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Psalm 119 and the Ezra Connection


Some scholars have commented that they believe that Ezra wrote Psalm 119. The evidence really points toward David writing Psalm 119, based on the similarities of the writing style and most especially because the writer refers to justice, and judgments quite frequently, pointing to a king.

What is the Ezra connection then?

The connection to Ezra, however, does not end there. Ezra was a scribe for the king while in Babylonian exile and had a vested interest in preserving the Jewish faith, and most especially the language.

As Duet 28 points out, a foreign tongue would come into the land and rule over you if you as a nation rejected Gods Laws and Statutes. In short a foreign tongue would come and rule you because you thought God’s laws were foreign or strange. “Strange for Strange” is what God will put as a judicial stamp.

Trouble is, that the very often when a nation was carted off and put in a foreign land, the language would change and amalgamate with the language around. Ezra understood that principle and sought to preserve the language from deterioration.

How was the language preserved?

John Owen in his commentaries (Book 16 parts of are included on this web page as free pdf downloads) discusses the fact that it is quite possible that Ezra developed the vowel points and standardized the alphabet and words.

The Psalm 119 connection to Ezra is that the Alphabet is included in between the various verse sections. A deeper look into the alphabet, as discussed on this web page, shows that the alphabet characters had meaning. That meaning constituted a theme that would be discussed in the verses to follow the letter.

For example: Ayin means eyes. Observe in the following section under Ayin:

Psa 119:121 I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors. 
Psa 119:122 Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me. 
Psa 119:123 Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness. 
Psa 119:124 Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes. 
Psa 119:125 I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. 
Psa 119:126 It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law. 
Psa 119:127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. 
Psa 119:128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. 


The psalmist starts out saying that he has been a good king, doing what is right and laying down justice. He has been a light to those who are oppressed, but he is being threatened by those who hate him, and they want to see him fall.


What He Sees is the Theme

His eyes fail for the salvation of the Lord…but then he talks about how he needs to SEE:

· Teach me thy statutes
· Give me understanding
· He wants to see the Lord work in the land “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.”

Hope in the Bible is analogous to seeing into the future, and seeing righteousness prevail. He prays for righteousness to be restored and longs to see it.

The prevalent theme of the section is sight. 

· His sight as King currently
· He needs better sight
· He needs to see the Lord act
· He needs to see the work of the Lord planted in the earth


Now you may be thinking, okay that seems to be stretching it. But, no, as you will see in other sections, this Thematic-Alphabet Ideal seems to keep popping up repeatedly in Psalm 119.

The question remains: Why? 

· To make the language stick, 
· To make the people who were in exile able to grab a section of God’s word and memorize it with more than just wrote memorization. 
· To preserve the people of the Lord from synchronization with the pagans around them.

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