While studying the Bible in Theology school, I was particularly intrigued by Psalm 119 because of its message on living a righteous life.
So, I spent a significant amount of time studying what the author meant throughout the Chapter and how others interpreted it.
Recently, I have been getting a lot of questions regarding this chapter, from my theology students, bible study members, and even a few church members.
So, I thought that it was only right to write an article and share my knowledge about it, starting with the question, who wrote Psalms 119?
Most people believe that Psalm 119, was written by King David to teach his son, Solomon, about leading a spiritual life. However, some scholars maintain that the specific author of Psalm 119 is unknown. Other scholars speculate that Ezra, Jeremiah, Daniel, or David wrote it since they believe that this Psalm reflects the difficulties faced by the author(s).
In this post, I’ll share more insights about the author of Psalm 119, the meaning of the Psalm, and its context. To learn more, keep reading!
Why do people believe that David wrote Psalms 119?
Most people believe that David wrote Psalm 119 because David is the Psalmist and is considered the author of the entire book of Psalms.
The other reason why Christians believe that David wrote this chapter is because of David’s prolific writing abilities, as well as his deep love for the Laws of God, which is also seen in other Biblical texts.
The poetry in this psalm is believed to match that of David’s, which is why most people believe that David also authored this Chapter.
Note that while Psalm 119 boasts 176 verses, it’s also known as one of the orphan psalms, but it’s said that it may have been authored by someone other than David.
Unlike other Chapters in Psalm, this chapter doesn’t start with the phrase ‘A Song of David.’ Since his name is missing from the Chapter, scholars believe that it may or may not have been authored by David.
What is the message in Psalms 119?
Psalm 119 talks about the difficulties faced by the author, and also the truths about God’s nature and the fact that God is all-sufficient.
It is considered an extension of Psalm 119:7-9, and it also talks about God’s law and how following his word/ teachings revives the soul: “I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.”
This chapter reminds Christians that the Lord’s statutes are trustworthy, His precepts right and filling the joy with light and that the fear of the Lord is enduring forever and pure.
It talks about God’s laws, judgments, statutes, precepts, testimonies, words, ordinances, and commandments. The Chapter affirms that God’s teachings reflect God’s character, and it also reminds believers that the Word of God is sufficient.
What is the context and background of Psalms 119?
Psalm 119 is considered an important scripture about God’s wisdom since it expands on the teachings found in Psalm 107-150.
This Chapter encourages Christians to live by God’s will and also to lead a righteous life.
It’s believed that the author of this psalm wrote this Chapter while going through immensely troubling times, and the scripture asked God for comfort, wisdom, protection, and joy.
It’s also believed that this Chapter was written to appreciate God’s greatness and Glory.
What is the meaning of Psalms 119?
Psalm 119 is said to be a song praising God, his wise words, and God’s law. This Chapter is also about the expression of God’s desires and experiences for believers who walk with God by God’s laws and find immense wisdom and joy from the precepts of God.
- It is believed to be a reminder of God’s teachings and how the Word of God should be the guide and the top priority for all believers, regardless of what they may be going through in life.
- A reminder of God’s authority – it represents God’s authority, which is exerted through His power and commands (laws).
- A reminder of God’s Reliable Teachings and Word – This chapter not only contains the highest number of verses in the Bible but also offers teachings about the importance of trusting God because He is righteous, true, and faithful.
- Power of God’s Word. The other meaning derived from Psalm 119 is that God’s teachings and Word are powerful, with life-transforming effects.
How do people interpret Psalms 119?
There are varying interpretations of Psalm 119, but the most common interpretations focus on this Chapter being a reflective prayer by God’s child, the author, who had faced difficulties in life, and throughout this Chapter, talks about the afflictions and persecution of man especially when His commands/ laws aren’t followed.
It’s also interpreted as a reminder of God’s grace and how following His words/ commands, the trustworthy statutes of God, and also the importance of the beatitudes.
It’s also interpreted as a celebration of God’s instructions and words for all His people as mentioned in Psalm 119:72: “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”
Who is the Psalmist addressing in Psalm 119?
The Psalmist addresses God. According to Christian teachings, it represents a heartfelt prayer to God. The psalmist talks to God while also reflecting on God’s nature and greatness.
He uses this Chapter to talk about God’s eternal nature, His Truths, and His commands despite going through endless afflictions.
What does ”Gimel” mean in Psalms 119?
Gimel refers to the third letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and its use in Psalm 119 represents the giving of punishment or reward.
In this verse, Gimel represents the third section of this chapter with verses 19-24. Gimel is used as an acrostic for the very first word of these verses. It may also translate to ‘to benefit’ or ‘to deal bountifully,’
Also worth noting is that Psalm 119 features 22 sections, each with 8 verses, and each of these verses begins with the corresponding letter from the alphabet.
What is the prayer of Psalms 119?
Psalm 119 is a prayer with different prayer elements ranging from praise and petitions for wisdom to obedience, lamentation, and vindication.
In Psalm 119:9, the psalmist asks God for help to live according to His will, not to sin (Psalm 119:11), to delight in God’s decrees without ever neglecting His words (Psalm 119:16), and to turn away from sin (Psalm 119:37&133).
In Psalm 119:28, the psalmist asks God for strength, and Psalm 119:65 is a prayer about praising God for his righteous commands: “Do good to your servant according to your word, Lord.”
What do bible commentators say about Psalms 119?
According to commentators, Psalm 119 praises God and His laws while also expressing the deep sorrows and experiences of the believer.
It’s also believed that the structure of this Chapter is meaningful, with each of the 22 sections corresponding to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
It’s also believed that this Psalm teaches Christians how to live and love, obey God’s commandments, praise Him, and avoid sin/evil.
What can Christians learn from Psalms 119?
Some of the lessons that Christians can learn from Psalm 119 include lessons in understanding, obedience, and seeking the guidance of God. These lessons include:
- Importance of God’s laws, commandments, statutes, and decrees.
- The importance of God’s guidance and wisdom for success in life
- The importance of being obedient to God and that obeying God’s commands and laws brings great rewards.
- Significance of meditating on the Word of God constantly and praising Him at all times.
As a Christian, I have always been passionate about sharing God’s word with young people. This inspired me to pursue a Certificate in Christian Education, an Undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, and a Graduate degree in Theology. My knowledge in school and experience from dealing with the youth made me an expert at discussing Christian-related topics. I feel privileged working as the Coordinator of the Christian Youth Ministry at Christian Faith Guide. You can read more about me on the about us page.