Psalm 119:169-176

Psalm 119:169-176

to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice

August 13, 2019 – Tuesday

Psalm 119:169-176    NIV

ת Tav/Taw

169 May my cry come before You, Lord; give me understanding according to Your word.
170 May my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of Your word, for all Your commands are righteous.
173 May Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen Your precepts.
174 I long for Your salvation, Lord, and Your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise You, and may Your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek Your servant, for I have not forgotten Your commands.


Tav/Taw is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the twenty-second letter, and represents the number four hundred. It may or may not have a dagesh, but with or without the dagesh it is pronounced as the ‘t’ in tall.  If you wish to write the tav this video shows how it is done as does this video for the script form.  Background of the letter tav and its original pictogram may be seen here.

Going now to the last eight verses of Psalm 119 where each begins with a tav or taw, we see the first four verses (169-172) begin with May my followed by (in order) cry come before You, supplication come before You, lips overflow with praise, my tongue sing of Your praise. In each case David is recognizing his place as one who asks for help from the one who gives help – God.

Thus the change in verse five (173) May Your hand be ready to help me! This sets up the final three beginning with (174) I long for Your salvation, then (175) Let me live that I may praise You and concluding with (176) an incredible plea I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek Your servant. No matter how much understanding David has of God’s words, promises, decrees, commands, precepts, and law – he knows he strays, like a lost sheep, for he is a man and all men stray. Effectively this is his Concluding petitions for understanding and deliverance, for the grace of thankfulness, for help and guidance (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges).

Spurgeon says

The Psalmist is approaching the end of the Psalm, and his petitions gather force and fervency; he seems to break into the inner circle of divine fellowship, and to come even to the feet of the great God whose help he is imploring. This nearness creates the most lowly view of himself, and leads him to close the Psalm upon his face in deepest self-humiliation, begging to be sought out like a lost sheep.”

Perhaps we should take this as a cue when we approach God, always remembering the great (infinite) difference between Him and us. Let our prayers and supplications reflect our knowledge of this difference. At the same time we can be confident of His great love for each of us.

RileyD, nwJ
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)