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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 19:10

 

 

They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.

Adam Clarke Commentary

More to be desired are they than gold - This is strictly true; but who believes it? By most men gold is preferred both to God and his judgments; and they will barter every heavenly portion for gold and silver!

Sweeter also than honey - To those whose mental taste is rectified, who have a spiritual discernment.

Honey-comb - Honey is sweet; but honey just out of the comb has a sweetness, richness and flavour, far beyond what it has after it becomes exposed to the air. Only those who have eaten of honey from the comb can feel the force of the psalmist's comparison: it is better than gold, yea, than fine gold in the greatest quantity; it is sweeter than honey, yea, than honey from the comb.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-19.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

More to be desired are they than gold - That is, his law; or, as in the preceding verse, his judgments. They are more valuable than gold; they are of such a nature that the soul should more desire to be in possession of them than to be in possession of gold, and should value them more. The psalmist here and in the following verses describes his estimate of the worth of revealed truth as he perceived it. In the previous verses he had shown its value in the abstract; he here speaks of his own feelings in regard to it, and shows that he esteems it more than he did the objects most prized and valued among men.

Yea, than much fine gold - The word used here - פז pâz - means properly that which is purified or pure, and thus becomes an epithet of gold, particularly of gold that is purified. It is rendered fine gold here, as in Psalm 119:127; Proverbs 8:19; Isaiah 13:12; Lamentations 4:2; and pure gold in Psalm 21:3. The word does not occur elsewhere. Gold is an article of principal value among men; and the object here is to show that to a pious mind the revealed truth of God is esteemed to be the most valuable of all things - a treasure above all which men can accumulate, and all which men can prize. Every truly pious heart will respond to the sentiment expressed here.

Sweeter also than honey - Honey, the sweetest of all substances, and regarded as an article of luxury, or as most grateful to the taste. It entered largely into the food of the inhabitants of Palestine, as it does now in Switzerland and in some parts of Africa. The idea is that the truth of God, as revealed, is more grateful to the heart, or affords more pleasure to the soul, than that which is esteemed as the highest luxury to the palate. The meaning is, that it is loved; it is pleasant; it is agreeable; it is not regarded merely as necessary, and admitted to the soul because it is needful, as medicine is, but it is received into the soul because it is delighted in, or is more agreeable and pleasant than the most luscious article of food is to the taste. To this, also, the heart of every one who “has tasted the good word of God” will respond.

And the honeycomb - Margin, dropping of honeycombs. So the Hebrew. The allusion is to honey that drops from the combs, and therefore the most pure honey. That which is pressed from the combs will have almost inevitably a mixture of bee-bread and of the combs themselves. That which naturally flows from the comb will be pure.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-19.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 19:10

More to be desired are they than gold.

The Holy Scriptures

I. The excellence of the holy scriptures. None are ignorant of the value of money. Money gives access to every other possession. Point out the vanity of riches. They cannot benefit the possessor beyond this life. They are unsatisfying in their nature. The attainment of them is only within the reach of a few in every community. And they bring temptations to sin. Then, is not the Word of God more to be desired than gold?

II. The way to know the value of Scripture, and to taste its sweetness. Many are but formal readers. To read aright, you must be renewed in the spirit of your minds. There must be a Divine illumination. Pray more for the Spirit’s influence. If we would understand the value of the Scriptures, we shall find it useful to reflect upon their designs and our circumstances. And we must read them with patient perseverance. (Carus Wilson.)

The Bible valued above all else

On yon stormy shore, where, amid the wreck the night had wrought, and the waves, still thundering as they sullenly retire, had left on the beach, lies the naked form of a drowned sailor boy. He had stripped for one last, brave fight for life, and wears nought but a handkerchief bound round his cold breast. Insensible to pity, and unawed by the presence of death, those who sought the wreck, as vultures swoop down on their prey, rushed on the body, and tore away the handkerchief--tore it open, certain that it held within its folds gold, his little fortune, something very valuable for a man in such an hour to say, I’ll sink or swim with it. They were right. But it was not gold. It was the poor lad’s Bible--also a parting gift, and the more precious that it was a mother’s.

The priceless worth of the Bible

A Christian soldier told us of a comrade who called the Bible “his Klondyke,” and, as samples of what he called “good lumps of gold,” gave us Psalms 91:15. “I will answer him. I will be with him . . . I will deliver him . . . satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” Let us put in for a claim in this Klondyke, and dig for its hid treasures.

The excellence of the Scriptures

I. The important discoveries which the Scriptures contain. They make known to us the glory of the invisible God, as a pure and perfect Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. An explicit revelation of His will to man, and of the manner in which He requires to be worshipped and served. Here is discovered to us our once innocent and exalted, but now guilty and fallen, state. Here is made known to us the way of salvation, by which we may be restored to the favour, the image, and the enjoyment of God.

II. The effects which they produce upon the condition of mankind. Even in respect of outward civilisation much advantage has arisen to the world from the introduction of the Scriptures. Even where they are not attended with saving efficacy they are often seen to produce a considerable influence upon the external manners, and sometimes too upon the inward dispositions of men. But the transcendent excellence of the Scriptures is peculiarly manifested in their efficacy, when accompanied with the influence of Divine grace. The Scriptures are the means of spiritual illumination, of conversion and regeneration, of sanctification and a meetness for eternal life.

III. The admirable adaption of the scriptures to the various circumstances of men. Here is something suited to every rank and every age. The Scriptures set forth a perfect rule of duty, with which no system of heathen morality is once to be compared, and they exhibit incitements and encouragements, as well as examples of holiness, which are nowhere else to be found. Their excellency is especially seen in their tendency and efficacy to afford consolation in time of trouble and in the prospect of death. Lessons--

1. Admire the distinguishing goodness of God toward us.

2. Diligently use God’s gift.

3. Recognise the obligation to circulate the Scriptures among our fellow men. (D. Dickson.)

Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

The Bible sweeter than honey

Among the insects which subsist on the sweet sap of flowers there are two very different classes. One is remarkable for its imposing plumage, which shows in the sunbeams like the dust of gems; and as you watch its jaunty gyrations over the fields, and its minuet dance from flower to flower, you cannot help admiring its graceful activity. In the same field there is another worker, whose brown vest and straightforward flight may not have arrested your eye. His fluttering neighbour darts down here and there, and sips elegantly wherever he can find a drop of ready nectar; but this dingy plodder makes a point of alighting everywhere, and wherever he alights he either finds honey or makes it. What is the end? The one died last October along with the flower; the other is warm in his hive tonight, amidst the fragrant stores which he gathered beneath the bright beams of summer. Honey is the sweetest of all substances, and the ancients, who were unacquainted with sugar, attached even more importance to it than we do. “A land flowing with milk and honey” presented the very strongest attractions to the Oriental taste. The idea conveyed by the text is this: that the truth of God, as revealed to us in the Bible, affords more real pleasure to the soul than that which epicures consider the most desirable luxury does to the palate. In that remarkable book, The Eclipse of Faith, there is a chapter entitled “The Blank Bible,” in which the author describes a dream, wherein he fancied that on taking up his Greek Testament one morning, to read his accustomed chapter, the old familiar volume seemed to be a total blank. Supposing that some book like it had, by accident, got into its place, he did not stop to hunt it up, but took down a large copy of the Bible, and this, to his amazement, proved also to be a blank from beginning to end. While musing on this unaccountable phenomenon, his servant came in and said that thieves must have been in the house during the night, since her Bible had been carried off, and another volume of the same size, but containing but blank paper, had been left in its place. The dreamer then went forth into the street, and heard a similar report from all whom he met. It was curious to observe the different effect of this calamity on the various characters whom he encountered. An interest, almost universal, was now felt for a book which had hitherto been sadly undervalued. Some to whom their Bible had been a “blank” book for twenty years, and who would never have known whether it was full or empty but for the lamentations of their neighbours, were among the loudest in their expressions of sorrow. In marked contrast with these was the sincere regret of an aged woman, long kept a prisoner in her narrow chamber by sickness, and to whom the Bible had been, as to so many thousands more, her faithful companion ill solitude. I found her gazing intently on the blank Bible (says our author), which had been so recently bright to her with the lustre of immortal hopes. She burst into tears as she saw me. “And has your faith left you too, nay gentle friend?” said

I. “No,” she answered; “and I trust it never will. He who has taken away the Bible has not taken away my memory, and I now recall all that is most precious in that book which has so long been my meditation. I think I can say that I loved it more than any possession on earth.” Even the warnings of the Bible are wholesome for us, for by them we are made to know our own evil. Merle d’Aubigne, during a visit to England, related an incident which happened in 1855, in connection with the circulation of the Bible among soldiers. A colporteur reached Toulon just as the French troops were embarking for the Crimea. He offered a Testament to a soldier, who asked what book it was. “The Word of God,” was the answer. “Let me have it, then,” said the man; and when he had received it he added most irreverently, “it will do very well to light my pipe.” The colporteur felt sorry that a book which might have been of service to somebody had been thus thrown away; but there was no help for it, and he went his way. About a year later he happened to be in the interior of France, and took lodging at an inn, where he found the family in great distress, from the recent death of a son. The poor mother explained that the young man had been wounded in the Crimean War, and had only been able to reach home to die. “I have much consolation,” she added; “he was so peaceful and happy, and he brought comfort to his father and to me.” “How was this?” asked the colporteur. “Oh,” she said, “he found all his comfort in one little book, which he had always with him.” So saying, she showed him a soiled copy of the New Testament (the very one which he himself had given to the reckless young soldier), and read on the inside of the cover, “Received at Toulon (with the date), despised, neglected, read, believed, and found salvation.” “Sweeter than honey” are these Divine oracles of God, and “in keeping of them there is great reward.” (Anon.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 19:10". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-19.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

More to be desired are they than gold,.... This refers to all the truths in the word of God; to all the doctrines of the Gospel; which, by good men, are more desirable, and by them more prized and valued, than all worldly riches and treasure;

yea, than much fine gold: more than gold, and the best of gold, and a great deal of it, than thousands of gold and silver; see Psalm 119:72, Proverbs 8:10;

sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb; or "the dropping of the honeycombs"F8נופת צופים "stillatione favorum", Vatablus, Rivetus, Cocceius; so Ainsworth. , which is the purest and sweetest of the honey; and what honey is to the natural taste of men, that is the Gospel, and the truths of it, to the spiritual taste of believers, Psalm 119:103; and when the presence of Christ is enjoyed, his love is shed abroad, and the blessings of his grace are partook of, the ordinances of the Gospel are very delightful, Song of Solomon 2:3; eloquence, and eloquent orators, are sometimes described by mellifluous words; or by their expressions being like honey, and sweeter than thatF9 του και απο γλωσσης, Homer. Iliad. 1. v. 249. .


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-19.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

More to be i desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

(i) Unless God's word is esteemed above all worldly things, it is contemned.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-19.html. 1599-1645.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

10.More to be desired are they than gold. The Psalmist now exalts the law of God both on account of its price and sweetness. This commendation depends on the commendations given in the preceding verses; for the many and great advantages which he has just now enumerated, ought justly to make us account heavenly truth the highest and most excellent treasure, and to despise, when compared with it, all the gold and silver of the world. Instead of the word fine gold, which the Latins have called Aurum obryzum, (458) some render the Hebrew word a jewel, or precious stones, (459) but the other translation is more generally received, namely, fine gold, that is, gold which is pure and well refined in the furnace; and there are many passages of Scripture by which this rendering is confirmed. (460) The Hebrew word פז, paz, is derived from פזה, pazah, which signifies to strengthen; (461) from which we may conjecture that the Psalmist does not mean the gold of any particular country, as if one should say the gold of Ophir, but gold completely refined and purified by art. So far is פז, paz, from being derived from the name of a country, that, on the contrary, it appears from Jeremiah 10:9, that the land of Uphaz took its name from this Hebrew word, because it had in it mines of the finest gold. As to the origin of the word obrizum, which the Latins have used, we cannot say any thing with certainty, except that, according to the conjecture of Jerome, it signifies brought from the land of Ophir, as if it had been said, aurum Ophrizum. In short, the sense is, that we do not esteem the law as it deserves, if we do not prefer it to all the riches of the world. If we are once brought thus highly to prize the law, it will serve effectually to deliver our hearts from an immoderate desire of gold and silver. To this esteem of the law there must be added love to it, and delight in it, so that it may not only subdue us to obedience by constraint, but also allure us by its sweetness; a thing which is impossible, unless, at the same time, we have mortified in us the love of carnal pleasures, with which it is not wonderful to see us enticed and ensnared, so long as we reject, through a vitiated taste, the righteousness of God. From this we may again deduce another evidence, that David’s discourse is not to be understood simply of the commandments, and of the dead letter, but that he comprehends, at the same time, the promises by which the grace of God is offered to us. If the law did nothing else but command us, how could it be loved, since in commanding it terrifies us, because we all fail in keeping it? (462) Certainly, if we separate the law from the hope of pardon, and from the Spirit of Christ, so far from tasting it to be sweet as honey, we will rather find in it a bitterness which kills our wretched souls.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-19.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 19:10 More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Ver. 10. More to be desired are they than gold] Old people are all for profit, young for pleasure; here is gold for the one, yea, the finest gold (gold of Fez, Aceto melle , Plin. l. xi. c. 15), in great quantity; here is honey for the other, yea, live honey dropping from the comb, liquor of the honeycomb. As manna had all sorts of sweet tastes in it; so hath the word to those that have spiritual senses exercised to discern good and evil. Great is the sweetness of human learning to those that have got a taste of it, as it was to Pythagoras and Plato, who travelled far for it; to Julian the apostate, who preferred the study of it before all pastimes whatsoever; to M. Aurelius, the emperor, who said he would not leave the knowledge he might learn in one hour for all the gold that he possessed; to Alphonsus, king of Arragon, who preferred his skill in the mathematics before the empire of Germany when it was offered unto him; he professed that he had rather lose his jewels than his books, and all his kingdoms rather than that little learning he had attained unto. How, then, should we prize divine learning, which is infinitely more precious, profitable, and pleasant! David had much of it, and yet he cries to God ever and anon, "Teach me thy statutes." Moses was but newly come down from the mount, and he presently prays, as one insatiate, "Lord, show me thy glory." The angels themselves know not so much of the mystery of Christ but they would fain know more, 1 Peter 1:12, Ephesians 3:10, &c.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-19.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 19:10. Sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb There is no great difference made among us between the delicacy of honey in the comb, and after its separation from it. We may therefore be at a loss to enter into the energy of this expression; or to express it with the same emphasis as our translation does the preceding clause. Sweeter than honey, yea, than the honey-comb; which last, it should seem from the turn of thought of the Psalmist, is as much to be preferred to honey, as the finest gold is to that of a more impure nature. But this will appear in a clearer light, if the diet and relish of the present Moors of West Barbary be thought to resemble that of the times of the Psalmist; for they esteem honey a wholesome breakfast, and "the more delicious that which is in the comb, with the young bees in it, before they come out of their cases, whilst they still look milk white." See Halley's Miscell. Curios. vol. 3: p. 382. The author of the Observations, however, thinks this can hardly be all. He remarks, that there are three very different words translated by us honey-comb, one of which he supposes to mean the honey-comb, properly speaking: The second ףּצו zuph, used here, and Proverbs 16:24 he supposes to be the name given to the plant which produces one of the other kinds of honey; and when I consider, says he, that only David and Solomon speak of this; that the Psalmist supposes its drippings are as much preferable to honey, as refined gold to unrefined; and compare the words of the other sacred writer—Pleasant words are as an honey-comb; or as the honey-zuph, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones,—with the expressions of William, Archbishop of Tyro; "It produces canes from whence sugar is made, one of the most precious things in the world for the use of men, and extremely necessary for their health;"—I am very much inclined to think these two passages speak, the one of the sugar or syrup, the other of the cane. The honey of dates (which, though inferior to that of bees, is, it seems, very pleasant) is left to answer the third Hebrew word, which occurs Proverbs 5:3; Proverbs 24:13. Song of Solomon 4:11. See more in the Observations, p. 162, and Dr. Shaw's Travels, p. 339 in the note.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-19.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Than much fine gold; than gold of the best quality, and in the greatest quantity.

Sweeter also than honey; which was most sweet in those Eastern countries.

The honeycomb; than that honey which the bees have most diligently wrought in their combs, and which freely flows from them; which is sweeter than the rest.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-19.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10. More to be desired—An expression of the excellence and sweetness of God’s law to those who love it, above all that is desirable of earth.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-19.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 19:10. More to be desired are they than gold — Than the wealth of this world, although so generally preferred before them; yea, than much fine gold — Than gold of the best quality, and in the greatest quantity; than all the treasures and precious things which are brought from other countries. Sweeter also — Namely, to the soul of the pious believer; than honey and the honeycomb — Than the sweetest thing we know of is to the bodily taste: yielding more true, and noble, and lasting satisfaction and happiness than any or all the delights of sense. Observe, reader, the pleasures of sense are the delight of brutes, and therefore debase the soul of man: the pleasures of religion are the delight of angels, and exalt it. The pleasures of sense are deceitful, they soon surfeit, and yet never satisfy; but those of religion are substantial, and satisfying, and there is no danger of exceeding in the pursuit or enjoyment of them.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-19.html. 1857.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

More to be desired ... fine gold. The law understood in its spiritual, reviving, and joy-bestowing power (Psalms 19:7-8) through Christ, our Law-fulfiller, is thus precious. The spiritual man has more pleasure in the precepts of the Lord than the carnal have in gain, or the appetite.

The honeycomb - Hebrew, 'the dropping of honeycombs;' the choicest distillings from the honeycomb (Proverbs 16:24).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-19.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) Honeycomb.—(See margin.) The honey that drops from the comb is the finest and purest.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-19.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
than gold
119:72,127; Job 28:15-17; Proverbs 3:13-15; 8:10,11,19; 16:16
sweeter
63:5; 119:103; Job 23:12; Proverbs 24:13
honeycomb
Heb. the dropping of honey-combs.
1 Samuel 14:26-29

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-19.html.

Ver. 10. They, more precious than gold, and much fine gold, and sweeter than honey and the honey-comb. Calvin: "Here again it is clear, that he speaks not of the naked precept and the mere dead letter (more correctly: of the relation of the law to the faithful and spiritual, not of its relation to the fleshly and such as are destitute of faith). For if the law when merely commanding terrified, how then could it be deserving of love? Certainly, if it is separated from the hope of forgiveness, and from the Spirit of Christ, it is so far from the sweetness of honey, that it rather by its bitterness kills the poor soul." Luther: "This is a great wonder of the Holy Spirit and of the judgments of the Most High, that they change everything, rendering that most acceptable, which before was most distasteful. For what do men seek more eagerly than riches and pleasures? and yet the spirit has far greater delight in the law of God, than the flesh can have in its goods and pleasures."

The third strophe, Psalms 19:11-14 : the law in relation to the Psalmist, as to every individual who finds in the Psalm the fitting expression of his feelings.


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Bibliography
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 19:10". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/psalms-19.html.

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