Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, May 31, 2024

A good lesson in disinformation

Since a deficit in critical thinking skills seems to be at epidemic levels, here's a good case study from Barry Ritholtz. He received an email with a video from a woman named Wendy Bell, who points to what she claims is an epidemic of restaurant closings as proof that the U.S. economy is collapsing. His response:

If you wanted to engage in honest debate about the economy via restaurants, you would consider the following:

Openings: Nearly 53,800 restaurants opened their doors for the full 2023 year, up 10% from 2022. Or, compare that to the pre-pandemic year. In 2023, openings were up 2% versus 2019, a modest increase compared to before the lockdowns. Source: Axios

Closures: “According to the latest research, 60% of new restaurants fail within the first year, 70% in their second year and 80% close their doors within five years. The average lifespan of a restaurant is only 4.5 years.” Source: Binwise

The US National Restaurant Association recognizes a 30% failure rate as the norm in the restaurant industry. Source:; See also Why Do Restaurants Fail?

Total: There are 749,000 restaurants in USA, and 1000s close every year. Even an accurate list of closures tells you little about the state of the economy. Source: Restaurant Industry Statistics


In fact the number of restaurants operating in the U.S. is increasing. It is now and always has been a tough business, but in reality right now it's relatively a boom time for restaurants. If you scroll down Barry's post you'll see comments explaining the various restaurant closures Bell talks about. Many of them actually happened under Trump, some of them aren't actually happening at all, but the rest of them are just normal churn in the industry.  Restaurants close because consumer tastes change, locations are no longer as suitable, lots of restaurant owners just aren't very good at the business, owning a restaurant is just too demanding so people decide not to do it any more, chains close less profitable locations -- you name it. But people make up stories that some people want to believe.

Now I'll just make a basic point of logic relating to some other issues. I believe that juries usually get it right but sometimes get it wrong. OJ Simpson should have been convicted, for example, and so should George Zimmerman. Kyle Rittenhouse should have been convicted as well. But I make up my own mind about that question based on what I know about a case. If that isn't enough, I withhold judgment. If it's enough to satisfy me, I make a judgment, based on the facts. That seems simple enough, no?

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Wednesday Bible Study: Still mysteriously ascending

More of these mostly short songs of ascent, or songs of degree in the KJV, whatever it may mean however you translate it. Some of these have strange imagery and make odd assertions. Take a look at 129. What the heck is going on here? Plowmen have plowed my back? If the speaker is supposed to be the nation that would presumably be a good thing, since we want agricultural productivity. If the speaker is supposed to be a person, it's just weird.

We can't tell what's going on with 130 either. The singer evidently has some sort of problem that he's hoping God will get around to fixing, which seems to have something to do with a mistake he made, and he's hoping for forgiveness. But that's a fundamental contradiction that runs throughout the psalms: they repeatedly say that God will punish the wicked and reward the righteous, or ask him to do so; and then they equally as often say that God will forgive sins, or ask him to do so. Which is it? Psalm 131 is attributed to David, the supposedly might king, and it's all about how the singer is a humble person unconcerned with great matters. Finally, we get another one of those about how the house of David and Zion will endure forever, which obviously didn't happen. If you're looking for logic or sense in religion, you're looking in the wrong place


129 A song of ascents.

“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,”
    let Israel say;
“they have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
    but they have not gained the victory over me.
Plowmen have plowed my back
    and made their furrows long.
But the Lord is righteous;
    he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”

May all who hate Zion
    be turned back in shame.
May they be like grass on the roof,
    which withers before it can grow;
a reaper cannot fill his hands with it,
    nor one who gathers fill his arms.
May those who pass by not say to them,
    “The blessing of the Lord be on you;
    we bless you in the name of the Lord.”


130 A song of ascents.

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from all their sins.

131 A song of ascents. Of David.

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    both now and forevermore.


132 A song of ascents.

Lord, remember David
    and all his self-denial.

He swore an oath to the Lord,
    he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not enter my house
    or go to my bed,
I will allow no sleep to my eyes
    or slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the Lord,
    a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

We heard it in Ephrathah,
    we came upon it in the fields of Jaar:[a]
“Let us go to his dwelling place,
    let us worship at his footstool, saying,
‘Arise, Lord, and come to your resting place,
    you and the ark of your might.
May your priests be clothed with your righteousness;
    may your faithful people sing for joy.’”

10 For the sake of your servant David,
    do not reject your anointed one.

11 The Lord swore an oath to David,
    a sure oath he will not revoke:
“One of your own descendants
    I will place on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
    and the statutes I teach them,
then their sons will sit
    on your throne for ever and ever.”

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion,
    he has desired it for his dwelling, saying,
14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever;
    here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.
15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;
    her poor I will satisfy with food.
16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,
    and her faithful people will ever sing for joy.

17 “Here I will make a horn[b] grow for David
    and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
    but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”


  1. Psalm 132:6 Or heard of it in Ephrathah, / we found it in the fields of Jearim. (See 1 Chron. 13:5,6) (And no quotation marks around verses 7-9)
  2. Psalm 132:17 Horn here symbolizes strong one, that is, king.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

We aren't prepared for the price we'll have to pay

Reducing and ultimately eliminating greenhouse gas emissions doesn't have to be a net cost to the economy. Obviously it will gore [sic] a lot of powerful vested interests -- the fossil fuel industry is probably the most politically powerful industry in the world -- but renewable energy is actually much more affordable once the infrastructure is in place, it doesn't pollute, and it ultimately can decentralize power and change society for the better.

However, as Krugthulu points out, it's already too late to avoid immense costs from climate change. The increasing frequency and severity of destructive storms, heat waves, wildfires and other disasters is already making some parts of the United States uninsurable. Heat is making parts of the planet uninhabitable and climate disaster is a major driver of the international migration crisis. 


Krugman focuses specifically sea level rise, and on one consequence which is actually far from the greatest but something people don't think about much -- the septic infrastructure. In much of the southeast, including Florida, where it's illegal for state officials to talk about climate change, many coastal areas do not have sewage systems and depend on septic tanks, which are backing up as seawater intrudes. What Krugman doesn't mention is that nobody will care about those particular septic tanks once the houses they serve are underwater, but then we'll have to worry about the ones farther back. 

I believe I have written before about the flood that destroyed three bridges in my home town, and we've had a couple of flooding rains since that have done further damage to our roads. This is very small town and we can't afford to make repairs from our own property taxes. The state and federal governments have stepped in to help but this is going to be increasingly necessary all around the country, as it is in the Midwest and south right now with one destructive storm after another. You can be as fiscally conservative and tax averse as you want, but what must be must be and you can't avoid this. It's for real.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Comments I don't publish . . .

There are a few categories of comments I don't publish. Racist or other hate speech, obviously. Also comments that are factually incorrect, or totally miss the point. The latter seems exceptionally common. Unfortunately, consumers of conservative media frequently come to believe things that are not true, or absorb nonsensical arguments. It is too much trouble for me to put these in the comments and then try to refute them. So let me must make a couple of points.

Yes, the Texas Board of Pardons recommended the pardon of the murderer Daniel Perry, but that doesn't mean it wasn't politically motivated. I didn't just rely on a single source. Here are a few more.

Tayo Bero in The Guardian:

During Perry’s trial, it emerged that in the weeks before he killed Foster, he had shared white-supremacist memes and talked about how he “might have to kill a few people” who were demonstrating outside his house in 2020. He also compared the Black Lives Matter movement to “a zoo full of monkeys that are freaking out flinging their shit”. And days into nationwide protests sparked by George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, Perry sent a text message saying: “I might go to Dallas to shoot looters.”

Perry described shooting Foster as an act of self-defense. Yet according to trial testimony about the day Foster died, Perry had seen the predominantly Black group of protesters gathered across the street from him, ran a red light and drove his car right into the middle of the protest. When Foster – who was legally carrying a firearm but had not, according to some eyewitnesses, threatened Perry – approached Perry’s car, he shot him dead and sped away.


Here's the Texas Monthly.  

Inside the Texas Pardons Board’s Unusual Role in Freeing Racist Murderer Daniel Perry

Experts on the workings of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles say it broke sharply from its standard protocol when it recommended a pardon for the killer of a Black Lives Matter protester.   


In 2020, Perry had run a red light and driven into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters, when Foster, an Air Force veteran who was in legal possession of a rifle, approached his car. Perry then shot him five times. No witnesses testified that Foster raised his gun at Perry, and, when questioned by the authorities following the shooting, Perry also indicated that Foster never aimed at him. A jury determined Perry was not acting in self-defense and convicted him of murder. But Governor Greg Abbott disagreed, and promised to pardon him.  . . .

Almost from the start, Perry’s case proceeded through the board in an unusual manner. A day after the guilty verdict, in April 2023, Abbott publicly called for Perry’s clemency and announced that he had instructed the board to expedite the review process, even though Texas law states that a full pardon will not be considered for anyone currently in prison except under “exceptional circumstances.” . . .Typically, exceptions apply to cases in which new evidence of innocence is presented. Here, however, what appears to have been exceptional was the pressure from Abbott. Although the governor has the legal authority to request a pardon, Abbott had never done so in his then eight-plus years in office.


You'll have to read the whole thing. There's plenty more where these came from.



Sunday Sermonette: A matter of degree

Sorry I haven't posted for a few days, been busy with stuff. I'll get back to it. Psalm 124 is the last one labeled a song of ascent. The next 15 are labeled as songs of degrees. Nobody is sure what that means. It is possible that they were meant to be sung or recited on each of the 15 steps of the temple as the priests climbed them. Therefore the translators of the New International Version have changed the literal word back to ascents. In the KJV and others translations it is degrees. 


A puzzle is that we believe the Book of Psalms was compiled during the Babylonian exile, but at that time, of course, an exile, the flood had engulfed Judah and the raging waters had swept them away. Same with 125 and others in this collection. But Psalm 126 seems to refer to the return from exile. However, some people interpret this as referring to an earlier incident, perhaps relief from a long drought. Psalm 127 is attributed to Solomon, so of course it can't be post-exilic. When reading history, we must keep in mind that much of the past is truly lost.

124 A song of ascents. Of David.

If the Lord had not been on our side –
    let Israel say –
if the Lord had not been on our side
    when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
    when their anger flared against us;
the flood would have engulfed us,
    the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters
    would have swept us away.

Praise be to the Lord,
    who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
    from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
    and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.


125 A song of ascents.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be shaken but endures for ever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people
    both now and for evermore.

The sceptre of the wicked will not remain
    over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
    their hands to do evil.

Lord, do good to those who are good,
    to those who are upright in heart.
But those who turn to crooked ways
    the Lord will banish with the evildoers.

Peace be on Israel.


126 A song of ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of[a] Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.[b]
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes,[c] Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.


  1. Psalm 126:1 Or Lord brought back the captives to
  2. Psalm 126:1 Or those restored to health
  3. Psalm 126:4 Or Bring back our captives


127 A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to[a] those he loves.

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.


  1. Psalm 127:2 Or eat— / for while they sleep he provides for

128 A song of ascents.

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
    who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
    blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
    for the man who fears the Lord.

May the Lord bless you from Zion;
    may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life.
May you live to see your children’s children—
    peace be on Israel.


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Wednesday Bible Study: Short but weird

We now come to some mercifully short, but rather, somewhat puzzling pieces. Psalm 120 is mysteriously titled "A song of ascents." There are 15 so titled. Some scholars think that these were to be sung by worshippers climbing the road to Jerusalem to attend the three Pilgrimage Festivals; others that they were sung by the priests as they climbed the steps to the Temple. But no-one really knows. The singer's situation is also unclear. Meshek and Kedar are historic enemies of Israel (they had a lot of them). Is he in exile? Or have they invaded? What are the lies he's complaining about? One possible explanation that occurs to me is that he is a diplomat, trying to forestall war, but that's just a guess.

Psalm 121 proposes the strange idea that the moon could harm people if God did not protect them. 122 is a paen to Jerusalem. Psalm 123 contains a fairly obvious hypocrisy. While it calls upon the faithful to look upon God as slaves look to their owners, it also complains about the arrogance of the powerful. Of course that's the usual attitude of slave owners -- my slaves are in their rightful place, but I don't get enough respect. That actually says a lot about our current state of politics.


120 A song of ascents.

I call on the Lord in my distress,
    and he answers me.
Save me, Lord,
    from lying lips
    and from deceitful tongues.

What will he do to you,
    and what more besides,
    you deceitful tongue?
He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows,
    with burning coals of the broom bush.

Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek,
    that I live among the tents of Kedar!
Too long have I lived
    among those who hate peace.
I am for peace;
    but when I speak, they are for war.


121 A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip –
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you –
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm –
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and for evermore.


122 A song of ascents. Of David.

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
    ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’
Our feet are standing
    in your gates, Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built like a city
    that is closely compacted together.
That is where the tribes go up –
    the tribes of the Lord –
to praise the name of the Lord
    according to the statute given to Israel.
There stand the thrones for judgment,
    the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    ‘May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
    and security within your citadels.’
For the sake of my family and friends,
    I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your prosperity.


123 A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to you,
    to you who sit enthroned in heaven.
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
    as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
    till he shows us his mercy.

Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us,
    for we have endured no end of contempt.
We have endured no end
    of ridicule from the arrogant,
    of contempt from the proud.


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Also, too . . .

 I'll just rip off Brad DeLong here. He sends out emails and doesn't say you can't repost them.

Journamalism: Nicely encapsulated:

Scary Lawyerguy: ‘Of the many double standards employed by the media, Biden needing every speech to be some combination of Lincoln and Cicero while Trump's public appearances are 90 minutes of word salad, non sequiturs, and dictatorial musings that get no push back, is among the worst… <>

Agreed. If Biden were ever to give one single speech as incoherent and lie-filled as Trumps’s standard speeches are as a matter of course, I think there would be a banner headline atop the New York Times.



Must Read

 Here's Radley Balko on one of Dump's most oft-repeated campaign promises, which is to deport 15 million people. Actually there aren't nearly that many people in the country illegally, but if you read the piece, you'll see why that doesn't really matter. It's impossible to summarize adequately and pulling out any of it would be to blur the picture. But I will make a couple of points, just so you have an idea what you're up against when you try to defend the proposal. 

I assume you don't believe people who are in the U.S. illegally have any human rights or that we should care whether they live or die, whether they suffer, or whether their children, friends and neighbors suffer. After all, they are vermin who are poisoning the blood of America, right? And if some people who aren't actually here illegally get caught up in the dragnet and wrongly deported, you don't care about that either because they don't qualify as white, and that's what you really care about. So I'll give you all that. So consider this:

  • Deporting even a fraction of 15 million people would wreck the U.S. economy. In case you didn't know it, these people work, and no, they are not eligible for and do not receive any government benefits. Inflation would soar, and the U.S. would go into a depression. Who do you think picks crops, processes food, works in restaurant kitchens? 

  • The operation would be 2/3 larger than the Nazi operation to transport the Jews of Europe. The deportation operation alone would cost at least $210 billion, substantially larger than the budget of the U.S. army. But that's not counting the cost of finding and detaining the people, or flying them back to the countries where they were born which would be necessary in the case of every country but Mexico and Canada.
  • It would cost $258 billion a year just to detain the current backlog of people who are awaiting immigration hearings. That's twice the budget of the state of Florida. It would cost three times as much to detain people who are not known to the authorities and not awaiting hearings. 
  • The plan would require 530,000 additional immigration enforcement officers. Right now, there are 325,000 reservists in the National Guard, in all 50 states . . . 

 Oh forget about it. This is already completely ridiculous. Just read it. These is who half the people polled say they will vote for, because he's a straight shooter, who tells it like it is.


Monday, May 20, 2024

This has gotten extremely ugly

Texas Governor Greg Abbot just gave an unconditional pardon to a cold blooded murderer, after he had served only one year of a 25 year sentence. Jonathan Last of The Bulwark provides the facts of the case:


On July 25, 2020 Garrett Foster—a retired Air Force veteran—was attending a protest in Austin. Foster was open-carrying a rifle, as is legal under Texas law. Daniel Perry was driving a car when he encountered this protest. He sped through a red light and accelerated his car into a group of protesters, one of whom was Whitney Mitchell. Mitchell—who was Foster’s fiancé—was in a wheel-chair. (She is a quadruple amputee.)

Foster approached Perry’s vehicle in an attempt to get him to stop ramming pedestrians. His firearm was in a safe position: Safety on, no round in the chamber, and pointed at the ground. Perry shot Foster five times. Foster died.The case had everything Republicans love: A peaceful protest with people exercising their First Amendment rights. A veteran lawfully exercising his Second Amendment right. And before the murder the killer had been searching the internet for young girls and sending sexually explicit texts to a minor.

The only problem was the protest itself: It was a Black Lives Matter protest. And so Daniel Perry—a groomer who was convicted of murder by a jury of his peers—became a conservative cause célèbre.

And yes, Perry is a racist. He had frequently talked about killing Black people and protesters. He talked about killing protesters that very day. He sought out the protest, ran his car into it, and murdered the first person he had a chance to kill. Read more of Last's account in case you think there is anything more to this, or any possible claim of self-defense or justifiability. The prosecution proved that this was pre-meditaded, absolutely indefensible murder.

What has happened is that Greg Abbot has declared that citizens of Texas have the absolute right to murder peaceful protesters, if they happen to be protesting the murder of Black people. BTW Foster was not Black, but remember that the Ku Klux Klan was particularly prone to killing white people who supported Black civil rights. It's the same old pattern. The Klan acted with impunity in the Jim Crow era, and now Greg Abbot has said that they can again. This is where we are headed. This is the platform of the Republican Party.


Sunday, May 19, 2024

Sunday Sermonette: Let's get this over with

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is also at least in the top ten for most boring, and easily the most pointless. For some inscrutable reason, it is divided into 22 stanzas of eight lines each. Every line of a given stanza has to begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the stanzas are in alphabetical order. This is of course impossible to represent in translation. It also means that the content is constrained by the arbitrary requirement, hence also the literary quality. It's  176 lines of utter dreck. But, I said we were going to read the whole damn thing so here it is. I'm using the New International Version because it preserves the letters at the stanza headings, which the NIV doesn't bother with. Now that we're done with this, we're finally getting toward the end of the psalms. Sadly, we'll then have to deal with proverbs.

א Aleph

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart –
they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.
You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
    in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
    when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart
    as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
    do not utterly forsake me.

ב Beth

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word.

ג Gimel

17 Be good to your servant while I live,
    that I may obey your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see
    wonderful things in your law.
19 I am a stranger on earth;
    do not hide your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing
    for your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
    those who stray from your commands.
22 Remove from me scorn and contempt,
    for I keep your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
    your servant will meditate on your decrees.
24 Your statutes are my delight;
    they are my counsellors.

ד Daleth

25 I am laid low in the dust;
    preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
    teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
    that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
    be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
    do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
    for you have broadened my understanding.

ה He

33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
    that I may follow it to the end.[b]
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
    and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
    for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart towards your statutes
    and not towards selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
    preserve my life according to your word.[c]
38 Fulfil your promise to your servant,
    so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
    for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
    In your righteousness preserve my life.

ו Waw

41 May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
    your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
    for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
    for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
    for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
    for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
    and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
    because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,
    that I may meditate on your decrees.

ז Zayin

49 Remember your word to your servant,
    for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
    your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully,
    but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws,
    and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
    who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song
    wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name,
    that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice:
    I obey your precepts.

ח Heth

57 You are my portion, Lord;
    I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart;
    be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways
    and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay
    to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
    I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks
    for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you,
    to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.

ט Teth

65 Do good to your servant
    according to your word, Lord.
66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
    for I trust your commands.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I obey your word.
68 You are good, and what you do is good;
    teach me your decrees.
69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
    I keep your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
    but I delight in your law.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me
    than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

י Yodh

73 Your hands made me and formed me;
    give me understanding to learn your commands.
74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
    for I have put my hope in your word.
75 I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous,
    and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,
    according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
    for your law is my delight.
78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
    but I will meditate on your precepts.
79 May those who fear you turn to me,
    those who understand your statutes.
80 May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees,
    that I may not be put to shame.

כ Kaph

81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
    but I have put my hope in your word.
82 My eyes fail, looking for your promise;
    I say, ‘When will you comfort me?’
83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
    I do not forget your decrees.
84 How long must your servant wait?
    When will you punish my persecutors?
85 The arrogant dig pits to trap me,
    contrary to your law.
86 All your commands are trustworthy;
    help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
87 They almost wiped me from the earth,
    but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your unfailing love preserve my life,
    that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.

ל Lamedh

89 Your word, Lord, is eternal;
    it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
    you established the earth, and it endures.
91 Your laws endure to this day,
    for all things serve you.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
    I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
    for by them you have preserved my life.
94 Save me, for I am yours;
    I have sought out your precepts.
95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me,
    but I will ponder your statutes.
96 To all perfection I see a limit,
    but your commands are boundless.

מ Mem

97 Oh, how I love your law!
    I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
    and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
    for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
    for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
    so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
    for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
    therefore I hate every wrong path.

נ Nun

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
    that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much;
    preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
    and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
    I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
    but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage for ever;
    they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees
    to the very end.[d]

ס Samekh

113 I hate double-minded people,
    but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I shall live;
    do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I shall be delivered;
    I shall always have regard for your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from your decrees,
    for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross;
    therefore I love your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of you;
    I stand in awe of your laws.

ע Ayin

121 I have done what is righteous and just;
    do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Ensure your servant’s well-being;
    do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,
    looking for your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your love
    and teach me your decrees.
125 I am your servant; give me discernment
    that I may understand your statutes.
126 It is time for you to act, Lord;
    your law is being broken.
127 Because I love your commands
    more than gold, more than pure gold,
128 and because I consider all your precepts right,
    I hate every wrong path.

פ Pe

129 Your statutes are wonderful;
    therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
    longing for your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
    as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
    let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
    that I may obey your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant
    and teach me your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
    for your law is not obeyed.

צ Tsadhe

137 You are righteous, Lord,
    and your laws are right.
138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
    they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out,
    for my enemies ignore your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
    and your servant loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised,
    I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting
    and your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,
    but your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous;
    give me understanding that I may live.

ק Qoph

145 I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord,
    and I will obey your decrees.
146 I call out to you; save me
    and I will keep your statutes.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
    I have put my hope in your word.
148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
    that I may meditate on your promises.
149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
    preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.
150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near,
    but they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, Lord,
    and all your commands are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your statutes
    that you established them to last for ever.

ר Resh

153 Look on my suffering and deliver me,
    for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me;
    preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
    for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, Lord, is great;
    preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me,
    but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing,
    for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts;
    preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.
160 All your words are true;
    all your righteous laws are eternal.

ש Sin and Shin

161 Rulers persecute me without cause,
    but my heart trembles at your word.
162 I rejoice in your promise
    like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood
    but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
    for your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love your law,
    and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, Lord,
    and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes,
    for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes,
    for all my ways are known to you.

ת 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.


  1. Psalm 119:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, the stanzas of which begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet; moreover, the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
  2. Psalm 119:33 Or follow it for its reward
  3. Psalm 119:37 Two manuscripts of the Masoretic Text and Dead Sea Scrolls; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text life in your way
  4. Psalm 119:112 Or decrees / for their enduring reward