Psalm 119

Good morning! The only text we have for today is Psalm 119, because it’s an extraordinarily long psalm. In fact, at 176 verses it’s by far the longest chapter in the entire Bible, and more than twice the average length of our daily passages. The psalm focuses on the goodness of divine law, praising God’s righteous commands in myriad ways. It is structured as an acrostic, a type of poetry organized so that the initial letter of each stanza or line spells out a message. In this case, the initial word of each stanza begins with one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Within each set of eight verses for each letter, each verse begins with that letter (8 verses that start with alef, 8 verses that start with bet, etc). Obviously, we lose this effect when reading a translated text. With this form, the writer intends to communicate in structure as well as subject the comprehensive nature of God’s commandments—they stretch from A to Z, as it were. According to my Hebrew Bible professor in seminary, this makes for rather odd Hebrew sentences and syntax. He was not impressed with the psalm and felt it was entirely too long, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. Happy reading!

Read Psalm 119.

Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Psalms 120-131. Thanks for reading!

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