Psalm 119:65-72

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Teth

65  You have dealt well with your servant, 

O Lord, according to your word. 

66  Teach me good judgment and knowledge, 

for I believe in your commandments. 

67  Before I was afflicted I went astray, 

but now I keep your word. 

68  You are good and do good; 

teach me your statutes. 

69  The insolent smear me with lies, 

but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; 

70  their heart is unfeeling like fat, 

but I delight in your law. 

71  It is good for me that I was afflicted, 

that I might learn your statutes. 

72  The law of your mouth is better to me 

than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

ESV

Five lines in this stanza begin with the word good (ṭôb). In verse 65 the psalmist remembers how the Lord has dealt well (ṭôb) with him in the past. “As he reviews how the Lord has dealt with him in the past, he recognizes that the Lord has treated him well. What the Lord has done has lined up with what he has said, as he has been true to his promises” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 416). The Lord will never deal with us in a manner that violates His Character, Word and Covenant.

After remembering what the Lord has done in the past, the psalmist in verse 66 commands/petitions the Lord to teach (piel, imperative 2ms with 1 cs suffix) him good judgment and discernment. The Lord’s judgment is always best; hence why the psalmist is an eager student of the Lord, believing in His commandments. What the psalmist is asking here “is a practical prayer for spiritual growth and not just the best information” (A. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms (90-150) KEL, 2016, p. 523).

The psalmist reflects on his past commitment to the Lord and reveals that before he was afflicted he went astray (v 67). Estes notes the Hebrew word for astray “šgg likely speak[s] of inadvertent sin. He then was afflicted by God, a process that had led to his repentance and restoration…The Lord used the pain of adversity to purge the psalmist of his waywardness, and he has now returned to keep the Lord’s word” (Estes, p. 417).

The Lord is good and He does good (v 68a). The Lord doing good is a hiphil, participle whereby the Lord is always doing good. The psalmist again petitions to be taught (piel, imperative, 2ms with 1cs suffix) His statutes (68b). “This teaching could come through the ministry of priests who were to teach the laws of God (Deut. 33:10); but it could also include the LORD’s impressing the reality and significance of his word on the heart of the psalmist in times of meditation (see Ps. 16:6–7)” (Ross, p. 524).

In verses 69-70 the psalmist contrasts the insolent smearing him with lies to his keeping the Lord’s precepts with his whole heart. “The hostility of the arrogant people who have afflicted the psalmist creates a contrast to the Lord’s goodness” (Estes, p. 417). The psalmist also compares the heart of the insolent as unfeeling or gross with fat but that he delights in the Lord’s torah (law/instruction). The psalmist’s “value system is totally antithetical to theirs…They are diseased, but he is robust and well. They are insensitive, not feeling or caring about what matters to God; but the psalmist delights in God’s instruction” (p. 417).

And here in verse 71 the psalmist has his Job moment (see 42:1-6), proclaiming how it was good for him to be afflicted so that he could learn the Lord’s statutes. Affliction often keeps pride away, it humbles and teaches us how to depend on the Lord. We learn how sufficient His Word is in times of trials and hardships. Robert Alter states, “Suffering impels reflection, which in turn leads the sufferer to embrace God’s teaching as the guide to turning his life around” (The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary, 2007, p. 425). Estes continues this stating, “[The psalmist’s] painful route through the school of hard knocks likely took a significant amount of time, but the psalmist has come to rejoice in the precious results in his life produced through adversity (cf. Jas 1:2–4)” (p. 417).

The psalmist ends this stanza with language similar to Proverbs where wisdom/torah has infinitely more value than riches (v 72 see Proverbs 3:14; 8:10; 16:16). The psalmist knows firsthand how nothing is better than the Lord and His Word. Gold and silver do not do good, only Yahweh Himself is good and does good. “[T]he Lord is implicitly viewed here as the teacher of wisdom and the psalmist as the student who has chosen to value the words of the Lord his teacher above all the material riches craved by the world” (Estes, pp. 417-418).

Lord God, may we say along with Job and the psalmist that it was/is good for us to be afflicted so that we might know Your Word. Lord God, may we crave Your Word more than riches. Lord, while affliction is never pleasant nor easy may we never forget how Jesus suffered. Lord God, may we not make light of others suffering, may we be quick to listen and hear about the sufferings of others. Lord God, may we not dwell on our sufferings but glorify You through them. As You know Lord this world is becoming more and more hostile and insolent to Your people. Lord God, may we NEVER forget that You are Good, You do Good and that You will never cease being who You are. Lord God, may the person reading this who does not know Christ seek Him today while there is still time. For the reader who is in Christ, Lord God may they remember how You dealt well with them in the past and may they seek to be Your student and servant in the present. Lord God, thank You and praise You for this reader. Lord may we love and honor You well. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

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Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

39 thoughts on “Psalm 119:65-72”

  1. Wonderful Mandy! Oh how I take heart in the comfort and assurance in this passage of Psalm 119. You’ve opened it out so thoroughly that there is nothing more left to say except, “How GOOD is the LORD! How merciful to us sinners even in all our sufferings!” Praise to His holy Name. May our Lord bless you richly as you study, meditate, and pray. Have a great weekend.
    pax,
    dora

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As I read this lovely study I can’t help think that the meaning of “good” in this scripture is so much more than our narrow definition in modern language. How much we depend on His knowledge and guidance in practical and spiritual matters, we truly are blessed in His provisions for us!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mandy, thanks for this study. We don’t enjoy affliction/discipline but it will ultimately bring us closer to the Lord if we soften our hearts. Hope you have a nice weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you Mandy. We don’t like to be afflicted but once it’s over and we look back we can say with the psalmist “ It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”
    Have a blessed weekend sweet Mandy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The afflictions of 2020 and beyond have helped me to learn more about our Triune God and His timing. When I used to read about events happening quickly I did not understand, starting to grasp it a little more now. I am thankful for you pretty lady and I am praying for you and your family! Have a blessed weekend as well my sister!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “ events happening quickly” ..
        Exactly Mandy. So looking forward to our “Blessed Hope”. I keep thinking of that day when we will be before the Throne with all the redeemed of the Lord praising The Prince in Peace and The Lord of Lords.
        Love and blessings. 🍃💚

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Still in this most wonderful chapter!
    “Afflicted” – I grasped this for my husband and for me.
    “Before I was afflicted I went astray” when my husband turned away from God, the Lord really afflicted him, greatly humbling him and instilling fear of God and obedience.
    However, his actions brought great suffering to me, and I say, “It was good for me to be afflicted, so I might learn Your decrees”. My trauma led to a greater dependence and intimacy with the Lord.
    Thank you sister for another edifying look into these living waters.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What an amazing testimony to these verses. How great is our God for giving you a heart to share this testimony. No one escapes affliction. I often pray “Lord, help me to suffer well.” So many times what we go through isn’t just for us but for others to watch our faith in action. So thankful for how God uses you to encourage and strengthen His people. Thank you for your support with these posts!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. God definitely uses the pain of affliction to draw us onto the right path and toward Him. God is good. We have confidence in Him as he is good and as you said His actions are never contrary to His character, word and covenant.
    Sorry for not responding earlier. Was busy yesterday and in no way did I want to rush through this breakdown and study of the psalm.
    May the Lord keep His hand over you my friend 🤗🌺

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Always love your lexical observation such as the word astray having a moral dimension. Reading this makes me want to be more teachable especially in light of v.68 and v.71. How precious is the Word of God!

    Liked by 1 person

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