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Psalm 119

119:0Solomon was king of Israel nearly 1000 years BC (Before Christ came to the earth.) Solomon built the house of God that was in Jerusalem. We call it ‘the temple.’ About 600 BC a nation called Babylon fought the Jews. A nation is a country with a government. Babylon was 800 kilometres east of Jerusalem. The Babylonians won the fight and they took many Jews to Babylon. We call this ‘the exile.’ The Babylonians also destroyed the temple.

After the exile many Jews went back to their own country. About 500 BC they built the temple again. Then they made the Book of Psalms to sing in the new temple. Some were old psalms by David, Moses and Isaiah. Other psalms were new like Psalm 1. Psalm 119 was probably one of these new psalms. It is a very special psalm. There are 176 verses or parts in it. Some people think that 176 different people wrote one verse each. Other people think that Ezra wrote all Psalm 119. Ezra was a Jewish leader about 450 BC.

There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The Jews spoke Hebrew, so they wrote Psalm 119 in the Hebrew language. The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is aleph. Verses 1-8 all begin with aleph. Beth is the second letter. Verses 9-16 all begin with beth. Verses 17-24 all begin with the 3rd letter and so on. So, there are 22 times 8, or 176 verses in the psalm. We think that they did this to make it easier for them to remember the psalm. It was probably a psalm that Jewish leaders had to remember. We have not made the verses start with the right letter in this translation. We have put the psalm into 22 groups with 8 verses in each group.

The Word of God

ALEPH

1 The people that make no mistakes in the way are very happy.

They obey the teaching of the LORD.

2 The people that keep to his instructions are very happy.

They look for him with all their heart.

3 Also, they do nothing that is wrong.

They walk in his ways.

4 You have made guidelines for me.

I must follow them all.

5 I want to make sure

that my ways obey your laws.

6 Then I will not be ashamed

when I remember all your commands.

7 I will praise you with a clean heart

when I learn your righteous rules.

8 I will obey your laws.

Do not ever stop giving me help.

BETH

9 How can a young man keep his path clean?

He must obey your words.

10 I have looked for you with all my heart.

Do not let me forget your commands.

11 I have hidden your sayings in my heart

so that I do not sin against you.

12 LORD, you are blessed!

Teach me your laws.

13 My lips repeat all the commands of your mouth.

14 I am happier following the way by your instructions

than having a lot of money.

15 I want to think about your guidelines

and follow your paths.

16 I am very happy with your laws.

I will not forget your word.

GIMEL

17 Be kind to your servant.

Then I will live and obey your word.

18 Open my eyes

and I will see wonderful things in your teaching.

19 I am a stranger in the earth.

Do not hide your commands from me.

20 I love to obey your rules so much

that I have no interest in other things.

21 You are angry with the people who think that they are important.

Bad things will happen to them

when they walk away from your commands.

22 Some people say bad and unkind things about me

because I keep to your instructions.

Take me away from those people.

23 Princes sit down and make plans against me.

But your servant thinks only about your laws.

24 Yes! Your instructions make me really happy.

They are like people that tell me what to do.

DALETH

25 I am lying on the ground.

Give me the life that your word promises to me.

26 I told you about my ways and you answered me.

Teach me your laws.

27 Make me to understand what your guidelines mean.

Then I will always think about the wonderful things that you do.

28 My very great sadness has made me tired.

Make me strong again as your word promises.

29 Take the false way from me.

Be kind to me in your teaching.

30 I have chosen the right way.

I will not forget your rules.

31 I will keep to your instructions, LORD.

Do not make me ashamed.

32 I will run in the way of your commands

because you give help to my heart.

HE

33 LORD, give me help to understand your laws,

then I will always obey them.

34 Explain your teaching to me, then I will always obey it.

I will do it with all my heart.

35 Make me to walk in the path where your orders send me.

Do that because it will give me much pleasure.

36 Turn my heart to your instructions

and not to wanting riches.

37 Turn my eyes away from looking at things that have no value.

Give me the life that is in your word.

38 Do for your servant the things that your sayings promise.

This will make him be afraid of you.

39 I am afraid of being ashamed.

Do not let it happen, because your rules are good.

40 I really want your guidelines.

Keep me alive as you are righteous.

VAV

41 LORD, I want your kind love to come to me

and I want your sayings to make me safe.

42 Then I will have something to say to the people that laugh at me.

They laugh at me because I trust in your word.

43 Do not take a true word away from my mouth,

because I put my hope in your rules.

44 I will always obey your teaching,

I will never stop.

45 I will be free to walk anywhere

because I look for your guidelines.

46 I will talk about your instructions before kings.

I will not be ashamed.

47 I love your commands

and I am very happy with them.

48 I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love.

I am always thinking about your laws.

ZAYIN

49 Remember your word to your servant.

You made me put my hope in it.

50 Your sayings comfort me when I am sad.

They comfort me because they give me life.

51 Proud people laugh at me all the time,

but I do not turn away from your teaching.

52 LORD, I remember the rules that you made long ago.

They make me feel better.

53 I get very angry

when godless people turn away from your teaching.

54 Your laws are my songs

in the house where I live.

55 LORD, in the night I will remember your name.

I will keep your teaching.

56 I do this

because I follow your guidelines.

HETH

57 LORD, you are everything to me.

I promise to obey your words.

58 I ask you, with all my heart,

to have mercy on me as you have promised.

59 I have thought about my ways,

and my feet are going back to follow your instructions.

60 I will hurry to obey your commands

and I will not be slow.

61 People who do not know God are all round me.

They tie me up but still I do not forget your teaching.

62 I get up in the middle of the night to praise you

because your rules are righteous.

63 I am a friend of everyone that is afraid of you.

And I am a friend of those who follow your guidelines.

64 LORD, the earth is full of your kind love.

Teach me your laws.

TETH

65 You do good things for your servant, LORD,

as your word says.

66 Teach me. Then I will choose and know what is right.

I will do that because I trust your commands.

67 Before I was in trouble with you I made mistakes.

But now I keep to your sayings.

68 You are good and you do good things.

Teach me your laws.

69 Proud men have told me lots of lies,

but your guidelines are of great value to me.

70 Their heart is fat and they are stupid;

but I love your teaching.

71 My trouble was good for me.

It made me learn your laws.

72 Teaching from your mouth is better for me

than a lot of silver and gold.

JODH

73 Your hands created me. And they made me what I am.

Help me to understand and learn your commands.

74 The people that are afraid of you will be happy.

They will be happy when they see me.

This is because I am trusting in your word.

75 LORD, I know that your rules are righteous.

You were right when you sent me trouble.

76 Now your kind love makes me feel better.

You promised this to your servant in your sayings.

77 Send your love to me and I will live!

Your teaching makes me really happy.

78 Proud men will be ashamed

because they say lies about me without any reason.

79 The people that are afraid of you will turn to me again.

They understand your instructions.

80 My heart will make no mistakes about your laws.

I will not be ashamed.

KAPH

81 I feel weak while I wait for you to save me.

My hope is in your word.

82 My eyes are closing while I look for your sayings.

I say, ‘When will you comfort me?’

83 I am like a wineskin in smoke

but I will not forget your guidelines.

84 The life of your servant is not very long.

When will you make the people that persecute me obey your rules?

85 Proud people have made traps for me.

Your teaching says that they must not do this.

86 All your commands are true.

But people still persecute me with lies. Give me help!

87 People on earth almost destroyed me,

but I did not stop following your guidelines.

88 Your kind love gives me life.

I will obey your instructions.

LAMED

89 LORD, your word will always rule in the heavens.

90 Your truth will continue from one century to the next.

You have fixed the earth and it will remain.

91 They remain today as your rules say they must.

They are all your servants.

119:91‘They’ probably means the earth and the stars in the heavens skies.

92 If your teaching had not made me happy

then my great sadness would have destroyed me.

93 I will never forget your guidelines

because in them you give me life.

94 I am yours, save me!

Do it because I have looked for your guidelines.

95 The godless wait to destroy me,

but I am studying your instructions.

96 I see that all that is good on earth will finish.

But your commands have no end.

MEM

97 I love your teaching very much.

I think about it all day long.

98 Your commands teach me more than my enemies.

Your commands are always with me.

99 I understand more than all my teachers

because I think about your commands.

100 I understand more than the old people

because I follow your guidelines.

101 I do not let my feet walk in any evil path

because I obey your word.

102 I do not turn away from your rules,

because you teach me.

103 Your sayings are like honey to me.

They are like something that tastes good.

104 Your guidelines give me help to understand things,

so I hate every wrong path.

NUN

105 Your word is a lamp to my foot

and a light to my path.

106 I have really promised to keep your righteous rules

and I will do it.

107 People have hurt me very much.

Give me the life that your word promises.

108 LORD, I pray that you will be happy with what I say.

And I pray that you will teach me your rules.

109 I am always in danger,

but I never forget your teaching.

110 Wicked people have made a trap for me,

but I do not go away from your guidelines.

111 Your instructions will always be with me

and they make my heart very happy.

112 I will make my heart obey your instructions always, to the end.

SAMEKH

113 I hate the people that do not believe you.

But I love your teaching.

114 You are my secret place where I can hide.

I put my hope in your word.

115 Go away from me, you bad people!

I will obey my God's commands.

116 Give me help and life, as your word promises.

And do not make me ashamed, because I hope in you.

117 Give me help and I will be safe.

I will always obey your laws.

118 You turn away from people that do not follow your laws.

This is because they speak lies.

And they are not honest.

119 You destroy all the bad people in the world as rubbish.

For this reason I love your instructions.

120 Am afraid of you and it makes my body shiver.

I am afraid of your rules.

AYIN

121 I was righteous and I obeyed the rules.

Do not give me to my oppressors.

122 Make sure that good things happen to your servant.

Do not let proud people become my oppressors.

123 My eyes have stopped seeing that you are saving me.

They do not see your righteous sayings.

124 Do with your servant what your kind love suggests.

Teach me your laws.

125 I am your servant. Explain your instructions to me

so that I understand them.

126 It is time for the LORD to do something.

People have not obeyed your teaching.

127-128 I hate every wrong path because:

· I love your commands more than gold, pure gold

· I think that all your guidelines are right

PE

129 I obey your instructions

because they are wonderful.

130 When I read your words they bring light.

They help people that do not know enough to understand things.

131 My mouth is wide open as I breathe.

This is because I am so eager for your commands.

132 Turn to me and have mercy on me.

Your rules say that you will do this.

You will do this to people that love your name.

133 Make my feet follow your sayings.

Do not let sin rule over me.

134 Make me free from oppressors

and I will follow your guidelines.

135 Show a kind face to your servant

and teach me your laws.

136 Streams of water come from my eyes

because people do not obey your teaching.

TSADHE

137 LORD, you are righteous

and your rules are good.

138 The instructions that you gave are very fair.

And we can trust in them.

139 I am so eager that it makes me feel weak.

But my enemies do not listen to your words.

140 We have found that your sayings are true.

Your servant loves them.

141 I am not important and people do not like me.

But I will not forget your guidelines.

142 You are always righteous and fair.

Your teachings are true.

143 An enemy brought me trouble,

but your commands make me happy.

144 Your instructions are always fair.

Make me understand them and find life.

KOPH

145 I cried with all my heart. ‘Answer me, LORD.’

‘I will obey your laws’, I cried.

146 ‘Save me

and I will keep to your instructions.’

147 I woke up before dawn and cried to you for help.

I want all that you promised in your word.

148 I stayed up all night

and thought about your sayings.

149 Listen to my voice, because you are loving and kind.

LORD, keep me alive as your rules promise me.

150 The people that persecute me are coming near.

They want to do something very bad to me.

They are far away from your teaching.

151 LORD, you are near to me.

All your commands are true.

152 I have known about your instructions for a long time.

And I have known that you made them to continue always.

RESH

153 Look at my trouble!

Save me because I do not forget your teaching.

154 Fight my fight for me and redeem me.

Keep me alive as your sayings promise me.

155 Godless people are far away from being safe.

They do not look for your laws.

156 LORD, your love is great,

because your rules keep me alive.

157 Many enemies persecute me

but I do not go away from your instructions.

158 I see people doing such bad things that I hate them.

But, I do not stop obeying your sayings.

159 See how I love your guidelines, LORD.

Keep me alive through your kind love.

160 All your words are true.

All your righteous rules will continue always.

SHIN

161 Princes persecute me for no good reason.

But it is your word that really makes my heart afraid.

162 I am very happy with your sayings.

I am like someone that finds great riches.

163 I do not like lies, I hate them.

Your teaching is what I love.

164 I praise you 7 times every day

because of your righteous rules.

165 People that love your teaching have a lot of peace.

Nothing will make them fall down.

166 LORD, I am waiting for you to save me

while I obey your commands.

167 I will keep to your instructions

because I love them so much.

168 I follow your guidelines and instructions

because you see all that I do.

TAV

169 I am calling to you for help, LORD.

I want to understand your word.

170 Hear what I pray and have mercy on me.

Save me, as your sayings promise me.

171 My lips will pour out praise

because you are teaching me your laws.

172 My tongue will sing your sayings

because all your commands are righteous.

173 I want your hand to come to my help

because I chose to follow your guidelines.

174 LORD, I want you to save me.

Your teaching makes me very happy.

175 Give me life so that I can praise you.

May your rules give me help.

176 I have become like a lost sheep.

Look for your servant,

because I have not forgotten your commands.