Psalm 119:57-64 CHETH - Gleanings from Historical Commentaries                                         Collected by Jack Kettler


Psalm 119:57-64 introductory observations from The Treasury of David:


“In this section the Psalmist seems to take firm hold upon God himself; appropriating him (Psalm 119:57), crying out for him (Psalm 119:58), returning to him (Psalm 119:59), solacing himself in him (Psalm 119:61, Psalm 119:62), associating with his people (Psalm 119:63), and sighing for personal experience of his goodness (Psalm 119:64). Note how Psalm 119:57 is linked to the last of the former one, of which indeed it is an expanded repetition. This I had because I kept thy precepts. Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words.” (1)


57 Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words.


From Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible:


“CHETH.--The Eighth Part.


CHETH. Thou art my portion, O Lord,.... Which he chose and preferred to all others; to the riches, honours, and profits of this world; the grant of which was made to him in the covenant of grace; the first discovery of it was from the Lord himself; and the choice and claim were made under the influence of his grace; and a great act of faith it is to assert this, and a wonderful blessing to enjoy it. This is a large portion indeed, immense and inconceivable, soul satisfying, safe, and forever! See Psalm 73:26,


I have said that I would keep thy words; keep his commandments, lay up his promises, observe his doctrines, profess and retain them; this he determined within himself to do, under a sense of the love of God to him, in being his portion and inheritance. Some render the words, in connection with the former, thus, “my portion, O Lord, I said, is”, or “shall be, to keep thy words” (l); it is the part and portion of some to preach the word, and of others to hear it; and of all to keep or observe it, its precepts, promises, and truths. Aben Ezra gives the sense of them thus,


‘This I said to many, perhaps they will keep thy words;’


Namely, that the Lord was his portion, which he thought, might induce them to an observance of them, as he had done.” (2)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

Is my portion;

חֶלְקִ֖י (ḥel·qî)

Noun - masculine singular construct | first person common singular

Strong's Hebrew 2506: 1) portion, share, part, territory 1a) portion, share 1b) portion, tract, parcel (of land) 1c) one's portion, one's possession 1d) (chosen) portion 1e) portion, award (from God) 2) smoothness, seductiveness, flattery


Cross-References for verse 57: Deuteronomy 33:9; Psalm 16:5; Jeremiah 10:16; Lamentations 3:24


58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.


From The Pulpit Commentary:


“Verse 58. - I entreated thy favor with my whole heart; literally, I have supplicated thy face (comp. Psalm 45:12). Be merciful unto me, according to thy Word. A repetition of the prayer of ver. 41.” (3)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

Be gracious to me

חָ֝נֵּ֗נִי (ḥān·nê·nî)

Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular | first person common singular

Strong's Hebrew 2603: 1) to be gracious, show favour, pity 1a) (Qal) to show favour, be gracious 1b) (Niphal) to be pitied 1c) (Piel) to make gracious, make favourable, be gracious 1d) (Poel) to direct favour to, have mercy on 1e) (Hophal) to be shown favour, be shown consideration 1f) (Hithpael) to seek favour, implore favour 2) to be loathsome


Cross-References for verse 58: 1 Kings 13:6; Psalm 41:4; Psalm 56:1; Psalm 57:1; Psalm 119:2; Psalm 119:41


59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.


From Barnes' Notes on the Bible:


“I thought on my ways - This language most naturally refers to the time of conversion, and may be employed without impropriety to describe the process of a sinner's turning to God. It would seem to be descriptive of the experience of the author of the psalm when he became personally interested in the subject of religion. The first step in such a work is reflection on the course of life, which has been led; on the guilt of such a course; and on the consequences. It is a pause in the career of sin and folly - a pause for reflection and thought. Compare Luke 15:17-18. No one is converted without such reflection; and as soon as a sinner can be made to pause and reflect on his course, there is hope that he will be converted. Assuredly, it is proper for all, whatever may be their circumstances in life, to pause from time to time; to reflect; to ask what will be the consequences of the course of life, which is pursued.


And turned my feet - Changed my course of life. He himself did this in fact; and he does not hesitate to say that it was he who thus turned. His own agency was employed. He does not say that he “waited” for God to turn him; or that he found he could not turn of himself, but that he turned; he paused; he reflected; he changed his course of life. This is true in conversion always. There is an actual turning from sin, an actual turning to God. The sinner turns. He leaves an old path, and treads a new one. He does this as the conscious result of reflection on the course, which he was pursuing; and there is nothing in his actual turning, or in his whole future course, which is not the proper result of reflection, or which a proper reflection on the course of life would not lead to and justify. Man himself is always active in conversion. That is, he does something; he changes; he repents; he believes; he turns to God; it is not God that changes, that repents, that believes, that turns; it is the man himself. It is, indeed, by the grace and help of God; but the effect of that grace is not to make him idly wait; it is to rouse him to effort; to lead him to act.


Unto thy testimonies - Thy law, considered as the divine testimony in regard to what is right.” (4)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

From Your law.

מִ֝תּֽוֹרָתְךָ֗ (mit·tō·w·rā·ṯə·ḵā)

Preposition-m | 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 59: Mark 14:72; Luke 15:17; Psalm 119:60; Lamentations 3:40;

Ezekiel 33:15


60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.


From Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:


“So the prodigal son, when reduced to straits of misery (Lu 15:17, 18).” (5)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

I hurried

חַ֭שְׁתִּי (ḥaš·tî)

Verb - Qal - Perfect - first person common singular

Strong's Hebrew 2363: 1) to haste, make haste, hurry 1a) (Qal) to make haste 1b) (Hiphil) 1b1) to show haste, act quickly, hasten, come quickly 1b2) to enjoy, be excited


Cross-References for verse 60: Psalm 119:59; Psalm 119:61


61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.


From Matthew Poole's Commentary:


“Robbed me; or, made a prey of me; done me many injuries for my respect to thy law.” (6)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

Of the wicked

רְשָׁעִ֣ים (rə·šā·‘îm)

Adjective - masculine plural

Strong's Hebrew 7563: 1) wicked, criminal 1a) guilty one, one guilty of crime (subst) 1b) wicked (hostile to God) 1c) wicked, guilty of sin (against God or man)


Cross-References for verse 61: Job 36:8; Psalm 44:17; Psalm 119:60; Psalm 119:83; Psalm 119:141; Psalm 140:5; Proverbs 3:1


62 At midnight, I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.


From the Pulpit Commentary:


“Verse 62. - At midnight, I will rise to give thanks unto thee (comp. ver. 55). Because of thy righteous judgments (see the comment on ver. 7).” (7)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

To give You thanks

לְהוֹד֣וֹת (lə·hō·w·ḏō·wṯ)

Preposition-l | Verb - Hifil - Infinitive construct

Strong's Hebrew 3034: 1) to throw, shoot, cast 1a) (Qal) to shoot (arrows) 1b) (Piel) to cast, cast down, throw down 1c) (Hiphil) 1c1) to give thanks, laud, praise 1c2) to confess, confess (the name of God) 1d) (Hithpael) 1d1) to confess (sin) 1d2) to give thanks


Cross-References for verse 62: Psalm 119:7; Psalm 119:55; Isaiah 26:9


63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.


From Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament:


“The eightfold Heth. To understand and to keep God's word is his portion, the object of his incessant praying and thanksgiving, the highest grace or favour that can come to him. According to Psalm 16:5; Psalm 73:26, the words חלקי ה belong together. Psalm 119:57 is an inference drawn from it (אמר ל as in Exodus 2:14, and frequently), and the existing division of the verse is verified. חלּה פּני, as in Psalm 45:13, is an expression of caressing, flattering entreaty, in Latin, caput mulcere (demulcere). His turning to the word of God the poet describes in Psalm 119:59 as a result of a careful trying of his actions. After that he quickly and cheerfully, Psalm 119:60, determined to keep it without any long deliberation with flesh and blood, although the snares of wicked men surround him. The meaning of חבלי is determined according to Psalm 119:110 : the pointing does not distinguish so sharply as one might have expected between חבלי, ὠδῖνας, and חבלי, snares, bonds (vid., Psalm 18:5.); but the plural nowhere, according to the usage of the language as we now have it, signifies bands (companies), from the singular in 1 Samuel 10:5 (Bttcher, 800). Thankfulness urges him to get up at midnight (acc. temp. as in Job 34:20) to prostrate himself before God and to pray. Accordingly, he is on friendly terms with, he is closely connected with (Proverbs 28:24), all who fear God. Out of the fulness of the loving-kindness of God, which is nowhere unattested upon earth (Psalm 119:64 equals Psalm 33:5), he implores for himself the inward teaching concerning His word as the highest and most cherished of mercies.” (8)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

Fear You,

יְרֵא֑וּךָ (yə·rê·’ū·ḵā)

Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person common plural | second person masculine singular

Strong's Hebrew 3372: 1) to fear, revere, be afraid 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to fear, be afraid 1a2) to stand in awe of, be awed 1a3) to fear, reverence, honour, respect 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared 1b2) to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe 1b3) to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe 1c) (Piel) to make afraid, terrify 2) (TWOT) to shoot, pour


Cross-References for verse 63: Psalm 16:3; Psalm 101:6


64 The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.


From Matthew Poole's Commentary:


“Thou dost satisfy the just desires and necessities of all men and all creatures with the fruits of thy goodness. The generality of other men chiefly desire the blessings of this life; but, Lord, give me thy spiritual blessings, the saving knowledge, love, and practice of thy law.” (9)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

The earth

הָאָ֗רֶץ (hā·’ā·reṣ)

Article | Noun - feminine singular

Strong's Hebrew 776: 1) land, earth 1a) earth 1a1) whole earth (as opposed to a part) 1a2) earth (as opposed to heaven) 1a3) earth (inhabitants) 1b) land 1b1) country, territory 1b2) district, region 1b3) tribal territory 1b4) piece of ground 1b5) land of Canaan, Israel 1b6) inhabitants of land 1b7) Sheol, land without return, (under) world 1b8) city (-state) 1c) ground, surface of the earth 1c1) ground 1c2) soil 1d) (in phrases) 1d1) people of the land 1d2) space or distance of country (in measurements of distance) 1d3) level or plain country 1d4) land of the living 1d5) end(s) of the earth 1e) (almost wholly late in usage) 1e1) lands, countries 1e1a) often in contrast to Canaan


Cross-References for verse 64: Psalm 33:5; Psalm 119:12; Psalm 119:65


Concluding summary from Matthew Henry’s Bible Concise Commentary Psalm 119:49-56:


“119:57-64 True believers take the Lord for the portion of their inheritance, and nothing less will satisfy them. The psalmist prayed with his whole heart, knowing how to value the blessing he prayed for: he desired the mercy promised, and depended on the promise for it. He turned from by-paths, and returned to God's testimonies. He delayed not. It behoves sinners to hasten to escape; and the believer will be equally in haste to glorify God. No care or grief should take away God's word out of our minds, or hinder the comfort it bestows. There is no situation on earth in which a believer has not cause to be thankful. Let us feel ashamed that others are more willing to keep from sleep to spend the time in sinful pleasures, than we are to praise God. And we should be more earnest in prayer, that our hearts may be filled with his mercy, grace, and peace.” (10)


Notes on Psalm 119:57-64 Cheth:

  1. C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Vol. II, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 254.

2.      John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Psalms, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 1394.

3.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Psalms, Vol.8., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 106.

4.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Psalms, Vol. 5 p.1816.

5.      Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 450.

  1. Matthew Poole's Commentary on the Holy Bible, vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 186.

7.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Psalms, Vol.8., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 106.

8.      Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Psalms, vol. 5, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1985), p. 251.

9.      Matthew Poole's Commentary on the Holy Bible, vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 186.

  1. Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, Psalms, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 959.


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: