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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 133



Verse 1

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Psalms 133:1-3.-The goodness and pleasantness of brethren dwelling together in unity. "Behold" accords with the reference being to a meeting of the national brotherhood at the great festivals. So the comparison to the priesthood (Psalms 133:2). Zion, in Psalms 133:3, is marked as the place of meeting. As in Psalms 122:1-9 David strengthened the people's love for Jerusalem, so in this psalm he glorifies the communion of saints now restored at Zion, after its long intermission during the ark's twenty years' stay out of mind at Kirjath-jearim.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! The children of Israel, being all children of God, not only by creation, but also by national adoption, were all "brethren." The great festivals were designed to be occasions for realizing this brotherhood and communion of saints. They had been for twenty years suspended while the ark was at Kirjath-jearim. Now, under David they were being renewed at Zion, where the ark had been removed. So all the members of the spiritual Israel-the Church. What they are by calling, and in the idea, they ought also to be in feeling and in fact, meeting in brotherly fellowship as all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26; Hebrews 13:1). When occasions of dispute arise, they should say, as Abraham said to Lot, Genesis 13:8, "Let there be no strife I pray thee, between me and thee ... for we be brethren." "Together" - Hebrew, 'also together;' i:e., how good it is that those who are brothers by blood or religious ties should also dwell in unity!

Verse 2

It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments. The 'holy anointing oil' consisted of olive oil mixed with four principal spices-myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamis, and cassia (Exodus 30:23-25). The high priest Aaron's head was anointed with the holy oil poured upon it (Exodus 29:7; Leviticus 8:12; Leviticus 21:10), and flowing down upon the beard. In this copious effusion on the head his anointing differed from tibet of the priests, who were merely streaked with oil upon their foreheads. The Psalmist cells it "precious," in reference to the spiritual grace of love (the first fruit of the Spirit Gal. Ps. 133:22 ), of which it is the image. The Holy Spirit is the precious ointment with which, in its infinite plenitude, Messiah was "anointed" (Daniel 9:24; Acts 10:38; John 3:34). The holy ointment streams down from our antitypical High Priest in measure upon all His believing members, even to the very lowest of them who, like the woman with the issue of blood, in faith touch the hem of His garment (Matthew 9:20). As they "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 13:14), so He puts them on as His ornament, and imparts to them of His precious Spirit (John 1:16). Hengstenberg, however, with the Arabic version, takes it, '(even) Aaron's beard that flowed down to the opening at the neck of his garment.' But the ointment, not Aaron's beard, is plainly the object in the image; and the Chaldaic, Septuagint, Vulgate, Ethiopic, and Syriac versions take it as the English version.

Verse 3

As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

As the dew of Hermon, (and as the dew) that descended upon the mountains of Zion. As "the precious ointment" (Psalms 133:2) sets forth "how good" is brotherly unity (Psalms 133:1), so "the dew" sets forth "how pleasant" it is. The Hebrew is literally, 'As the dew of Hermon that descended upon the mountains of Zion.' "The dew of Hermon" is an image of "pleasant" or lovely dew. Locally, Hermon in the distant East, was so far from Zion, in the West, that the dew of the former could not literally descend upon the latter. Brotherly unity resembles a "pleasant" dew (such as Hermon has) which descends upon Zion where this unity is so beautifully exemplified (Hengstenberg).

For there the Lord commanded the blessing. "Blessing" is a servant at God's "command" (Leviticus 25:21; Psalms 42:8). He does command its presence on Zion, the representative seat of the kingdom of God, when the people of God are joined "there" in holy brotherhood and "unity." He does not command its presence in the world, and in the region of natural corruption, outside of the kingdom of grace.

(Even) life forevermore. "The dew" is the symbol of ever-fresh youth and resurrection-immortality descending from heaven at Christ's second coming (Psalms 110:3; Isaiah 26:19).


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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 133:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 7th, 2019
the First Week of Advent
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