on Psalms 19 :3
There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard - Leave out the expletives here, which pervert the sense; and what remains is a tolerable translation of the original: -
אין אמר ואין דברים בלי נשמע קולם
Ein omer veein debarim, beli nishma kolam.
"No speech, and no words; their voice without hearing."
בכל הארץ יצא קום ובקצה תבל מליהם
Bechol haarets yatsa kavvam: Ubiktsey thebel milleyhem.
"Into all the earth hath gone out their sound; and to the extremity of the habitable world, their eloquence."
The word קו kau, which we translate line, is rendered sonus, by the Vulgate, and φθαγγος, sound, by the Septuagint; and St. Paul, Romans 10:18, uses the same term. Perhaps the idea here is taken from a stretched cord, that emits a sound on being struck; and hence both ideas may be included in the same word; and קום kavvam may be either their line, or cord, or their sound. But I rather think that the Hebrew word originally meant sound or noise; for in Arabic the verb kavaha signifies he called out, cried, clamavit. The sense of the whole is this, as Bishop Horne has well expressed it: -
"Although the heavens are thus appointed to teach, yet it is not by articulate sounds that they do it. They are not endowed, like man, with the faculty of speech; but they address themselves to the mind of the intelligent beholder in another way, and that, when understood, a no less forcible way, the way of picture or representation. The instruction which the heavens spread abroad is as universal as their substance, which extends itself in lines, or rays. By this means their words, or rather their significant actions or operations, מליהם, are everywhere present; and thereby they preach to all the nations the power and wisdom, the mercy and lovingkindness, of the Lord."
St. Paul applies this as a prophecy relative to the universal spread of the Gospel of Christ, Romans 10:18; for God designed that the light of the Gospel should be diffused wheresoever the light of the celestial luminaries shone; and be as useful and beneficent, in a moral point of view, as that is in a natural. All the inhabitants of the earth shall benefit by the Gospel of Christ, as they all benefit by the solar, lunar, and stellar light. And, indeed, all have thus benefited, even where the words are not yet come. "Jesus is the true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." His light, and the voice of his Spirit, have already gone through the earth; and his words, and the words of his apostles, are by means of the Bible and missionaries going out to all the extremities of the habitable globe.
On these words I shall conclude with the translation of my old Psalter: -
Romans 10:1 Hevens telles the joy of God; and the werkes of his handes schwis the firmament.
Romans 10:2 Day til day riftes word; and nyght til nyght schewes conying.
Romans 10:3 Na speches er, ne na wordes, of the qwilk the voyces of thaim be noght herd.
on Psalms 19 :3
There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard - Margin, Without these their voice is heard. Hebrew, "without their voice heard." The idea in the margin, which is adopted by Prof. Alexander, is, that when the heavens give expression to the majesty and glory of God, it is not by words - by the use of language such as is employed among men. That is, there is a silent but real testimony to the power and glory of their great Author. The same idea is adopted substantially by DeWette. So Rosenmuller renders it, "There is no speech to them, and no words, neither is their voice heard." High as these authorities are, yet it seems to me that the idea conveyed by our common version is probably the correct one. This is the idea in the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate. According to this interpretation the meaning is, "There is no nation, there are no men, whatever may be their language, to whom the heavens do not speak, declaring the greatness and glory of God. The language which they speak is universal; and however various the languages spoken by men, however impossible it may be for them to understand each other, yet all can understand the language of the heavens, proclaiming the perfections of the Great Creator. That is a universal language which does not need to be expressed in the forms of human speech, but which conveys great truths alike to all mankind."
That the passage cannot mean that there is no speech, that there are no words, or that there is no language in the lessons conveyed by the heavens, seems to me to be clear from the fact that alike in the previous verse Psalm 19:2, and in the following verse Psalm 19:4, the psalmist says that they do use speech or language, "Day unto day uttereth speech;" "their words unto the end of the world." The phrase "their voice" refers to the heavens Psalm 19:1. They utter a clear and distinct voice to mankind; that is, they convey to people true and just notions of the greatness of the Creator. The meaning, then, it seems to me, is that the same great lessons about God are conveyed by the heavens, in their glory and their revolutions, to all nations; that these lessons are conveyed to them day by day, and night by night; that however great may be the diversities of Speech among men, these convey lessons in a universal language understood by all mankind; and that thus God is making himself constantly known to all the dwellers on the earth. All people can understand the language of the heavens, though they may not be able to understand the language of each other. Of the truth of this no one can doubt; and its beauty is equal to its truth.
on Psalms 19 :3
19:3 Heard - Or, understood; there are divers nations in the world, which have several languages, so that one cannot discourse with, or be understood by another, but the heavens are such an universal teacher, that they can speak to all people, and be clearly understood by all.