A verse from Psalm 119:

166: LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

Is there a difference between ‘done’ thy commandments and ‘followed’ thy commandments?

Yes, the answer is Liberty.

I will explain the reasons for my answer later, but first let us start with the assumption that this Psalm was composed by King David. There are too many I’s in the Psalm, like those Epistles of Paul, leading to an inveterate belief that only a person with a crown could have composed the 119 Psalm.

What alerts one upon reading verse no. 166 is that, if David were the composer of the Psalm, how could he have said the contents of the verse, when we all know that David did commit adultery and probably responsible for the murder – though he surely was responsible for the death – of Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba. To make matters worse, Uriah was not just an underling in the army, he was a commander. Those circumstances being the past, would it have been right for a person who was truly devoted to Jehovah to utter the following verse? I am proceeding on the second assumption that Psalm 119 was composed after David’s illicit relationship with Bathsheba. Probably, had the Psalm been written prior to those events, David could have said that with some conviction, based on the facts made available as history through the Books of Kings and Chronicles of the Old Testament.

Let us read the verse again:

166: LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

To ‘keep’ or ‘follow’ the commandments is the norm in the usage relating to the laws, rules, regulations etc., but when the verb is ‘do’ or ‘done’ it sounds a little specious.

If I assume that the Psalm had indeed been composed by King David and that he had composed it after the event with Bathsheba, and still eager to believe that David was uttering the truth to his maker, I need to analyse the Mosaic Ten Commandments.

Out of the Ten Commandments , there are only three commandments which are positive commands- which means that the subscriber to that religion has to DO those commands. The three positive commands are:

1. I am the Lord thy God

2. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

3. Honour thy father and thy mother.

The rest of the commandments are all Negative Commands, the effect of which is that, the follower is commanded NOT TO DO those things which are commanded.

Therefore, there are only 3 commandments which are TO BE DONE, so contextually interpreted, David could probably assert before God that he believed that Jehovah is the God; that he kept the Sabbath; and that he had honoured his father and mother.

In essence, David by composing verse no. 166 with an unusual verb, had technically overcome the general sense, by use of the verb DO THE COMMANDMENTS.

David, you’ve kept yourself in the right side by sidestepping the usual verb and have exercised your Liberty beyond the sanctioned bounds, yet have not lied to God, as you know you cannot.

The takeaway for us is that we can read the paeans of others and still can’t understand what they meant.