Psalms 119


This, the longest of the psalms (more verses than any other chapter in the entire bible), has a remarkable construction with a unique order.  The psalm is composed of twenty-two groups (stanzas?), each consisting of eight verses.  Do you understand the significance of the two numbers?  Twenty-two is the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, but what about eight?  What does that represent?  I know of only one spiritual connection to that number.  I can see two possibilities though.  First, the eighth day of Passover was added probably during or shortly after the Babylonian exile, possibly by those Jews who remained in Babylon after the exile ended.  Could this have been the psalmist’s way of showing his consent to (or disagreement with) this violation of the word of the Torah?  Certainly a possibility.  But more important, the eighth day of a newborn male’s life is the day of his circumcision, the most significant badge of the Jews as God’s chosen people.  Certainly a stronger possibility.

The eight verses in each group all start with the same letter.  Each verse in the first group of eight starts with the letter aleph,  those in the next group with the letter beth, and so on until the final group of eight starts with the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the tav.

The psalm is at once an impassioned plea for salvation and a joyful song of praise and love for the Lord and the Torah.  The psalmist’s passion is accentuated by his frequent repetition of several central ideas.  These include (1) the wisdom and pleasure of following the Lord’s ways, (2) hunger for understanding all the commandments, (3) a desire to learn the statutes better, (4) a desire to follow them with more fidelity, (5) love for the Lord and His commandments, (6) the steadfast fidelity of those observing them (conflicting with (4)?),  (7) the promise (or uncertainty of it) of blessings for the observant, and (8) a plea for the Lord to recognize and reward the author’s faithfulness.

Scholars assume this psalm portrays the feelings and thoughts reflecting an individual’s -- the psalmist’s -- circumstances and experience.  I can see this as a possibility, and it certainly makes sense.  But I also see a second possibility, that the psalmist is personifying an ideal (and yet realistically not so ideal) Israel.  There are clues in several verses that lead to my suggestion.  I’ll identify them as you progress through the psalm.  But by no means allow my conjecture and remarks to detract from your appreciation of this inspired poem.

אַשְׁרֵי תְמִימֵי־דָרֶךְ הַהֹלְכִים בְּתוֹרַת יְהוָה׃   119:1

Psal. 119:1   Happy are those wholly of the way,

                                those walking in the Torah of the Lord.

אַשְׁרֵי נֹצְרֵי עֵדֹתָיו בְּכָל־לֵב יִדְרְשׁוּהוּ׃   119:2

Psal. 119:2   Happy are the preservers of His testimonies;

                                with the whole heart they would seek Him.

אַף לֹא־פָעֲלוּ עַוְלָה בִּדְרָכָיו הָלָכוּ׃   119:3

Psal. 119:3   Furthermore, they do not do unrighteously;

                                in His ways they walk.

אַ֭תָּה צִוִּ֥יתָה פִקֻּדֶ֗יךָ לִשְׁמֹ֥ר מְאֹֽד׃   119:4

Psal. 119:4   You have commanded to diligently observe Your precepts.

אַחֲלַי יִכֹּנוּ דְרָכָי לִשְׁמֹר חֻקֶּיךָ׃   119:5

Psal. 119:5   Would that my ways could be directed to observe Your statutes!

The psalmist repeatedly emphasizes his faithfulness.  Yet here he implies that he could do better.  This is my first clue that he may be personifying Israel.

אָז לֹא־אֵבוֹשׁ בְּהַבִּיטִי אֶל־כָּל־מִצְוֺתֶיךָ׃   119:6

Psal. 119:6   Then I would not be disappointed

                                with my paying attention to all Your commandments.

Could this be a veiled reference to the so-called “blessings” and “curses” of Deuteronomy Chapter 28?  The second possible clue.

אוֹדְךָ בְּיֹשֶׁר לֵבָב בְּלָמְדִי מִשְׁפְּטֵי צִדְקֶךָ׃   119:7

Psal. 119:7   I would thank You with uprightness of heart

                                with my learning the ordinances of Your righteousness.

אֶת־חֻקֶּיךָ אֶשְׁמֹר אַל־תַּעַזְבֵנִי עַד־מְאֹד׃   119:8

Psal. 119:8   I can observe Your statutes;

                                do not forsake me completely.

End of first octet.

בַּמֶּה יְזַכֶּה־נַּעַר אֶת־אָרְחוֹ לִשְׁמֹר כִּדְבָרֶךָ׃   119:9

Psal. 119:9   In what way should a youth make his path pure?

                                Observing according to Your word!

בְּכָל־לִבִּי דְרַשְׁתִּיךָ אַל־תַּשְׁגֵּנִי מִמִּצְוֺתֶיךָ׃   119:10

Psal. 119:10   I have sought You with all my heart;

                                May You not let me stray from Your commandments.

בְּלִבִּי צָפַנְתִּי אִמְרָתֶךָ לְמַעַן לֹא אֶחֱטָא־לָךְ׃   119:11

Psal. 119:11   I treasure Your word in my heart,

                                so that I will not sin toward You.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהוָה לַמְּדֵנִי חֻקֶּיךָ׃   119:12

Psal. 119:12   Blessed are You, Lord;

                                teach me Your statutes.

בִּשְׂפָתַי סִפַּרְתִּי כֹּל מִשְׁפְּטֵי־פִיךָ׃   119:13

Psal. 119:13   I recount with my lips all the ordinances of Your "lips."

בְּדֶרֶךְ עֵדְוֺתֶיךָ שַׂשְׂתִּי כְּעַל כָּל־הוֹן׃   119:14

Psal. 119:14   I rejoice in the way of Your testimonies

                                as over everything of great value.

בְּפִקֻּדֶיךָ אָשִׂיחָה וְאַבִּיטָה אֹרְחֹתֶיךָ׃   119:15

Psal. 119:15   On Your precepts I will meditate,

                                and pay attention to Your ways.

בְּחֻקֹּתֶיךָ אֶשְׁתַּעֲשָׁע לֹא אֶשְׁכַּח דְּבָרֶךָ׃   119:16

Psal. 119:16   I will delight myself by Your statutes;

                                I will not forget Your word.

End of second octet.  This set of eight verses recounts the constant desire to walk in God’s ways.  Is this the psalmist or Israel?  As far as I am concerned it could be portraying an unrealistic view of Israel’s faithfulness.

גְּמֹל עַל־עַבְדְּךָ אֶחְיֶה וְאֶשְׁמְרָה דְבָרֶךָ׃   119:17

Psal. 119:17   Deal bountifully, that I may live as Your servant,

                                that I may observe Your word.

גַּל־עֵינַי וְאַבִּיטָה נִפְלָאוֹת מִתּוֹרָתֶךָ׃   119:18

Psal. 119:18   Uncover my eyes

                                that I may regard wonderful things from Your Torah.

גֵּר אָנֹכִי בָאָרֶץ אַל־תַּסְתֵּר מִמֶּנִּי מִצְוֺתֶיךָ׃   119:19

Psal. 119:19   I am a temporary inhabitant on the earth;

                                do not hide Your commandments from me.

This verse may provide a counter clue.  If the psalmist were portraying Israel, would he have said “temporary?”

גָּרְסָה נַפְשִׁי לְתַאֲבָה אֶל־מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ בְכָל־עֵת׃   119:20

Psal. 119:20   My soul shrinks,

                                longing at all times concerning Your statutes.

גָּעַרְתָּ זֵדִים אֲרוּרִים הַשֹּׁגִים מִמִּצְוֺתֶיךָ׃   119:21

Psal. 119:21   You rebuke the proud ones,

                                cursing ones,

                          who stray from Your commandments.

גַּל מֵעָלַי חֶרְפָּה וָבוּז כִּי עֵדֹתֶיךָ נָצָרְתִּי׃   119:22

Psal. 119:22   Take off reproach and contempt from me,

                                for I have preserved Your testimonies.

This could certainly refer to Israel’s history.

גַּם יָשְׁבוּ שָׂרִים בִּי נִדְבָּרוּ עַבְדְּךָ יָשִׂיחַ בְּחֻקֶּיךָ׃   119:23

Psal. 119:23   Princes sit with me;

                                although they speak together of Your servant,

                          he will meditate on Your statutes.

גַּם־עֵדֹתֶיךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי אַנְשֵׁי עֲצָתִי׃   119:24

Psal. 119:24   Indeed, Your testimonies are my delight,

                                the ones of my counsel.

End of third octet.  This set of eight seems to concentrate on a desire to be in improved conformity with the Torah.  As the psalmist seems to refer to a rather consistent conformity of desire, I see this as another possible clue.  It may illustrate his ambiguity about Israel’s faithfulness.

דָּבְקָה לֶעָפָר נַפְשִׁי חַיֵּנִי כִּדְבָרֶךָ׃   119:25

Psal. 119:25   My soul clings to the dust;

                                revive me according to Your word.

דְּרָכַי סִפַּרְתִּי וַתַּעֲנֵנִי לַמְּדֵנִי חֻקֶּיךָ׃   119:26

Psal. 119:26   I recounted my ways and You answered me;

                                teach me Your statutes.

דֶּרֶךְ־פִּקּוּדֶיךָ הֲבִינֵנִי וְאָשִׂיחָה בְּנִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ׃   119:27

Psal. 119:27   Cause me to understand the way of Your precepts,

                                that I may meditate on Your wonders.

דָּלְפָה נַפְשִׁי מִתּוּגָה קַיְּמֵנִי כִּדְבָרֶךָ׃   119:28

Psal. 119:28   My soul weeps because of grief;

                                confirm me according to Your word.

Why grief?  There seems to be no persistent reason for grief exhibited in this psalm.  Has the psalmist assumed that the reader knows the grief of Israel and therefore, he does not have to describe it here?

דֶּרֶךְ־שֶׁקֶר הָסֵר מִמֶּנִּי וְתוֹרָתְךָ חָנֵּנִי׃   119:29

Psal. 119:29   Cause any false way to depart from me,

                                and show me the favor of Your Torah.

דֶּרֶךְ־אֱמוּנָה בָחָרְתִּי מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ שִׁוִּיתִי׃   119:30

Psal. 119:30   I have chosen the truthful way,

                                Your judgments I have accepted.

דָּבַקְתִּי בְעֵדְוֺתֶיךָ יְהוָה אַל־תְּבִישֵׁנִי׃   119:31

Psal. 119:31   I cling to Your testimonies.

                                Lord, let me not be ashamed.

דֶּרֶךְ־מִצְוֺתֶיךָ אָרוּץ כִּי תַרְחִיב לִבִּי׃   119:32

Psal. 119:32   I would run the way of Your commandments

                                if You would enlarge my heart.

End of fourth octet.  Is this verse suggesting that it’s God’s fault that the commandments aren’t being faithfully followed?  The Lord has not enlarged the heart enough?

הוֹרֵנִי יְהוָה דֶּרֶךְ חֻקֶּיךָ וְאֶצְּרֶנָּה עֵקֶב׃   119:33

Psal. 119:33   Show me, O lord, the way of Your statutes,

                                that I may keep close to it consequently.

הֲבִינֵנִי וְאֶצְּרָה תוֹרָתֶךָ וְאֶשְׁמְרֶנָּה בְכָל־לֵב׃   119:34

Psal. 119:34   Cause me to understand that I may keep Your Torah,

                                and observe it with a whole heart.

Another clue?  If the psalmist is speaking for himself personally, then this verse may suggest a lack of familiarity with the Torah, which repeatedly exhorts the Jew and the Jewish people to faithfully observe the commandments, ordinances, and statutes it contains.  On the other hand, if he is speaking for Israel, he may be indicating that Israel does not understand its complete “obligation” to the Lord.

הַדְרִיכֵנִי בִּנְתִיב מִצְוֺתֶיךָ כִּי־בוֹ חָפָצְתִּי׃   119:35

Psal. 119:35   Cause me to tread in the path of Your commandments,

                                for I delight in it. 

הַט־לִבִּי אֶל־עֵדְוֺתֶיךָ וְאַל אֶל־בָּצַע׃   119:36

Psal. 119:36   Turn my heart to Your testimonies,

                                and not to unjust gain.

הַעֲבֵר עֵינַי מֵרְאוֹת שָׁוְא בִּדְרָכֶךָ חַיֵּנִי׃   119:37

Psal. 119:37   Take away my eyes from regarding vanity;

                                sustain my life in Your way.

הָקֵם לְעַבְדְּךָ אִמְרָתֶךָ אֲשֶׁר לְיִרְאָתֶךָ׃   119:38

Psal. 119:38   Establish for Your servant Your word

                                that is in regard to reverence of You.

הַעֲבֵר חֶרְפָּתִי אֲשֶׁר יָגֹרְתִּי כִּי מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ טוֹבִים׃   119:39

Psal. 119:39   Take away my reproach, which I dread;

                                surely Your ordinances are better.

הִנֵּה תָּאַבְתִּי לְפִקֻּדֶיךָ בְּצִדְקָתְךָ חַיֵּנִי׃   119:40

Psal. 119:40   Behold, I long for Your precepts;

                                sustain my life in Your righteousness.

End of fifth octet.

וִיבֹאֻנִי חֲסָדֶךָ יְהוָה תְּשׁוּעָתְךָ כְּאִמְרָתֶךָ׃   119:41

Psal. 119:41   And let Your mercy come to me, Lord,

                                Your salvation, according to Your word,

וְאֶעֱנֶה חֹרְפִי דָבָר כִּי־בָטַחְתִּי בִּדְבָרֶךָ׃   119:42

Psal. 119:42   that I may answer my taunters a word,

                                for I trust in Your word.

וְאַל־תַּצֵּל מִפִּי דְבַר־אֱמֶת עַד־מְאֹד כִּי לְמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ יִחָלְתִּי׃   119:43

Psal. 119:43   And may You not completely strip away the truthful word from my mouth;

                                I hope for Your justice,

וְאֶשְׁמְרָה תוֹרָתְךָ תָמִיד לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד׃   119:44

Psal. 119:44   and let me observe Your Torah continually forever and ever.

וְאֶתְהַלְּכָה בָרְחָבָה כִּי פִקֻּדֶיךָ דָרָשְׁתִּי׃   119:45

Psal. 119:45   Then I shall go about in ease,

                                for I consult Your precepts,

וַאֲדַבְּרָה בְעֵדֹתֶיךָ נֶגֶד מְלָכִים וְלֹא אֵבוֹשׁ׃   119:46

Psal. 119:46   so I can speak about Your precepts before kings,

                                and not be ashamed.

וְאֶשְׁתַּעֲשַׁע בְּמִצְוֺתֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר אָהָבְתִּי׃   119:47

Psal. 119:47   And I will delight myself in Your commandments,

                                which I love.

וְאֶשָּׂא־כַפַּי אֶל־מִצְוֺתֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר אָהָבְתִּי וְאָשִׂיחָה בְחֻקֶּיךָ׃   119:48

Psal. 119:48   And I will raise my hands to Your commandments, which I love,

                                and meditate on Your statutes.

End of sixth octet.

זְכֹר־דָּבָר לְעַבְדֶּךָ עַל אֲשֶׁר יִחַלְתָּנִי׃   119:49

Psal. 119:49   Call the word to mind for Your servant,

                                because You have given me hope.

זֹאת נֶחָמָתִי בְעָנְיִי כִּי אִמְרָתְךָ חִיָּתְנִי׃   119:50

Psal. 119:50   This is my comfort,

                                for Your word sustains my life.

זֵדִים הֱלִיצֻנִי עַד־מְאֹד מִתּוֹרָתְךָ לֹא נָטִיתִי׃   119:51

Psal. 119:51   Proud ones have completely derided me

                                -- from Your Torah I do not turn away.

זָכַרְתִּי מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ מֵעוֹלָם יְהוָה וָאֶתְנֶחָם׃   119:52

Psal. 119:52   I remember Your ordinances from antiquity, Lord,

                                and I am comforted.

My next-to-final clue.  However, there’s a caveat.  It depends on how you interpret this verse.  Is it ordinances that are from antiquity, or is it the psalmist’s remembrance from antiquity?  I have assumed the latter option.  If you, however, assume the former, then this verse offers no evidence for Israel being the subject to you. 

Could an individual remember from antiquity the Lord’s ordinances?  I think not.

זַלְעָפָה אֲחָזַתְנִי מֵרְשָׁעִים עֹזְבֵי תּוֹרָתֶךָ׃   119:53

Psal. 119:53   A burning heat takes hold of me

                                because of the wickedness of the forsakers of Your Torah.

זְמִרוֹת הָיוּ־לִי חֻקֶּיךָ בְּבֵית מְגוּרָי׃   119:54

Psal. 119:54   Your statutes have been songs for me

                                in the dwelling place of my lifetime.

זָכַרְתִּי בַלַּיְלָה שִׁמְךָ יְהוָה וָאֶשְׁמְרָה תּוֹרָתֶךָ׃   119:55

Psal. 119:55   At night I remember Your name, Lord,

                                and I celebrate Your Torah.

זֹאת הָיְתָה־לִּי כִּי פִקֻּדֶיךָ נָצָרְתִּי׃   119:56

Psal. 119:56   This is mine, that I have kept Your precepts.

End of seventh octet.

חֶלְקִי יְהוָה אָמַרְתִּי לִשְׁמֹר דְּבָרֶיךָ׃   119:57

Psal. 119:57   My portion is of the Lord

                                -- I have promised to observe Your words.

חִלִּיתִי פָנֶיךָ בְכָל־לֵב חָנֵּנִי כְּאִמְרָתֶךָ׃   119:58

Psal. 119:58   I entreat Your presence with a whole heart;

                                be gracious to me according to Your word.

חִשַּׁבְתִּי דְרָכָי וָאָשִׁיבָה רַגְלַי אֶל־עֵדֹתֶיךָ׃   119:59

Psal. 119:59   I judged my ways,

                                and I turned my feet back to Your testimonies.

חַשְׁתִּי וְלֹא הִתְמַהְמָהְתִּי לִשְׁמֹר מִצְוֺתֶיךָ׃   119:60

Psal. 119:60   I hastened and did not hesitate

                                to keep Your commandments.

חֶבְלֵי רְשָׁעִים עִוְּדֻנִי תּוֹרָתְךָ לֹא שָׁכָחְתִּי׃   119:61

Psal. 119:61   Companies of the wicked encircle me

                                -- Your commandments I have not forgotten.

The final clue.  Would you expect an individual to be surrounded by companies of the wicked?  Doesn’t seem too reasonable.

חֲצוֹת־לַיְלָה אָקוּם לְהוֹדוֹת לָךְ עַל מִשְׁפְּטֵי צִדְקֶךָ׃   119:62

Psal. 119:62   Midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,

                                because of the ordinances of Your righteousness.

חָבֵר אָנִי לְכָל־אֲשֶׁר יְרֵאוּךָ וּלְשֹׁמְרֵי פִּקּוּדֶיךָ׃   119:63

Psal. 119:63   I am a companion to all who revere You

                                and to the keepers of Your precepts.

חַסְדְּךָ יְהוָה מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ חֻקֶּיךָ לַמְּדֵנִי׃   119:64

Psal. 119:64   Lord, the earth is full of Your mercy;

                                teach me Your statutes.

End of eighth octet.

טוֹב עָשִׂיתָ עִם־עַבְדְּךָ יְהוָה כִּדְבָרֶךָ׃   119:65

Psal. 119:65   You have dealt well with Your servant, Lord,

                                according to Your word.

טוּב טַעַם וָדַעַת לַמְּדֵנִי כִּי בְמִצְוֺתֶיךָ הֶאֱמָנְתִּי׃   119:66

Psal. 119:66   You have taught me such good judgment and knowledge

                                that I believe in Your commandments.

טֶרֶם אֶעֱנֶה אֲנִי שֹׁגֵג וְעַתָּה אִמְרָתְךָ שָׁמָרְתִּי׃   119:67

Psal. 119:67   Before I could have been humbled I was straying,

                                but now I observe Your word.

טוֹב־אַתָּה וּמֵטִיב לַמְּדֵנִי חֻקֶּיךָ׃   119:68

Psal. 119:68   You are good and are doing good;

                                teach me Your statutes.

טָפְלוּ עָלַי שֶׁקֶר זֵדִים אֲנִי בְּכָל־לֵב אֱצֹּר פִּקּוּדֶיךָ׃   119:69

Psal. 119:69   Arrogant ones have spread a lie about me

                                -- I will preserve Your precepts with a whole heart.

טָפַשׁ כַּחֵלֶב לִבָּם אֲנִי תּוֹרָתְךָ שִׁעֲשָׁעְתִּי׃   119:70

Psal. 119:70   Their heart is coarse as fat

                                -- I take delight in Your Torah.

טוֹב־לִי כִי־עֻנֵּיתִי לְמַעַן אֶלְמַד חֻקֶּיךָ׃   119:71

Psal. 119:71   Good for me that I was humbled,

                                so that I could learn Your statutes.

טוֹב־לִי תוֹרַת־פִּיךָ מֵאַלְפֵי זָהָב וָכָסֶף׃   119:72

Psal. 119:72   The instruction of Your “mouth is” better for me

                                than thousands of pieces of gold or silver.

End of ninth octet.

יָדֶיךָ עָשׂוּנִי וַיְכוֹנְנוּנִי הֲבִינֵנִי וְאֶלְמְדָה מִצְוֺתֶיךָ׃   119:73

Psal. 119:73   Your "hands" made me and have directed me;

                                make me understand that I may be taught Your commandments.

יְרֵאֶיךָ יִרְאוּנִי וְיִשְׂמָחוּ כִּי לִדְבָרְךָ יִחָלְתִּי׃   119:74

Psal. 119:74   Your reverent may see me;

                                then they are glad,

                           for I wait for Your word.

יָדַעְתִּי יְהוָה כִּי־צֶדֶק מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ וֶאֱמוּנָה עִנִּיתָנִי׃   119:75

Psal. 119:75   I know indeed, Lord, the righteousness of Your judgments,

                                that You firmly humbled me.

יְהִי־נָא חַסְדְּךָ לְנַחֲמֵנִי כְּאִמְרָתְךָ לְעַבְדֶּךָ׃   119:76

Psal. 119:76   I pray You, let Your loving kindness be for my comfort

                                according to Your word to Your servant.

יְבֹאוּנִי רַחֲמֶיךָ וְאֶחְיֶה כִּי־תוֹרָתְךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי׃   119:77

Psal. 119:77   Let Your compassion come to me so I can survive;

                                indeed Your Torah is my delight.

יֵבֹשׁוּ זֵדִים כִּי־שֶׁקֶר עִוְּתוּנִי אֲנִי אָשִׂיחַ בְּפִקּוּדֶיךָ׃   119:78

Psal. 119:78   Let the proud be shamed;

                                though a lie, they had subverted me

                           -- I will meditate on Your precepts.

יָשׁוּבוּ לִי יְרֵאֶיךָ (וְיָדְעוּ) [וְיֹדְעֵי] עֵדֹתֶיךָ׃   119:79

Psal. 119:79   May Your reverent return to me,

                                and they will know Your testimonies.

The word in the parentheses, translated by me as the active verb phrase and they will know, is spelled in the third person plural.  The “correction” in the brackets makes it a participle or a plural noun, changing the translation to and those knowing in the former case, and nonsense in the latter case  As I see it, this change is arbitrary and unnecessary. 

Incidentally, this verse may also represent yet another clue, as who is the “me” that the reverent are to return to?  Why would the psalmist be looking for the faithful to return to him personally?

יְהִי־לִבִּי תָמִים בְּחֻקֶּיךָ לְמַעַן לֹא אֵבוֹשׁ׃   119:80

Psal. 119:80   May my heart be completely with Your statutes,

                                so that I would not be ashamed.

End of tenth octet.

כָּלְתָה לִתְשׁוּעָתְךָ נַפְשִׁי לִדְבָרְךָ יִחָלְתִּי׃   119:81

Psal. 119:81   My soul is wasted away for Your salvation;

                                I wait for Your word.

כָּלוּ עֵינַי לְאִמְרָתֶךָ לֵאמֹר מָתַי תְּנַחֲמֵנִי׃   119:82

Psal. 119:82   My eyes have failed;

                                I am saying, regarding Your word,

                           “When will You comfort me?”

כִּי־הָיִיתִי כְּנֹאד בְּקִיטוֹר חֻקֶּיךָ לֹא שָׁכָחְתִּי׃   119:83

Psal. 119:83   For I have become like a bottle in thick smoke

                                -- Your statutes I do not forget.

The bottle mentioned here was a wineskin.  Now wineskins were usually hung up to dry near a fire in a ventilated room.  If there were no ventilation, however, the room would fill with smoke and the wineskin would shrivel up.

כַּמָּה יְמֵי־עַבְדֶּךָ מָתַי תַּעֲשֶׂה בְרֹדְפַי מִשְׁפָּט׃   119:84

Psal. 119:84   How many are the days of Your servant?

                                When will You execute judgment on my persecutors?

כָּרוּ־לִי זֵדִים שִׁיחוֹת אֲשֶׁר לֹא כְתוֹרָתֶךָ׃   119:85

Psal. 119:85   Arrogant ones have dug pits for me,

                                which is not according to Your Torah.

כָּל־מִצְוֺתֶיךָ אֱמוּנָה שֶׁקֶר רְדָפוּנִי עָזְרֵנִי׃   119:86

Psal. 119:86   Each one of Your commandments is faithful;

                                for no reason they persecute me;

                          help me!

כִּמְעַט כִּלּוּנִי בָאָרֶץ וַאֲנִי לֹא־עָזַבְתִּי פִקֻּודֶיךָ׃   119:87

Psal. 119:87   They have almost consumed me on the earth,

                                yet I do not forsake Your precepts.

כְּחַסְדְּךָ חַיֵּנִי וְאֶשְׁמְרָה עֵדוּת פִּיךָ׃   119:88

Psal. 119:88   Preserve me according to Your mercy,

                                and I will guard the testimony of Your “mouth.”

End of eleventh octet.

לְעוֹלָם יְהוָה דְּבָרְךָ נִצָּב בַּשָּׁמָיִם׃   119:89

Psal. 119:89   Lord, Your word is established forever in heaven.

לְדֹר וָדֹר אֱמוּנָתֶךָ כּוֹנַנְתָּ אֶרֶץ וַתַּעֲמֹד׃   119:90

Psal. 119:90   Your faithfulness is for all generations;

                                You have established the earth so it endures.

לְמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ עָמְדוּ הַיּוֹם כִּי הַכֹּל עֲבָדֶיךָ׃   119:91

Psal. 119:91   For Your judgments, they stand today,

                                for everyone is one of Your servants.

לוּלֵי תוֹרָתְךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי אָז אָבַדְתִּי בְעָנְיִי׃   119:92

Psal. 119:92   If Your Torah is not my delight,

                                then I perish in my affliction.

לְעוֹלָם לֹא־אֶשְׁכַּח פִּקּוּדֶיךָ כִּי בָם חִיִּיתָנִי׃   119:93

Psal. 119:93   I could never forget Your precepts,

                                for with them You have preserved me.

לְךָ־אֲנִי הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי כִּי פִקּוּדֶיךָ דָרָשְׁתִּי׃   119:94

Psal. 119:94   I am Yours, deliver me,

                                for I have sought Your precepts.

לִי קִוּוּ רְשָׁעִים לְאַבְּדֵנִי עֵדֹתֶיךָ אֶתְבּוֹנָן׃   119:95

Psal. 119:95   Wicked ones have waited for me to destroy me

                                -- Your testimonies I will consider diligently.

לְכָל תִּכְלָה רָאִיתִי קֵץ רְחָבָה מִצְוָתְךָ מְאֹד׃   119:96

Psal. 119:96   To every purpose I see an end

                                -- very broad is Your commandment.

End of twelfth octet.

מָה־אָהַבְתִּי תוֹרָתֶךָ כָּל־הַיּוֹם הִיא שִׂיחָתִי׃   119:97

Psal. 119:97   How I love Your Torah!

                                I contemplate it all the time.

מֵאֹיְבַי תְּחַכְּמֵנִי מִצְוֺתֶךָ כִּי לְעוֹלָם הִיא־לִי׃   119:98

Psal. 119:98   Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,

                                for it is always in me.

מִכָּל־מְלַמְּדַי הִשְׂכַּלְתִּי כִּי עֵדְוֺתֶיךָ שִׂיחָה לִי׃   119:99

Psal. 119:99   I have more insight than all my teachers,

                                for Your testimonies are my study.

מִזְּקֵנִים אֶתְבּוֹנָן כִּי פִקּוּדֶיךָ נָצָרְתִּי׃   119:100

Psal. 119:100   I can be more discerning than the elders,

                                for I keep Your precepts.

מִכָּל־אֹרַח רָע כָּלִאתִי רַגְלָי לְמַעַן אֶשְׁמֹר דְּבָרֶךָ׃   119:101

Psal. 119:101   I have restrained feet from every evil way,

                                so that I would observe Your word.

מִמִּשְׁפָּטֶיךָ לֹא־סָרְתִּי כִּי־אַתָּה הוֹרֵתָנִי׃   119:102

Psal. 119:102   I do not turn away from Your ordinances,

                                for You have instructed me.

מַה־נִּמְלְצוּ לְחִכִּי אִמְרָתֶךָ מִדְּבַשׁ לְפִי׃   119:103

Psal. 119:103   How much more pleasant are Your words to my taste

                                than honey in my mouth!

מִפִּקּוּדֶיךָ אֶתְבּוֹנָן עַל־כֵּן שָׂנֵאתִי כָּל־אֹרַח שָׁקֶר׃   119:104

Psal. 119:104   From Your precepts I can get discernment;

                                therefore I hate every false way.

End of thirteenth octet.

נֵר־לְרַגְלִי דְבָרֶךָ וְאוֹר לִנְתִיבָתִי׃   119:105

Psal. 119:105   Your word is a lamp for my feet

                                and a light for my path.

נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי וָאֲקַיֵּמָה לִשְׁמֹר מִשְׁפְּטֵי צִדְקֶךָ׃   119:106

Psal. 119:106   I have sworn, and have confirmed it,

                                to observe the ordinances of Your righteousness

נַעֲנֵיתִי עַד־מְאֹד יְהוָה חַיֵּנִי כִדְבָרֶךָ׃   119:107

Psal. 119:107   I am deeply afflicted;

                                Lord, preserve me according to Your word.

נִדְבוֹת פִּי רְצֵה־נָא יְהוָה וּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ לַמְּדֵנִי׃   119:108

Psal. 119:108   Please accept the freewill offerings of my mouth,

                                and Your ordinances teach me.

נַפְשִׁי בְכַפִּי תָמִיד וְתוֹרָתְךָ לֹא שָׁכָחְתִּי׃   119:109

Psal. 119:109   My soul is in my hand continually,

                                so I do not forget Your Torah.

נָתְנוּ רְשָׁעִים פַּח לִי וּמִפִּקּוּדֶיךָ לֹא תָעִיתִי׃   119:110

Psal. 119:110   Wicked ones have set a trap for me,

                                yet I do not stray from Your precepts.

נָחַלְתִּי עֵדְוֺתֶיךָ לְעוֹלָם כִּי־שְׂשׂוֹן לִבִּי הֵמָּה׃   119:111

Psal. 119:111   Your testimonies are my heritage forever,

                                for they are the joy of my heart.

נָטִיתִי לִבִּי לַעֲשׂוֹת חֻקֶּיךָ לְעוֹלָם עֵקֶב׃   119:112

Psal. 119:112   Consequently I have inclined my heart

                                to perform Your statutes forever.

End of fourteenth octet.

סֵעֲפִים שָׂנֵאתִי וְתוֹרָתְךָ אָהָבְתִּי׃   119:113

Psal. 119:113   I hate ambivalent ones,

                                but I love Your Torah.

סִתְרִי וּמָגִנִּי אָתָּה לִדְבָרְךָ יִחָלְתִּי׃   119:114

Psal. 119:114   You are my Shelter and my Shield;

                                I wait for Your word.

סוּרוּ־מִמֶּנִּי מְרֵעִים וְאֶצְּרָה מִצְוֺת אֱלֹהָי׃   119:115

Psal. 119:115   Depart from me, evil ones,

                                so I may keep the commandments of my God!

סָמְכֵנִי כְאִמְרָתְךָ וְאֶחְיֶה וְאַל־תְּבִישֵׁנִי מִשִּׂבְרִי׃   119:116

Psal. 119:116   Uphold me according to Your word that I may live,

                                and do not put me to shame as a result of my hope.

סְעָדֵנִי וְאִוָּשֵׁעָה וְאֶשְׁעָה בְחֻקֶּיךָ תָמִיד׃   119:117

Psal. 119:117   Sustain me and I will be saved,

                                and I will gaze at Your statutes continually.

סָלִיתָ כָּל־שׁוֹגִים מֵחֻקֶּיךָ כִּי־שֶׁקֶר תַּרְמִיתָם׃   119:118

Psal. 119:118   You reject all those straying from Your statutes;

                                surely their deceit is in vain.

סִגִים הִשְׁבַּתָּ כָל־רִשְׁעֵי־אָרֶץ לָכֵן אָהַבְתִּי עֵדֹתֶיךָ׃   119:119

Psal. 119:119   You desist from all the wicked of the earth, dross;

                                therefore I crave Your testimonies.

סָמַר מִפַּחְדְּךָ בְשָׂרִי וּמִמִּשְׁפָּטֶיךָ יָרֵאתִי׃   119:120

Psal. 119:120   My flesh shivers from dread of You,

                                and I am afraid because of Your judgments.

End of fifteenth octet.

עָשִׂיתִי מִשְׁפָּט וָצֶדֶק בַּל־תַּנִּיחֵנִי לְעֹשְׁקָי׃   119:121

Psal. 119:121   I have done justice and righteousness;

                                You can hardly abandon me to my oppressors.

עֲרֹב עַבְדְּךָ לְטוֹב אַל־יַעַשְׁקֻנִי זֵדִים׃   119:122

Psal. 119:122   Pledge Your servant for good;

                                may You not let the arrogant oppress me.

עֵינַי כָּלוּ לִישׁוּעָתֶךָ וּלְאִמְרַת צִדְקֶךָ׃   119:123

Psal. 119:123   My eyes fail for Your salvation

                                and for the word of Your righteousness.

עֲשֵׂה עִם־עַבְדְּךָ כְחַסְדֶּךָ וְחֻקֶּיךָ לַמְּדֵנִי׃   119:124

Psal. 119:124   Do with Your servant according to Your mercy,

                                and teach me Your statutes.

עַבְדְּךָ־אָנִי הֲבִינֵנִי וְאֵדְעָה עֵדֹתֶיךָ׃   119:125

Psal. 119:125   I am Your servant;

                                make me understand,

                            that I may acknowledge Your testimonies.

עֵת לַעֲשׂוֹת לַיהוָה הֵפֵרוּ תּוֹרָתֶךָ׃   119:126

Psal. 119:126   Time for the Lord to act with effect;

                                they have violated Your Torah.

עַל־כֵּן אָהַבְתִּי מִצְוֺתֶיךָ מִזָּהָב וּמִפָּז׃   119:127

Psal. 119:127   Accordingly, I love Your commandments more than precious metal,

                                even more than pure gold.

עַל־כֵּן כָּל־פִּקּוּדֵי כֹל יִשָּׁרְתִּי כָּל־אֹרַח שֶׁקֶר שָׂנֵאתִי׃   119:128

Psal. 119:128   Therefore I esteem right all the precepts of everything;

                                I despise every false way.

End of sixteenth octet.

פְּלָאוֹת עֵדְוֺתֶיךָ עַל־כֵּן נְצָרָתַם נַפְשִׁי׃   119:129

Psal. 119:129   Your testimonies are wonderful;

                                therefore my soul preserves them.

פֵּתַח דְּבָרֶיךָ יָאִיר מֵבִין פְּתָיִים׃   119:130

Psal. 119:130   Let the unfolding of Your words illuminate,

                                giving simple ones understanding.

פִּי־פָעַרְתִּי וָאֶשְׁאָפָה כִּי לְמִצְוֺתֶיךָ יָאָבְתִּי׃   119:131

Psal. 119:131   I open my mouth wide and pant,

                                because I long for Your commandments.

פְּנֵה־אֵלַי וְחָנֵּנִי כְּמִשְׁפָּט לְאֹהֲבֵי שְׁמֶךָ׃   119:132

Psal. 119:132   Turn to me and be gracious to me,

                                as is proper for lovers of Your name.

פְּעָמַי הָכֵן בְּאִמְרָתֶךָ וְאַל־תַּשְׁלֶט־בִּי כָל־אָוֶן׃   119:133

Psal. 119:133   Direct my footsteps by Your word

                                and give wickedness no power over me.

פְּדֵנִי מֵעֹשֶׁק אָדָם וְאֶשְׁמְרָה פִּקּוּדֶיךָ׃   119:134

Psal. 119:134   Rescue me from human oppression,

                                that I may observe Your precepts.

פָּנֶיךָ הָאֵר בְּעַבְדֶּךָ וְלַמְּדֵנִי אֶת־חֻקֶּיךָ׃   119:135

Psal. 119:135   Make Your face shine upon Your servant,

                                and teach me Your statutes.

פַּלְגֵי־מַיִם יָרְדוּ עֵינָי עַל לֹא־שָׁמְרוּ תוֹרָתֶךָ׃   119:136

Psal. 119:136   My eyes rain down channels of water

                                because they do not observe Your Torah.

End of seventeenth octet.

צַדִּיק אַתָּה יְהוָה וְיָשָׁר מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ׃   119:137

Psal. 119:137   You, Lord, are righteous,

                                and Your judgments are right.

צִוִּיתָ צֶדֶק עֵדֹתֶיךָ וֶאֱמוּנָה מְאֹד׃   119:138

Psal. 119:138   You command the righteousness of Your testimonies,

                                and the exceeding fidelity.

צִמְּתַתְנִי קִנְאָתִי כִּי־שָׁכְחוּ דְבָרֶיךָ צָרָי׃   119:139

Psal. 119:139   My zeal has put an end to me,

                                for my adversaries have forgotten Your words.

צְרוּפָה אִמְרָתְךָ מְאֹד וְעַבְדְּךָ אֲהֵבָהּ׃   119:140

Psal. 119:140   Your word has been proven abundantly,

                                and Your servant loves it.

צָעִיר אָנֹכִי וְנִבְזֶה פִּקֻּדֶיךָ לֹא שָׁכָחְתִּי׃   119:141

Psal. 119:141   I am insignificant and held in contempt

                                -- I have not forgotten Your precepts.

צִדְקָתְךָ צֶדֶק לְעוֹלָם וְתוֹרָתְךָ אֱמֶת׃   119:142

Psal. 119:142   Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,

                                and Your Torah is truth.

צַר־וּמָצוֹק מְצָאוּנִי מִצְוֺתֶיךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי׃   119:143

Psal. 119:143   Distress and anguish have come upon me

                                -- Your commandments are my delight.

צֶדֶק עֵדְוֺתֶיךָ לְעוֹלָם הֲבִינֵנִי וְאֶחְיֶה׃   119:144

Psal. 119:144   The righteousness of Your testimonies is eternal

                                -- make me understand, so I can survive.

End of eighteenth octet.

קָרָאתִי בְכָל־לֵב עֲנֵנִי יְהוָה חֻקֶּיךָ אֶצֹּרָה׃   119:145

Psal. 119:145   I call with a whole heart;

                                answer me, Lord!

                            Your statutes I will keep.

קְרָאתִיךָ הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי וְאֶשְׁמְרָה עֵדֹתֶיךָ׃   119:146

Psal. 119:146   I call to You, save me,

                                and I will preserve Your testimonies.

קִדַּמְתִּי בַנֶּשֶׁף וָאֲשַׁוֵּעָה (לִדְבָרֶיךָ) [לִדְבָרְךָ] יִחָלְתִּי׃   119:147

Psal. 119:147   I go before at dawn and would cry out;

                                in Your words I have hope.

The word in the parentheses, translated by me as in Your words, contains another iffy error.  The word is spelled in the plural, and the correction makes it singular, in Your word.  It’s possible the correction was made to conform to a similar word in the next verse.  But the Hebrew word translated as on Your word there is not the same as the one in this verse.  So once more, I see little reason to call out an error here.

קִדְּמוּ עֵינַי אַשְׁמֻרֹות לָשִׂיחַ בְּאִמְרָתֶךָ׃   119:148

Psal. 119:148   My eyes go before the night watches,

                                to meditate on Your word.

קֹולִי שִׁמְעָה כְחַסְדֶּךָ יְהוָה כְּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ חַיֵּנִי׃   119:149

Psal. 119:149   Hear my voice according to Your loving kindness;

                                Lord, according to Your judgment sustain my life.

קָרְבוּ רֹדְפֵי זִמָּה מִתֹּורָתְךָ רָחָקוּ׃   119:150

Psal. 119:150   The pursuers of wickedness approach;

                                from Your Torah they wander far.

קָרֹוב אַתָּה יְהוָה וְכָל־מִצְוֹתֶיךָ אֱמֶת׃   119:151

Psal. 119:151   You are near, Lord,

                                and all Your commandments are truth.

קֶדֶם יָדַעְתִּי מֵעֵדֹתֶיךָ כִּי לְעֹולָם יְסַדְתָּם׃   119:152

Psal. 119:152   From long ago I knew Your testimonies,

                                that You have established them forever.

End of nineteenth octet.

רְאֵה־עָנְיִי וְחַלְּצֵנִי כִּי־תֹורָתְךָ לֹא שָׁכָחְתִּי׃   119:153

Psal. 119:153   See my affliction, and rescue me,

                                for I have not forgotten Your Torah.

רִיבָה רִיבִי וּגְאָלֵנִי לְאִמְרָתְךָ חַיֵּנִי׃   119:154

Psal. 119:154   Argue my cause and redeem me;

                                restore my life according to Your word.

רָחֹוק מֵרְשָׁעִים יְשׁוּעָה כִּי־חֻקֶּיךָ לֹא דָרָשׁוּ׃   119:155

Psal. 119:155   Salvation is remote from the wicked,

                                for they do not consult Your statutes.

רַחֲמֶיךָ רַבִּים יְהוָה כְּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ חַיֵּנִי׃   119:156

Psal. 119:156   Your compassionate ways are abundant, Lord;

                                according to Your judgments restore my life.

רַבִּים רֹדְפַי וְצָרָי מֵעֵדְוֹתֶיךָ לֹא נָטִיתִי׃   119:157

Psal. 119:157   My persecutors and my foes are many

                                -- I have not turned aside from Your testimonies.

רָאִיתִי בֹגְדִים וָאֶתְקֹוטָטָה אֲשֶׁר אִמְרָתְךָ לֹא שָׁמָרוּ׃   119:158

Psal. 119:158   I behold the faithless

                                and I am full of loathing

                            that they do not observe Your word.

רְאֵה כִּי־פִקּוּדֶיךָ אָהָבְתִּי יְהוָה כְּחַסְדְּךָ חַיֵּנִי׃   119:159

Psal. 119:159   See that I love Your precepts;

                                Lord, according to Your loving kindness restore my life.

רֹאשׁ־דְּבָרְךָ אֱמֶת וּלְעֹולָם כָּל־מִשְׁפַּט צִדְקֶךָ׃   119:160

Psal. 119:160   The sum of Your word is truth,

                                and every statute of Your righteousness is forever.

End of twentieth octet.

שָׂרִים רְדָפוּנִי חִנָּם (וּמִדְּבָרֶיךָ) [וּמִדְּבָרְךָ] פָּחַד לִבִּי׃   119:161

Psal. 119:161   Princes have persecuted me without cause,

                                but my heart is more in fear of Your words.

The word in the parentheses, translated by me as but ... of Your words, is spelled in the plural and is corrected in the brackets to singular, changing the translation to but ... of Your word.  But, as with vss. 147 and 148 above, the two words are different from each other.  So I see this as another unnecessary correction.

שָׂשׂ אָנֹכִי עַל־אִמְרָתֶךָ כְּמֹוצֵא שָׁלָל רָב׃   119:162

Psal. 119:162   I am exultant over Your word

                                as one finding great spoil.

שֶׁקֶר שָׂנֵאתִי וַאֲתַעֵבָה תֹּורָתְךָ אָהָבְתִּי׃   119:163

Psal. 119:163   I hate and abhor falsehood,

                                I love Your Torah.

שֶׁבַע בַּיֹּום הִלַּלְתִּיךָ עַל מִשְׁפְּטֵי צִדְקֶךָ׃   119:164

Psal. 119:164   I praise You seven times in a day

                                because of the ordinances of Your righteousness.

שָׁלֹום רָב לְאֹהֲבֵי תֹורָתֶךָ וְאֵין־לָמֹו מִכְשֹׁול׃   119:165

Psal. 119:165   A great peace is for the lovers of Your Torah,

                                and for them there is no stumbling.

שִׂבַּרְתִּי לִישׁוּעָתְךָ יְהוָה וּמִצְוֹתֶיךָ עָשִׂיתִי׃   119:166

Psal. 119:166   I hope for Your salvation, Lord,

                                as I have done Your commandments.

שָׁמְרָה נַפְשִׁי עֵדֹתֶיךָ וָאֹהֲבֵם מְאֹד׃   119:167

Psal. 119:167   My soul preserves Your testimonies,

                                as I love them exceedingly.

שָׁמַרְתִּי פִקּוּדֶיךָ וְעֵדֹתֶיךָ כִּי כָל־דְּרָכַי נֶגְדֶּךָ׃   119:168

Psal. 119:168   I observe Your precepts and Your testimonies,

                                for all my ways are before You.

End of twenty-first octet.

תִּקְרַב רִנָּתִי לְפָנֶיךָ יְהוָה כִּדְבָרְךָ הֲבִינֵנִי׃   119:169

Psal. 119:169   May my cry come near to Your presence, Lord;

                                according to Your word, make me understand.

תָּבֹוא תְּחִנָּתִי לְפָנֶיךָ כְּאִמְרָתְךָ הַצִּילֵנִי׃   119:170

Psal. 119:170   May my supplication come before You;

                                according to Your word, deliver me.

תַּבַּעְנָה שְׂפָתַי תְּהִלָּה כִּי תְלַמְּדֵנִי חֻקֶּיךָ׃   119:171

Psal. 119:171   Let my lips pour out praise,

                                so that You will teach me Your statutes.

תַּעַן לְשֹׁונִי אִמְרָתֶךָ כִּי כָל־מִצְוֹתֶיךָ צֶּדֶק׃   119:172

Psal. 119:172   Let my tongue sing of Your word,

                                for all Your commandments are righteous.

תְּהִי־יָדְךָ לְעָזְרֵנִי כִּי פִקּוּדֶיךָ בָחָרְתִּי׃   119:173

Psal. 119:173   May Your "hand" be to help me,

                                for I have chosen Your precepts.

תָּאַבְתִּי לִישׁוּעָתְךָ יְהוָה וְתֹורָתְךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי׃   119:174

Psal. 119:174   I long for Your salvation, Lord,

                                and Your Torah is my delight.

תְּחִי־נַפְשִׁי וּתְהַלְלֶךָּ וּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ יַעֲזְרֻנִי׃   119:175

Psal. 119:175   May my soul live that it can praise You,

                                and may Your justice help me.

תָּעִיתִי כְּשֶׂה אֹבֵד בַּקֵּשׁ עַבְדֶּךָ כִּי מִצְוֹתֶיךָ לֹא שָׁכָחְתִּי׃   119:176

Psal. 119:176   I wander like a lost sheep.

                                Seek Your servant,

                            for I have not forgotten Your commandments.


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