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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 120

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-7

Psalms 120:1-7. Title. No satifactory reason has been assigned, why this and the fourteen following psalms are entitled " Songs of degrees." Some think it denotes, that they are peculiarly suited to mount the soul from earth to heaven : but others suppose that this title only relates to the manner, in which they were set to musick", and sung at the temple. ’ This psalm seems to have been ’ made by David, when the calumnies of Doeg and others ’ forced him to flee his country.’ Bp. Patrick.

V. 1, 2. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 31:17-18. Psalms 35:11-12; Psalms 52:2-4. Psalms 130:1-2. Matthew 26:57-62.)" From " lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue," God alone can deliver the most blameless of men : but eventually, in answer to their prayer he will deliver them ; and for this deliverance let them patiently wait. (Notes, Psalms 37:5-8. Is. 54: 15- 17. Micah 7:8-10.)

V. 3. Or, " What shall a false tongue give to thee ? " And what shall it add to thee ? " ’ What profit do you expect from this lying and slandering ? ’ " What fruit had " ye in those things, of which ye are now ashamed ? " (Notes, Job 27:7-10. Romans 6:21-23.)

V. 4. The intensetiess and duration of the misery of those who slandered the servants of God, are represented by the vehement and lasting heat, which the wood of the juniper-tree is said to yield, after it is reduced to charcoal ; and also by the sharp arrows of a mighty warrior, when he overtakes his enemy. Some however think, that the slandering tongue is described under these images : " It is " as the sharp arrows of the mighty man, &c." (Marg. Notes,Psalms 57:4. Psalms 59:7. Proverbs 12:18-19. James 3:3-12.)

V. 5. It is probable, that David never actually resided in Mesech or Kedar, that is, in Arabia ; but the conduct of Saul, and Doeg, and the Ziphites, was so treacherous and impious, that he seemed to have his dwelling among the wild Arabs, who subsisted by war and violence. (Notes, Jeremiah 9:1-6; Jeremiah 15:10. Micah 7:1-4.) Some render the word Mesech, not as the name of a people, but adverbially : " Woe is me, that I sojourn so long, that I dwell in " the tents of Kedar." Thus our Lord says, " How long " shall I be with you ? How long shall I suffer you ? "

V. 7- I am for peace.] Or " I, peace." David, though valiant in war, loved peace, and was very desirous of it : but his wise and blameless conduct only served to excite still more the envy and enmity of Saul and his courtiers. (Marg. Ref. Note, Romans 12:17-21.)


While we look, not to David only, but to Jesus " the " Prince of peace," and see him surrounded by ensnaring cavillers, and calumniated by lying lips and deceitful tongues ; while we consider how long the holy Saviour sojourned in this wicked world, " as in Mesech and in the " tents of Kedar ; " while we attend to his blameless, useful life, and the great object of his coming into the world, namely, " to make " and give " peace by the blood of his "cross;" and then view him hated, reviled, and persecuted even to death, by the professed worshippers of God : we cannot marvel, if the world hate and slander us too ; we shall not court the friendship of those, who would wage war with the Son of God himself, if he were again on earth ; and, though uneasy, we ought not to murmur, at being for a time constrained to dwell amidst the contentious and malicious. But let us follow David, as he prefigured Christ ; in our distress let us " cry unto the " LORD, and he will hear us ; " and deliver our persons and reputations from lying lips, and every deceitful tongue. Let us possess our souls in patience, and follow after peace and holiness, and strive to overcome evil with good. Then, after our weary pilgrimage shall expire, we shall enter a land of eternal harmony, purity, and tranquillity. And as we must foresee the dreadful misery of all impenitent slanderers and liars, in the everlasting fire of hell ; let us in meekness warn them of their danger, " if peradventure " God will give them repentance, to the acknowledging " of the truth ; and that they may recover themselves out " of the snare of the Devil, who are taken captive by him " at his will." (Note, 2 Timothy 2:23-26.)

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 120". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-120.html. 1804.
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