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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 123

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


A Song of degrees.

We have here a sigh from the depths of sorrow, reproach, and oppression. The author beholds his helpless state in the surrounding scorn and contempt of the proud, and finds hope only in “Jehovah his God,” for whom he patiently and confidently waits. Evidently this lament, with its eye of faith and hope, comes from the night of the captivity.

Verse 1

1. Unto thee lift I up mine eyes See note on Psalms 121:1. “Jehovah our God,” (Psalms 123:2,) is the only helper of Israel, and from him alone is relief expected.

That dwellest in the heavens See notes on Psalms 113:4-6

Verse 2

2. As the eyes of servants, etc. The allusion is to the custom of dispensing favours, giving protection, or issuing orders, by the motion of the hand. In India, a man in trouble says, “I will look to the hand of my friend.” Roberts. “In Egypt everything is done with the greatest decency and the most profound silence, the slaves or servants standing at the bottom of the room, with their hands joined before them, watching with the utmost attention every motion of their master, who commands them by signs.” Pococke. Ladies are waited on, even at the least wink of their eye or motion of their fingers. This custom prevails all over the East, and this language of signs is frequently alluded to in the prophets. In the present case the hand is looked to for protection; and the waiting attitude is one of submission, trust, and readiness to obey orders, or to receive the token of deliverance.

Verses 3-4

3, 4. Exceedingly filled Satiated, overflowed with abundance. Their enemies were at ease, (Psalms 123:4;) the word denoting, in its bad sense, those who live carelessly, indifferently as to religion or the sufferings of others, and only for self-gratification: a state of supreme selfishness and worthlessness of character, which, though not in itself expressing overt crime, hardens the soul to all vice and sin. Jeremiah 48:11; Amos 6:1; Zechariah 1:15; comp. Luke 12:19-20. They were also proud, haughty, which always implies contempt and hard heartedness toward inferiors. These were Israel’s oppressors, who contemned them, trod them under foot, and scorned, or made a jest and derision of them. Thus is it with the world toward the Church, but will not God hear and avenge his elect, who cry unto him day and night?

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 123". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/psalms-123.html. 1874-1909.
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