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Psalm 119[a]

A Prayer to God, the Lawgiver


Blessed those whose way is blameless,
    who walk by the law of the Lord.(A)
Blessed those who keep his testimonies,
    who seek him with all their heart.(B)
They do no wrong;
    they walk in his ways.
You have given them the command
    to observe your precepts with care.
May my ways be firm
    in the observance of your statutes!
Then I will not be ashamed
    to ponder all your commandments.
I will praise you with sincere heart
    as I study your righteous judgments.
I will observe your statutes;
    do not leave me all alone.


How can the young keep his way without fault?
    Only by observing your words.
10 With all my heart I seek you;
    do not let me stray from your commandments.
11 In my heart I treasure your promise,
    that I may not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes.(C)
13 With my lips I recite
    all the judgments you have spoken.
14 I find joy in the way of your testimonies
    more than in all riches.
15 I will ponder your precepts
    and consider your paths.
16 In your statutes I take delight;
    I will never forget your word.


17 Be kind to your servant that I may live,
    that I may keep your word.
18 Open my eyes to see clearly
    the wonders of your law.
19 I am a sojourner in the land;[b](D)
    do not hide your commandments from me.
20 At all times my soul is stirred
    with longing for your judgments.
21 With a curse you rebuke the proud
    who stray from your commandments.
22 Free me from disgrace and contempt,
    for I keep your testimonies.
23 Though princes meet and talk against me,
    your servant meditates on your statutes.
24 Your testimonies are my delight;
    they are my counselors.


25 My soul clings to the dust;(E)
    give me life in accord with your word.
26 I disclosed my ways and you answered me;
    teach me your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts;
    I will ponder your wondrous deeds.
28 My soul is depressed;
    lift me up acccording to your word.
29 Lead me from the way of deceit;
    favor me with your law.
30 The way of loyalty I have chosen;
    I have kept your judgments.
31 I cling to your testimonies, Lord;
    do not let me come to shame.
32 I will run the way of your commandments,
    for you will broaden my heart.


33 Lord, teach me the way of your statutes;
    I shall keep them with care.(F)
34 Give me understanding to keep your law,
    to observe it with all my heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,(G)
    for that is my delight.
36 Direct my heart toward your testimonies
    and away from gain.
37 Avert my eyes from what is worthless;
    by your way give me life.
38 For your servant, fulfill your promise
    made to those who fear you.
39 Turn away from me the taunts I dread,
    for your judgments are good.
40 See how I long for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life.


41 Let your mercy come to me, Lord,
    salvation in accord with your promise.
42 Let me answer my taunters with a word,
    for I trust in your word.
43 Do not take the word of truth from my mouth,
    for in your judgments is my hope.
44 I will keep your law always,
    for all time and forever.
45 I will walk freely in an open space
    because I cherish your precepts.
46 I will speak openly of your testimonies
    without fear even before kings.
47 I delight in your commandments,
    which I dearly love.
48 [c]I lift up my hands to your commandments;
    I study your statutes, which I love.


49 Remember your word to your servant
    by which you give me hope.
50 This is my comfort in affliction,
    your promise that gives me life.
51 Though the arrogant utterly scorn me,
    I do not turn from your law.
52 When I recite your judgments of old
    I am comforted, Lord.
53 Rage seizes me because of the wicked;
    they forsake your law.
54 Your statutes become my songs
    wherever I make my home.
55 Even at night I remember your name
    in observance of your law, Lord.
56 This is my good fortune,
    for I have kept your precepts.


57 My portion is the Lord;
    I promise to observe your words.
58 I entreat you with all my heart:
    have mercy on me in accord with your promise.
59 I have examined my ways
    and turned my steps to your testimonies.
60 I am prompt, I do not hesitate
    in observing your commandments.
61 Though the snares of the wicked surround me,
    your law I do not forget.
62 At midnight I rise to praise you
    because of your righteous judgments.
63 I am the friend of all who fear you,
    of all who observe your precepts.
64 The earth, Lord, is filled with your mercy;(H)
    teach me your statutes.


65 You have treated your servant well,
    according to your word, O Lord.
66 Teach me wisdom and knowledge,
    for in your commandments I trust.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I hold to your promise.
68 You are good and do what is good;
    teach me your statutes.
69 The arrogant smear me with lies,
    but I keep your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are gross and fat;(I)
    as for me, your law is my delight.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted,
    in order to learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is more precious to me
    than heaps of silver and gold.


73 Your hands made me and fashioned me;
    give me understanding to learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you rejoice to see me,
    because I hope in your word.
75 I know, Lord, that your judgments are righteous;
    though you afflict me, you are faithful.
76 May your mercy comfort me
    in accord with your promise to your servant.
77 Show me compassion that I may live,
    for your law is my delight.
78 Shame the proud for leading me astray with falsehood,
    that I may study your testimonies.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
    those who acknowledge your testimonies.
80 May I be wholehearted toward your statutes,
    that I may not be put to shame.


81 My soul longs for your salvation;
    I put my hope in your word.(J)
82 My eyes long to see your promise.(K)
    When will you comfort me?
83 I am like a wineskin shriveled by smoke,(L)
    but I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long can your servant survive?
    When will your judgment doom my foes?
85 The arrogant have dug pits for me;
    defying your law.
86 All your commandments are steadfast.
    Help me! I am pursued without cause.
87 They have almost put an end to me on earth,
    but I do not forsake your precepts.
88 In your mercy give me life,
    to observe the testimonies of your mouth.


89 [d]Your word, Lord, stands forever;(M)
    it is firm as the heavens.
90 Through all generations your truth endures;
    fixed to stand firm like the earth.
91 By your judgments they stand firm to this day,
    for all things are your servants.
92 Had your law not been my delight,
    I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts;
    through them you give me life.
94 I am yours; save me,
    for I cherish your precepts.
95 The wicked hope to destroy me,
    but I seek to understand your testimonies.
96 I have seen the limits of all perfection,
    but your commandment is without bounds.


97 How I love your law, Lord![e]
    I study it all day long.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my foes,
    as it is forever with me.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
    because I ponder your testimonies.
100 I have more understanding than my elders,
    because I keep your precepts.(N)
101 I keep my steps from every evil path,
    that I may observe your word.
102 From your judgments I do not turn,
    for you have instructed me.
103 How sweet to my tongue is your promise,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!(O)
104 Through your precepts I gain understanding;
    therefore I hate all false ways.


105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light for my path.(P)
106 I make a solemn vow
    to observe your righteous judgments.
107 I am very much afflicted, Lord;
    give me life in accord with your word.
108 Accept my freely offered praise;(Q)
    Lord, teach me your judgments.
109 My life is always at risk,
    but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set snares for me,
    but from your precepts I do not stray.
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever;
    they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on fulfilling your statutes;
    they are my reward forever.


113 I hate every hypocrite;
    your law I love.
114 You are my refuge and shield;
    in your word I hope.
115 Depart from me, you wicked,(R)
    that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Sustain me by your promise that I may live;
    do not disappoint me in my hope.
117 Strengthen me that I may be safe,
    ever to contemplate your statutes.
118 You reject all who stray from your statutes,
    for vain is their deceit.
119 Like dross you regard all the wicked on earth;
    therefore I love your testimonies.
120 My flesh shudders with dread of you;
    I fear your judgments.


121 I have fulfilled your righteous judgment;
    do not abandon me to my oppressors.
122 Guarantee your servant’s welfare;
    do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes long to see your salvation
    and the promise of your righteousness.
124 Act with mercy toward your servant;
    teach me your statutes.
125 I am your servant; give me discernment
    that I may know your testimonies.
126 It is time for the Lord to act;
    they have disobeyed your law.
127 Truly I love your commandments
    more than gold, more than the finest gold.
128 Thus, I follow all your precepts;
    every wrong way I hate.


129 Wonderful are your testimonies;
    therefore I keep them.
130 The revelation of your words sheds light,
    gives understanding to the simple.
131 I sigh with open mouth,
    yearning for your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious,(S)
    according to your judgment for those who love your name.
133 Steady my feet in accord with your promise;
    do not let iniquity lead me.
134 Free me from human oppression,
    that I may observe your precepts.
135 Let your face shine upon your servant;
    teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of tears
    because your law is not observed.


137 You are righteous, Lord,
    and just are your judgments.(T)
138 You have given your testimonies in righteousness
    and in surpassing faithfulness.
139 I am consumed with rage,
    because my foes forget your words.
140 Your servant loves your promise;
    it has been proved by fire.
141 Though belittled and despised,
    I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your justice is forever right,
    your law true.
143 Though distress and anguish come upon me,
    your commandments are my delight.
144 Your testimonies are forever righteous;
    give me understanding that I may live.
145 I call with all my heart, O Lord;
    answer me that I may keep your statutes.
146 I call to you to save me
    that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry out;
    I put my hope in your words.
148 My eyes greet the night watches
    as I meditate on your promise.(U)
149 Hear my voice in your mercy, O Lord;
    by your judgment give me life.
150 Malicious persecutors draw near me;
    they are far from your law.
151 You are near, O Lord;
    reliable are all your commandments.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies
    that you have established them forever.


153 Look at my affliction and rescue me,
    for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Take up my cause and redeem me;(V)
    for the sake of your promise give me life.
155 Salvation is far from sinners
    because they do not cherish your statutes.
156 Your compassion is great, O Lord;
    in accord with your judgments, give me life.
157 Though my persecutors and foes are many,
    I do not turn from your testimonies.
158 I view the faithless with loathing(W)
    because they do not heed your promise.
159 See how I love your precepts, Lord;
    in your mercy give me life.
160 Your every word is enduring;
    all your righteous judgments are forever.


161 Princes persecute me without reason,
    but my heart reveres only your word.
162 I rejoice at your promise,
    as one who has found rich spoil.
163 Falsehood I hate and abhor;
    your law I love.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
    because your judgments are righteous.
165 Lovers of your law have much peace;(X)
    for them there is no stumbling block.
166 I look for your salvation, Lord,
    and I fulfill your commandments.
167 I observe your testimonies;
    I love them very much.
168 I observe your precepts and testimonies;
    all my ways are before you.


169 Let my cry come before you, Lord;(Y)
    in keeping with your word, give me understanding.
170 Let my prayer come before you;
    rescue me according to your promise.
171 May my lips pour forth your praise,
    because you teach me your statutes.
172 May my tongue sing of your promise,
    for all your commandments are righteous.
173 Keep your hand ready to help me,
    for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord;
    your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live to praise you;
    may your judgments give me help.
176 I have wandered like a lost sheep;
    seek out your servant,
    for I do not forget your commandments.(Z)


  1. Psalm 119 This Psalm, the longest by far in the Psalter, praises God for giving such splendid laws and instruction for people to live by. The author glorifies and thanks God for the Torah, prays for protection from sinners enraged by others’ fidelity to the law, laments the cost of obedience, delights in the law’s consolations, begs for wisdom to understand the precepts, and asks for the rewards of keeping them. Several expected elements do not appear in the Psalm: Mount Sinai with its story of God’s revelation and gift to Israel of instruction and commandments, the Temple and other institutions related to revelation and laws (frequent in other Psalms). The Psalm is fascinated with God’s word directing and guiding human life. The poem is an acrostic; its twenty-two stanzas (of eight verses each) are in the order of the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the eight verses within a stanza begins with the same letter. Each verse contains one word for “instruction.” The translation here given attempts to translate each Hebrew word for “instruction” with the same English word. There are, however, nine words for “instruction,” not eight, so the principle of a different word for “instruction” in each verse cannot be maintained with perfect consistency. The nine words for “instruction” in the translation are: law, statute, commandment, precept, testimony, word, judgment, way, and promise.
  2. 119:19 A sojourner in the land: like someone without the legal protection of a native inhabitant, the psalmist has a special need for the guidance of God’s teaching.
  3. 119:48 I lift up my hands to your commandments: to lift up the hands was an ancient gesture of reverence to God. Here the picture is applied to God’s law.
  4. 119:89–91 God’s word creates the world, which manifests that word by its permanence and reliability.
  5. 119:97 Lord: the inclusion of “Lord” follows the tradition of the Septuagint and the Vulgate.