Ps 119

Ps. 119 As Ps. 117 has the distinction of being the shortest chapter in the Bible, so Ps. 119 is the longest. The psalm is an acrostic of twenty-two stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The eight poetic lines of each stanza begin with the same Hebrew letter.

The number eight may be connected with eight Hebrew words that appear throughout the psalm concerning its main theme. The words are translated variously as “law,” “testimonies,” “precepts,” “statutes,” “commandments,” “rules,” and “word.” In five stanzas all eight Hebrew words occur, and every stanza has at least six of the eight.

While the psalmist expresses his love for the law and his desire to obey it, he also recognizes his failures. Elements of lament and petition are intertwined with expressions of confidence and innocence.

The law is a faithful expression of God’s character. God sent His Son to keep the law for us. The law no longer condemns us, setting us free to accept it as our own guide for pleasing the One who died in our place.