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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 19

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 19

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 19

1. For the conductor, a song of David.   א. לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד:
2. The heavens recite the glory of God, and the sky tells of the work of His hands.   ב. הַשָּׁמַיִם מְסַפְּרִים כְּבוֹד אֵל וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדָיו מַגִּיד הָרָקִיעַ:
The heavens recite the glory of God: The Psalmist himself explains the matter: There is neither speech nor words. They do not speak with people but since “their line goes forth throughout the earth” and they give light to the people, thereby the creatures recite the glory of God and give thanks and bless [Him] for the luminaries.  
and the sky tells of the work of His hands: The stars and planets, which are the work of the hands of the Holy One, blessed be He, and which are there, as it is stated (in Gen. 1: 17): “And God placed them in the firmament of the heavens,” whence they proclaim His glory.  
3. Day to day utters speech, and night to night tells knowledge.   ג. יוֹם לְיוֹם יַבִּיעַ אֹמֶר וְלַיְלָה לְּלַיְלָה יְחַוֶּה דָּעַת:
Day to day utters speech: The Creation is renewed from day to day. In the evening, the sun sets, and in the morning it rises. Thereby, the people utter sayings of praise throughout these days and nights, for they teach the people to praise and to give thanks. (Menachem interprets [the word] יביע as an expression of a gushing fountain (מעין נובע).  
tells knowledge: Heb. יחוה, an expression of telling.  
4. There is neither speech nor words; their voice is not heard.   ד. אֵין אֹמֶר וְאֵין דְּבָרִים בְּלִי נִשְׁמָע קוֹלָם:
5. Their line goes forth throughout the earth, and their words are at the end of the world; for the sun He made a tent therein.   ה. בְּכָל הָאָרֶץ | יָצָא קַוָּם וּבִקְצֵה תֵבֵל מִלֵּיהֶם לַשֶּׁמֶשׁ שָׂם | אֹהֶל בָּהֶם:
Their line goes forth throughout the earth: The line of the heavens, which are stretched out over the face of the entire earth, and because of which their words are at the end of the world, for all speak of the wonders they see.  
for the sun He made: [i.e.,] the Holy One, blessed be He.  
a tent therein: In the heavens. From here it is derived that the sun is placed within its case. Tanchuma.  
6. And it is like a bridegroom emerging from his chamber; it rejoices like a mighty man running a course.   ו. וְהוּא כְּחָתָן יֹצֵא מֵחֻפָּתוֹ יָשִׂישׂ כְּגִבּוֹר לָרוּץ אֹרַח:
And it is like a bridegroom emerging from his chamber: every morning. This is what is meant by “The heavens recite the glory of God.”  
7. From the end of the heavens is its source, and its circuit is to their ends, and none is hidden from its heat.   ז. מִקְצֵה הַשָּׁמַיִם | מוֹצָאוֹ וּתְקוּפָתוֹ עַל קְצוֹתָם וְאֵין נִסְתָּר מֵחַמָּתוֹ:
and its circuit is to their ends: The circuit of its orbit is from one end to the other.  
and none is hidden from its heat: Had the sun been placed in the lowest sky, no man would be able to hide from its heat (Mid. Ps. 18:13) for the sun and the moon are in the second sky, as is stated (in Hagigah 12b): There are seven skiesVilon, Rakia, Shehakim, Zevul, Machon, Ma’on, Aravothand he counts them in order: Vilon does not serve for anything; in Rakia are the sun, the moon, the stars, and the planets, etc.  
8. The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is faithful, making the simple one wise.   ח. תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה תְּמִימָה מְשִׁיבַת נָפֶשׁ עֵדוּת יְהֹוָה נֶאֱמָנָה מַחְכִּימַת פֶּתִי:
The law of the Lord is perfect: That too illuminates like the sun, as is written at the end of the topic: “enlightening the eyes,” and Scripture states (in Prov. 6: 23): “For a commandment is a candle and the Torah is light.” Another explanation:  
and none is hidden from its heat: on the Day of Judgment, [as is stated in Malachi 3:19]: “And the sun that comes shall burn them up.” But the law of the Lord is perfect; it restores the soul to ways of life and it protects those who study it from that burning, as is stated (ibid. verse 20): “And the sun of mercy shall rise with healing… for you who fear My Name.”  
the testimony of the Lord is faithful: It is faithful to testify for those who study it.  
restoring the soul: It [the law] restores it [the soul] from the ways of death to the ways of life. The law, the testimony, the orders, the commandments, the fear, and the judgments total six, corresponding to the six orders of the Mishnah. Between each name [of God] are five words including the name itself, corresponding to the Five Books of the Pentateuch. And so [the Psalmist] concludes: “true, altogether just.” They are altogether devised with kindness and truth.  
making the simple one wise: It gives wisdom to the simple.  
9. The orders of the Lord are upright, causing the heart to rejoice; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes.   ט. פִּקּוּדֵי יְהֹוָה יְשָׁרִים מְשַׂמְּחֵי לֵב מִצְוַת יְהֹוָה בָּרָה מְאִירַת עֵינָיִם:
clear: Shining.  
10. The fear of the Lord is pure, existing forever; the judgments of the Lord are true, altogether just.   י. יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה | טְהוֹרָה עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד מִשְׁפְּטֵי יְהֹוָה אֱמֶת צָדְקוּ יַחְדָּו:
11. They are to be desired more than gold, yea more than much fine gold, and are sweeter than honey and drippings of honeycombs.   יא. הַנֶּחֱמָדִים מִזָּהָב וּמִפָּז רָב וּמְתוּקִים מִדְּבַשׁ וְנֹפֶת צוּפִים:
and drippings of honeycombs: Heb. ונפת צופים, sweetness of honeycombs; breche, or bresches, honeycombs. Menachem interprets ונפת as an expression of a drop, and so (in Prov. 5:3): “drip sweetness (נפת) ” ; (ibid. 7:17), “I sprinkled (נפתי) my couch.”  
12. Also Your servant was careful with them; for in observing them there is great reward.   יב. גַּם עַבְדְּךָ נִזְהָר בָּהֶם בְּשָׁמְרָם עֵקֶב רָב:
for in observing them there is great reward: I was careful in its observance because of Your great good that You have hidden away, and according to this usage, עקב is like (Gen. 26:5): “because (עקב) Abraham hearkened to My voice.” Another explanation of עקב רב : The end of the Torah scholars is that they will come to greatness. עקב is an expression of the end, and there is a similar expression in the language of the Mishnah (Sotah 9:15): “At the end (בעקבות) of the exile, prior to the coming of the Messiah.”  
13. Who understands errors? Cleanse me of hidden [sins].   יג. שְׁגִיאוֹת מִי יָבִין מִנִּסְתָּרוֹת נַקֵּנִי:
Who understands errors?: I was careful with them but it is impossible to be so careful that one does not err in them, and You cleanse me of hidden sins, which were hidden from me; of which I was unaware when I sinned inadvertently.  
14. Also withhold Your servant from willful sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be perfect and I will be cleansed of much transgression.   יד. גַּם מִזֵּדִים | חֲשׂךְ עַבְדֶּךָ אַל יִמְשְׁלוּ בִי אָז אֵיתָם וְנִקֵּיתִי מִפֶּשַׁע רָב:
Also… from willful sins: Heb. מזדים, from willful sins.  
then I will be perfect: Heb. איתם will be perfect. The Sages said (Mid. Ps. 19:17, Lev. Rabbah 5:8): To what can David be compared? To a Cuthite who goes from door to door, and they are more cunning in this matter than any other people. “Give me a drink of water,” something that costs no money. After drinking, he says, “Perhaps you have a small onion?” After he gives it to him, he says, “Is there an onion without salt?” After he gives it to him, he says, “Give me a little bread, so that the onion does not harm me.” So did David say at first concerning the inadvertent sins, and then concerning the willful sins, and afterwards concerning the rebellious sins. פשעים are rebellious sins, with which one intends to provoke, and so Scripture says (II Kings 3:7): “The king of Moab rebelled (פשע) against me.”  
15. May the sayings of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable before You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.   טו. יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן | אִמְרֵי פִי וְהֶגְיוֹן לִבִּי לְפָנֶיךָ יְהֹוָה צוּרִי וְגֹאֲלִי:
be acceptable: To appease and placate You.  
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