Psalm 19

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Verse 1: The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (NASB)

  • The two clauses here are not meant to be separate, but synonymous. They repeat the same message using different words.
  • The word translated here as “expanse” is often translated “firmament” and was thought of as a solid plate keeping the waters above from the water below on the Earth (Bratcher 188).
  • This is less about the heavens communicating with some secret code, ie astrology, and more about the creation itself showing God's power and glory through its very existence.

Verse 2: Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. (NASB)

  • ”Day to day” is another way of saying “each day” or “day after day.”
  • The use of “pour” and “reveal” are very particular, as the light of day “pours” upon people, and the light from moon and stars “reveal” things in the dark.
  • This is not night or day being divine, but revealing knowledge about God.

Verse 3: There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. (NASB)

  • There is some discussion about how to interpret this verse. It could be as the NASB translates or “there is no speech or language where their voice is not heard,” or that they do not have voices at all, or as a setup for the next verse and so “even though there is no speech, no words, no voices to hear…”
  • This verse can be interpreted in two different ways depending on whether it goes best with verse two or four.
    • If it goes with verse two, then it is about how there is a message beyond words.
    • If it goes with verse four better, then it is about how they speak, but are not listened to.
    • As this is a bridge verse it is likely that this is a bit between both possibilities.

Verse 4: Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, (NASB)

  • An alternate reading to ”line” is “voice” (Bratcher 190).
  • Unlike many ancient peoples, the sun is not presented as a God here, but as a great example of God's creation.
  • The “tent” made here for the sun is connected with the bridegroom of the next verse. It is also connected with the ancient idea that the sun rested in the west at night, instead of making a complete circle.
  • The last half of this verse begins a several verse look at one piece of God's creation, the sun. The idea is that if the sun is this wonderful, and is one creation, then how great is our God.

Verse 5: Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. (NASB)

  • This is still about the sun, pictured with the joy of a young man just after his wedding night, or an athlete running a race.

Verse 6: Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. (NASB)

  • A sphere is not envisioned here, but instead a flat plane where the sun goes around in a half circle (Bratcher 191).

Verse 7: The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. (NASB)

  • This verse, and the next two are saying the same thing in six distinct ways. The six words given for “the law,” meaning the written scriptures, and are all nearly synonymous.
  • The following adjectives are not synonymous but are all dealing with how it is good and important.
  • The results are all different, but all have positive effects.
  • By reinforcing the same concept six times the author is making this as emphatic and important as possible.
  • ”Law” is literally “Torah” which is the designation for the first five books of the Bible, but here should be seen as referring to the entire canon of scripture at the time.
  • This verse is a transition verse, from talk of nature to talk of the law. This is also evidenced by God being referred to by name from now on instead of by the generic “God”.

Verse 9: The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. (NASB)

  • ”Clean” is ceremonially clean, some translations have “pure” as in highly refined gold (Koehler 369).

Verse 10: They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. (NASB)

  • The “they” here is about the Precepts/Laws/Commandments in the previous verses.
  • Without refined sugar, honey would be the sweetest substance these people would have known.

Verse 11: Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward. (NASB)

  • ”Moreover” translates a Hebrew term that is used to add emphasis to an addition item (Bratcher 194).
  • Warning is one of the uses of the Torah, making it much like a prophet where it warns against wickedness so that the person can be redeemed (Mays 99).
  • Not only is God's word in scripture desirable, but it has results that are wonderful, though the exact nature of those rewards is undefined.

Verse 12: Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. (NASB)

  • This is obviously a rhetorical question. God does not have errors.
  • This verse is a dramatic comparison of God's perfection with our faults and need of forgiveness. We can think we're perfect until we think about what God has done wrong/well.
  • The “hidden faults” here is about faults that the writer is not aware of yet (Bratcher 195).

Verse 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. (NASB)

  • These “presumptuous sins” are those that are willful, which is compared to the authors faults that are hidden from him of the previous verse.
  • If willful sins and hidden faults are both brought to light and dealt with, then the author is truly blameless.

Verse 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. (NASB)

  • This verse appears to be an identification of the Psalm, that he is not hoping words in general would be acceptable, but what has just been written (Mays 100).
  • ”Acceptable” is more literally the noun “favor” and is here referring to receiving God's good will (Bratcher 196).

Message Ideas/Scripts/Liturgy That Use This Chapter

Meet Me in the MeadowA Bible study based around the flowers of the Bible.WomenGeneralCurriculum