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FRAMEWORKS: Psa 119: Introduction


[Preliminary Comments: Because this is such a large psalm [with 176 verses] it needs quite an introduction.


Structure: Various of the psalms employ acrostics where each part starts with a letter of the Hebrew Alphabet letter. In this one, each of the twenty-two stanzas , each of eight verses, starts with the next letter of the alphabet. Simply to help the reader, we have taken them as three groups or Parts as follows:


Contents: The three Parts we have used are as follows:


PART ONE: Stanzas 1 to 7: verses 1 to 56

PART TWO: Stanzas 8 to 14: verses 57 to 112

PART THREE: Stanzas 15 to 22: verses 113 to 176


CLICK on the appropriate title to read it.


God's Word: This psalm is all about God's word and eight Hebrew words are used to cover it and appear a large number of times in each stanza: Law, Statute, Precept, Decree, Command, Judgment [law], Word, and Promise. [There is some discrepancy between versions – we are using the NIV – and we've indicated them in the first stanza only.] But note from the outset God's word is also seen as His will or His ‘ways'. Watch for the numbers of times the word ‘ways' [or paths] occurs.


Word Usage: Because some of these words are not familiar to many we suggest the following:

i) Law (tora) – requirement seen as a direction, teaching, [& esp.] instruction.

ii) Statute – a clearly laid down law to define behaviour, seen as legal authority.

iii) Precept – general rule to regulate behaviour & thought.

iv) Decree – an official order to fit specific situations.

v) Command – divine requirement stated.

vi) Judgment – a specific required outcome for a specific case or situation.

vii) Word – God's expressed will.

viii) Promise – guaranteed assurance by God of an outcome.


Each stanza has a number of these words but perhaps, for easy understanding, it may be easier to just see them as colours of the same ‘rainbow' of ways that God's revealed will is shown. We have added numbers before each stanza, simply to clarify for the reader how far through the psalm they have got.


Finally we have made the divisions & ‘headings' we have in the ways the verses seem to group to us. There will obviously be other perceptions, but we hope these will help.


Note: In the text we will highlight the increasing number of references to opposition that the psalmist faces by changing the verse text to red.


Benefits: It is clear throughout that the psalmist finds great benefit in the Lord's word in its many forms. The reader is encouraged to take a notebook and itemize these are you go through.


PART ONE: Stanzas 1 to 7: verses 1 to 56

PART TWO: Stanzas 8 to 14: verses 57 to 112

PART THREE: Stanzas 15 to 22: verses 113 to 176