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The next fifteen psalms appear to have formed a book of themselves bearing the title, "The Songs of Ascents." That collection is incorporated by the editor at this point not without purpose.
The title appearing at the head of each has been variously translated, “A Song of Degrees," "A Song of Ascents," “A Song for the Goings Up." In the Hebrew translation to which we have already referred, it appears as "A song of the ascents," and in the title index in each case the psalm is called "Pilgrim's song."
The meaning of this title has been variously interpreted also. Without referring to the different suggestions made, we shall consider them as songs sung by those pilgrims who went up to Jerusalem to worship. Placing the collection immediately after the great psalm dealing with the perfection of the will of God is significant. Those who know the will of God turn their faces toward the Temple of worship. These songs of desire, and hope, and approach are appropriate for the pilgrims' use as they go up to worship.
The first is wholly the cry of the soul acquainted with the perfection of the will of God. The first declaration is one of experience gained. He looks back, and remembers how he has been heard and answered. His present circumstance is absence from the house of his God. He is dwelling among a people whose motives and activities are contrary to his deepest convictions and desires. Mesech and the tents of Kedar figuratively describe the distance of his abode from the home and center of peace. He is surrounded by lying and deceitful people, such as hate peace and are all for war. His heart turns toward Jehovah and the dwelling of His glory, the holy house of worship. He cries to Jehovah for deliverance, and in the midst of adversity declares his confidence that the judgments of God will operate against the evildoers.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Psalms 120". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany