Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verse 9

Psalm 118Psalm 118:
A Commentary
by Saint Theophan the Recluse

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014


Beth = house: it describes what house we should prepare for the commandments, where and how to make them at home within ourselves.

v.9 = how human nature, in youth (before corruption) is a house for the commandments

Then it describes various faculties of the soul:

v.10 = the will

v.11 = the heart

v.12 = the mind

v.13 = the spoken word

v.14 = the senses, taste

v.15 = reason

v.16 = memory

I am really amazed at how Theophan can interpret the verses and see so much structure in them, that he can apply to spiritual life. This is really brilliant. Obviously, this is not modern exegesis, but the traditional exegesis is nourishing and life-giving.

Wherewithal shall a young man correct his ways?
By keeping Thy words.

Follow the commandments to give proper direction to impulses. Because our first years affect our whole life. Like a bridle for a young horse (cf. Theodoret). Otherwise, long and hard battle later on.

To keep = to put into practice (Augustine)


Any reflection on these quotes?


  1. How interesting! Just yesterday I heard a talk about the 10 commandments as 10 “words” from God to Moses (suggesting that “word” is a better translation than “commandment”). When Jesus told his disciples, “if you love me, keep my word,” to me, this implies such great intimacy: keeping His “word” within, to practice it out of love, not only from obedience. We treasure the “word” of one we love and admire, and how much more will we seek to conform to the word of the one Lord who merits the gift of our whole life.


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