The acrostic form and the use of the Torah words constitute the framework for an elaborate prayer. The grounds for the prayer are established in the first two stanzas (alef and beth): the Torah is held up as a source of blessing and right conduct, and the psalmist pledges to dedicate himself to the law. The prayer proper begins in the third stanza (gimel, v. 17). Like many other psalms, this prayer includes dramatic lament (e. g. verses 81–88), joyous praise (e. g. verses 45–48) and prayers for life, deliverance and vindication (e. g. verses 132–34). What makes Psalm 119 unique is the way that these requests are continually and explicitly grounded in the gift of the Torah and the psalmist’s loyalty to it.

Leave a Reply