Gimel (Verses 17-24)
The letter gimel is a pictograph of a camel’s neck. The word means to “recompense” or “benefit”, and the benefit or goodness in this Psalm comes when God gives understanding to the psalmist so he can see and
understand the Word.
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 their 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 counselors.
In verses 17-24 the psalmist identifies himself as a “stranger on earth”who lives among arrogant men (sadly, including rulers) who have rejected God’s Word and so are accursed. These men cannot help the psalmist with counsel for his life and would rather treat him, like they do God’s Word, with scorn and contempt.
The psalmist thus turns to God’s Words, saying of them, “they are my counselors”. The psalmist seeks goodness from God (17), but not in the form of physical blessings. What the psalmist prays instead is that God would “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (18), because he knows that when his eyes are opened he will be empowered to “obey [God’s] word”. This empowerment through understanding that leads to obedience is called “good” because it prevents the psalmist from becoming like the arrogant, accursed men who treat God’s Truth with contempt – and then in its place, promote their own ways and counselors.