Psalm 119:137-144, each verse beginning with the Hebrew letter tsade, revolves around familiar themes for those who read Psalm 119: the Law of God is right, the psalmist is committed to observing the Law of God, his enemies are a nuisance, and he pleads with God to understand the Law. In part because the letter is tsade, the psalmist focuses this section on God being right (tsadiq) and therefore his Word being right.
Inherent to the psalmist is not so much a theory of inspiration or inerrancy but of the utter truthfulness, righteousness and faithfulness of God. If God is right or righteous, then God’s laws (mishpatim) are right or righteous. This is the theme I want to explore today: Because God is right, his laws are right.
Inherent to that connection is the conviction that the Torah comes from God; Moses may be responsible for his part, but the Torah comes from God. We don’t know how the psalmist thought God “gave” the Torah — except the belief that God spoke to Moses on the mount and Moses then passed on what God had told him to Israel (see Exod 19-20).
Inherent to the entire psalm, to the entire Psalter, and to the entire history of Israel is a conviction: that Torah, Prophets, and Writings are from God.
And because God is righteous, God’s laws (mishpatim) are right — or run straight and true. Implications follow — and we will draw some of them out this week — from the conviction that because God is altogether righteous his laws are right and straight.