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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 122

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2959. B.C. 1045.

This Psalm, which the title ascribes to David, was probably composed by him after he had settled the ark in mount Zion, to encourage the people to resort to Jerusalem to the three annual feasts, or to express his pleasure in observing that they did assemble there in great numbers. He shows with what joy they were to go up to Jerusalem, Psalms 122:1 , Psalms 122:2 . The esteem they ought to have for it, Psalms 122:3-5 . The prayers they ought to make for its welfare, Psalms 122:6-9 .

Verses 1-2

Psalms 122:1-2. I was glad when they said, Let us go, &c. Or, We will go, into the house of the Lord They are the words of the people, exhorting one another to go and attend upon the worship of God at his tabernacle or temple at Jerusalem, and especially at the three great festivals; and they are intended to signify with what great joy such Israelites as were pious received and complied with invitations from their brethren to accompany them on these occasions. But with how much greater joy ought Christians to embrace all opportunities of approaching God, and assembling with his people in the more rational, spiritual, and edifying worship of the New Testament church! Our feet shall stand within thy gates, &c. Thither we will come, and there we will continue during the times of solemn worship; O Jerusalem The city where the ark of the covenant and God’s holy altars are now fixed. We shall wander no more, as we did formerly, when the ark was removed from place to place. We have now got a settled habitation for it, and where it is there will we be.

Verse 3

Psalms 122:3. Jerusalem is builded as a city, compact together Hebrew, שׁחברה לה , shechubberah lah, quæ conjuncta est sibi, which is united, or, compacted to, or, in itself. The word signifies “the connection or joining of things aptly and closely to each other. Thus it is used of the coupling of the curtains of the tabernacle together, Exodus 36:18. Hence it is used to denote the connection and society of friendship, affection, and purpose, Genesis 14:3; Hosea 4:17. In the place before us, both senses seem to be united. Jerusalem was compact as to its buildings, and the inhabitants of it were firmly united by mutual harmony and friendship.” Chandler. This clause is rendered by Mudge, As a city that is placed in the centre of union. “Jerusalem,” says Dr. Delaney, “the great seat and centre of religion and justice, was the centre of union to all the tribes; the palace, the centre of the city; and the tabernacle, of the palace. Blessed and happy is that nation whose prince is the centre of union to his people, and God (that is, true religion) the common centre and cement both of people and prince.” Life of David, book 2., chapter 12., page 162.

Verses 4-5

Psalms 122:4-5. Whither the tribes go up, &c. Hebrew, Thither the tribes ascend; the tribes of the Lord Whom God hath chosen to be his people, and whom he hath invited and required to resort thither. Unto the testimony of Israel Unto the ark, called the testimony because of the tables of the covenant laid up in it, which are called God’s testimony, and the tables of the testimony. And this is called the testimony of, or to Israel, because it was given by God to them. To give thanks unto the name of the Lord To worship God; this one eminent part thereof being put for all the rest. For there are set thrones of judgment The supreme courts of justice for ecclesiastical and civil affairs. The thrones of the house of David The royal throne, allotted by God to David and to his posterity, and the inferior seats of justice established by and under his authority.

Verses 6-9

Psalms 122:6-9. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem In the prosperity of which both your civil and religious privileges are deeply concerned. They shall prosper that love thee Or, Let them prosper, the future being taken imperatively, as is very frequent. The Lord grant them prosperity and all happiness. Peace be within thy walls In all thy dwellings; and prosperity within thy palaces Especially in the dwellings of thy princes and rulers, whose welfare and prosperity may be a public blessing to all the people. For my brethren and companions’ sakes And this I desire, says David, not only, nor chiefly, for my own security and for the glory of my empire, but for the sake of all my fellow-citizens, and of all the Israelites, whom, though my subjects, I must own for my brethren and companions in the chief privileges and blessings enjoyed at Jerusalem. Because of the house of the Lord Which is now fixed in this city; because of the ordinances of his worship, which are here established. I will seek thy good Thy protection, peace, and prosperity. Thus, “in these concluding verses, the psalmist declares the two motives which induced him to utter his best wishes, and to use his best endeavours for the prosperity of Jerusalem; namely, the love of his brethren, whose happiness was involved in that of their city; and the love of God, who had there fixed the residence of his glory. These motives are ever in force, and ought, surely, to operate with marvellous energy upon our hearts, to stir us up to imitate the pattern now before us, in fervent zeal and unwearied labour for the salvation of men, and the glory of our great Redeemer; both which will then be complete, when the church militant shall become the church triumphant, and the heavenly paradise shall be filled with plants taken from its terrestrial nursery.” Horne.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 122". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/psalms-122.html. 1857.
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