Of the excellence of virtue consisting in the love and observance of the commandments of God.
Aleph... The first eight verses of this psalm in the original begin with Aleph, which is the name of the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The second eight verses begin with Beth, the name of the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet; and so to the end of the whole alphabet, in all twenty-two letters, each letter having eight verses. This order is variously expounded by the holy fathers; which shews the difficulty of understanding the holy scriptures, and consequently with what humility, and submission to the Church they are to be read.
118:1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
118:2. Blessed are they that search his testimonies: that seek him with their whole heart.
His testimonies... The commandments of God are called his testimonies, because they testify his holy will unto us. Note here, that in almost every verse of this psalm (which in number are 176) the word and law of God, and the love and observance of it, is perpetually inculcated, under a variety of denominations, all signifying the same thing.
118:3. For they that work iniquity, have not walked in his ways.
118:4. Thou hast commanded thy commandments to be kept most diligently.
118:5. O! that my ways may be directed to keep thy justifications.
118:6. Then shall I not be confounded, when I shall look into all thy commandments.
118:7. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned the judgments of thy justice.
118:8. I will keep thy justifications: O! do not thou utterly forsake me.
118:9. By what doth a young man correct his way? by observing thy words.
118:10. With my whole heart have I sought after thee: let me not stray from thy commandments.
118:11. Thy words have I hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against thee.
118:12. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy justifications.
118:13. With my lips I have pronounced all the judgments of thy mouth.
118:14. I have been delighted in the way of thy testimonies, as in all riches.
118:15. I will meditate on thy commandments: and I will consider thy ways.
118:16. I will think of thy justifications: I will not forget thy words.
118:17. Give bountifully to thy servant, enliven me: and I shall keep thy words.
118:18. Open thou my eyes: and I will consider the wondrous things of thy law.
118:19. I am a sojourner on the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.
118:20. My soul hath coveted to long for thy justifications, at all times.
118:21. Thou hast rebuked the proud: they are cursed who decline from thy commandments.
118:22. Remove from me reproach and contempt: because I have sought after thy testimonies.
118:23. For princes sat, and spoke against me: but thy servant was employed in thy justifications.
118:24. For thy testimonies are my meditation: and thy justifications my counsel.
118:25. My soul hath cleaved to the pavement: quicken thou me according to thy word.
118:26. I have declared my ways, and thou hast heard me: teach me thy justifications.
118:27. Make me to understand the way of thy justifications: and I shall be exercised in thy wondrous works.
118:28. My soul hath slumbered through heaviness: strengthen thou me in thy words.
118:29. Remove from me the way of iniquity: and out of thy law have mercy on me.
118:30. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments I have not forgotten.
118:31. I have stuck to thy testimonies, O Lord: put me not to shame.
118:32. I have run the way of thy commandments, when thou didst enlarge my heart.
118:33. Set before me for a law the way of thy justifications, O Lord: and I will always seek after it.
118:34. Give me understanding, and I will search thy law; and I will keep it with my whole heart.
118:35. Lead me into the path of thy commandments; for this same I have desired.
118:36. Incline my heart into thy testimonies and not to covetousness.
118:37. Turn away my eyes that they may not behold vanity: quicken me in thy way.
118:38. Establish thy word to thy servant, in thy fear.
118:39. Turn away my reproach, which I have apprehended: for thy judgments are delightful.
118:40. Behold I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy justice.