Authorship of Psalm 119


I promised to provide a relatively concise statement as to why I tend to believe Daniel authored the 119th Psalm. Yet, Joseph F. Thrupp beat me to the punch, explaining it better than I could hope to do myself:

The suggestion that the long and unique meditation to which we now proceed [i.e. Psalm 119] should be regarded as the composition of Daniel has been but recently put forward. Yet if internal evidence (and we have here little else on which to depend) is in this instance to be allowed that due weight which in proportion to its copiousness and distinctness we generally feel no scruple in according it, there seems to remain but little ground for hesitation in recognizing Daniel as the author. He, above all men whose lives are in the Old Testament recorded to us, had in his youth cleansed his way by guarding it according to God’s Word (cf. Psalm 119:9). Cast as a stranger and a pilgrim in a foreign land (Psalm 119:19, 54), yet still assured that God’s mercies would be vouchsafed to his servants wheresoever in the wide earth they might dwell (Psalm 119:64), he had found God’s testimonies far dearer to him than all manner of worldly wealth (Psalm 119:14, 36, 37, 72, 127). Reproached (Psalm 119:22), derided (Psalm 119:51), slandered (Psalm 119:69), and plotted against (Psalm 119:23, 78, 85, 86, 95, 110, 161) by the proud princes whom he had never wronged, (how vividly does the acknowledgement of the Meridian presidents and princes rise up before us, that they should find no occasion against Daniel except concerning the law of his God!) he yet had spoken of God’s testimonies even before kings, and had not been ashamed (Psalm 119:46). He had seen an end of all perfection (Psalm 119:96); guilty Jerusalem and haughty Babylon had during Daniel’s life-time, each in her turn, yielded up their spoils to their conquerors; but his trust was reposed in God’s word, which abideth forever. To this he remained steadfast; and day by day and night by night he unintermittingly persevered in his practice of pious devotion, meditating in God’s word, crying for God’s help, and praising God’s name (Psalm 119:147, 148, 164). The whole psalm bespeaks the character of one who, like Daniel, lived in close and habitual communion with God; one habitually trained from his youth upwards in secret self-discipline, the peaceful flow of his whole saintly career was not marked by the ruggedness which would generally follow, as in the case of St. Paul, from sudden conversion, or by the fitfulness attaching to lives that, like David’s, have been once disordered by acts of heinous transgression; one indeed who was not without spot, who confessed his sin, who relied only on God’s grace to reclaim him from the many strayings of which he was conscious (Psalm 119:176); but yet “a man greatly beloved,” one of the pure in heart who might see God, and whom therefore God numbered, along with the patriarch Joseph and the evangelist St. John, among the special few to whom he partially unlocked the secrets of the times and seasons of the future.

Joseph F. Thrupp, An Introduction to the Study and Use of the Psalms (Cambridge: Macmillan, 1860), 2:244-45.

Until He Returns,

Pastor Sam


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