Today’s reading is the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. Its theme is the Word of God. There is a direct reference to God’s Word in all but six of the 176 verses (verses 3, 37, 80, 121, 122, 132). In this Psalm the Hebrew uses at least nine different synonyms for God’s Word (the KJV uses eight synonyms—word, precepts, testimonies, law, commandments, ordinances, judgments, and statues). Also a reference to Deity occurs in every verse except verse 121.
The Psalm is a masterpiece of literary organization. It is divided into twenty-two sections, each section corresponding to one letter of the twenty-two-letter Hebrew alphabet. Each section has exactly eight stanzas—eight is the octave number in music—so the verse divisions are most appropriate. Also, in the Hebrew each verse alliterates (a good memory aid) within each section (e.g. in the first section, each verse begins with the letter aleph). A brief alliterated synopsis of each section of the Psalm is as follows:
Aleph (vv. 1–8): reward in the Word.
Beth (vv. 9–16): refined by the Word.
Gimel (vv. 17–24): revelation from the Word.
Daleth (vv. 25–32): rejuvenation through the Word.
He (vv. 33–40): resolve to keep the Word.
Vav (vv. 41–48): replying to others from the Word.
Zayin (vv. 49–56): relief through the Word.
Kheth (vv. 57–64): resorting to the Word.
Teth (vv. 65–72): reform according to the Word.
Yodh (vv. 73–80): rejoicing because of the Word.
Kaph (vv. 81–88): reliance on the Word.
Lamedh (vv. 89–96): ratification of the Word.
Mem (vv. 97–104): relevance of the Word.
Nun (vv. 105–112): radiance from the Word.
Samekh (vv. 113–120): retribution by the Word.
Ayin (vv. 121–128): rescue according to the Word.
Pe (vv. 129–136): receptiveness to the Word.
Tsadhe (vv. 137–144): righteousness of the Word.
Qoph (vv. 145–152): requests based on the Word.
Resh (vv. 153–160): revival through the Word.
Shin (vv. 161–168): respect for the Word.
Tav (vv. 169–176): remembering the Word.
–Butler’s Daily Bible Reading