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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 122

 

 

Verse 1

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

As Psalms 121:1-8 was sung in sight of Jerusalem's distant hills, so this psalm at the gates, when the pilgrims halted to form the procession to the sanctuary. Psalms 122:1-9. Introduction (Psalms 122:1-2); excellency of Jerusalem, the civil and religious capital of all Israel (Psalms 122:3-5); prayers for its peace, as involving the interests of the whole national brotherhood, and of the house of God (Psalms 122:6-9). Compare Psalms 122:3 with 2 Samuel 5:9; 2 Samuel 5:11,

The internal evidence of the psalm confirms the title, which assigns it to David as the author. His design was to conciliate the Ten northern tribes, which had been slower in recognizing him as king, to Jerusalem, the newly-constituted capital and religious center of the nation. The ark, 'the heart of the Israelite religion' (Hengstenberg), had been just brought up to Zion by David (2 Samuel 6:13). Traces of pilgrim procession to it appear in Psalms 42:4; Psalms 55:14.

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Each one is glad at the other saying so. Isaiah 2:3 refers to this. What in early times the pilgrim Israelites used to say, that in Messianic days shall the pagan nations say to one another.


Verse 2

Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.

Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. So it is in this translation, which regulates the tense by that of the previous, "Let us go," 'We will go.' But it may be in the Preterits, having regard to the tense, "I was glad." 'Our feet have taken their stand (or have been standing) within thy gates, O Jerusalem.' In which view the pilgrims are regarded as halting within the gates of the holy city. A somewhat long stay had to be made at the gates until all the pilgrims had come up, and the procession to the sanctuary was arranged. Compare Psalms 42:4. "I went (in solemn procession, Hebrew) with them (the multitude) to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise (which words show the songs were sung to the Lord during the processions), with a multitude that kept holyday."


Verse 3

Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:

Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together - the admiring language of the pilgrims. The article in the Hebrew favours the translation, 'Jerusalem, the builded one (the well-built one (Junius and Tremellius): so Daniel 4:30, "Babylon that I have built" - i:e., made into a well-built city, for it had stood a long while before), as a city that is compact together!' (that realizes the idea of such a city, 1 Chronicles 11:8; 2 Samuel 5:9). The reference is to the junction together of the lower city nod the fortress by the 'walls,' and to the 'palaces,' wherewith he adorned the whole (cf. Psalms 122:7). In all this David sees (here, Psalms 122:3) a token of God's favour toward Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:9; 2 Samuel 5:12).


Verse 4

Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.

Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel. Muis, Dr. Horne, Hengstenberg, etc., take it '(according to) the testimony for (i:e., the ordinance of the Lord's will revealed to) Israel'-namely, the law that all the males should thrice a year, at the great festivals, appear before the Lord (Exodus 23:14-17; Deuteronomy 16:16). On "the testimony," cf. Psalms 19:7; Psalms 78:5; Psalms 81:5. However, the English version is favoured by the fact that the tabernacle, and especially the ark, is often called "the testimony" (Exodus 16:34; Exodus 25:16), as the two tables of the testimony were deposited in it (Exodus 32:15; Hebrews 9:4). The tabernacle or the ark appertained to [so the l


Verse 5

For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.

For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. The "For" implies that its promotion to be the religious metropolis is due to its being the civil capital of the nation (2 Samuel 5:9; 2 Samuel 6:16). For it had been ordained (Deuteronomy 17:8-9) that the place for judgments should be the place which the Lord should choose for the sanctuary. The plural, "thrones of judgment," refers to the bench of judges, who derived their authority from the king (cf. Isaiah 32:1). Antitypically in the kingdom to come (cf. Matthew 19:28). "The house of David" had superseded that of Saul (2 Samuel 3:1). God by Nathan had promised the throne not only to David, but to his house forever. This is a favourite subject with David in prayer and praise (2 Samuel 7:11-13; 2 Samuel 7:19; 2 Samuel 7:25; Psalms 21:4; Psalms 18:50).


Verse 6

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee - or, 'let them prosper that love thee.' Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee - or, 'let them prosper that love thee.' Resting on the excellency of Jerusalem (Psalms 122:3-5), there follows the mutual exhortation of the pilgrims to pray for it, and then the prayer itself. Jerusalem means a peaceful possession: to this the allusion is. In the Hebrew, the frequent alliteration of the similar-sounding words ("peace" "prosper" "prosperity") with one another, and with "Jerusalem," is designed to endear the mother city to the nation. So Psalms 76:2. It is characteristic of the true Israelite to wish peace to the seat of the sanctuary. Compare David's similar prayer, Psalms 51:18.


Verse 7

Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.

Peace be within thy walls - thy external circumference.

Prosperity (or secure tranquillity) within thy palaces - thy stately interior buildings; symbolizing Jerusalem's external and internal state respectively (Ps. ).


Verse 8

For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.

For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. For the sake of all the people of the covenant who form one brotherhood, and whose welfare is wrapped up in Jerusalem's, I will wish her peace. As the heart is to the body, such was Jerusalem, the sanctuary (Psalms 122:9) and the center of justice (Psalms 122:5) to the nation.


Verse 9

Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.

Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good - (cf. Nehemiah 2:10.) The psalm reverts to that with which it began, "the house of the Lord" (Psalms 122:1; Psalms 27:4). Intercessory prayer is the best way of promoting the welfare of Israel and of the Church.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 122:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-122.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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