Adam Clarke Commentary
The resolution of a godly man, Psalm 121:1, Psalm 121:2. The safety and prosperity of such, as they and theirs shall be under the continual protection of God, Psalm 121:3-8.
This appears to be a prayer of the Jews in their captivity, who are solicitous for their restoration. It is in the form of a dialogue.
Psalm 121:3. The ministering priest answers him, "He will not suffer thy foot to be moved." "He that keepeth thee will not slumber," Psalm 121:3.
Psalm 121:5; etc. The priest resumes; and, to the conclusion of the Psalm, gives him the most positive assurances of God's favor and protection.
Unto the hills - Jerusalem was built upon a mountain; and Judea was a mountainous country; and the Jews, in their several dispersions, turned towards Jerusalem when they offered up their prayers to God.
My help cometh from the Lord - There is no help for me but in my God; and I expect it from no other quarter.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved - The foundation, God's infinite power and goodness, on which thou standest, cannot be moved; and whilst thou standest on this basis, thy foot cannot be moved.
He that keepeth Israel - The Divine Being represents himself as a watchman, who takes care of the city and its inhabitants during the night-watches; and who is never overtaken with slumbering or sleepiness. There is a thought in the Antigone of Sophocles, that seems the counterpart of this of the psalmist,
Ταν σανπ, Ζευπ, δυναμιν τις ανδρωνπ
Ὑπερβασια κατασχοι,Ταν ουθπ 'ὑπνος αἱπ -
ρει ποθπ 'ὁ παντογηρως,Ακαματοι τε θεωνΜηνες;
Antig. ver. 613, Edit. Johnson.
Shall men below control great Jove above, Whose eyes by all-subduing sleep
Are never closed, as feeble mortals' are; But still their watchful vigil keep
Through the long circle of th' eternal year?
The sun shall not smite thee by day - Thus expressed by the Chaldee: "The morning spectres shall not smite thee by day, during the government of the sun; nor the nocturnal spectres by night, during the government of the moon." I believe the psalmist simply means, they shall not be injured by heat nor cold; by a sun-stroke by day, nor a frost-bite by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil - Spiritual and corporeal, natural and moral.
He shall preserve thy soul - Take care of thy life, and take care of thy soul.
Thy going out and thy coming in - Night and day - in all thy business and undertakings; and this through the whole course of thy life: for evermore.
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