Psalm 119:129-136 PE- Gleanings from Historical Commentaries                                         Collected by Jack Kettler


Psalm 119:129-136 introductory observations from The Treasury of David:


“‘Thy testimonies are wonderful.’ Full of wonderful revelations, commands and promises. Wonderful in their nature, as being free from all error, and bearing within themselves overwhelming self-evidence of their truth; wonderful in their effects as instructing, elevating, strengthening, and comforting the soul. Jesus the eternal Word is called Wonderful, and all the uttered words of God are wonderful in their degree. Those who know them best wonder at them most. It is wonderful that God should have borne testimony at all to sinful men, and more wonderful still that his testimony should be of such a character, so clear, so full, so gracious, so mighty. “Therefore doth my soul keep them.” Their wonderful character so impressed itself upon his mind that he kept them in his memory, their wonderful excellence so charmed his heart that he kept them in his life. Some men wonder at the words of God, and use them for their speculation; but David was always practical, and the more he wondered the more he obeyed.” (1)


129 Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.


From Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible:


“PE. Thy testimonies are wonderful,.... The Scriptures, which testify of God, his mind and will, are wonderful both with respect to the author of them, the things contained in them, and the use and advantage of them. They give an account of the wonderful works of creation; of their author and matter; of the manner, order, and time of their being wrought: they relate many wonderful events of Providence, both in a way of mercy and judgment; they declare several surprising miracles, wrought by Moses and others, and exhibit many marvellous things in types and figures: are full of prophecies of extraordinary things, have been exactly accomplished, and contain many exceeding great and precious promises; and abound with doctrines abstruse and recondite, hid from the carnal sense and reason of men; the mysteries of the Gospel, and of the grace of God, such as respect the divine Persons in the Trinity; the person and grace of Christ; the wonderful love of God and Christ towards men; the amazing blessings of grace through him, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal life by him;


therefore doth my soul keep them; as a rich treasure, which he laid up in the cabinet of his heart, and preserved as what was most rare and valuable: and such are the wonderful things in the word of God; and such is the efficacy of its doctrines, and the influence the truths of it have upon the minds of gracious persons; that these engage them to keep and observe the precepts it enjoins, and that heartily and sincerely, with their whole spirit and soul.” (2)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

Wonderful are

פְּלָא֥וֹת (pə·lā·’ō·wṯ)

Noun - masculine plural

Strong's Hebrew 6382: 1) wonder, marvel 1a) wonder (extraordinary, hard to understand thing) 1b) wonder (of God's acts of judgment and redemption)


Cross-References for verse 129: Psalm 119:18; Psalm 119:22; Psalm 119:167


130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.


From The Pulpit Commentary:


“Verse 130. - The entrance of thy words giveth light; rather, the opening (or opening up) of thy words. Their full exposition and interpretation (comp. vers. 98-100, 104, 105, etc.). It giveth understanding to the simple (comp. Psalm 19:7; Proverbs 1:4).” (3)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

Gives light;

יָאִ֗יר (yā·’îr)

Verb - Hifil - Imperfect - third person masculine singular

Strong's Hebrew 215: 1) to be or become light, shine 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to become light (day) 1a2) to shine (of the sun) 1a3) to become bright 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to be illuminated 1b2) to become lighted up 1c) (Hiphil) 1c1) to give light, shine (of sun, moon, and stars) 1c2) to illumine, light up, cause to shine, shine 1c3) to kindle, light (candle, wood) 1c4) lighten (of the eyes, his law, etc) 1c5) to make shine (of the face)


Cross-References for verse 130: Psalm 19:7; Psalm 49:3; Psalm 119:98; Psalm 119:104; Proverbs 6:23


131 I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.


From Barnes' Notes on the Bible:


“I opened my mouth and panted - All this is the language of deep emotion. We breathe hard under the influence of such emotion; we open the mouth wide, and pant, as the ordinary passage for the air through the nostrils is not sufficient to meet the needs of the lungs in their increased action. The idea is that his heart was full; that he had such an intense desire as to produce deep and rapid breathing; that he was like one who was exhausted, and who “panted” for breath. Compare the notes at Psalm 42:1.


For I longed for thy commandments - The word here rendered “longed” occurs nowhere else. It means to desire earnestly. See the notes at Psalm 119:20.” (4)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

I long

יָאָֽבְתִּי׃ (yā·’ā·ḇə·tî)

Verb - Qal - Perfect - first person common singular

Strong's Hebrew 2968: 1) (Qal) to long, long for, desire


Cross-References for verse 131: Job 29:23; Psalm 42:1; Psalm 81:10; Psalm 119:20


132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.


From Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:


“132. Look … upon me—opposed to hiding or averting the face (compare Ps 25:15; 86:6; 102:17).


As thou usest to do—or, “as it is right in regard to those who love Thy name.” Such have a right to the manifestations of God's grace, resting on the nature of God as faithful to His promise to such, not on their own merits.” (5)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

And show me mercy,

וְחָנֵּ֑נִי (wə·ḥān·nê·nî)

Conjunctive waw | 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 132: Psalm 25:16; Psalm 106:4


133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.


The Pulpit Commentary:


“Verse 133. - Order my steps in thy Word; perhaps rather, establish my steps by thy Word (comp. Psalm 40:2). And let not any iniquity (i.e., any wicked persons) have dominion over me. The prayer is not for deliverance from internal corruption, but from the external oppression of enemies (see the next verse).” (6)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:


הָכֵ֣ן (hā·ḵên)

Verb - Hifil - Imperative - masculine singular

Strong's Hebrew 3559: 1) to be firm, be stable, be established 1a) (Niphal) 1a1) to be set up, be established, be fixed 1a1a) to be firmly established 1a1b) to be established, be stable, be secure, be enduring 1a1c) to be fixed, be securely determined 1a2) to be directed aright, be fixed aright, be steadfast (moral sense) 1a3) to prepare, be ready 1a4) to be prepared, be arranged, be settled 1b) (Hiphil) 1b1) to establish, set up, accomplish, do, make firm 1b2) to fix, make ready, prepare, provide, provide for, furnish 1b3) to direct toward (moral sense) 1b4) to arrange, order 1c) (Hophal) 1c1) to be established, be fastened 1c2) to be prepared, be ready 1d) (Polel) 1d1) to set up, establish 1d2) to constitute, make 1d3) to fix 1d4) to direct 1e) (Pulal) to be established, be prepared 1f) (Hithpolel) to be established, be restored


Cross-References for verse 133: Romans 6:12; 1 Kings 8:36; Psalm 17:5; Psalm 19:13


134 Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.


From John Calvin:


“134. Deliver me from the oppression of men. When recounting what had befallen himself, the Prophet shows, by his own example, that all the godly are exposed to rapine and oppression, and that, like sheep in the mouths of wolves, they will be inevitably destroyed unless God defend them. As very few are governed by the Spirit of God, it is no wonder if all love of equity is banished from the world, and if all men are found everywhere rushing into all kinds of wickedness, some impelled by cruelty, and others devoted to fraud and deceit. When, therefore, the Prophet saw that he was overwhelmed on all sides with injuries, he betook himself to God as his deliverer. By the word deliver he intimates, that unless he is preserved in a wonderful manner, it is all over with him. In the second clause, he engages that he will not prove ungrateful for his deliverance: And I will keep thy precepts Nothing more effectually strengthens us, in an earnest desire and endeavor to follow after integrity and righteousness, than when we find by experience, that God's defense is of more value to us than all the unlawful helps to which worldly men unusually have recourse. We are taught from this passage, that when engaged in contest with the wicked, we ought not to suffer our minds to be actuated by malice, but that, however violently and unjustly they may assault us, we should rest; contented with the deliverance which God bestows, and with that alone; and again, that every instance in which we experience the grace of God in delivering us, should be a spur to incite us to follow after uprightness. He delivers us for no other end, but that the fruits of our deliverance may be manifested in our life; and we are too perverse if that experience is not sufficient to convince us, that all who persevere in the unfeigned fear of God, will always abide in safety by his aid, although the whole world may be against them.” (7)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

Redeem me

פְּ֭דֵנִי (pə·ḏê·nî)

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

Strong's Hebrew 6299: 1) to ransom, redeem, rescue, deliver 1a) (Qal) to ransom 1b) (Niphal) to be ransomed 1c) (Hiphil) to allow one to be ransomed 1d) (Hophal) redeemed


Cross-References for verse 134: Luke 1:74; Psalm 69:18; Psalm 119:84; Psalm 119:122;

Psalm 119:154; Psalm 142:6


135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.


From Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament:


“The eightfold Phe. The deeper his depression of spirit concerning those who despise the word of God, the more ardently does he yearn after the light and food of that word. The testimonies of God are פּלאות, wonderful and strange (paradoxical) things, exalted above every-day life and the common understanding. In this connection of the thoughts נצרתם is not intended of careful observance, but of attentive contemplation that is prolonged until a clear penetrating understanding of the matter is attained. The opening, disclosure (פּתח, apertio, with Tsere in distinction from פּתח, porta) of God's word giveth light, inasmuch as it makes the simple (פּתיים as in Proverbs 22:3) wise or sagacious; in connection with which it is assumed that it is God Himself who unfolds the mysteries of His word to those who are anxious to learn. Such a one, anxious to learn, is the poet: he pants with open mouth, viz., for the heavenly fare of such disclosures (פּער like פּער פּה in Job 29:23, cf. Psalm 81:11). יאב is a hapaxlegomenon, just as תּאב is also exclusively peculiar to the Psalm before us; both are secondary forms of אבה. Love to God cannot indeed remain unresponded to. The experience of helping grace is a right belonging to those who love the God of revelation; love in return for love, salvation in return for the longing for salvation, is their prerogative. On the ground of this reciprocal relation the petitions in Psalm 119:133-135 are then put up, coming back at last to the one chief prayer "teach me." אמרה, Psalm 119:133, is not merely a "promise" in this instance, but the declared will of God in general. כּל־און refers pre-eminently to all sin of disavowal (denying God), into which he might fall under outward and inward pressure (עשׁק). For he has round about him those who do not keep God's law. On account of these apostates (על לא as in Isaiah 53:9, equivalent to על־אשׁר לא) his eyes run down rivers of water (ירד as in Lamentations 3:48, with an accusative of the object). His mood is not that of unfeeling self-glorying, but of sorrow like that of Jeremiah, because of the contempt of Jahve, and the self-destruction of those who contemn Him.” (8)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:


הָאֵ֣ר (hā·’êr)

Verb - Hifil - Imperative - masculine singular

Strong's Hebrew 215: 1) to be or become light, shine 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to become light (day) 1a2) to shine (of the sun) 1a3) to become bright 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to be illuminated 1b2) to become lighted up 1c) (Hiphil) 1c1) to give light, shine (of sun, moon, and stars) 1c2) to illumine, light up, cause to shine, shine 1c3) to kindle, light (candle, wood) 1c4) lighten (of the eyes, his law, etc) 1c5) to make shine (of the face)


Cross-References for verse 135: Numbers 6:25; Psalm 4:6; Psalm 31:16; Psalm 67:1; Psalm 80:3

Psalm 80:7; Psalm 119:12


136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.


From Matthew Poole's Commentary:


“Ver. 136. Rivers of waters; plentiful and perpetual tears, witnesses of my deep sorrow for God’s dishonour and displeasure, and for the miseries, which sinners bring upon themselves and others. They, to wit, the wicked, as before, Psalm 119:126, who were not worthy to be mentioned; for this pronoun is oft used in way of contempt, as Luke 14:24 19:27 John 7:11 8:10 Acts 16:36.” (9)


Gleanings from Strong's Lexicon:

My eyes

עֵינָ֑י (‘ê·nāy)

Noun - cdc | first person common singular

Strong's Hebrew 5869: 1) eye 1a) eye 1a1) of physical eye 1a2) as showing mental qualities 1a3) of mental and spiritual faculties (fig.) 2) spring, fountain


Cross-References for verse 136: Psalm 119:158; Jeremiah 9:1; Jeremiah 9:18; Jeremiah 13:17;

Jeremiah 14:17; Jeremiah 44:23; Lamentations 2:18; Lamentations 3:48; Ezekiel 9:4


Concluding summary from Matthew Henry’s Bible Concise Commentary 119:129-136:


“119:129-136 - The wonders of redeeming love will fix the heart in adoration of them. The Scriptures show us what we were, what we are, and what we shall be. They show us the mercy and the justice of the Lord, the joys of heaven, and the pains of hell. Thus, they give to the simple, in a few days, understanding of those matters, which philosophers for ages sought in vain. The believer, wearied with the cares of life and his conflicts with sin, pants for the consolations conveyed to him by means of the sacred word. And every one may pray, Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. We must beg that the Holy Spirit would order our steps. The dominion of sin is to be dreaded and prayed against by everyone. The oppression of men is often more than flesh and blood can bear; and He who knoweth our frame, will not refuse to remove it in answer to the prayers of his people. Whatever obscurity may appear as to the faith of the Old Testament believers, their confidence at the throne of grace can only be explained by their having obtained more distinct views of gospel privileges, through the sacrifices and services of their law, than is generally imagined. Go to the same place, plead the name and merits of Jesus, and you will not, you cannot plead in vain. Commonly, where there is a gracious heart, there is a weeping eye. Accept, O Lord, the tears our blessed Redeemer shed in the days of his flesh, for us who should weep for our brethren or ourselves.” (10)


Notes on Psalm 119:129-136 PE:

  1. C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Vol. II, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 381.

2.      John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Psalms, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 1430.

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.1845.

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. 111.

7.      John Calvin, Calvin's Commentaries, Psalms, Volume V, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979), p. 9-10.

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

9.      Matthew Poole's Commentary on the Holy Bible, vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 190.

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