God's judgments -- they are like sentries that protect us from persons (self/Satan) things (world system with its futile desires & pursuits) keeping us in safe custody (cp similar idea in Ps 119:133). The use of phulasso often implies assault from w/o. Let us therefore be diligent to give our best moments to studying & meditating on His precious Word instead of just the dregs & left-overs, as is so often the case in our fast-paced "me first" society where God is just one of many possible choices. Oh come let us adore Him for in eternity's view Jesus is the Only Choice that matters.

The wonderful "divine paradox" is that the Word of God "keeps" us as we in fact keep (guard) it! It protects us, serving as our watchman, our protector, our guard, our attendant.

There is great reward - Cross references - Ge 15:1 Ps 58:11 Isa 40:1 62:11 Jer 31:16 Mt 6:4 1Co 9:17 2Jn 1:8 Rev 22:12

Great (07227)(rab) is an adjective meaning many, much, abundance.

Reward (06118)(eqeb); Lxx = antapodosis - see study of verb antapodidomi) basically refers an end, the last reason for something, a consequence, a good result (reward) (Ps 19:11, Pr 22:4), a goal or purpose (Ps 119:33), a chronological end (Ps 119:112).

Eqeb - 14x in 14v in the NAS - Ge 22:18; 26:5; Nu 14:24; Dt 7:12; 8:20; 2Sa 12:6, 10; Ps 19:11; 40:15; 70:3; 119:33, 112; Pr 22:4; Amos 4:12. NAS = because(3), because*(7), end(2), reward(2).

What kind of "reward"? See Rev 20:12,13, Heb 11:26 cp now and later 1Ti4:7, 1Ti 4:8.

Boice comments that…

virtue is its own reward. Though the ungodly do not think so, the upright are actually blessed in their uprightness. Goodness is itself joyous. To be holy is to be content. (Ibid)


In keeping of them there is great reward. There is a wage, and a great one; though we earn no wages of debt, we win great wages of grace. Saints may be losers for a time, but they shall be glorious gainers in the long run, and even now a quiet conscience is in itself no slender reward for obedience. He who wears the herb called heart's ease in his bosom is truly blessed. However, the main reward is yet to come, and the word here used hints as much, for it signifies the heel, as if the reward would come to us at the end of life when the work was done; -- not while the labour was in hand, but when it was gone and we could see the heel of it. Oh the glory yet to be revealed! It is enough to make a man faint for joy at the prospect of it. Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Then shall we know the value of the Scriptures when we swim in that sea of unutterable delight to which their streams will bear us, if we commit ourselves to them. (Ps 19:11 Treasury of David)

The warnings of Scripture help to protect us against temptation, sin, error, foolishness, false teachers, and every other threat to our spiritual well-being. And to heed those warnings brings great reward. It is not a material prize. The Hebrew word for reward speaks of a spiritual blessing, not temporal riches. It is the settled joy and rest that come to those who live by God’s Word. Are you experiencing this reward today? You can! And you can be assured that there is additional reward in eternity future!

Don't neglect His benefits (you will be paid back for your Spirit empowered obedience) see Ps 103:2 and it is not just a reward which would be far more than we deserve but David says this reward is even GREAT! This is difficult to comprehend but we can ask God to enlighten the eyes of our heart to know what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Ep 1:18-note).

Rewards in the future will be given according to what each has done (cp Jn 15:5, 1Co 4:5). The Lxx use antapodosis emphasizes this truth for this Greek word describes the action of giving back in return, of recompensing or repaying.

Thomas Sherman (1680) writes that…

Those who walk in the ways of holiness receive a reward, not only when they come to the end—but all along the way: "In keeping of (God's commandments) there is great reward," (Psalm 19:11.) Take the way of God, as it consists in the way of ordinances, or in the way of the exercise of grace, or in the way of obedience; and you will find a reward in the work as well as for it.

Thomas Watson after noting "that holiness brings in present gain and what gain is better than present gain?" writes that

Not only for keeping but also in keeping of His commands there is great reward. Holiness is its own reward. While a Christian is in the very exercise of holiness, oh what blessed sights, what sweet tastes, what glorious incomings from heaven, has he! Oh the secret visits, the secret whispers, the secret joggings, the secret love-tokens which Christians meet with, in the very practice of holiness! (The Crown and Glory of Christianity)

Well might David say, "In keeping your precepts there is great reward," not only after keeping your precepts—but in keeping them. Psalm 19:11. A Christian has both the spring-flowers and the crop; inward delight in serving God is the spring-flowers, in the kingdom of glory at last is the full crop. (Lords Prayer)

A W Pink explains that…

Part of that reward is deliverance from being deceived by the false appearances of things, from forming erroneous estimates, from pursuing a foolish policy. Part of that reward is acquiring wisdom so that we choose what is good, act prudently, and follow those paths which lead to righteousness, peace, and joy. He who treasures the divine precepts in his heart, and diligently seeks to walk by their rule, will escape those evils which destroy his fellows. (The Attributes of God)

Now the extent the young Christian does use the Holy Scriptures in a practical way, regulating his thoughts, desires, and actions by their warnings and encouragements, their prohibitions and precepts, will very largely determine the measure in which he will enjoy God's blessing on his life. As the moral Governor of this world, God takes note of our conduct, and sooner or later manifests His displeasure against our sins, and His approval of a righteous walk, by granting that measure of prosperity which is most for our good and His glory. In the keeping of His commandments "there is great reward" (Psalm 19:11), in this life (1Ti 4:8-note). (Practical Godliness)

Keeping God's Word results in increased understanding of the Word and Will of God…

If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself. (Jn 7:17)

Comment: Know refers to experimental knowledge from willingness to do God's will. We don't really know the Bible unless we obey the Bible. We won't really know God's will unless we are willing to obey God's will. Paul's prayer in Col 1:10 (note) reiterates the truth that as we obey, not only will we bear fruit but we will also increase in the knowledge of God. Our hunger for the Word of God will be in direct proportion to our obedience to the Word of God.

See related resource:

See study on the Bema (Judgment) Seat of Christ - 2 Corinthians 5:10

Other Cross references on "rewards": Lk 6:23 Mt5:12 Mk 9:41 Mt 10:42, Heb11:26 Mt5:46 Lk 6:35, 2Jn8,1Co3:15, Mt10:42 cp. Mt25:35,40; Heb6:10

There is peace in obedience (1Sa 15:23). When your conscience is convicting you, there is no place to hide, and you are miserable. When you have done right, then you can be at peace no matter the circumstances (Note: One meaning of "blessed" is fully satisfied independent of the circumstances!) And so…

godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1Ti 4:8-note).

Jesus mentions rewards nine times in the Sermon on the Mount. The parables of the talents and minas show that there will be rewards in heaven for faithful service.

Paul talks about eternal rewards in 1Co 3:11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and Col 3:23, 24, 25.


  • Can: Ps 40:12 Job 6:24 Isa 64:6 1Co 4:4 Heb 9:7
  • Acquit: Ps 51:5-10 65:3 1Jn 1:7
  • Hidden: Ps 90:8 139:2,23,24 Lev 4:2-35 Jer 17:9

Your heart and conscience cannot guide,
For they're deceived by sin inside;
But if you want to see what's true,
The Word of God will mirror you.

Greek Septuagint (LXX): NOTE: The NT passages are NOT cross references but passages what use the preceding Greek word

paraptomata (deviation from living according to what has been revealed as the right way to live false step, sin, transgression; used of serious offenses against both God Ep 1.7 and man Mt 6.15) ti (which one?) sunesei (literally = bring together - ability to comprehend thoroughly, perceive clearly, gain insight into) ek ton kruphion (kruphios - hidden, secret) mou katharison (katharizo) (aorist imperative: cleansing for sacred use; of moral and religious purity, as from sin and guilty conscience cleanse, make pure, make acceptable to God 1Jn1.7) me

Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint: Who will understand his transgressions? purge thou me from my secret sins.

Who can discern - This is clearly a rhetorical question. No one can see all his own mistakes. How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Who can notice every mistake seen as seen by the perfect "vision" of the thrice holy God? Remember that the Bible is a mirror that lets us see ourselves as God sees us (cp Jas 1:23, 24-note, Jas 1:25-note)

Adam Clarke

It is not possible, without much of the Divine light, to understand all our deviations from, not only the letter, but the spirituality (the "spirit"), of the Divine law. Frequent self-examination, and walking in the light, are essentially necessary to the requisite degree of spiritual perfection.

Discern (0995)(biyn; Lxx = suniemi [word study]) refers to understanding, insight (discernment is a closely related idea). Biyn is not merely accumulating data but is a superior knowledge that includes the idea of distinguishing between good and evil which leads to understanding (1Ki 3:9). Webster says to discern is to see the difference between two or more things.

HOW TO USE INFORMATION WISELY. We perceive through our senses (Job 6:30; Ps. 58:9; Pr. 7:7; 29:19). As Jesus noted in Mt 13:13, it is possible to hear without perceiving (Pr 29:7; Da 12:8). Moral understanding can be a gift from God (Da 1:17). We can pray for it (Ps. 119:34), and God can choose to reveal it or not (Isa 29:14). The SEAT for this ethical insight is our heart (Pr 28:5). (See related discussion of discernment in notes on Hebrews 5:14)

Thomas Watson writing of the godly man says…

He weeps for indwelling sin, the law in his members (Ro 7:23), the outbursts and first risings of sin. His nature is a poisoned fountain. A regenerate person grieves that he carries with him, that which is enmity to God! His heart is like a wide sea in which there are innumerable creeping things (Ps104:25)—vain, sinful thoughts. A child of God laments hidden wickedness; he has more evil in him than he knows of. There are those windings in his heart which he cannot trace—an unknown world of sin. "Who can understand his errors?" (Ps 19:12). (The Godly Mans Picture)

Errors (07691) (segiyah; Lxx = paraptoma [word study]) a sin committed through inadvertence and error. It refers to a wrong which is not committed willfully or intentionally, but because of either ignorance or inattention.

Webster says that "error" is a wandering or deviation from the truth (God's Word is the Word of Truth - 2Co 6:7, Col 1:5, 2Ti 2:15, Jas 1:18). "Error may be voluntary, or involuntary. Voluntary, when men neglect or pervert the proper means to inform the mind; involuntary, when the means of judging correctly are not in their power. An error committed through carelessness or haste is a blunder." (1828 Webster)

William Law

Every step which strays from the strict path of perfect love is error. Who can count up these countless deviations! They far exceed the ocean's sands. They may be hidden from man's eye, but all are patent to omniscient scrutiny. Let the thought drive us to the all-atoning blood, and prompt the earnest prayer, Cleanse me, O Jesus, cleanse. (Psalm 19 - Exposition)

William S Plumer (1864) agrees with David that…

No man can understand his errors. Psalm 19:12. The growth of iniquity is like the diffusion of leaven. It is very rapid, and soon changes the whole lump. The more full the consent of the soul to any sin, the more defiled it is. This command clearly settles the point that the seat of the divine government in man is the human heart. When that is right, all is right. When that is wrong, all is wrong. (Ten Commandments)


Who can understand his errors? A question which is its own answer. It rather requires a note of exclamation than of interrogation. By the law is the knowledge of sin, and in the presence of divine truth, the psalmist marvels at the number and heinousness of his sins. He best knows himself who best knows the Word, but even such an one will be in a maze of wonder as to what he does not know, rather than on the mount of congratulation as to what he does know. We have heard of a comedy of errors, but to a good man this is more like a tragedy. Many books have a few lines of errata at the end, but our errata might well be as large as the volume if we could but have sense enough to see them. Augustine wrote in his older days a series of Retractations; ours might make a library if we had enough grace to be convinced of our mistakes and to confess them. (Ps 19:12 Treasury of David)

Thomas Brooks writes…

All Christians have their secret sins. Secret not only from other men—but from himself! It is but natural for every man to err, and then to be ignorant of his errors. Every man's sins are beyond his understanding. There is not the best, the wisest, nor the holiest man in the world—who can give a full and entire list of his sins.

"Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults." Psalm 19:12

"Who can understand his errors?" This interrogation has the force of an affirmation: "Who can?" No man! No, not the most perfect and innocent man in the world!

O friends! who can reckon up … the secret sinful imaginations, the secret sinful inclinations, the secret pride, the secret blasphemies, the secret hypocrisies, the secret atheistical risings, the secret murmurings, the secret repinings, the secret discontents,

the secret insolencies, the secret filthinesses, the secret unbelievings, which God might every day charge upon his soul?

Should the best and holiest man on earth have but his secret sins written on his forehead, it would not only put him to a crimson blush—but it would make him pull his hat over his eyes, or cover his face with a double scarf! (Privy key of heaven)

Mark Guy Pearse

The world wants men who are saved from secret faults. The world can put on an outside goodness and go very far in uprightness and morality, and it expects that a Christian shall go beyond it, and be free from secret faults. A little crack will spoil the ring of the coin … The world expects, and rightly, that the Christian should be more gentle, and patient, and generous, than he who does not profess to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus. For the sake of those who take their notion of religion from our lives, we need to put up this prayer earnestly, “Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” (Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Chicago: Revell, 1990)

Acquit (piel imperative) (05352)(naqah; Lxx = katharizo [word study]) originally meant to be emptied and in this context means to cleanse or make pure from moral impurity (sin and guilty conscience) and thus make me acceptable to God as in 1Jn1:7, 8, 9. (See Job 34:32)

Other translations of naqah = acquit:

Clear me (Amp, NRSV), Make me clean (BBE), Declare me innocent (ESV, YLT), Cleanse me (Holman Christian Standard Bible, KJV, NAB, NKJV, NLT), Wash away (NJB)

John Phillips notes that…

There are two kinds of cleansing. There is a radical cleansing from sin that depends on the blood of Christ. There is also a recurrent cleansing from sin that depends on the Word of God. This recurrent cleansing was centered in Old Testament times in the laver, first in the Tabernacle and then in the Temple. The laver was made of the mirrors of the women and filled with water. Thus it both revealed defilement and it removed defilement. It symbolized the cleansing function of the Word of God. (cp Jas 1:22, 23, 24-note, Jas 1:25-note) We need to spend time daily reading God's Word so that its convicting and cleansing action might act upon our souls. (Ibid)

Webster (1828) on acquit - "To set free; to release or discharge from an obligation, accusation, guilt, censure, suspicion, or whatever lies upon a person as a charge or duty."

Naqah - 42x in 33v in the NAS - Gen 24:8, 41; Exod 20:7; 21:19; 34:7; Num 5:19, 28, 31; 14:18; Deut 5:11; Judg 15:3; 1 Sam 26:9; 1 Kgs 2:9; Job 9:28; 10:14; Ps 19:12f; Prov 6:29; 11:21; 16:5; 17:5; 19:5, 9; 28:20; Isa 3:26; Jer 2:35; 25:29; 30:11; 46:28; 49:12; Joel 3:21; Nah 1:3; Zech 5:3. NAS = acquit(3), acquitted(2), avenge(1), avenged(1), blameless(1), by means clear(1), completely acquitted(1), completely free(1), completely free from punishment(1), deserted(1), free(4), free from punishment(1), go unpunished(8), immune(1), innocent(1), leave unpunished(2), means leave(4), by means leave unpunished(2), by means leave unpunished(2), purged(2), unpunished(1), without guilt(1).


Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Thou canst mark in me faults entirely hidden from myself. It were hopeless to expect to see all my spots; therefore, O Lord, wash away in the atoning blood even those sins which my conscience has been unable to detect. Secret sins, like private conspirators, must be hunted out, or they may do deadly mischief; it is well to be much in prayer concerning them. In the Lateran Council of the Church of Rome, a decree was passed that every true believer must confess his sins, all of them, once a year to the priest, and they affixed to it this declaration, that there is no hope of pardon but in complying with that decree. What can equal the absurdity of such a decree as that? Do they suppose that they can tell their sins as easily as they can count their fingers? Why, if we could receive pardon for all our sins by telling every sin we have committed in one hour, there is not one of us who would be able to enter heaven, since, besides the sins that are known to us and that we may be able to confess, there are a vast mass of sins, which are as truly sins as those which we lament, but which are secret, and come not beneath our eye. If we had eyes like those of God, we should think very differently of ourselves. The transgressions which we see and confess are but like the farmer's small samples which he brings to market, when he has left his granary full at home. We have but a very few sins which we can observe and detect, compared with those which are hidden from ourselves and unseen by our fellow creatures. (Ps 19:12 Treasury of David)

John Phillips

Martin Luther tells us that when the words: "The just shall live by faith" first dawned upon his darkened soul it was "like entering into paradise." The words are his. "Before those words broke upon my mind, I hated God and was angry with Him because, not content with frightening us sinners by the law and by the miseries of life, He still further increased our torture by the gospel. But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood those words 'the just shall live by faith'—then I felt born again, like a new man. I entered in by the open doors into the very paradise of God. In very truth this text was to me the true gate of paradise." As the hymnwriter put it:There are two kinds of cleansing. There is a radical cleansing from sin that depends on the blood of Christ. There is also a recurrent cleansing from sin that depends on the Word of God. This recurrent cleansing was centered in Old Testament times in the laver, first in the Tabernacle and then in the Temple. The laver was made of the mirrors of the women and filled with water. Thus it both revealed defilement and it removed defilement. It symbolized the cleansing function of the Word of God. We need to spend time daily reading God's Word so that its convicting and cleansing action might act upon our souls.John Phillips Commentary Series, The - The John Phillips Commentary Series – Exploring Psalms, Volume One: An Expository Commentary.

Adam Clarke's comment is excellent (and convicting) stating that I should ask to be acquitted…

From those which I have committed, and have forgotten; from those for which I have not repented; from those which have been committed in my heart, but have not been brought to act in my life; from those which I have committed without knowing that they were sins, sins of ignorance; and from those which I have committed in private, for which I should blush and be confounded were they to be made public.

Ebenezer Erskine writes of the believer's burdens while still in this earthly house (his body)…

Not only is he burdened with a burden of clay, but also with a burden of sin. I mean indwelling corruption, the secret atheism, enmity, unbelief, ignorance, pride, hypocrisy, and other abominations of his heart. O but this is a heavy burden, which many times is likely to dispirit the poor believer, and press him down to the very ground. David (though a man according to God's own heart,) yet cries out under this burden, "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults," Psalm 19:12. (The Groans Of Believers Under Their Burdens)


Who can discern his errors? - In the Scottish highlands is an old bridge that spans a wild cataract. Its structure is so massive, and it rises so high above the gorge that it is known as “The High Bridge.” But something happened that made it necessary for officials to condemn it. A tiny birch seed, caught by a gust of wind, dropped into a small crevice above the keystone. It lodged unnoticed in the lime, and before long it germinated. Soon it was a young sapling, but still nobody saw it. As it grew into a tree, its roots went deep into the mortar. Eventually it began to loosen and crack the masonry so that the arch was severely damaged. The bridge that had defied violent storms and supported the weight of marching armies finally had to be closed to traffic. It had succumbed to a small seed.

So too in the Christian life, one little hidden sin can weaken the foundation of a person’s character and be the cause of his downfall. I think David must have sensed this when he cried out, “Cleanse Thou me from secret faults.” Such a prayer does not open the door to morbid introspection. Rather, it expresses a desire that the soul-searching work of God’s convicting power will reveal to us our spiritual defects. To ask for less is to run the risk of allowing some evil, though it be ever so small, to take root in our hearts. Soon the seed becomes a sapling; and the sapling becomes a full-grown tree, dislodging the spiritual masonry of our lives.

Recognizing that our iniquities and secret sins are all known by God (Psalm 90:8), let us daily seek His cleansing. -P. R. Van Gorder.

It is possible to be full of Scripture
and full of carnality.


Alexander Maclaren comments that…

The contemplation of the law cannot but lead to self-examination, and that to petition. So the psalmist passes into prayer… he feels that beyond the sin which he knows, there is a dark region in him where foul things nestle and breed fast. "Secret faults" are those hidden, not from men, but from himself. He discovers that he has hitherto undiscovered sins. Lurking evils are most dangerous because, like aphides on the under-side of a rose leaf, they multiply so quickly unobserved; small deeds make up life, and small, unnoticed sins darken the soul. Mud in water, at the rate of a grain to a glassful, will make a lake opaque. "Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth." Conscience needs educating; and we have to compare ourselves with the ideal of perfect life in Jesus, if we would know our faults, as young artists go over their copies in front of the masterpiece. But the psalmist knows that, servant of God though he is, he is in danger from another class of sins, and so prays to be held back from "presumptuous sins," i.e. wilful conscious transgressions. Such deliberate contraventions of law tend to become habitual and despotic; so the prayer follows that thy may not "have dominion." But even that is not the lowest depth. Deliberate sin, which has gained the upper hand, is but too apt to end in apostacy. (The Expositor's Bible)

Hidden (05641)(cathar; Lxx = kruphios - see related word kruphe) means concealed, kept secret. Yes, they might perhaps be hidden from men but not from the all seeing eye of Jehovah the Righteous Judge of all men!

Hidden faults would appear to be those not apparent to the conscience, the so called "sins of ignorance" (Heb 5:2-note He 9:7-note).

Illustration - A lady once asked a captain if he knew where all the rocks and shallows were in the sea. "Oh no!" he said, pointing to his chart, "but I know where the deep water is." God's Word is a chart which will steer us clear of the rocks. David knew about presumptuous sins. They had all but wrecked his life. (John Phillips)

No person can understand his or her "incurable" heart (Jer 17:9). We need the mirror of the Word to reveal our hidden faults (Jas 1:22, 23, 24-note, Jas 1:25-note).

Moses writes…

Thou hast placed our iniquities before Thee, Our secret sins in the light of Thy presence. (Ps 90:8, cp Isa 29:12, Ezek 8:12, Ep 5:12-note)

Ray Stedman

“Forgive my hidden faults.” Is that your prayer? Do you know what will happen when you pray that way? You might think that God will take a sponge and wipe around inside you so you will not even know what those hidden faults were. But God does not do that. His way of dealing with hidden faults is either to send somebody to point them out to you or to bring them out through some circumstance in which you are suddenly confronted with what you have done or said and you find that it is ugly and you do not like it. That is the way God cleanses us from hidden faults. He opens up the secret places.

Usually he does it through other people because, as God well knows, we cannot see ourselves, but other people can see us. These faults are hidden to us but not to others. They see them very plainly. And we can see their hidden faults better than they can. You know that you can see the faults of somebody you are thinking about right now better than that person can. You say, “I don't see how that person can be so blind.” Someone is thinking that very same way about you. That is why it is always proper to say, “Lord, cleanse me from hidden faults. Help me to see myself through the eyes of a friend who loves me enough to tell me the truth.”

And then, “Keep me from willful sins.” Willful sins are those in which you are confident that you have what it takes to do what God wants. Self-confidence is presumption. God never asks us to do anything on that basis. If we depend upon ourselves, we are acting presumptuously, and any activity that stems from self-confidence is a presumptuous sin. “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” For me to act as though there is anything that I can contribute is to be guilty of this kind of sin. The cure for this is dependence upon the activity of God in you as a believer. So David is praying, “Lord, let me realize that without You I can do nothing. Help me to depend upon You to work through me. Then I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression.”

Lord You speak to me through the world You have made and the Word You have spoken. Give me a teachable heart.

Life Application: What are two crucial areas for our lives that need exposure? Are we open to praying about them and to allowing God to answer our prayers in His way? (Hidden Faults Daily Devotion for Psalm 19

Illustration -

Time-Lapse Photography compresses a series of events into one picture. Such a photo appeared in an issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Taken from a Rocky Mountain peak during a heavy thunderstorm, the picture captured the brilliant lightning display that had taken place throughout the storm’s duration. The time-lapse technique created a fascinating, spaghetti-like web out of the individual bolts. In such a way, our sin presents itself before the eyes of God. Where we see only isolated or individual acts, God sees the overall web of our sinning. What may seem insignificant—even sporadic—to us and passes with hardly a notice creates a much more dramatic display from God’s panoramic viewpoint. The psalmist was right when he wrote, “Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins” (Ps 19:12,13).


Nobody Can Keep A Secret From God - Washington, D.C., is full of secrets. Some say as many as 3 billion! But not all of them are legitimate secrets that safeguard national security. Many are documents concerning hazardous medical experiments made years ago on human subjects without their knowledge or consent. Others are contracts and bills that civilian manufacturers, often guilty of excessive overcharges, labeled “confidential.” But now, under a new policy inaugurated by the Department of Energy, “a pyramid-like tomb of classified documents” is being systematically exposed to public scrutiny. As a result, many people and companies are being sued.

Life, like Washington, is full of secrets. Most secrets are trivial and unimportant. Some, however, are evil and tragic, as illustrated in today’s Bible reading. What about secret sins? We may be able to hide them successfully from people, yet on God’s timetable a day is scheduled when He who “knows the secrets of the heart” (Ps. 44:21) “will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing” (Ec 12:14).

Bring those secrets out in the open. Confess your sins now and claim the complete cleansing that is promised through the Savior’s sacrifice (1 Jn. 1:9).

You cannot hide your sin from God,
He knows what's in your heart;
Confession is the quickest way
To make a brand-new start. —Sper

Our secret sins are open scandal to God.

From the revelation of God's Word come both warning and reward…

The more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ. The moral imperfections which cling to him he feels to be sins, which he laments and strives to overcome. Believers find that their life is a constant warfare, and they need to take the kingdom of heaven by storm, and watch while they pray. They are always subject to the constant chastisement of their Father’s loving hand, which can only be designed to correct their imperfections and to confirm their graces. And it has been notoriously the fact that the best Christians have been those who have been the least prone to claim the attainment of perfection for themselves. (Hodge’s Outlines)

F B Meyer comments on acquit me of hidden faults…

… cleanse thou me from secret faults

It is not likely that we shall be kept from the great transgression unless we are preserved from presumptuous sins; and these in turn will befall us unless we have been cleansed from bidden faults. Just as the germ of disease taken into the system will presently reveal itself in an outburst of malignant fever, so hidden faults flower out into presumptuous sins, and these into great transgression. "Then lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin; and the sin, when it full-grown bringeth forth death."

First, we need forgiveness for secret sins. The Jewish law made large provision for sins of ignorance. A man might unawares walk across a grave, or touch some article of furniture which was ceremonially unclean, and so become defiled. Even though unconscious of actual transgression, he would find his communion with God broken. Thus, after the holiest day we have ever spent we need to ask for cleansing in the precious blood, for sins which God has discerned, but which in the twilight of our ignorance, and because we compared ourselves with those beneath us in spiritual attainment, have escaped notice.

Next, we need deliverance from the love and power of sin, in lower depths than we have ever realized. We desire to pass muster at the bar, not only of our neighbours and ourselves, but of God. We desire that the Spirit should antagonize the flesh in depths below the reach of the plumb-line of our consciousness. We desire the inner purity of heart. But this is peculiarly God's prerogative. It is his work to cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit. "Cleanse THOU me.


  • Keep: Ge 20:6 1Sa 25:32, 33, 34,39
  • Presumptuous: Ex 21:14 Nu 15:30,31 Dt 17:12,13 2Pe 2:10
  • Let: Ps 119:133 Ro 6:12, 13, 14,16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
  •  Blameless: Ps 7:10 11:7 84:11 Ac 24:16
  • Shall: Ps 18:23 1Chr 10:13,14)

Greek Septuagint (Lxx): NOTE: The NT passages are NOT cross references but passages what use the preceding Greek word

kai apo allotrion (belonging to another Lk 16.12, enemy, hostile alien Heb 11.34) pheisai (pheidomai) (aorist imperative: pheidomai: spare someone or something Ro 8.32; refrain from, avoid doing something 2Co 12.6, Acts 20:29) tou doulou sou ean me mou katakurieusosin (Aorist subjunctive - have dominion over Mk 10:42, Ps 119:133 the "Real Master" = Jer 3:14 -- A 3rd Class Conditional statement = a possibility for sin to have lordship… but not habitually [1Jn 3:8, 9 where "practices" is present tense = habitually]) tote amomos (w/o blame, blameless, Ep 1:4, Jude 1:24) esomai kai katharisthesomai (katharizo: literally thoroughly cleansing for sacred use wash, make clean, cleanse Lk 11.39) apo hamartias megales

Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint: And spare thy servant the attack of strangers: if they do not gain the dominion over me, then shall I be blameless, and I shall be clear from great sin.


Keep back (Qal Imperative) (08688)(chasak; Lxx = pheidomai [word study]) means to withhold, restrain, check, hold back. (Ge 20:6 1Sa 25:32, 33, 34, 39)

Christians are not sinless,
But they should sin less!

Servant (05650)(`ebed; Lxx = doulos [word study]) - see definition above (Ps 19:11).

Our Lord Jesus gives us a similar prayer to pray for ourselves (might I suggest frequently, even daily, albeit never as vain repetition)…

And do not lead us into temptation (peirasmos [word study]), but deliver (rhuomai in the aorist imperative) us from evil. (Mt 6:13-note)

Presumptuous (02086) (zed) means proud, arrogant, defiant. This adjective describes those who are haughty, insolent, self-willed and not humble. (eg Pr 21:24).

Webster describes presumptuous as one who is bold and confident to excess, one who adventures without reasonable ground of success, one who hazards safety on too slight grounds, one who is rash and oversteps due bounds by taking liberties.

Presumptuous sins probably equates with “sins with an uplifted hand”, as in Nu15:30, 31, where this was the worst form of sin for it was done with deliberation and willfulness, defiance (compare Heb10:26-31 "willful sinning") and stood in contrast to “transgressions” described in the next phrase (Ps 19:13).

Adam Clarke describes these sins as…

Sins committed not through frailty or surprise, but those which are the offspring of thought (cp Ro 13:14), purpose, and deliberation. Sins against judgment, light, and conscience. The words might be translated, Preserve thy servant also from the proud; from tyrannical governors, i.e., from evil spirits—Bishop Horsley. So most of the versions understand the place.

Zed - 13x in 13v in NAS - Ps 19:13 86:14 119:21, 51, 69, 78, 85, 122 Pr 21:24 Isa13:11 Jer 43:2 Mal 3:15 4:1. NAS = arrogant(9), arrogant men(1), presumptuous(1), proud(2).

Cross references for presumptuous: Ex 21:14 Nu 15:30,31 Dt 17:12,13 2Pe 2:10

Ps 19:13 is a good prayer for all of us to pray (cp Mt 6:13), remember that we have the power to say "no" to Sin (Ro 6:12-14)

William Law exhorts…

Especially let us seek grace to keep us from bold sins of mad presumption against God's rule. Indulged, they soon establish habits which rule with tyrant's force; and may lead to sin against the Spirit, for which no pardon can be found (Ed: Referring to irresolute unbelief and hardening of one's heart). (Psalm 19 - Exposition)


Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. This earnest and humble prayer teaches us that saints may fall into the worst of sins unless restrained by grace, and that therefore they must watch and pray lest they enter into temptation. There is a natural proneness to sin in the best of men, and they must be held back as a horse is held back by the bit or they will run into it. Presumptuous sins are peculiarly dangerous. All sins are great sins, but yet some sins are greater than others. Every sin has in it the very venom of rebellion, and is full of the essential marrow of traitorous rejection of God; but there be some sins which have in them a greater development of the essential mischief of rebellion, and which wear upon their faces more of the brazen pride which defies the Most High. It is wrong to suppose that because all sins will condemn us, that therefore one sin is not greater than another. The fact is, that while all transgression is a greatly grievous and sinful thing, yet there are some transgressions which have a deeper shade of blackness, and a more double scarlet dyed hue of criminality than others. The presumptuous sins of our text are the chief and worst of all sins; they rank head and foremost in the list of iniquities. It is remarkable that though an atonement was provided under the Jewish law for every kind of sin, there was this one exception: "But the soul that sinneth presumptuously shall have no atonement; it shall be cut off from the midst of the people." And now under the Christian dispensation, although in the sacrifice of our blessed Lord there is a great and precious atonement for presumptuous sins, whereby sinners who have erred in this manner are made clean, yet without doubt, presumptuous sinners, dying without pardon, must expect to receive a double portion of the wrath of God, and a more terrible portion of eternal punishment in the pit that is digged for the wicked. For this reason is David so anxious that he may never come under the reigning power of these giant evils. (Ps 19:13 Treasury of David)

Rule over (04910) (mashal from Arabic root = to compel, impel, urge, seek control over; Lxx = katakurieuo [word study]) means to rule over or to have dominion over. In this case it describes presumptuous sins exercising authority of the one who commits such sins. This is a frightening verse to me, especially when one considers one of the early uses of masal in which God warned Cain…

If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? (Read context Ge 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. (Ge 4:7)

Comment: Indeed sin did pounce on Cain and wield control causing him to commit the first murder! Oh, how often I fear we (being self deceived, deception being one of the dangers of sin - Heb 3:13) regard our defiant sins as "little"! They are not! That is a grave, dangerous deception as proved too true in Cain's case!

Masal - 79x in 73v in the NAS - Ge 1:18; 3:16; 4:7; 24:2; 37:8; 45:8, 26; Exod 21:8; Deut 15:6; Josh 12:2, 5; Judg 8:22f; 9:2; 14:4; 15:11; 2 Sam 23:3; 1 Kgs 4:21; 1 Chr 29:12; 2 Chr 7:18; 9:26; 20:6; 23:20; Neh 9:37; Job 25:2; Ps 8:6; 19:13; 22:28; 59:13; 66:7; 89:9; 103:19; 105:20f; 106:41; Pr 6:7; 12:24; 16:32; 17:2; 19:10; 22:7; 23:1; 28:15; 29:2, 12, 26; Eccl 9:17; 10:4; Isa 3:4, 12; 14:5; 16:1; 19:4; 28:14; 40:10; 49:7; 52:5; 63:19; Jer 22:30; 30:21; 33:26; 51:46; Lam 5:8; Ezek 19:11, 14; Dan 11:3ff, 39, 43; Mic 5:2; Hab 1:14; Zech 6:13. NAS = dominion(1), gain control(1), govern(1), had charge(1), have authority(1), master(1), obtain dominion(1), really going to rule(1), rule(27), ruled(5), ruler(18), ruler's(2), rulers(6), rules(9), ruling(3), wielded(1).

Adam Clarke

Let me never be brought into a habit of sinning. He who sins presumptuously will soon be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Although the psalmist uses a different Hebrew verb for "have dominion over", the idea is the same …

Establish my footsteps in Thy word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. (Ps 119:133)

Notice that this is a prayer - have you ever prayed this as a prayer? May I suggest that you begin by first praying verse 38 and follow with verse 133…

Establish Thy word to Thy servant, As that which produces reverence for Thee. (Ps 119:133)

Comment: Notice the centrality of the Word in both passages, first in Ps 119:38 the effect of the Word being to create in us a holy, reverential fear (which motivates a filial love) and secondly (Ps 119:133) a plea to keep our feet directly in the path of the Word, the fruit of this prayer culminating in the "dethroning" of sin. To be sure for believers "sin shall no longer be master (kurieuo) over you (Why not?), for you are not under (the oppressive, enslaving power of) law, but under (the transforming power of) grace." (Ro 6:14-note). Nevertheless, praying Ps 119:38, 133 would be an excellent complement to the truth of Romans 6 (see also Ro 6:11-note, which is a command calling for believers to continually consider themselves dead to the power of Sin.) One of the "traps" I have seen NT believers fall into is to place themselves under subtle forms of legalism (a list of rules, a list of do's and don'ts, a list of activities one thinks them must perform in order to be pleasing to God, etc [NB: There is really only one summed up in 1Sa 15:22 = "to obey"]). When a believer goes back up "under law" (Ro 6:14-note), they have just stirred up their fallen flesh as Paul explains in Romans 7…

For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. (Ro 7:5-note)

Henry Morris agrees writing that…

Indeed, through the Lord Jesus Christ, “sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under law [the power of], but under [the power of] grace” (Romans 6:14).(Defender's Study Bible - recommended)

Thomas Watson writes…

God's watchmen have been sent to warn men of their evil ways. They have told them how damnable a thing it is to persist in sin. The judgments of God, like arrows, have been shot at them for sin. Yet for all this, they persist in sinning. This is worse than to be Balaam the Sorcerer. For when he saw the angel before him with a naked sword, he dared not ride on. But these desperate, heaven-daring sinners, though they see the flaming sword of God's justice before them, resolvedly venture on in sin!

This sin is willful. Willful disobeyers are said to reproach the Lord, Numbers 15:30. To defy a king's authority is to reproach him. Willfulness in sin amounts to daring presumption. Psalm 19:13, "Keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins." Under the Law, there were sacrifices for sins of ignorance—but no sacrifices for sins of presumption, Numbers 11:30. To sin willfully accents and enhances the sin. It is like die to the wool, or like a weight put in the scale which makes it weigh heavier. This leaves men without excuse, John 15:22. A sea mark is set up to give notice that there are dangerous rocks. It the mariner will persist in sailing there—and he is shipwrecked, no one will pity him—because he had warning given. (The Mischief of Sin)

You see all sins are not equal; some are more grievous than others, and bring greater wrath; therefore especially take heed of these sins. "Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins." Psalm 19:13. The least sin is bad enough; you need not aggravate your sins, and make them more heinous! He who has a little wound, will not make it deeper. Oh, beware of those circumstances which increase your sin and make it more heinous! The higher a man is in sinning—the lower he shall lie in torment! (The Ten Commandments)

Then I shall be blameless and… acquitted - David sees himself for who he is… he is not like the man who looks at his natural face (Jas 1:23)

Blameless (08552) (tamam; Lxx = amomos [word study]) means to complete, to finish, to be perfect and it is used in this latter sense here in Ps 19:13, to describe a state of never having, or no longer having guilt or blame from a sin or wrong-doing. David is desirous that his words and deeds "say" the same thing. The root tamam is used in Hebrew to express the idea of integrity (wholeness, the unimpaired state of anything, unadulterated, genuine, unimpaired, the quality or state of being complete or undivided) and occurs in various derivatives (eg, tamiym) more than 200 times in the OT, conveying the meaning of that which is complete, blameless, just, honest, perfect, peaceful, etc. The root idea is an attribute or an attitude that reflects genuineness and reliability.

Vine - Usage Notes: "to be complete, finished, perfect, spent, sound, used up, have integrity." Found in both ancient and modern Hebrew, this word also exists in ancient Ugaritic. Tāmam is found approximately 60 times in the Hebrew Old Testament in its verbal forms. The basic meaning of this word is that of "being complete" or "finished," with nothing else expected or intended. When it was said that the temple was "finished" (1 Kings 6:22), this meant that the temple was "complete," with nothing else to add. Similarly, when the notation is made in Job 31:40, "The words of Job are ended [finished]," this indicates that the cycle of Job's speeches is "complete." Tāmam is sometimes used to express the fact that something is "completed" or "finished" with regard to its supply. Thus, money that is all spent is "finished" or "exhausted" (Gen. 47:15, 18). Jeremiah was given bread daily until "all the bread in the city [was] spent [exhausted]" (Jer. 37:21). When a people came "to a full end" "consumed" or completely destroyed." To "consume" the filthiness out of the people (Ezek. 22:15) meant "to destroy it" or "to make an end of it." Tāmam sometimes expresses moral and ethical "soundness": "Then shall I be upright" (Psa. 19:13), says the psalmist, when God helps him to keep God's Law. (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words)

J B Payne - tāmam may assume an auxiliary function, e.g. in Joshua 3:16 the literal rendering, "They were complete, they were cut off," represents, "They were completely cut off."

With the verb's fundamental idea of completeness, Samuel inquired of Jesse, "Are here all (Heb hă-tammû) thy children?" (1 Samuel 16:11). Cf. tāmim (the root tāmam's most common derivative), describing an entire day (Joshua 10:13) or a whole, and therefore healthy, vine (Ezekiel 15:5). metōm indicates soundness of flesh (Psalm 38:3). tāmîm delimits Israel's sacrifices, which were to be without blemish, perfect in that respect, so as to be accepted (Leviticus 22:21-22) as types of Christ, the spotless Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:19). Speech which is tāmîm (Amos 5:10) corresponds to "what is complete, entirely in accord with truth and fact" (BDB, p. 1071). Elihu was enabled to assure Job, "My words are not false; one who is perfect (tāmîm) is with you" (Job 36:4), because of his inspiration by God, who is perfect (tāmîm) in knowledge (Job 37:16; cf. Job 32:8, 18; Job 33:4). In the fullest sense it is Yahweh's acts (Deut. 32:4; 2 Samuel 22:31=Psalm 18:30 [H 31] and law (Psalm 19:7 [H 8]) that are perfect.

tāmam moves naturally toward that which is ethically sound, upright (Psalm 19:13 [H 14]). The "perfect" (tāmîm) decision, as made by lots, is the correct one (1 Samuel 14:41). As made by men, it is the right one (Judges 9:16, 19). Asaph praised the completeness (tōm) or integrity of King David's heart (Psalm 78:72). tāmam is used with the commandments of God meaning to fulfill them (Joshua 4:10). The AV translates Job 22:3, "if you make your ways perfect." Abraham was instructed to be tāmîm (Genesis 17:1), as was all Israel (Deut. 18:13; cf. 2 Samuel 22:33; Psalm 101:2a, 6). They were to be "wholly" God's; for, even here, "the words which are rendered in English by 'perfect' and 'perfection' denoted originally something other and less than ideal perfection" (IDB, III, p. 730).

From a concept of being "used up," as of money (Genesis 47:15, 18), tāmam takes on the meaning of "come to a close, cease," as of a year (Genesis 47:18; cf Psalm 102:27 [H 28]). The verb denotes the finishing of various actions, such as building (1 Kings 6:22) or writing (Deut. 31:24, 30). Finally, it refers to a people's destruction (Numbers 14:33).

Two problems of OT theology concern the verb tāmam: self-righteousness and perfectionism. Illustrating the former, David expresses the resolve, "I will walk within my house with a perfect (tom) heart" (Psalm 101:2b KJV, ASV; marg. and RSV, "in the integrity of my heart"); cf. his not infrequent professions of righteousness (Psalm 7:8 [H 9]; Psalm 18:20). Yet the connection with NT Pharisaism remains one of "mere appearance" (KD, Psalms, I, p. 72). "Some of these utterances are no more than asseverations that the speaker is innocent of particular crimes laid to his charge; others are general professions of purity of purpose... Those who make them do not profess to be absolutely sinless, but they do disclaim all fellowship with the wicked, from whom they expect to be distinguished in the course of Providence" (A. F. Kirkpatrick, Cambridge Bible, Psalms, I, p. lxxxvii).

For the latter, other than in the above-listed passages referring to God himself, the OT resists claims to ultimate perfection. Noah was said to be tāmîm perfect" (Genesis 6:9; NASB, "blameless in his time"). But compare Genesis 9:21-23 and even the creature "in Eden" (Ezekiel 28:13, whether Adam or Satan, see sāṭan) who was tāmîm from his creation until unrighteousness was found in him (Ezekiel 28:15), was by no means incapable of sin. Scripture's preeminent example of the tām "perfect" man, is Job (Job 1:1). He claimed to be tām (Job 9:21-22) and tāmîm (Job 12:4) and held fast to his tummâ "integrity" (Job 27:5; Job 31:6), as recognized not only by his wife (Job 2:9) but also by Yahweh in heaven (Job 1:8; Job 2:3). In reference to the root meaning of tāmîm, he was a "finished product," well rounded and balanced (IB, III, p. 909). Job, however, prefaced his own assertions by granting, "Though I be perfect, it (marg., he) shall prove me perverse" (Job 9:20 ASV). He admitted his sins (Job 7:20-21; Job 9:2, 15; Job 10:6; Job 14:16-17), even from his youth (Job 13:26), confessed that he could not be held innocent (Job 9:28), and ended by retracting his rash charges against God and by repenting in dust and ashes (Job 42:6). As he explained, "If I have truly erred, my error lodges with me": i.e. he was not guilty of the accusations made by his friends" (Job 22:6-9) and was tāmîm, wholehearted in his commitment to the person and requirements of God. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Related WordBlameless (without defect or blemish, perfect, integrity) (08549tamim

Tamam - 63x in 62v in the NAS = all(1), all gone(1), all spent(2), been completed(1), blameless(1), blossoms(1), boil the well(1), came to an end(1), cease(1), come to an end(2), complete(2), completed(1), completely(3), consume(1), consumed(4), count(1), destroyed(6), end(1), ended(3), fail(1), finally(1), finish(1), finished(7), full(1), gone(1), lie(1), make an end(1), make your perfect(1), meet their end(4), met our end(1), perished(4), perished*(1), ready(1), run(1), show yourself blameless(2), spent(1), utterly(1). - Ge 47:15, 18; Lv 25:29; 26:20; Nu 14:33, 35; 17:13; 32:13; Dt 2:14ff; 31:24, 30; 34:8; Josh 3:16f; 4:1, 10f; 5:6, 8; 8:24; 10:20; 1Sa 16:11; 2Sa 15:24; 20:18; 22:26; 1Kgs 6:22; 7:22; 14:10; 2Kgs 7:13; 22:4; Job 22:3; 31:40; Ps 9:6; 18:25; 19:13; 64:6; 73:19; 102:27; 104:35; Isa 16:4; 18:5; 33:1; Jer 1:3; 6:29; 14:15; 24:10; 27:8; 36:23; 37:21; 44:12, 18, 27; Lam 3:22; 4:22; Ezek 22:15; 24:10f; 47:12; Da 8:23; 9:24.

David uses tamam (and its derivative tamiym) to describe God and man writing that…

With the kind You show Yourself kind; With the blameless (tamiym = adjective form) You show Yourself blameless; (Ps 18:25)

Jamieson comments…

The clearer our view of the law, the more manifest are our sins. Still for its full effect we need divine grace to show us our faults, acquit us, restrain us from the practice, and free us from the power, of sin. Thus only can our conduct be blameless, and our words and thoughts acceptable to God. (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary)

Acquitted (05352) (naqah; Lxx = ) - see definition above (Ps 19:12).

Adam Clarke

Let me be preserved from all the evil that the craft and malice of the devil or man work against me, then shall I continue to walk uprightly, and shall be innocent from the great transgression—from habitual sinning, from apostasy, from my easily-besetting sin. He who would be innocent from the great transgression, must take care that he indulge not himself in any. See Bishop Horne. Most men have committed some particular sin which they ought to deplore as long as they breathe, and on account of the enormity of which they should for ever be humbled.


Then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. He shudders at the thought of the unpardonable sin. Secret sin is a stepping stone to presumptuous sin, and that is the vestibule of "the sin which is unto death." He who is not wilful in his sin, will be in a fair way to be innocent so far as poor sinful man can be; but he who tempts the devil to tempt him is in a path which will lead him from bad to worse, and from the worse to the worst. (Ps 19:13 Treasury of David)

Alexander Maclaren comments that…

"Great transgression" is probably a designation for casting off the very pretense of worshipping Jehovah. That is the story of many a fall. First, some unsuspected evil habit gnaws away the substance of the life, as white antes do wood, leaving the shell apparently intact; then come sins open and palpable, and these enslave the will, becoming habits, and then follows entire abandonment of the profession of religion. It is a slippery, dark stairway, and the only safety is in not setting foot on the top step. God, and God only can "keep us back." He will, if we cling to Him, knowing our weakness. Thus clinging, we may unblamed cherish the daring hope that we shall be "upright and innocent," since nothing less that entire deliverance from sin in all its forms and issues can correspond to the will of God concerning us and the power of God in us, nor satisfy our deepest desires. (The Expositor's Bible)

Transgression (06588)(pesha related to pasha' - conveys root idea of breach of relationship between two parties) means offense, rebellion, crime. As used in the present context pesha describes attitudes and/or actions contrary to God's standard, with a focus on the rebellious nature of the sin.

There are three primary Hebrew words for sin - (1). chatta'ah [02403] = miss the mark or to fall short of the divine standard. (2). Pesha' [06588] is usually “rebellion” or “transgression,” and indicates revolt against the standard. (3). 'Avon [05771] = iniquity or guilt is a twisting of the standard or deviation from it.

Pesha - 94x in 91v in the NAS - Gen 31:36; 50:17; Exod 22:9; 23:21; 34:7; Lev 16:16, 21; Num 14:18; Josh 24:19; 1 Sam 24:11; 25:28; 1 Kgs 8:50; Job 7:21; 8:4; 13:23; 14:17; 31:33; 33:9; 34:6, 37; 35:6, 15; 36:9; Ps 5:10; 19:13; 25:7; 32:1, 5; 36:1; 39:8; 51:1, 3; 59:3; 65:3; 89:32; 103:12; 107:17; Prov 10:12, 19; 12:13; 17:9, 19; 19:11; 28:2, 13, 24; 29:6, 16, 22; Isa 24:20; 43:25; 44:22; 50:1; 53:5, 8; 57:4; 58:1; 59:12, 20; Jer 5:6; Lam 1:5, 14, 22; Ezek 14:11; 18:22, 28, 30f; 21:24; 33:10, 12; 37:23; 39:24; Dan 8:12f; 9:24; Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6; 3:14; 5:12; Mic 1:5, 13; 3:8; 6:7; 7:18. NAS = breach of trust(1), rebellion(6), rebellious(1), rebellious act(2), rebellious acts(2), transgression(37), transgressions(45).

David closes by asking God to reveal his secret sins to him much as he did in Ps 139 (compare Ps 139:1,2)…

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
( Ps 139:23, 24)

Several saints of God were described as "blameless"…

Ge 6:9 These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless (Tamiym; Lxx = teleios = complete, mature) in his time; Noah walked with God. (Ge 6:9)

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil. (Job 1:1)

And they were both (Zacharias and Elizabeth - Lk 1:5) righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. (Lk 1:6)

Perhaps you have strayed from the fold dear believer. Do not let the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10-note) lie to you. You have eternal redemption (He 9:12-note) through the precious blood of your Redeemer, the Lamb of God (1Pe 1:18-note, Jn 1:29), in Whom you are accepted (Eph 1:6KJV-note) by the Father, Who will for eternity be fully satisfied with the marks of covenant (See note) His Son cut with thee. And yet you still "feel" far away from Him. Then consider playing and or praying this great old William Cowper hymn…

William Cowper

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

Spurgeon's Devotional (Morning and Evening)…Such was the prayer of the “man after God’s own heart.” Did holy David need to pray thus? How needful, then, must such a prayer be for us babes in grace! It is as if he said, “Keep me back, or I shall rush headlong over the precipice of sin.” Our evil nature, like an ill-tempered horse, is apt to run away. May the grace of God put the bridle upon it, and hold it in, that it rush not into mischief. What might not the best of us do if it were not for the checks which the Lord sets upon us both in providence and in grace! The psalmist’s prayer is directed against the worst form of sin—that which is done with deliberation and wilfulness. Even the holiest need to be “kept back” from the vilest transgressions. It is a solemn thing to find the apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome sins. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” What! do saints want warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do. The whitest robes, unless their purity be preserved by divine grace, will be defiled by the blackest spots. Experienced Christian, boast not in your experience; you will trip yet if you look away from him who is able to keep you from falling. Ye whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes are bright, say not, “We shall never sin,” but rather cry, “Lead us not into temptation.” There is enough tinder in the heart of the best of men to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest hell, unless God shall quench the sparks as they fall. Who would have dreamed that righteous Lot could be found drunken, and committing uncleanness? Hazael said, “Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?” and we are very apt to use the same self-righteous question. May infinite wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence.

Spurgeon's CommentaryKeep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. This earnest and humble prayer teaches us that saints may fall into the worst of sins unless restrained by grace, and that therefore they must watch and pray lest they enter into temptation. There is a natural proneness to sin in the best of men, and they must be held back as a horse is held back by the bit or they will run into it. Presumptuous sins are peculiarly dangerous. All sins are great sins, but yet some sins are greater than others. Every sin has in it the very venom of rebellion, and is full of the essential marrow of traitorous rejection of God; but there be some sins which have in them a greater development of the essential mischief of rebellion, and which wear upon their faces more of the brazen pride which defies the Most High. It is wrong to suppose that because all sins will condemn us, that therefore one sin is not greater than another. The fact is, that while all transgression is a greatly grievous and sinful thing, yet there are some transgressions which have a deeper shade of blackness, and a more double scarlet dyed hue of criminality than others. The presumptuous sins of our text are the chief and worst of all sins; they rank head and foremost in the list of iniquities. It is remarkable that though an atonement was provided under the Jewish law for every kind of sin, there was this one exception: "But the soul that sinneth presumptuously shall have no atonement; it shall be cut off from the midst of the people." And now under the Christian dispensation, although in the sacrifice of our blessed Lord there is a great and precious atonement for presumptuous sins, whereby sinners who have erred in this manner are made clean, yet without doubt, presumptuous sinners, dying without pardon, must expect to receive a double portion of the wrath of God, and a more terrible portion of eternal punishment in the pit that is digged for the wicked. For this reason is David so anxious that he may never come under the reigning power of these giant evils.

Then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. He shudders at the thought of the unpardonable sin. Secret sin is a stepping stone to presumptuous sin, and that is the vestibule of "the sin which is unto death." He who is not wilful in his sin, will be in a fair way to be innocent so far as poor sinful man can be; but he who tempts the devil to tempt him is in a path which will lead him from bad to worse, and from the worse to the worst. (Psalm 19:13 - Treasury of David)


  • Let: Ps 5:1,2 51:15 66:18, 19, 20 119:108 Ge 4:4,5 Pr 15:8 Ro 15:16 Heb 11:4 13:15 1Pe 2:5
  • Rock: Ps 18:1,2
  • Redeemer: Job 19:25 Isa 43:14 44:6 47:4 54:5 1Th 1:10 Titus 2:14 1Pe 1:18,19 Rev 5:9)

Greek Septuagint (Lxx): NOTE: The NT passages are NOT cross references but passages what use the preceding Greek word

kai esontai eis eudokían (of God good pleasure, favor, approval Ep 1.5) ta logia tou stomatos mou kai e melete (attention, practice,exercise care for many things, attention to action, care paid by one, practice, exercise, Latin = meditatio, painful exercises, of the Spartan discipline, in a military sense, exercise, practice, drill, of an orator, rehearsal) tes kardias (genitive) mou enopion (in the face of Lk 1:6) sou dia pantos (dia pantos = regularly, always, Lk 4:23) kurie boethe (helper, help, the Lord my helper Heb13.6, Ex 15:2; 18:4; Dt 33:7) mou kai lutrota (one who sets free slaves or captives liberator, deliverer Acts 7.35) mou

Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint: So shall the sayings of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing continually before thee, O Lord my helper, and my redeemer.

Let the words of my mouth - A prayer, an appeal to God. David has surveyed the wonderful heavens that declare the glory of God; he has looked into the wonderful Word of God that declares His glory and has seen himself in light of these two supernatural creations, causing him to recognize the completeness of God’s works and Word and his "incompleteness" as a sinful creature. The result of David's realization is a powerful prayer calling for His Creator to continually sanctify him.

Words (0561)('emer) means something said, speech, utterance, word, etc.

Mouth (06310) (peh) is most often used of a man's mouth.

Adam Clarke

He has prayed against practical sin, the sins of the body; now, against the sins of the mouth and of the heart. Let my mouth speak nothing but what is true, kind, and profitable; and my heart meditate nothing but what is holy, pure, and chaste.

Meditation (01902) (higgayon from hagah = inward utterance, muttering, of the words a man speaks to himself - Josh 1:8) means internal musing, whispering (La 3:62), a musical term (Ps 9:17), melody (Ps 92:4). In the present context, higgayon describes a thought process that may include speaking the thoughts out loud in low tones but to no human in particular.

Related Resources:

William Law writes that…

Precious, indeed, will be this Psalm if it thus leads to wrestling hold of Christ, Who is all strength and all redemption to us. (Psalm 19 - Exposition)

Andrew Murray gives us sage words concerning meditation on the Word…

THE true aim of education, study, reading, is to be found, not in what is brought into us, but in what is brought out of ourselves, by the awakening into active exercise of our inward power. This is as true of the study of the Bible, as of any other study. God's Word only works its true blessing when the truth it brings to us has stirred the inner life, and reproduced itself in resolve, trust, love, or adoration. When the heart has received the Word through the mind, and has had its spiritual powers called out and exercised on it, the Word is no longer void, but has done that whereunto God has sent it. It has become part of our life, and strengthened us for new purpose and effort.

It is in meditation that the heart holds and appropriates the Word. Just as in reflection the understanding grasps all the meaning and bearings of a truth, so in meditation the heart, assimilates it and makes it a part of its own life. We need continual reminding that the heart means the will and the affection. The meditation of the heart implies desire, acceptance, surrender, love. Out of the heart are the issues of life; what the heart truly believes, that it receives with love and joy, and allows to master and rule the life. The intellect gathers and prepares the food on which we are to feed. In meditation the heart takes it in and feeds on it.

The art of meditation
needs to be cultivated.

Just as a man needs to be trained to concentrate his mental powers so as to think clearly and accurately, a Christian needs to carefully consider and meditate, until the holy habit has been formed of yielding up the whole heart to every word of God.

The question sometimes is asked, how this power of meditation can be cultivated. The very first thing is to present ourselves before God. It is His Word; that Word has no power of blessing apart from Him. It is into His presence and fellowship the Word is meant to bring us. Practise His presence, and take the Word as from Himself in the assurance that He will make it work effectually in the heart. In Psalm 119. you have the word seven times (Ed: 8x in NAS - Ps 119:15 23 27 48 78 97 99 148), but each time as part of a prayer addressed to God. "I will meditate in THY precepts." "Thy servant did meditate in THY statutes." "O how I love THY law, it is my meditation all the day." Meditation is the heart turning towards God with His own Word, seeking to take it up into the affection and will, into its very life. (Might I suggest you consider reading Murray's entire chapter on "Meditation" in The inner chamber and the inner life)


Meditate On These Things - Some Christians get a little skeptical when you start talking about meditation—not seeing the huge distinction between biblical meditation and some types of mystical meditation. In mystical meditation, according to one explanation, “the rational mind is shifted into neutral … so that the psyche can take over.” The focus is inward, and the aim is to “become one with God.”

In contrast, biblical meditation focuses on the things of the Lord, and its purpose is to renew our minds (Ro 12:2) so that we think and act more like Christ. Its objective is to reflect on what God has said and done (Ps 77:12; 119:15,16,97) and on what He is like (48:9-14).

In Psalm 19:14, David wrote, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord.” Other psalms reflect on God’s love (Ps 48:9), His deeds (Ps 77:12), His law (Ps 119:97), and His testimonies (Ps 119:99).

Fill your mind with Scripture and focus on the Lord’s commands and promises and goodness. And remember this: Whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, “if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Php 4:8).

Of all God’s creatures, only man
Can worship, meditate, and plan;
The gift of thought sets him apart
To love the Lord with all his heart.
—D. De Haan

To become more like Christ, meditate on who He is.

Heart (03820)(leb; Lxx = kardia [word study]) - see discussion above (Ps 19:8)

Acceptable (07522) (rason; Lxx = eudokía [word study]) means pleasure, delight, desire, will, favor, acceptance. This alone is a miracle of God's grace, that fallen men and women could say or do ANYTHING that would be pleasing and delightful to the Holy God!

Rason - 55x in 55v in the NAS - Gen 49:6; Ex 28:38; Lev 1:3; 19:5; 22:19ff, 29; 23:11; Deut 33:16, 23; 2 Chr 15:15; Ezra 10:11; Neh 9:24, 37; Esther 1:8; 9:5; Ps 5:12; 19:14; 30:5, 7; 40:8; 51:18; 69:13; 89:17; 103:21; 106:4; 145:16, 19; Prov 8:35; 10:32; 11:1, 20, 27; 12:2, 22; 14:9, 35; 15:8; 16:13, 15; 18:22; 19:12; Isa 49:8; 56:7; 58:5; 60:7, 10; 61:2; Jer 6:20; Dan 8:4; 11:3, 16, 36; Mal 2:13. NAS = acceptable(5), acceptance(1), accepted(8), delight(5), desire(2), desired(1), desires(1), earnestly*(1), favor(17), favorable(2), good will(1), please(1), pleased(1), pleases(3), self-will(1), what is acceptable(1), what they pleased(1), will(3).

Adam Clarke notes that David's prayer for words and meditations as acceptable are…

Like a sacrifice without spot or blemish, offered up with a perfect heart to God.

Alexander Maclaren comments that…

The closing aspiration is that Jehovah would accept our song and prayer. There is an allusion to the acceptance of a sacrifice, for the phrase "be acceptable" is frequent in connection with the sacrificial ritual. When the words of the mouth coincide with the meditation of the heart, we may hope that prayers for cleansing from, and defense against, sin, offered to Him Whom our faith recognizes as our "strength" and our "Redeemer," will be as a sacrifice of a sweet smell, well-pleasing to God. He best loves the law of Jehovah who lets it teach him his sin, and send him to his knees; he best appreciates the glories of the silent heavens who knows that their witness to God is but the prelude of the deeper music of the Scriptures' declaration of the heart and will of Jehovah, and who grasps Him as his "strength and his Redeemer" from all evil, whether evil of sin or evil of sorrow. (The Expositor's Bible)

Henry Morris calls us to…

Note the frequent New Testament conjoining of what we think with what we say (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 12:34; Colossians 3:16; etc.). (Defender's Study Bible - highly recommended)


Words of the mouth are mockery if the heart does not meditate; the shell is nothing without the kernel; but both together are useless unless accepted; and even if accepted by man, it is all vanity if not acceptable in the sight of God. We must in prayer view Jehovah as our strength enabling, and our Redeemer saving, or we shall not pray aright, and it is well to feel our personal interest so as to use the word my, or our prayers will be hindered. Our near Kinsman's name, our Goel or Redeemer, makes a blessed ending to the Psalm; it began with the heavens, but it ends with him whose glory fills heaven and earth. Blessed Kinsman, give us now to meditate acceptably upon thy most sweet love and tenderness. (Ps 19:14 Treasury of David)

Rock (06697)(Tsur/sur; Lxx = boethos [word study]) literally means rock (Ex 17:6) and the context determines the size and shape of the rock. In the present passage the use is a figurative name for God, our Rock - see Dt 32:4, 15, 18, 30, 31; 1Sa 2:2; 2Sa 22:32, 47; 23:3; Ps 18:32,47)

Related Resource:

Click Scripture chain and chart ~ great Sunday School study

Note the KJV renders tsur/sur as "Strength" and the Lxx translates Rock as "Helper" (See study of boethos for the great picture inherent in this Greek noun)

Paul expresses a similar idea as David (mouth… meditation… acceptable), i.e., that one's words and thoughts (even motives, cp 1Co 4:5) might be pleasing to God (not so much to men) (see 2Co 5:9, 10)

Redeemer (01350) (goel/ga'al); Lxx = lutrotes = release on receipt of a ransom used in Acts 7:35 of Moses Ps 78:35) means primarily to restore to an original state. Goel means to redeem and is perfectly depicted in the Book of Ruth by Boaz who understood the law of kinsman-redeemer which stated that the next of kin was to buy back a relative's property or marry his widow. Goel includes the ideas of Blood Avenger (Dt 19:6, Nu 35:19, 21, 24, 27 35:12), Deliverer, One who ransoms, purchases or redeems. A goel therefore was one who not only delivered but who effected restoration to an original, sometimes ideal, state. The Goel is to do the part of a kinsman and thus to redeem one's kin from difficulty or danger by the payment of a price. Goel places emphasis on the redemption being the privilege or duty of the near relative.

Take a moment to worship in spirit and truth by playing Nicole Mullen's great song as you meditate on our Glorious Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ…

My Redeemer Lives

Spurgeon writes that

We must in prayer view Jehovah as our strength (KJV translates "rock" as "strength") enabling, and our Redeemer saving, or we shall not pray aright, and it is well to feel our personal interest so as to use the word my, or our prayers will be hindered. Our near Kinsman's name, our Goel or Redeemer, makes a blessed ending to the Psalm; it began with the heavens, but it ends with him whose glory fills heaven and earth. Blessed Kinsman, give us now to meditate acceptably upon thy most sweet love and tenderness.

The OT law provided for sins of ignorance (Lev 4 Nu 15:22ff). But for sins of open defiance and rebellion, there was no sacrifice; [see Nu 15:30].


Blood Relative = A Kinsman Gal 4:4, 4:5 Heb 2:14,15, 16, 17
cp Jn 1:1, 14, Php 2:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1011
Possessing the necessary resources 1Cor 6:20 Gal 3:13 1Pe 1:18, 19
He 7:25, He 10:10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Willing to pay
the purchase price
Jn 10:15, 16, 17, 18 1Jn 3:16
Jn 18:37, Ro 5:8 Is 53:4, 5, 6, 7
Willing to take
as one's bride
Ro 7:4 2Co 11:2
Ep 5:25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32
Re 19:7

David asks not only to be cleansed of secret faults, but to be restrained from running head-long into open sin. Jesus' timeless words of warning to His sleepy disciples are apropos…

Keep watching and praying,
that you enter not into temptation.

Mt 26:41-see notes

This kind of wicked abandonment to sin leads to slavery, and sin becomes the master of the life. Romans 6 tells us that sin should not have dominion over us. Of course, it is by allowing the Word of God to control our lives that we get victory over sin. By “great transgression” in Ps 19:13, the psalmist seems to mean a “sin unto death” or a repeated rebellion against God that brings forth His wrath. It is by an accumulation of the little secret sins of v. 12 that the person gradually walks into the great sin. It is important that Christians confess their sins immediately and allow the Word and the blood to cleanse the heart.

The prayer of Ps 19:14 ought to be on our lips and in our hearts all day long.

The meditation of the heart
controls the words of the mouth

(Mk 7:14-23).

What or who is controlling the words that emanate from your mouth? Who controls the music of your heart, God and His Word or the lies of the world, the flesh and the devil?

The word “meditation” here has the image of a musician plucking the strings of a harp. Meditation is to the heart what digestion is to the body; it is the taking in of the Word of God and making it a part of the inner being. As the heart and mind think on the Word all day long, the Spirit guides the life. This is what it means to walk in the Spirit (Ga5:16) and to have the spiritual mind (Ro 8:1-8).

Is your Bible all to you that God wants it to be? Read this psalm again and ask God to enable you to love the Word, live in it, and obey it and He will bless you.

Boice sums up this Psalm noting that…

We are not only led to see ourselves as sinners when we study the Bible. The Bible also leads us to the One who is our only deliverer from sin. And, wonder of wonders, he is the same one who has revealed himself gloriously in the heavens. The heavens tell us that he exists and that he is all-powerful. The Bible shows that he is our Redeemer from sin, that is, the one who is able to break sin's bonds and set us free, and that he is the Rock upon which the redeemed man or woman can build and be kept from transgressions. (Ibid)

Warren Wiersbe

If God is your Redeemer, He can be your Strength. Live acceptably in His sight, allowing the meditation of your heart to please Him. Then your life will be what He wants it to be. God is more than the God of creation and the Scriptures; He is the God of redemption. If your heart is filled with Him and yielded to Him, you can have victory over sin. Don't simply worship the God of nature. Get into the Word of God and let God get into you. (Prayer, Praise and Promises).