Psalms 119:9


King James Version (KJV)

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to your word.

American King James Version (AKJV)

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to your word.

American Standard Version (ASV)

BETH. Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

<BETH> How may a young man make his way clean? by guiding it after your word.

Webster's Revision

BETH. Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed to it, according to thy word.

World English Bible

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

English Revised Version (ERV)

BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Definitions for Psalms 119:9

Heed - To be careful to consider.
Wherewithal - How?; By what means?

Clarke's Psalms 119:9 Bible Commentary

A young man cleanse his way - ארח orach, which we translate way here, signifies a track, a rut, such as is made by the wheel of a cart or chariot. A young sinner has no broad beaten path; he has his private ways of offense, his secret pollutions: and how shall he be cleansed from these? how can he be saved from what will destroy mind, body, and soul? Let him hear what follows; the description is from God.

1. He is to consider that his way is impure; and how abominable this must make him appear in the sight of God.

2. He must examine it according to God's word, and carefully hear what God has said concerning him and it.

3. He must take heed to it, לשמר lishmor, to keep guard, and preserve his way - his general course of life, from all defilement.

Barnes's Psalms 119:9 Bible Commentary

Wherewithal - This begins the second portion of the psalm, extending to Psalm 119:16, in which all the verses begin with the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet (ב b), indicated in our translation by the word Beth. These names of the letters, inserted for convenience, are no part of the psalm, as it is not so marked in the original. This mode of indicating the divisions of the psalm is special to our version. It is not in the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, or the German versions. The word wherewithal means "by what" (Hebrew); that is, What means shall a young man adopt by which he may "cleanse his way?" it indicates a state of inquiry. The case supposed is that of a young man pondering the question how he may be saved from the corruptions of his own heart, and escape the temptations to which he is exposed in early years, and lead a pure and upright life. There can be no more important inquiry for one just entering on the journey of life; there can be found nowhere a more just and comprehensive answer than is contained in this single verse. All the precepts of ancient and modern wisdom, all the teachings of pagan morality and religion, and all the results of the experience of mankind, could furnish nothing in addition to what is here suggested. The world has no higher wisdom than this by which to guide a young man, so that he may lead a holy life.

Shall a young man - The remark here might be applied also to those who are in middle life, or even to those who are in more advanced years, but it is applied here especially to the young, because it may be supposed that in the other cases the matter may be regarded as settled by experience; because to the young, as they commence life, the inquiry is so momentous; and because it is a question which it may be supposed will come up before the mind of every young man who has any right aspirations, and any proper conception of the dangers which encompass his path.

Cleanse his way? - Make his course of life pure and upright. The language does not necessarily imply that there had been any previous impurity or vice, but it has particular reference to the future: not how he might cleanse himself from past offences, but how he might make the future pure. The inquiry is, how he might conduct himself - what principles he could adopt - under what influence he could bring himself - so that his future course would be honest, honorable, upright.

By taking heed thereto ... - The word "thereto" is not in the original. The Hebrew is, "To keep according to thy word;" or, "in keeping according to thy word." Prof. Alexander supposes that this means "to keep it (his way) according to thy word;" and that the whole is a question - "How may a young man so cleanse his way as to keep it according to thy word?" - and that the answer to the question is to be found in the general strain of the psalm, or in the general principles laid down in the psalm. But it is clear that the answer to the question must be found in the verse, or not found at all; and the most natural construction is that in our translation. So DeWette renders it: "How can a young man walk guiltless? If (or, when) he holds (or, keeps) himself according to thy word." The meaning clearly is If he governs himself according to the law of God - if he makes that law the rule of his life and conduct, he would be enabled to do it. All other things might fail; this rule would never fail, in making and keeping a man pure. The more principles of common honesty, the principles of honor, the considerations of self-interest, the desire of reputation - valuable as they may be - would not constitute a security in regard to his conduct; the law of God would, for that is wholly pure.

Wesley's Psalms 119:9 Bible Commentary

119:9 A young man - Or, any man. But he names the young man, because such are commonly void of wisdom and experience, and exposed to many and great temptations. Cleanse - Purge himself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit.

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