The Psalms Book 5: 120-134

Psalm 120‑134  •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 5
The next group is clearly defined, the fifteen psalms of degrees or the goings up. That of (or by) Solomon occupies the central place, two on either side are expressly of David, as others perhaps such as Psa. 132 where it is not said. Some conjecture a late date for most, or all, because they are supposed suitable to be sung during the return from Babylon. The truth is that they look onward to the restoration of Israel in the latter day and are thus truly prophetic; the language, as the hope, is far beyond anything realized in the post-exilic return.
Psalm 120
“A song of the ascents. In my trouble I sailed unto Jehovah, and he answered me. Jehovah, deliver my soul from a lip of lying, from a tongue of deceit. What shall be given unto thee, what shall be added unto thee, O tongue of deceit? A mighty one's arrows sharpened, with coals of broom-plant. Alas for me, that I sojourn [in] Mesech I dwell with the tents of Kedar! Long (much) hath my soul dwelt for her with a hater of peace. For me [I am] peace; and when I speak, they [are] for (the) war” (vers. 1-7).
It is the situation amid threatening foes north and south, from whom deliverance is sought. There was “the liar,” the antichrist, on one side; on the other, the hordes of the great external enemy. The last days are unmistakable here.
Psalm 121
“A song of the ascents. I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains: whence shall my help come. My help [is] from Jehovah, Maker of heaven and earth. May he not let thy foot be moved; may not thy keeper slumber. Behold, the keeper of Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Jehovah [is] thy keeper; Jehovah [is] thy shade upon thy right hand. By day the sun shall not smite thee, nor moon by night. Jehovah will keep thee from all evil, he will keep thy soul. Jehovah will keep thy going out, and thy coming in, henceforth and forever” (vers. 1-8).
Jehovah now at length is Israel's help, and keeper, Who slumbers not nor sleeps, in all circumstances and forever.
Psalm 121
“A song of the ascents: of David. I was glad in those saying unto me, To Jehovah's house we will go. Our feet are standing in thy gates, O Jerusalem—Jerusalem, that is built as a city which is compact together, whither tribes go up, tribes of Jah: a testimony unto Israel to give thanks unto Jehovah's name. For there are set thrones for judgment, thrones for David's house. Pray for Jerusalem's peace: may they prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy bulwark, prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sake, let me speak, Peace [be] within thee. For the sake of Jehovah's house, our God, I will seek thy good” (vers. 1-9).
It is the joy of worship in the place where Jehovah's eyes rest continually.
Psalm 132
“A song of the ascents. Unto thee do I lift up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as eyes of servants unto hand of their masters, as a handmaid's eyes unto her mistress's hand, so [are] our eyes unto Jehovah our God until he be gracious to us. Be gracious to us, Jehovah, be gracious to us, for greatly are we filled with contempt. Greatly is our soul filled with the scorning of those at ease, the contempt of the proud” (vers. 1-4).
It is the remnant of Israel staying no more, like the proud and ungodly mass, on him that smote them, but on Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and this in truth.
Psalm 124
“A song of the ascents: of David. If [it were] not Jehovah who was for us, oh! let Israel say—if [it were] not Jehovah who was for us in man's rising up against us, then they had swallowed us up alive in the kindling of their wrath against us. Then the waters had overflowed us; the stream had passed over our soul. Then had passed over our soul the proud waters. Blessed [be] Jehovah who gave us not a prey to their teeth! Our soul is escaped as a bird out of fowler's snare. The snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help [is] in Jehovah's name, who made heaven and earth” (vers. 1-8).
This is the outburst of Israel's praise when just delivered from that which seemed, to all but faith, the overwhelming power of man bent on their destruction.
Psalm 125
“A song of the ascents. Those confiding in Jehovah [are] as mount Zion; it cannot be moved, it abideth forever. Jerusalem! mountains about her, and Jehovah around his people henceforth and forever. For rod of wickedness shall not rest on a lot of the righteous, in order that the righteous may not put their hands unto iniquity. Do good, Jehovah, to the good and to those upright in their hearts. And those that turn to crooked ways will Jehovah lead forth with the workers of iniquity. Peace [be] upon Israel.” {vers. 1-5.)
Here is expressed the peaceable fruit of righteousness for those exercised by the supreme trials of that day.
Psalm 126
“A song of the ascents. When Jehovah turned the turning of Zion, we were like dreamers. Then was filled our mouth with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing; then said they among the Gentiles, Jehovah hath done great things with them. Jehovah hath done great things with us: we are joyful. Turn, Jehovah, our turning as streams in the south. Those that sow with tears shall reap with rejoicing. Surely (going) he shall go and weep, bearing a load of the seed; surely (coming) he shall come with rejoicing, bearing his sheaves” (vers. 1-6).
The return of Zion becomes the pledge and cry for the return of Israel, and the blessed Sower in sorrow shall yet reap in joy.
Psalm 127
“A song of the ascents: of Solomon. If Jehovah build not a house, in vain toil its builders in it; if Jehovah keep not a city, in vain watcheth a keeper. [It is] in vain for you rising up early, sitting up late, eating bread of (the) sorrows: so he giveth unto his beloved sleep. Behold, Jehovah's inheritance [are] children (sons), the womb's fruit [is] a reward. As arrows in a mighty man's hand, so are sons of (the) youth. Blessed [is] the man who hath filled his quiver with them. They shall not be ashamed when they speak with enemies in the gate” (vers. 1-5).
All of blessing turns on Jehovah, on Jehovah-Jesus. When Israel welcomes and depends on Him what fruitful showers! “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children” as in Psa. 45 so here. Solomon had an earnest and might well sing in the Spirit; yet his was not the rest of God.
Psalm 128
“A song of the ascents. Happy [is] every fearer of Jehovah, that walketh in his ways. Labor of thy hands when thou shalt eat, blessed thou and well with thee: thy wife as a fruitful vine on the sides of thy house; thy sons as plants, of olives around thy table. Behold that thus shall be blessed a man fearing Jehovah. Jehovah shall bless thee out of Zion; and see thou (in) the good of Jerusalem all thy life's days: and see sons of thy sons. Peace be upon Israel.” (vers. 1-6)
It is millennial blessedness on earth, when Christ reigns and blesses out of Zion. To interpret it of heaven or the church is to deny the kingdom.
Psalm 129
“A song of the ascents. Much have they afflicted me from my youth, oh! let Israel say; much have they afflicted from my youth; yet have they not prevailed against me. Upon my back plowers plowed; they made long (to) their furrows. Jehovah [is] righteous; he hath cut asunder wicked [men's] cord. Ashamed and turned backward be all that hate Zion. Be they as grass of housetops which withereth before it is plucked up; wherewith a mower filleth not his hand nor (and) a sheaf binder his bosom; neither do those that pass by say, Jehovah's blessing [come] unto you: we bless you in Jehovah's name” (vers. 1-8).
It is a psalm of painful and touching interest as to Israel's enemies, whose will was in their sufferings, however deserved. They hated Zion which Jehovah chose and loved; and their desolations were as cruel as fruitless, being in vain to destroy, as the end will show in that day.
Psalm 130
“A song of the ascents. Out of the depths do I call on thee, Jehovah. Lord, hear (in) my voice; let thine, pars be attentive to the voice of my supplication. If thou, Jah, shouldest mark iniquities, Lord, who shall stand? But with thee [is] the forgiveness that thou mayest be feared. I wait for Jehovah; my soul waiteth, and for his word I hope. My soul [hopeth] for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning—watchmen for the morning. Hope, Israel, for (or in) Jehovah, for with Jehovah [is] the mercy, and plenteously with him ransom; and he will ransom Israel from all his iniquities” (vers. 1-8).
It is the new ground of divine mercy, and so of forgiveness for the generation to come.
Psalm 131
“A song of the ascents: of David. Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; neither do I meddle (walk) with [things] great and with [things] too wonderful for me Surely, (if) I hate stilled and quieted my soul, as a weaned one upon its mother; as the weaned one [is] my soul upon me. Hope, Israel, for (or in) Jehovah henceforth and forever” (vers. 1-3).
This is the moral accompaniment of faith in mercy. Hope in Jehovah supplants self-confidence ox looking elsewhere,
Psalm 132
“A song of the ascents. Jehovah, remember for David all his humiliation; how he sware unto Jehovah, vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: I will not (if I) come into my house's tent, nor go up on my bed's couch; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, slumber to mine eyelids, until I find a place for Jehovah, tabernacles for the Mighty One of Jacob. Behold, we heard it in Ephratha; we found it in fields of forest. Let us go to his tabernacles; let us bow down at his footstool. Arise, Jehovah, into thy rest, Thou and the ark of thy strength. Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness, and let thy saints shout for joy. For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine Anointed. Jehovah hath sworn to David [in] truth; he will not turn from it: of the fruit of thy body (belly) will I set upon thy throne. If thy sons will keep my covenant and my testimony that I will teach them, their sons also shall sit upon thy throne forever. For Jehovah hath chosen (in) Zion; he hath desired [it] for his dwelling. This [is] my rest forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it; her provision will I abundantly (or, surely) bless; her poor I will satisfy with bread; and her priests I will clothe with salvation; and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. There will I make David's horn to bud, 1 have ordained a lamp for mine Anointed. His enemies will I clothe with shame; and on him shall his crown flourish” (vers. 1-18).
The Anointed is here, typified by David and Solomon, to reign as surely as He suffered. His rest in Zion has yet to be accomplished. It is not the Father's throne, any more than headship of His body, but the kingdom by and by, where the answers of grace exceed the desires of faith.
Psalm 133.
“A song of the ascents. Behold, how good and how pleasant [is] the dwelling of brethren also together. Like the good oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, Aaron's beard, that cometh down to his garment's hem; like dew of Hermon that cometh down upon the mountains of Zion; for there hath Jehovah commanded the blessing, life for evermore “(vers. 1-3).
There is unity of blessing, in that Hermon's dew will fall on Zion.
Psalm 134
“A song of the ascents. Behold, bless Jehovah, all ye servants of Jehovah, that stand in Jehovah's house in the nights. Lift up your hands [in] the sanctuary (or, in holiness), and bless Jehovah. Jehovah bless thee out of Zion, Maker of heavens and earth” (vers. 1-3).
It is no longer Sinai, the mountain of the people's responsibility, but Zion, the seat of royal grace, after the fleshly king's ruin also. Under the true King and the faithful Priest praise unceasing rises, even in the nights. How should it be otherwise when Christ establishes the blessing on the overthrow of the enemy?