Psalm 119:121-128 AIN - Gleanings from Historical Commentaries                                         Collected by Jack Kettler


Psalm 119:121-128 introductory observations from The Treasury of David:


“I have done judgment and justice." This was a great thing for an Eastern ruler to say at any time, for these despots mostly cared more for gain than justice. Some of them altogether neglected their duty, and would not even do judgment at all, preferring their pleasures to their duties; and many more of them sold their judgments to the highest bidders by taking bribes, or regarding the persons of men. Some rulers gave neither judgment nor justice, others gave judgment without justice, but David gave judgment and justice, and saw that his sentences were carried out. He could claim before the Lord that he had dealt out even-handed justice, and was doing so still. On this fact he founded a plea with which he backed the prayer – “Leave me not to mine oppressors.” He who, as far as his power goes, has been doing right, may hope to be delivered from his superiors when attempts are made by them to do him wrong. If I will not oppress others, I may hopefully pray that others may not oppress me. A course of upright conduct is one, which gives us boldness in appealing to the Great Judge for deliverance from the injustice of others. Nor is this kind of pleading to be censured as self-righteous: when we are dealing with God as to our shortcomings, we use a very different tone from that with which we face the censures of our fellow-men; when they are in the question, and we are guiltless towards them, we are justified in pleading our innocence.” (1)


121 I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.


From Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible:


“AIN. I have done judgment and justice,.... As king of Israel; which is the character given of him, 2 Samuel 8:15; and in which he was a type of Christ, Jeremiah 23:5; and as a private person; which is everyone's duty, and every good man especially will be desirous of performing it: it is not indeed perfectly done by any, and therefore not to be trusted to; nor was it so done by David; nor did he place his confidence in it; nor did he say this in a boasting way, but in defence of himself and his innocence against those who oppressed him with their calumnies, as appears from the next clause. The Syriac version takes it to be an address to God, and as describing him, “O thou that doest judgment and justice!” to whom the following petition is directed:


Leave me not to mine oppressors; David had his oppressors, as all good men have, and power was on their side; but they could do no more, nor further exercise it, than as they were permitted by the Lord; for they had no power but what was given them from above; and he applies to God, and not men, for relief; and deprecates being given up to them, and left in their hands.” (2)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

I have done

עָ֭שִׂיתִי (‘ā·śî·ṯî)

Verb - Qal - Perfect - first person common singular

Strong's Hebrew 6213: 1) to do, fashion, accomplish, make 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to do, work, make, produce 1a1a) to do 1a1b) to work 1a1c) to deal (with) 1a1d) to act, act with effect, effect 1a2) to make 1a2a) to make 1a2b) to produce 1a2c) to prepare 1a2d) to make (an offering) 1a2e) to attend to, put in order 1a2f) to observe, celebrate 1a2g) to acquire (property) 1a2h) to appoint, ordain, institute 1a2i) to bring about 1a2j) to use 1a2k) to spend, pass 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to be done 1b2) to be made 1b3) to be produced 1b4) to be offered 1b5) to be observed 1b6) to be used 1c) (Pual) to be made 2) (Piel) to press, squeeze


Cross-References for verse 121: 2 Samuel 8:15; Job 29:14


122 Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.


From The Pulpit Commentary:


“Verse 122. - Be surety for thy servant for good (comp. Job 17:3; Isaiah 38:14). "For good" means "so that it may be well with him." Let not the proud oppress me (comp. vers. 51, 69, 78, 85, etc.).” (3)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:


עֲרֹ֣ב (‘ă·rōḇ)

Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular

Strong's Hebrew 6148: 1) to pledge, exchange, mortgage, engage, occupy, undertake for, give pledges, be or become surety, take on pledge, give in pledge 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to take on pledge, go surety for 1a2) to give in pledge 1a3) to exchange 1a4) to pledge 1b) (Hithpael) 1b1) to exchange pledges 1b2) to have fellowship with, share


Cross-References for verse 122: Hebrews 7:22; Job 17:3; Psalm 86:17; Psalm 119:134;

Isaiah 38:14


123 Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.


From Barnes' Notes on the Bible:


“Mine eyes fail for thy salvation - See the notes at Psalm 119:81-82.


And for the word of thy righteousness - Thy righteous word - that it may be made known to me, and that I may see its beauty and enjoy it.” (4)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

[And] for Your righteous

צִדְקֶֽךָ׃ (ṣiḏ·qe·ḵā)

Noun - masculine singular construct | second person masculine singular

Strong's Hebrew 6664: 1) justice, rightness, righteousness 1a) what is right or just or normal, rightness, justness (of weights and measures) 1b) righteousness (in government) 1b1) of judges, rulers, kings 1b2) of law 1b3) of Davidic king, Messiah 1b4) of Jerusalem as seat of just government 1b5) of God's attribute 1c) righteousness, justice (in case or cause) 1d) rightness (in speech) 1e) righteousness (as ethically right) 1f) righteousness (as vindicated), justification (in controversy), deliverance, victory, prosperity 1f1) of God as covenant-keeping in redemption 1f2) in name of Messianic king 1f3) of people enjoying salvation 1f4) of Cyrus


Cross-References for verse 123: Psalm 69:3; Psalm 119:82; Isaiah 38:14


124 Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.


From Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:


“Be surety—Stand for me against my oppressors (Ge 43:9; Isa 38:14).” (5)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:


עֲשֵׂ֖ה (‘ă·śêh)

Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular

Strong's Hebrew 6213: 1) to do, fashion, accomplish, make 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to do, work, make, produce 1a1a) to do 1a1b) to work 1a1c) to deal (with) 1a1d) to act, act with effect, effect 1a2) to make 1a2a) to make 1a2b) to produce 1a2c) to prepare 1a2d) to make (an offering) 1a2e) to attend to, put in order 1a2f) to observe, celebrate 1a2g) to acquire (property) 1a2h) to appoint, ordain, institute 1a2i) to bring about 1a2j) to use 1a2k) to spend, pass 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to be done 1b2) to be made 1b3) to be produced 1b4) to be offered 1b5) to be observed 1b6) to be used 1c) (Pual) to be made 2) (Piel) to press, squeeze


Cross-References for verse 124: Psalm 51:1; Psalm 106:45; Psalm 109:26; Psalm 119:12; Psalm 119:88; Psalm 119:149


125 I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.


The Pulpit Commentary:


“Verse 125. - I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. As thy servant (see vers. 17, 23, 38, 49, 65, etc.), I have a claim upon thee for thy help. What I ask is discernment - to understand the full meaning of thy Law (comp. vers. 34, 66, 73, 1440.” (6)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

Your testimonies.

עֵדֹתֶֽיךָ׃ (‘ê·ḏō·ṯe·ḵā)

Noun - feminine plural construct | second person masculine singular

Strong's Hebrew 5713: 1) testimony, witness 1a) always plural and always of laws as divine testimonies


Cross-References for verse 125: Psalm 116:16; Psalm 119:27; Psalm 119:152


126 It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.


From John Calvin:


“126. It is time for thee, O Jehovah! to be doing. It being the object of the Prophet to imprecate upon the impious and wicked the vengeance, which they have deserved, he says, that the fit time for executing it had now arrived, inasmuch as they had carried to a great extent their wanton forwardness against God. The general verb doing is more emphatic than if one more specific had been used. The language is as if he had said, that God would seem to delay too long, if he did not now execute the office of a judge. It is the peculiar work of God to restrain the wicked, and even to punish them severely when he finds that their repentance is utterly hopeless. If it is alleged, that this prayer is inconsistent with the law of charity, it may be replied, that David here speaks of reprobates, whose amendment is become desperate. His heart, there is no doubt, was governed by the spirit of wisdom. Besides, it is to be remembered, that he does not complain of his own private wrongs. It is a pure and honest zeal which moves him to desire the destruction of the wicked despisers of God; for he adduces no other reason for the prayer, than that the wicked destroyed God's law. By this he gives evidence, that nothing was dearer to him than the service of God, and that nothing was held by him in higher recommendation than the observance of the law. I have already repeatedly warned you, in other places, that our zeal is forward and disordered whenever its moving principle is a sense of our own personal injuries. It is, therefore, to be carefully noticed, that the Prophet's grief proceeded from no other cause than that he could not endure to see the divine law violated. In short, this is a prayer that God would restore to order the confused and ruinous state of things in the world. It remains for us to learn from David's example, whenever the earth is fraught and defiled with wickedness to such a degree that the fear of him has become almost extinct, to call upon him to show himself the maintainer of his own glory. This doctrine is of use in sustaining our hope and patience whenever God suspends the execution of his judgments longer than we would incline. Previous to his addressing himself to God, the Prophet adopts it as a principle, that, although God may seem for a time to false no notice of what his creatures do, yet he never forgets his office, but delays the execution of his judgments for wise reasons, that at length he may execute them when the seasonable time arrives.” (7)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

Your law.

תּוֹרָתֶֽךָ׃ (tō·w·rā·ṯe·ḵā)

Noun - feminine singular construct | second person masculine singular

Strong's Hebrew 8451: 1) law, direction, instruction 1a) instruction, direction (human or divine) 1a1) body of prophetic teaching 1a2) instruction in Messianic age 1a3) body of priestly direction or instruction 1a4) body of legal directives 1b) law 1b1) law of the burnt offering 1b2) of special law, codes of law 1c) custom, manner 1d) the Deuteronomic or Mosaic Law


Cross-References for verse 126: Psalm 102:13; Jeremiah 18:23; Ezekiel 31:11; Habakkuk 1:4


127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.


From Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament:


“The eightfold Ajin. In the present time of apostasy and persecution he keeps all the more strictly to the direction of the divine word, and commends himself to the protection and teaching of God. In the consciousness of his godly behaviour (elsewhere always צדק וּמשׁפּט, here in one instance משׁפט וצדק) the poet hopes that God will surely not (בּל) leave him to the arbitrary disposal of his oppressors. This hope does not, however, raise him above the necessity and duty of constant prayer that Jahve would place Himself between him and his enemies. ערב seq. acc. signifies to stand in any one's place as furnishing a guarantee, and in general as a mediator, Job 17:3; Isaiah 38:14; לטוב similar to לטובה, Psalm 86:17, Nehemiah 5:19 : in my behalf, for my real advantage. The expression of longing after redemption in Psalm 119:123 sounds like Psalm 119:81. “The word of Thy righteousness” is the promise, which proceeds from God's “righteousness,” and as surely as He is “righteous” cannot remain unfulfilled. The one chief petition of the poet, however, to which he comes back in Psalm 119:124, has reference to the ever deeper knowledge of the word of God; for this knowledge is in itself at once life and blessedness, and the present calls most urgently for it. For the great multitude (which is the subject to הפרוּ) practically and fundamentally break God's law; it is therefore time to act for Jahve (עשׂה ל as in Genesis 30:30, Isaiah 64:4, Ezekiel 29:20), and just in order to this there is need of well-grounded, reliable knowledge. Therefore the poet attaches himself with all his love to God's commandments; to him they are above gold and fine gold (Psalm 19:11), which he might perhaps gain by a disavowal of them. Therefore he is as strict as he possibly can be with God's word, inasmuch as he acknowledges and observes all precepts of all things (כּל־פּקּוּדי כל), i.e., all divine precepts, let them have reference to whatsoever they will, as ישׁרים, right (ישּׁר, to declare both in avowal and deed to be right); and every false (lying) tendency, all pseudo-Judaism, he hates. It is true Psalm 119:126 may be also explained: it is time that Jahve should act, i.e., interpose judicially; but this thought is foreign to the context, and affords no equally close union for על־כן; moreover it ought then to have been accented עת לעשׂות ליהוה. On כּל־פּקּוּדי כל, “all commands of every purport,” cf. Isaiah 29:11, and more as to form, Numbers 8:16; Ezekiel 44:30.


The expression is purposely thus heightened; and the correction כל־פקודיך (Ewald, Olshausen, and Hupfeld) is also superfluous, because the reference of what is said to the God of revelation is self-evident in this connection.” (8)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:


עַל־ (‘al-)


Strong's Hebrew 5921: prep 1) upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against 1a) upon, on the ground of, on the basis of, on account of, because of, therefore, on behalf of, for the sake of, for, with, in spite of, notwithstanding, concerning, in the matter of, as regards 1b) above, beyond, over (of excess) 1c) above, over (of elevation or pre-eminence) 1d) upon, to, over to, unto, in addition to, together with, with (of addition) 1e) over (of suspension or extension) 1f) by, adjoining, next, at, over, around (of contiguity or proximity) 1g) down upon, upon, on, from, up upon, up to, towards, over towards, to, against (with verbs of motion) 1h) to (as a dative) conj 2) because that, because, notwithstanding, although


כֵּ֭ן (kên)


Strong's Hebrew 3651: adv 1) so, therefore, thus 1a) thus, so 1b) just so 1c) therefore 1d) (paired with adv) 1e) then 1f) forasmuch as (in phrase) 1g) (with prep) 1g1) therefore, this being so (specific) 1g2) hitherto 1g3) therefore, on this ground (general) 1g4) afterwards 1g5) in such case adj 2) right, just, honest, true, veritable 2a) right, just, honest 2b) correct 2c) true, veritable 2d) true!, right!, correct! (in assent)


Cross-References for verse 127: Psalm 19:10; Psalm 119:47; Psalm 119:48; Psalm 119:72


128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.


From Matthew Poole's Commentary:


“Ver. 128. Therefore, for the reasons now mentioned, I do not make void all thy precepts, as they did, Psalm 119:126, nor yet am I partial in my approbation of them, as others are, who reject all such as are opposite to their lusts and interests; but I approve all of them without any exception, and that not only in my judgment, but in my heart and life, as appears by that hatred of sin which is opposed to it in the next clause.” (9)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:


שֶׁ֣קֶר (še·qer)

Noun - masculine singular

Strong's Hebrew 8267: 1) lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood 1a) deception (what deceives or disappoints or betrays one) 1b) deceit, fraud, wrong 1b1) fraudulently, wrongfully (as adverb) 1c) falsehood (injurious in testimony) 1c1) testify falsehood, false oath, swear falsely 1d) falsity (of false or self-deceived prophets) 1e) lie, falsehood (in general) 1e1) false tongue 1f) in vain


Cross-References for verse 128: Psalm 19:8; Psalm 119:104; Psalm 119:163


Concluding summary from Matthew Henry’s Bible Concise Commentary 119:121-128:


“119:121-128 Happy is the man, who, acting upon gospel principles, does justice to all around. Christ our Surety, having paid our debt and ransom, secures all the blessings of salvation to every true believer. The psalmist expects the word of God's righteousness, and no other salvation than what is secured by that word, which cannot fall to the ground. We deserve no favour form God; we are most easy when we cast ourselves upon God's mercy, and refer ourselves to it. If any man resolve to do God's will as his servant, he shall be made to know his testimonies. We must do what we can for the support of religion, and, after all, must beg of God to take the work into his own hands. It is hypocrisy to say we love God's commandments more than our worldly interests. The way of sin is a false way, being directly contrary to God's precepts, which are right: those that love and esteem God's law, hate sin, and will not be reconciled to it.” (10)


Notes on Psalm 119:121-128 AIN:

  1. C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Vol. II, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 368.

2.      John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Psalms, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 1426.

3.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Psalms, Vol.8., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 110.

4.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Psalms, Vol. 5 p.1842.

5.      Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 452.

6.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Psalms, Vol.8., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 110.

7.      John Calvin, Calvin's Commentaries, Psalms, Volume V, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979), p. 6-7.

8.      Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Psalms, vol. 5, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1985), p. 258-259.

9.      Matthew Poole's Commentary on the Holy Bible, vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 189.

  1. Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, Psalms, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 961-962.


Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: