The Word of God

Psalm 119

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 119

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the *Hebrew Bible.

The notes explain some of the words with a *star by them. A word list at the end explains the other words that have a *star by them.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.


Words with a star by them are in the notes the first time that each appears.

Jesus said, "If you love me you will obey me" (John 14:15).

The Story of Psalm 119

Solomon was king of Israel nearly 1000 years Before Christ came to the earth (B.C.). Solomon built the house of God that was in Jerusalem. We call it "the *temple". About 600 B.C. 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 B.C. 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 B.C.

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.

There are also 8 special words in the psalm. To the *Jews these 8 words were important. They described what God told them to do. They are also important for Christians, because they tell them the ways that God speaks to them. The most important way is through the Bible. Christians call the Bible ‘The Word of God’. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. You will probably find that you can study it more easily in groups of 8 verses.

Here are the 8 special words:

1. word (dabar in Hebrew): it means things like the 10 commandments in Exodus chapter 20. These were the 10 things that God told his people to do or not to do.

2. saying (imrah): this is another way to say word.

3. statutes (chuqqim): these are the rules that the *Jews made early in their history. We translate it *laws in Psalm 119. "History" means the story of what happened.

4. judgments (mishpatim): a later word for statutes. We translate it "rules" in Psalm 119.

5. law (torah): this means the first 5 books of the Bible. Later it included other books like Isaiah and Jeremiah. We translate it "*teaching" in Psalm 119.

6. *commands (mitsvat): what someone with authority tells you to do.

7. precepts (piqqudim): these give us help when we want to know what to do. We translate it "*guidelines" in Psalm 119.

8. testimonies (eduth): these are the things that God tells us to do as *Jews or Christians. We translate it "*instructions" in Psalm 119.

There are other important words in Psalm 119. They include way and path; *heart and follow.

Way and path both mean the same thing in the psalm. They mean: what we do in our lives. Our way can be good or bad. If we obey Psalm 119, our way will be good. Jesus said, "I am the way" (John 14:6). If we obey Jesus, our way will be good. In Acts 9:2, "in the way" is another name for "being a Christian".

*heart does not mean the same thing each time it comes:

  ·   "a clean *heart" means that God has forgiven us

  ·   "in my *heart" means "in my mind"

  ·   "all my / their *heart" means "all that I/they can do in the body or mind"

Your *heart in the psalms often means all of you! When God *forgives us, he gives our *sin to Jesus. He takes it away. Our *sin is the bad things that we do.

Follow in verses 4, 14, 15, 56, 63, 87, 100, 133, 168 and 173 means "obey".

Psalm 119


v1   The people that make no mistakes in the way are very happy.
  They obey the *teaching of the *LORD.

v2   The people that keep to his *instructions are very happy.
  They look for him with all their *heart.

v3   Also, they do nothing that is wrong.
  They walk in his ways.

v4   You have made *guidelines for me.
  I must follow them all.

v5   I want to make sure
  that my ways obey your *laws.

v6   Then I will not be ashamed
  when I remember all your *commands.

v7   I will *praise you with a clean *heart
  when I learn your *righteous rules.

v8   I will obey your *laws.
  Do not ever stop giving me help.


v9   How can a young man keep his path clean?
  He must obey your words.

v10   I have looked for you with all my *heart.
  Do not let me forget your *commands.

v11   I have hidden your *sayings in my *heart
  so that I do not *sin against you.

v12   *LORD, you are *blessed!
  Teach me your *laws.

v13   My lips repeat all the *commands of your mouth.

v14   I am happier following the way by your *instructions
  than having a lot of money.

v15   I want to think about your *guidelines
  and follow your paths.

v16   I am very happy with your *laws.
  I will not forget your word.


v17   Be kind to your servant.
  Then I will live and obey your word.

v18   Open my eyes
  and I will see *wonderful things in your *teaching.

v19   I am a stranger in the earth.
  Do not hide your *commands from me.

v20   I love to obey your rules so much
  that I have no interest in other things.

v21   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.

v22   Some people say bad and *unkind things about me
  because I keep to your *instructions.
  Take me away from those people.

v23   *Princes sit down and make plans against me.
  But your servant thinks only about your *laws.

v24   Yes! Your *instructions make me really happy.
  They are like people that tell me what to do.


v25   I am lying on the ground.
  Give me the life that your word promises to me.

v26   I told you about my ways and you answered me.
  Teach me your *laws.

v27   Make me to understand what your *guidelines mean.
  Then I will always think about the *wonderful things that you do.

v28   My very great *sadness has made me tired.
  Make me strong again as your word promises.

v29   Take the false way from me.
  Be kind to me in your *teaching.

v30   I have chosen the right way.
  I will not forget your rules.

v31   I will keep to your *instructions, *LORD.
  Do not make me ashamed.

v32   I will run in the way of your *commands
  because you give help to my *heart.


v33   *LORD, give me help to understand your *laws,
  then I will always obey them.

v34   Explain your *teaching to me, then I will always obey it.
  I will do it with all my *heart.

v35   Make me to walk in the path where your *orders send me.
  Do that because it will give me much pleasure.

v36   Turn my *heart to your *instructions
  and not to wanting *riches.

v37   Turn my eyes away from looking at things that have no value.
  Give me the life that is in your word.

v38   Do for your servant the things that your *sayings promise.
  This will make him be afraid of you.

v39   I am afraid of being ashamed.
  Do not let it happen, because your rules are good.

v40   I really want your *guidelines.
  Keep me alive as you are *righteous.


v41   *LORD, I want your kind love to come to me
  and I want your *sayings to make me safe.

v42   Then I will have something to say to the people that laugh at me.
  They laugh at me because I *trust in your word.

v43   Do not take a true word away from my mouth,
  because I put my hope in your rules.

v44   I will always obey your *teaching,
  I will never stop.

v45   I will be free to walk anywhere
  because I look for your *guidelines.

v46   I will talk about your *instructions before kings.
  I will not be ashamed.

v47   I love your *commands
  and I am very happy with them.

v48   I lift up my hands to your *commands, which I love.
  I am always thinking about your *laws.


v49   Remember your word to your servant.
  You made me put my hope in it.

v50   Your *sayings *comfort me when I am sad.
  They comfort me because they give me life.

v51   *Proud people laugh at me all the time,
  but I do not turn away from your *teaching.

v52   *LORD, I remember the rules that you made long ago.
  They make me feel better.

v53   I get very angry
  when *godless people turn away from your *teaching.

v54   Your *laws are my songs
  in the house where I live.

v55   *LORD, in the night I will remember your name.
  I will keep your *teaching.

v56   I do this
  because I follow your *guidelines.


v57   *LORD, you are everything to me.
  I promise to obey your words.

v58   I ask you, with all my *heart,
  to *have *mercy on me as you have promised.

v59   I have thought about my ways,
  and my feet are going back to follow your *instructions.

v60   I will hurry to obey your *commands
  and I will not be slow.

v61   People who do not know God are all round me.
  They tie me up but still I do not forget your *teaching.

v62   I get up in the middle of the night to *praise you
  because your rules are *righteous.

v63   I am a friend of everyone that is afraid of you.
  And I am a friend of those who follow your *guidelines.

v64   *LORD, the earth is full of your kind love.
  Teach me your *laws.


v65   You do good things for your servant, *LORD,
  as your word says.

v66   Teach me. Then I will choose and know what is right.
  I will do that because I *trust your *commands.

v67   Before I was in trouble with you I made mistakes.
  But now I keep to your *sayings.

v68   You are good and you do good things.
  Teach me your *laws.

v69   *Proud men have told me lots of lies,
  but your *guidelines are of great value to me.

v70   #Their *heart is fat and they are *stupid;
  but I love your *teaching.

v71   My trouble was good for me.
  It made me learn your *laws.

v72   *Teaching from your mouth is better for me
  than a lot of *silver and gold.

#This is the *heart of the *proud men in verse 69. It means that they cannot think clearly.


v73   Your hands*created me. And they made me what I am.
  Help me to understand and learn your *commands.

v74   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.

v75   *LORD, I know that your rules are *righteous.
  You were right when you sent me trouble.

v76   Now your kind love makes me feel better.
  You promised this to your servant in your *sayings.

v77   Send your love to me and I will live!
  Your *teaching makes me really happy.

v78   *Proud men will be ashamed
  because they say lies about me without any reason.

v79   The people that are afraid of you will turn to me again.
  They understand your *instructions.

v80   My *heart will make no mistakes about your *laws.
  I will not be ashamed.


v81   I feel weak while I wait for you to save me.
  My hope is in your word.

v82   My eyes are closing while I look for your *sayings.
  I say, "When will you *comfort me?"

v83   I am like #a *wineskin in smoke
  but I will not forget your *guidelines.

v84   The life of your servant is not very long.
  When will you make the people that *persecute me obey your rules?

v85   *Proud people have made *traps for me.
  Your *teaching says that they must not do this.

v86   All your *commands are true.
  But people still *persecute me with lies. Give me help!

v87   People on earth almost destroyed me,
  but I did not stop following your *guidelines.

v88   Your kind love gives me life.
  I will obey your *instructions.

# We are not sure what this means.


v89   *LORD, your word will always rule in the *heavens.

v90   Your *truth will continue from one century to the next.
  You have fixed the earth and it will remain.

v91   #They remain today as your rules say they must.
  They are all your servants.

v92   If your *teaching had not made me happy
  then my great *sadness would have destroyed me.

v93   I will never forget your *guidelines
  because in them you give me life.

v94   I am yours, save me!
  Do it because I have looked for your *guidelines.

v95   The *godless wait to destroy me,
  but I am studying your *instructions.

v96   I see that all that is good on earth will finish.
  But your *commands have no end.

#"they" probably means the earth and the stars in the *heavens (skies).


v97   I love your *teaching very much.
  I think about it all day long.

v98   Your *commands teach me more than my enemies.
  Your *commands are always with me.

v99   I understand more than all my teachers
  because I think about your *commands.

v100   I understand more than the old people
  because I follow your *guidelines.

v101   I do not let my feet walk in any *evil path
  because I obey your word.

v102   I do not turn away from your rules,
  because you teach me.

v103   Your *sayings are like *honey to me.
  They are like something that tastes good.

v104   Your *guidelines give me help to understand things,
  so I hate every wrong path.


v105   Your word is a *lamp to my foot
  and a light to my path.

v106   I have really promised to keep your *righteous rules
  and I will do it.

v107   People have hurt me very much.
  Give me the life that your word promises.

v108   *LORD, I pray that you will be happy with what I say.
  And I pray that you will teach me your rules.

v109   I am always in danger,
  but I never forget your *teaching.

v110   *Wicked people have made a *trap for me,
  but I do not go away from your *guidelines.

v111   Your *instructions will always be with me
  and they make my *heart very happy.

v112   I will make my *heart obey your *instructions always, to the end.


v113   I hate the people that do not believe you.
  But I love your *teaching.

v114   You are my secret place where I can hide.
  I put my hope in your word.

v115   Go away from me, you bad people!
  I will obey my God's *commands.

v116   Give me help and life, as your word promises.
  And do not make me ashamed, because I hope in you.

v117   Give me help and I will be safe.
  I will always obey your *laws.

v118   You turn away from people that do not follow your *laws.
  This is because they speak lies.
  And they are not honest.

v119   You destroy all the bad people in the world as *rubbish.
  For this reason I love your *instructions.

v120   Am afraid of you and it makes my body *shiver.
  I am afraid of your rules.


v121   I was *righteous and I obeyed the rules.
  Do not give me to my *oppressors.

v122   Make sure that good things happen to your servant.
  Do not let *proud people become my *oppressors.

v123   My eyes have stopped seeing that you are saving me.
  They do not see your *righteous *sayings.

v124   Do with your servant what your kind love suggests.
  Teach me your *laws.

v125   I am your servant. Explain your *instructions to me
  so that I understand them.

v126   It is time for the *LORD to do something.
  People have not obeyed your *teaching.

v127-128 I hate every wrong path because:
  ·   I love your *commands more than gold, *pure gold
  ·   I think that all your *guidelines are right


v129   I obey your *instructions
  because they are *wonderful.

v130   When I read your words they bring light.
  They help people that do not know enough to understand things.

v131   My mouth is wide open as I *breathe.
  This is because I am so *eager for your *commands.

v132   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.

v133   Make my feet follow your *sayings.
  Do not let *sin rule over me.

v134   Make me free from *oppressors
  and I will follow your *guidelines.

v135   Show a kind face to your servant
  and teach me your *laws.

v136   Streams of water come from my eyes
  because people do not obey your *teaching.


v137   *LORD, you are *righteous
  and your rules are good.

v138   The *instructions that you gave are very fair.
  And we can *trust in them.

v139   I am so *eager that it makes me feel weak.
  But my enemies do not listen to your words.

v140   We have found that your *sayings are true.
  Your servant loves them.

v141   I am not important and people do not like me.
  But I will not forget your *guidelines.

v142   You are always *righteous and fair.
  Your *teachings are true.

v143   An enemy brought me trouble,
  but your *commands make me happy.

v144   Your *instructions are always fair.
  Make me understand them and find life.


v145   I cried with all my *heart. "Answer me, *LORD".
  "I will obey your *laws", I cried.

v146   "Save me
  and I will keep to your *instructions."

v147   I woke up before dawn and cried to you for help.
  I want all that you promised in your word.

v148   I stayed up all night
  and thought about your *sayings.

v149   Listen to my voice, because you are loving and kind.
  *LORD, keep me alive as your rules promise me.

v150   The people that *persecute me are coming near.
  They want to do something very bad to me.
  They are far away from your *teaching.

v151   *LORD, you are near to me.
  All your *commands are true.

v152   I have known about your *instructions for a long time.
  And I have known that you made them to continue always.


v153   Look at my trouble!
  Save me because I do not forget your *teaching.

v154   Fight my fight for me and *redeem me.
  Keep me alive as your *sayings promise me.

v155   *Godless people are far away from being safe.
  They do not look for your *laws.

v156   *LORD, your love is great,
  because your rules keep me alive.

v157   Many enemies *persecute me
  but I do not go away from your *instructions.

v158   I see people doing such bad things that I hate them.
  But, I do not stop obeying your *sayings.

v159   See how I love your *guidelines, *LORD.
  Keep me alive through your kind love.

v160   All your words are true.
  All your *righteous rules will continue always.


v161   *Princes *persecute me for no good reason.
  But it is your word that really makes my *heart afraid.

v162   I am very happy with your *sayings.
  I am like someone that finds great riches.

v163   I do not like *lies, I hate them.
  Your *teaching is what I love.

v164   I *praise you 7 times every day
  because of your *righteous rules.

v165   People that love your *teaching have a lot of *peace.
  Nothing will make them fall down.

v166   *LORD, I am waiting for you to save me
  while I obey your *commands.

v167   I will keep to your *instructions
  because I love them so much.

v168   I follow your *guidelines and *instructions
  because you see all that I do.


v169   I am calling to you for help, *LORD.
  I want to understand your word.

v170   Hear what I pray and have *mercy on me.
  Save me, as your *sayings promise me.

v171   My lips will pour out *praise
  because you are *teaching me your *laws.

v172   My *tongue will sing your *sayings
  because all your *commands are *righteous.

v173   I want your hand to come to my help
  because I chose to follow your *guidelines.

v174   *LORD, I want you to save me.
  Your *teaching makes me very happy.

v175   Give me life so that I can *praise you.
  May your rules give me help.

v176   I have become like a lost sheep.
  Look for your servant,
  because I have not forgotten your *commands.

Something to do

1.  Find which 8 verse groups have all 8 special words in them. (See The Story of Psalm 119.)

2.  Learn to say some of the verses without looking at the words. Try verses 11, 33, 97, 105 and any other verses that you like.

3.  Find the verses that talk about

  (a) being very happy;

  (b) what the *psalmist did in the night;

  (c) *comfort;

  (d) people that *persecute me.

4.  Find all the verses with "*heart" in them and decide what each means. Look in The Story of Psalm 119 for help.

Word List

blessed ~ someone that God has said or done good things to.

breathe ~ air going through our mouths.

comfort me ~ make me strong and/or happier; say kind things to me and give me help.

command ~ tell someone to do something.

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look in Psalm 120 about the covenant.

create ~ make.

eager ~ want very much for something to happen; wanting to do something very much.

evil ~ very, very bad.

exile ~ away from your own country.

forgive ~ take away the results of *sin. (But look in the notes on Psalm 85:2.)

godless ~ people that do not obey God, and that fight against him.

grapes ~ the fruit of a plant called the vine. People use them to make drink that has alcohol in it. The drink is wine.

guidelines ~ See The Story of Psalm 119.

have mercy on ~ be kind and *forgive when you do not have to.

heart ~ part of the body. *Jews believed that you thought in your heart.

heavens ~ the skies (with sun, moon and stars) or the home of God.

honey ~ a special sugar made by insects called bees.

instructions ~ See The Story of Psalm 119.

Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.

lamp ~ light that you can carry with you.

laws ~ the rules in a country. In Psalm 78 the rules in the first 5 books of the Bible.

lie ~ say words that are not true.

LORD ~ the *covenant name for God (in a *covenant you agree with someone).

mercy ~ being kind when you do not have to be kind.

oppressors ~ people that hurt me. They can hurt me because they are stronger than me.

order ~ these words tell someone what they must do.

peace ~ when there is no fighting with God or with people; when there is no war and everybody is happy.

persecute me ~ do bad things to me because of what I believe.

praise ~ to say how great someone is; or, words that say how great someone is.

prince ~ son of a king.

proud people ~ proud people think that they are good and clever. But they may not be.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

pure ~ very, very clean.

redeem ~ buy back from the enemy.

riches ~ a lot of money and other things of value.

righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people who love and obey him are righteous. Sometimes we say they are "the righteous", meaning "righteous people". Look after Psalm 5 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the word "righteous".

rubbish ~ what people throw away.

sadness ~ to feel very sad.

sayings ~ words that God has said.

shiver ~ feel very, very cold.

silver ~ a metal of great value, like gold.

sin ~ not obeying God; or what you do when you do not obey God.

stupid ~ opposite of clever.

teaching ~ (in Psalm 119) part of the first 5 books of the bible.

temple ~ a place where people meet to worship God.

tongue ~ the part of our mouth that we talk with.

trap ~ thing that you catch animals or birds in.

trust ~ believe that someone (usually God in the psalms) will be kind to you.

truth ~ words that are true.

unkind ~ the opposite of kind.

wicked ~ very, very bad.

wine ~ a drink with alcohol in it. People make it from *grapes.

wineskin ~ a wineskin is like a bottle. People made them from animal skins. People store *wine in wineskins.

wonderful ~ great and surprising.


© 1999-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

December 2002

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