DIFFERENT TYPES OF PSALMS
THE HISTORICAL PSALMS
Some of the psalm’s re-tell Israel’s history from the Patriarchs to David, the capture of Jerusalem and the return. In chronological order of events these are:
Ps. 105 
This psalm is a hymn of praise to the Lord who has promised the land of Canaan to His people, who can be sought in all places and at all times, and whose word of promise is everywhere effective. It parallels Ch.12 in Genesis and continues in this book and the next, Exodus. It seems to be a song of Israel in the 6thC during the Exile, when it did not actually possess the Promised Land. It is inviting Yahweh to bring them back to that land.
In verses 1-6 Israel, descendant of the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob, are invited to praise and seek the Lord’s presence.
Verses 7-11 identity God as the Lord of the whole world and as the one who remembers the promise of land to the Patriarchs.
The rest of the psalm retells the mighty deeds of the past:
Verses 12-15 the ancestors in the land of Canaan. From Gen. 12 - 35
Verses 16-22 Joseph in the land of Egypt.Ch. 41 in Gen.
Verses 23- 38 Israel in the land of Egypt. Ch.46 – Ex. 2.25.
Verses 39-45 Israel in the desert on the way to Canaan.

Ps. 106 
This psalm is a hymn of praise to the Lord who has promised the land of Canaan to His people, who can be sought in all places and at all times, and whose word of promise is everywhere effective. It parallels Ch.12 in Genesis and continues in this book and the next, Exodus. It seems to be a song of Israel in the 6thC during the Exile, when it did not actually possess the Promised Land. It is inviting Yahweh to bring them back to that land.
In verses 1-6 Israel, descendant of the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob, are invited to praise and seek the Lord’s presence.
Verses 7-11 identity God as the Lord of the whole world and as the one who remembers the promise of land to the Patriarchs.
The rest of the psalm retells the mighty deeds of the past:
Verses 12-15 the ancestors in the land of Canaan. From Gen. 12 - 35
Verses 16-22 Joseph in the land of Egypt.Ch. 41 in Gen.
Verses 23- 38 Israel in the land of Egypt. Ch.46 – Ex. 2.25.
Verses 39-45 Israel in the desert on the way to Canaan.

Ps. 78
A maskil of Asaph – this is an instructive psalm introduced by a bard to heed his words in a three part introduction with each part ending with “and the wonders that he wrought” (vv. 1-4; 5-7; 8-11). It is a long re-telling of Israel’s history in the present to give a new meaning and to plead that the present generation does not act as their forefathers. 
The rest of this long psalm consists of two parallel recitals of approximately of equal length.
First Recital                                                  Second Recital
The wilderness events vv.12-32                      From Egypt to Canaan vv. 40-64
Gracious act vv. 12-16                                Gracious act vv. 40-55
Rebellion vv. 17-20                                       Rebellion vv.56-68
Divine anger & punishment                           Divine anger & punishment
-manna and quail vv.21-31                             destruction of Shiloh vv.59-64
Sequel vv. 32-39                                           Sequel 65-72
In the first recital the crossing of the Red/Reed Sea and the water in the wilderness constitute one great miracle of water, making all the more inexcusable the consequent rebellion ( refer to vv.20-22). This is followed by divine anger etc.
The second recital covers from Egypt to the time of David and of what Yahweh did for them. However the Israelites did not obey and so in the end He destroyed Shiloh. The sequel to this is David and Zion. Read Judges and 1 Samuel. 
So now will Israel see the significance of the divine pattern of gift – sin – punishment – a new gift. Will the people recognise Judah as the heir to all that has past? Yahweh has not left them without a shepherd and a shrine.

Ps. 135 
This is a hymn of praise to God, the Lord and Benefactor of Israel, seen in the opening verses (1-4), and ending (vv.19- 21) with a recommendation for all to praise the Lord for the bounties bestowed on the Israelites as well being the Creator of all the cosmos. It would be a hymn that could be sung appropriately in the Temple.
Verses 5-7 reveals why Yahweh is greater than any other gods as He has made everything and instigates everything such as the storm clouds.
Verses 8-14 reveals those wonderful redeeming acts of Yahweh in the history of Israel, such as smiting Pharaoh and slaying Sihon and Og.
Verses 15-18 reveals in the conquering of these leaders that their various idols are worthless. They are simply statues without any substance.

Ps. 136
This psalm is a hymn of Thanksgiving and as you read it you will see if covers basically the same text as the previous one. Here the emphasis on giving thanks illustrated in the opening verses (1-3) and then in the repetition of the refrain after each act of God , “for his mercy endures for ever.” This suggests that this psalm was meant to be sung antiphonally and in public. “Mercy” is what of course Yahweh has done for His chosen people in bringing them into the promised land as well as His acts of creation.

Ps. 137
This is a lament sung by the Jewish Community when in Babylon during the exile period, capturIng their lament. “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” We cannot; so our lyres/harps are hung from the trees. Not only has Yahweh punished us for our sins but He has left us in this alien country and Zion is our home. The psalmist in his remorse declares, “If I forget thee O Jerusalem: let my right hand forget her cunning.” The Jewishness is evident in this psalm. We are Jews foremost. Jerusalem is our home and we pine for her.
Verses 1-2 states where they are by the waters of Babylon weeping and songless.
Verses 3-6. Although our captors have asked us to share our songs with them, we cannot. Our grief is too deep as we remember our homeland but we won’t lose hope that one day we shall again see her.
Verses 7-9 are directed against those who have destroyed Jerusalem- Babylonians and those who raided her afterwards – Edomites, the old enemy. The psalmist speaking on behalf of his people wants these destroyed.

Psalm 126 
The background of this Psalm is the period of history recorded Ezra and Nehemiah, when the people of God were brought out of captivity in Babylon and returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city, and then to rebuild the temple. It is a joyous song to be in the holy city again.Some of those returned had never known Canaan. Only those who were in their eighties and nineties who had been taken captive as a teenager and perhaps returned as an old man, and woman would remember what Canaan looked like, and remember Galilee and the plains of central Palestine, and the hills of Zion and Jerusalem, and the Negev in the deep South. So we can imagine their joy of returning, something they never dreamed possible. Some of them would have been exiled before the temple was destroyed. This Psalm divides into three sections. There is a song; there is, a prayer; and a promise. 
Verses 1-3 is a song of joy at the great things God has done for us. It is remembering the plan and purpose Yahweh has always had for His people.
Verses 4-5 is a prayer to restore their fortunes that resembles what the Negev that is usually dry and unfruitful, what it is like when the waters from the mountain flow down through this desert land.
Verse 6 is a promise. Those who go forth in tears will come home rejoicing. All the heartache is rewarded in the end for the faithful. Those Jews who returned from Babylon saw the walls erected, the temple rebuilt and the Law enforced. The Lord has been gracious once again to His people.

Psalm 107 is, above all, a hymn commemorating the power of God who has brought them in a single people, redeeming them from every danger, bringing them from the four corners of the earth (vv. 1-3)
Verses 4-9 Yahweh rescued them from the sterile desert as he “turns a desert into a pool of water”.
Verses 10- 16 Yahweh rescued from the bonds of primordial night.
Verses 17- 22 Yahweh rescued from mortal illness by healing them.
Verses 23-32 Yahweh rescues from the angry sea by calming the storm
Verses 33- 41 Yahweh, despite destroying cities such Sodom and Gomorrah He has made the land fruitful for Israel’s inhabitants and rescued them when they were in danger.
Verses 42-43 Israel became a show case of the Lord’s power and mercy for the entire world. Finally there is an invitation to all to visit this land to see the favours of the Lord. 
Despite the transgressions of the Israelites, the Lord forgives them. The psalm elaborates on this theme, going on to say that the Lord “turns a desert into pools of water … and there he lets the hungry dwell” (v. 35, 36). This description of miracles as performed by the Lord reinforces the imagery of “wonderful works” mentioned earlier in the psalm (v. 8). The works of the Lord, however, are mentioned in many psalms; what makes psalm 107 somewhat unique is its depiction of the works of the Lord as illumination for the people. The psalm is a hymn of thanksgiving to the Lord “for the purpose of making [the Lord’s works] known to humankind, so that they too can join in the praise of [the Lord].” This concept seems to indicate that David has written a sort of circulatory hymn thanking the Lord for enabling the Israelites to thank the Lord. These concordant themes of enlightenment and gratitude reinforce each other throughout the psalm, and, indeed, throughout the rest of the fifth book of psalms, of which psalm 107 is the opening hymn.

THE MESSIANNIC HYMN
​In the Christian tradition there are number of psalms that are referred to as the Messianic psalms. One only has to read the New Testament to see how the early Christians saw their Lord Jesus Christ fulfilling verses in the Psalter by quoting them. Those strictly called the messianic Psalm are those that specifically refer to the Lord Jesus as the Lord of creation, the eternal High Priest and Judge of the world. These most obvious are psalms 2, 8 and 110. Yet the most quotations from the psalms in the New Testament are connected with the passion and death of the Lord.
Firstly, Psalm 2. The key verse in psalm 2 is verse 7 “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” In its original context it means that the Son is the Lord of all creation. In the New Testament the homilist who gave what we know as the Letter to the Hebrews quoted amongst other Biblical quotations this one to show the uniqueness of Christ in 1.5. " For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? The latter part of this quotation is taken from II Samuel 7.14
Luke also put it on the lips of Paul in his first pesher on Israel’s history on what we know as the First Missionary Journey at Paphos in Cyprus. 
Acts 13:33" God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." Are we to think that the Son was literally begotten after he rose? This declares the fact of what the Father spoke that the Son is indeed Lord. He is the firstborn from the dead.
Psalm 8
This is another significant psalm in connection with both Christ’s divinity and humanity. The first verse speaks of the Lord of creation, revealing the former. 
4-6 … “What is man that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visiteth him? For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. These verses are echoed in Hebrews 2:6-11 and Hebrews 2:8. They speak of Christ’s humanity and divinity. He represents the human race and will be given the authority over all creation.
These verses are echoed in Hebrews 2:6-11 and Hebrews 2:8. Christ represents the human race and will be given the authority over all creation.
Verse 2 of this psalm, “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength” is in the Matthean Gospel put on the lips of Jesus (21:15-16) when the religious leaders asked that He stop the children singing praises to Him, He replied, “Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?”
Psalm 110
This entire psalm speaks of the Lordship of Christ, Jesus being the true High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Again in Hebrews this psalm is quoted especially in connection with this. His intercessions in heaven are perpetual unlike the High Priest in the Temple. They are also authentic to the Father and in due time will subdue all His enemies (Heb. 5.6, 6.20, 10. 13). Christ as judge appears many times in the early Christian documents in the New Testament. For example the author of Acts in 2:33-35, 5:30-31; Paul in 1Cor 15:25-26; and there are allusions to it in Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21.

Psalm 102 vv. 25-27 also has its theme as the Lord laying the foundation for creation that is quoted in Hebrews 1. 10-12. 
Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
And as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.me 

Other psalms quoted in the Gospels were fulfilled in the Anointed One in His Passion. Perhaps overshadowing all others is Psalm 22.
1. “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” These words were uttered by Jesus on the cross (Matthew 27:46). It portrays His suffering when it seems that His Father’s presence was not there.
7-8. “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him.” Some of the crowd at Golgotha uttered These words in their disparaging of Christ. In Matthew 27:39 we read, “They that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads”. Also in Luke 23:35, “And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided Him, saying, He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the Chosen of God”.
15, “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws.” The evangelist of the Johannine Gospel expresses Christ’s thirst in these words. (19:28).
16. “they pierced my hands and feet.” This is also quoted in the Johannine Gospel when the risen Lord encourages the doubting Thomas to feel and believe (20:27).
18.… “They parted my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” This is the quotation when the soldiers decided not to divide the seamless garment of Christ but to cast lots to have the whole. (Matthew 27:35; John 19:23-24).

Psalm 34 
v. 20 “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” appears in the Johannine Gospel when Jesus dies before the soldiers had to break His leg bones to hasten His death (Jn. 19.37).

Psalm 35 
v. 11 “False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.” This appears in the Marcan Gospel when false witnesses accuse Jesus at his trial (14:57).

Psalm 41
v.9 “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” The Lucan evangelist has Jesus referring to these words in regards to Judas’ betrayal (22:48).
Psalm 69
4. “They have hated me without a cause” is quoted in the Johannine tradition when Jesus is talking about His enemies (15:25).
v. 9. “The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up” is quoted by the Johannine evangelist in connection of Jesus cleansing the temple (2.17).
v.21 “They gave me vinegar to drink” as quoted in the Passion narrative when Jesus hanged on 

Psalm 118
v. 22. “The stone which the builders rejected is become the head stone of the corner.” In the parable of the vineyard and tenants who killed the heir, this is quoted. Of course it refers to Christ being rejected by the Jews (Mark. 12.10).
v. 26 “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the LORD.” This is the crowd’s greeting to Christ as He rides on an ass into Jerusalem from Bethany (Matt. 21.9).  

There is one psalm quotation used in the New Testament in respect to the birth of the Saviour. Luke refers to it in the Infant Narrative when the archangel Gabriel appears before the teenager Mary and later on in Acts when he puts on Paul’s lips in that pesher in Paphos (Lk. 1. 32-3, 69, Acts 13. 23. This is psalm 89.4. “Thy seed will I stablish for ever: and set up thy throne from one generation to another.”

Marianne Dorman
THE PENITENTIAL PSALMS
 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 103, 143
​PSALMS OF TRUST
It was Augustine who drew attention to what we know as the seven penitential psalms. When he was dying, he had the seven psalms hung on the walls of his room in order to recite them as best he could.
In the early church psalm 51 was recited at the end of the morning service. In the mediæval period they were recited in sickness for recovery and then on the deathbed. In various prayer books they were collected together. During Lent they were recited on Fridays after Matins.
These psalms became so popular that poets wrote paraphrases or poems based on them. Composers set them to music such as Lassus and Byrd. There were also commentaries on them. The first one in English is of 15th C. origin by Dame Eleanor Hull who translated a French version. 
One would think that all these psalms would mention sin and guilt. But this is not true as illustrated in psalm 6. In this psalm the psalmist is pleading from relief from sickness or attack from his enemies. Psalm 143 also refers to enemies, those external powers that oppress and crush a person
Psalm 32 is not a pleading psalm to be delivered from sin and guilt but a than thanksgiving psalm that Yahweh did forgive the psalmist’s guilt and sin. 
So what is sin? Sin is an offence against God.... Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become "like gods," knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus "love of oneself even to the contempt of God."

PSALM 6
Domine, ne in furore This psalm is really a lament to the Lord to be spared His anger for the sin in the world, both collectively and personal. The psalmist thus pleads for bodily and spiritual healing and for deliverance from his enemies. It would seem that he has suffered for a long time from the consequence of sin, not only his own but also those of his enemies but at last the Lord has heard his weeping and earnest desire to change his life around. He is now confident of the presence of the Lord in his life, evident in the last verse.
PSALM 32 (supposedly Augustine’s favourite)
Beati, quorum Although officially a psalm of thanksgiving, it focuses on confession of sin. Its opening verse sets the tone, “Blessed are those whose unrighteousness/transgression is forgiven.” The psalm unveils the psalmist’s personal experience of grappling with sin. Before he confessed his bones were consumed and he was like one whose spirit was “like the drought in summer”. He realises that he cannot cloak his sin from the Lord. After confessing he begins to experience the healing process. Through that experience he wants to teach others of his own experience. By doing so they will know will be able to rejoice in the Lord. 
Actually what this psalm reveals is the way to spiritual health.
vv. 1-2 – is a statement of fact that those who seek forgiveness of sin will be forgiven.
vv.3-5 the steps leading to confessing my sin to the Lord.
v. 6 the actual confession and forgiveness by God.
vv. 7-8 the healing process.
v. 9 God will teach and guide the penitent.
vv. 10—12 basic statement of the consequences of either being godly or ungodly, The righteous will always rejoice in the Lord.
PSALM 38
Domine, ne in furore The psalmist is afflicted by a grave sickness and he cries out loudly to the Lord, so much so as he is “brought into so great trouble and misery” that causes him to mourn “all day long”. He of course believed that this was caused by some sin of his and the Lord was punishing him as a consequence. He demands that the Lord answer his plea as he has put his trust in Him.
In this agony he cries out to the Lord to save him for no other will come to his defence. “Forsake me not, O Lord, O Lord my God” and please “be not far from me.” Indeed make haste “to help me”.  
PSALM 51
Misere mei, Deus – have mercy upon me. How often does that word ring out in our liturgy and prayers. No other psalm has been put to music as much as this one. The most famous version is that of Allegri. It was first written for the Vatican and its score was kept a secret until the young Mozart accompanied his father to St. Peter’s one Lent and heard it. This prodigious child retained all that music in his head, and then afterwards wrote the score for the world to know. It is always sung on Ash Wednesday in so many parts of the world.
One of the reasons for its popularity is that it is written in the first person and therefore it is very personal., “Against thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight” It opens with the plea for God to have mercy and cleanse the penitent of his/her sins. In this first part the penitent clearly acknowledges his/her sin against God. The penitent insinuates that sin is something that he/she is born with (what Augustine called original sin). 
In pt.II 7- 9 the penitent asks to be cleansed of his/her sins in order to have his sins blotted out (these verses are the asperges at the beginning of Mass).
In Pt., III vv. 10 -12 the penitent asks for a clean heart in order to have his spirit renewed by the Spirit of God. 
In Pt. IV vv. 13-15 the penitent announces that he will teach transgressors God’s ways so that they too can return to Him and know God’s redeeming love. 
Pt. V. vv. 16- 19 the penitent announces that his sacrifice is “a contrite spirit and heart”. This is pleasing to the Lord. He will always praise the Lord – that is his offering.

PSALM 102
Domine Exaudi Orationem Meam. This penitential psalm describes in vivid imagery the experience of the nearness of death. There are some beautiful and powerful imageries conveying this - e.g. “ For my days are consumed away like smoke”, “my bones are burnt up as it were a fire-brand”, “My heart is smitten down, and withered like grass”, “I am become like a pelican in the wilderness”, and “like an owl that is in the desert.”
vv. 1-11 the psalmist pours out his heart as seen in the above imageries, concluding with. “ My days are gone like a shadow * and I am withered like grass.” This psalmist is too tormented by his enemies.
Verses 12-22 seem to be an intrusion in this psalm as the whole emphasis changes to one of thanksgiving. “thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever * and thy remembrance throughout all generations.” The Lord will have mercy and pity those made low. Just as He did of old, Yahweh looks from His sanctuary upon earth to her needs. 
vv. 23- 28. The plaintiff tone and the transistory nature of life re-appear. Yet by the time the psalm there is a glimmer of hope. Yahweh remains the same from one generation to another, whilst the psalmist sees the proper order of things.

PSALM 130
De Profundis – Out of the deep have I called unto thee. The opening verses reveal the despair and distress the psalmist feels, reminiscent of the beginning of psalm 69. “Save me, O God *
 for the waters are come in, even unto my soul.
 I stick fast in the deep mire, where no ground is * I am come into deep waters, so that the floods run over me.”
vv.3-6 the psalmist turns to the Lord, that he can “mark what is done amiss”. His spirits rise as he ponders on trusting the Lord. “My soul does wait for him” as does the morning watchman
vv. 7-8. There is a shift from the personal to the communal and so this could be a postscript to this psalm or it could be that the psalmist is applying his own experience to the whole community.
PSALM 143
Audi – hear my prayer. This psalm introduces the theological concept of righteousness. The psalmist pleads that the Lord will not enter into judgment upon him. In the O.T. in Genesis Abram was accounted righteous because he trusted in the Lord. In the N.T. in the writings of Paul one can only be made righteous through the righteousness of Christ. It is therefore a gift from grace. Thus any prayer depends on the righteousness of God.
vv. 3-4 problems have been caused by his enemies, and so the psalmist has lost self-respect.
v. 5 the tone changes as he remembers what Yahweh has done in the past.
v. 6 the psalmist makes an act of will. “I stretch forth my hand unto thee.”
vv. 7- 10 these are petitionary verses – “hide not your face from me”, “let me hear of your loving kindness”, “Show me the way to walk in”, “deliver me from mine enemies”, “teach me to do what pleases thee.”
vv.11-12 returns to the appeal to God’s righteousness. It is only His righteousness that will being his soul out of trouble.

There are psalms that are a comfort to us in life, especially in illness, doubt, at the end of the day and old age. If we need assurance, we only have to open the psalter and verses of trust and comfort will jump out at us. I have always advocated that we should learn whole psalms like the twenty-third and many appropriate verses off by heart to be there in our hearts when we need them. 
Here are a few verses to help in those moments.
Ps. 11. “In the Lord I put my trust.”
Ps. 16. “ Thou shall shew me the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy.”
Ps. 23 “The Lord is my shepherd: therefore can I lack nothing.” All this psalm is one of comfort.”
Ps. 27. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear: the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?” 
Ps. 37 But the salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord : who is also their strength in the time of trouble.
Ps. 62. “My soul truly waits still upon God: for of him comes my salvation.”
Ps. 63. “Because thou has been my helper: therefore under the shadow of thy wing will I rejoice.”
Ps. 90. “Lord, thou hast been our refuge: from one generation to another.”
Ps. 91 “He shall defend thee under his wings, and thou shalt be safe under his feathers:his faithfulness and truth shall be thy shield and buckler,” 
Ps. 121. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills: from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord: who has made heaven and earth.” – also a pilgrim psalm.
Ps. 125 “ Those that put their trust in the Lord shall be even as Mt. Sion: which cannot be moved.” - also a pilgrim psalm
Ps. 131 “My soul is even as a weaned child.” 
Ps. 147 “Heals those that are broken in heart: and gives medicine to heal their sickness.”

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                                                            THE TORAH OR LAW PSALMS

These are psalms 1, 19. 7- 14, 119. They provide wise instruction for daily living and guidance for living a full life, and a life full of God’s Word.

PSALM 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful . 
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither ; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper . 
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away . 
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish .  

This Torah/Law psalm introduces the Psalter with its message to take delight in the Law of the Law and to meditate on it day and night. We know that pious Jews did that and that is why women did so much of the work. Yet the man who does this is considered to be blessed. He is also compared to “a tree planted by the rivers of water”. That tree always brings forth fruit in its proper season. That tree and those who study the Law live in contrast to the wicked who are like chaff that is driven away as the wind.
What this psalm does is to contrast two ways of living: the humble who acknowledge their dependency on God and seek to know God’s will by studying the Torah. They love God in a personal way and study His Law daily. Then there are the scornful who do not care for God and His way and who say “there is no God”.

PSALM 19 vv. 7-14
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure , making wise the simple.
 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. 
12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
 13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 
14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

These verses state how the pious Jew felt about the Law. It is perfect, right and pure. It is this Law that enlightens one’s eyes. Because of this it is more to be desire than gold and silver. It is also much sweeter than honey and honeycomb. To be able to keep the Law, the psalmist asks to be kept from sin and any kind of transgression.

PSALM 119  
It is an acrostic psalm with each section beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet that gives a continuity to this psalm that flaunts that happiness is derived from knowing and keeping the Law. There are eight words for the Law in this psalm: way, law, decrees, precepts, statutes, commands, ordinances, words.

Many themes emerge from this long psalm.
1.Praise the Word
In nearly every verse, under one title or another Yahweh’s Torah is glorified as verses form many petitions. The psalmist uses all those synonyms for God’s Word such as law, testimonies, precepts, judgments, commandments, statutes, sayings, word, way and path.

2.I Love Your Word!
This psalm forms a personal testimony and is designed for practical and personal improvement without reference to national or ecclesiastical matters. Indeed it is a storehouse of material for our meditation and pious devotion. The psalmist was so taken up with affection for God’s Word that he often would blurt out in exclamation, “O how I love Thy law!” (v. 97). Notice the following:

  Thy law do I love (v. 113)
  I love Thy testimonies (v. 119)
  I love Thy commandments above gold (v. 127)
  Thy servant loveth it (v. 140)
  Consider how I love Thy precepts (v. 159)
  Thy law do I love (v. 163)
  I love them exceedingly (v. 167)

3.Quicken Me
It is a rewarding exercise to identify and dwell upon the key words which occur throughout Psalm 119. The word “quicken” appears many times in the King James Version. In most cases the psalmist used it as a prayer to God: “quicken me” - meaning renew me Notice the direct connection of “quicken” to the Word of God in the following verses:

  Quicken Thou me according to Thy word (v. 25)
  Quicken Thou me in Thy way (v. 37)
  Quicken me in Thy righteousness (v. 40)
  Thy word hath quickened me (v. 50)
  Quicken me after Thy lovingkindness (v. 88)
  Thou hast quickened me (v. 93)
  Quicken me, O Lord, according unto Thy word (v. 107)
  O Lord, quicken me according to Thy judgments (v. 149)
  O Lord: quicken me according to Thy judgments (v. 156)
  Quicken me, O Lord, according to Thy lovingkindness so shall I keep the testimonies of Thy mouth (v. 159)

4.Delight
The psalmist loves the Law but he also delights in it that gives a richer meaning to its pleasure, exultation and joy. That delight featured in the very first psalm with the psalmist declaring “his delight is in the law of the LORD”. 
In this particular psalm, the psalmist’s delight in the Law is expressed numerous times in different modes. The dominant one is simply in the “great delight” of God’s testimonies or statues. It is like “all manner of riches” (v. 14). As he delights in them, it spurs him on not to forget the precepts (v. 16) for these are his “counsellors (v. 24).
He also regarded his delight in the Torah as the means for keeping out of trouble (v.92) while in those depressive moments his rock is this delight (v.143) and in darker moments he prays for God to direct him again to the commandments as here is delight (v.35). 
Undoubtedly this psalm was written out of deep and often passionate faith as well as a deep love for God’s Word. Indeed “delight” sums up this lengthy psalm on God’s Law.