New American Bible (Revised Edition)
God’s Glory in the Heavens and in the Law
1 For the leader. A psalm of David.
2 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the firmament proclaims the works of his hands.(A)
3 Day unto day pours forth speech;
night unto night whispers knowledge.
4 [b]There is no speech, no words;
their voice is not heard;
5 A report goes forth through all the earth,
their messages, to the ends of the world.
He has pitched in them a tent for the sun;[c]
6 it comes forth like a bridegroom from his canopy,
and like a hero joyfully runs its course.
7 From one end of the heavens it comes forth;
its course runs through to the other;
nothing escapes its heat.
8 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the Lord is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.(B)
9 The precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eye.
10 The fear of the Lord is pure,
The statutes of the Lord are true,
all of them just;
11 More desirable than gold,
than a hoard of purest gold,
Sweeter also than honey
or drippings from the comb.(C)
12 By them your servant is warned;[d]
obeying them brings much reward.
13 Who can detect trespasses?
Cleanse me from my inadvertent sins.
14 Also from arrogant ones restrain your servant;
let them never control me.
Then shall I be blameless,
innocent of grave sin.
15 Let the words of my mouth be acceptable,
the thoughts of my heart before you,
Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
- Psalm 19 The heavenly elements of the world, now beautifully arranged, bespeak the power and wisdom of their creator (Ps 19:2–7). The creator’s wisdom is available to human beings in the law (Ps 19:8–11), toward which the psalmist prays to be open (Ps 19:12–14). The themes of light and speech unify the poem.
- 19:4 No speech, no words: the regular functioning of the heavens and the alternation of day and night inform human beings without words of the creator’s power and wisdom.
- 19:5 The sun: in other religious literature the sun is a judge and lawgiver since it sees all in its daily course; Ps 19:5b–7 form a transition to the law in Ps 19:8–11. The six synonyms for God’s revelation (Ps 19:8–11) are applied to the sun in comparable literature.
- 19:12 Warned: the Hebrew verb means both to shine and to warn, cf. Dn 12:3.