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scripture

 

PSALM 19*

God’s Glory in the Heavens and in the Law

1For the leader. A psalm of David.

I

2The heavens declare the glory of God;

the firmament proclaims the works of his hands.a

3Day unto day pours forth speech;

night unto night whispers knowledge.

4*There is no speech, no words;

their voice is not heard;

5A report goes forth through all the earth,

their messages, to the ends of the world.

He has pitched in them a tent for the sun;*

6it comes forth like a bridegroom from his canopy,

and like a hero joyfully runs its course.

7From one end of the heavens it comes forth;

its course runs through to the other;

nothing escapes its heat.

II

8The law of the LORD is perfect,

refreshing the soul.

The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,

giving wisdom to the simple.b

9The precepts of the LORD are right,

rejoicing the heart.

The command of the LORD is clear,

enlightening the eye.

10The fear of the LORD is pure,

enduring forever.

The statutes of the LORD are true,

all of them just;

11More desirable than gold,

than a hoard of purest gold,

Sweeter also than honey

or drippings from the comb.c

12By them your servant is warned;*

obeying them brings much reward.

III

13Who can detect trespasses?

Cleanse me from my inadvertent sins.

14Also from arrogant ones restrain your servant;

let them never control me.

Then shall I be blameless,

innocent of grave sin.

15Let the words of my mouth be acceptable,

the thoughts of my heart before you,

LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

* [Psalm 19] The heavenly elements of the world, now beautifully arranged, bespeak the power and wisdom of their creator (Ps 19:27). The creator’s wisdom is available to human beings in the law (Ps 19:811), toward which the psalmist prays to be open (Ps 19:1214). The themes of light and speech unify the poem.

* [19:4] No speech, no words: the regular functioning of the heavens and the alternation of day and night inform human beings without words of the creator’s power and wisdom.

* [19:5] The sun: in other religious literature the sun is a judge and lawgiver since it sees all in its daily course; Ps 19:5b7 form a transition to the law in Ps 19:811. The six synonyms for God’s revelation (Ps 19:811) are applied to the sun in comparable literature.

* [19:12] Warned: the Hebrew verb means both to shine and to warn, cf. Dn 12:3.

a. [19:2] Ps 8:1; 50:6; 97:6.

b. [19:8] Ps 12:7; 119.

c. [19:11] Sir 24:19.






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