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

2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.

3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:

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.

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

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

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

[public worship.

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


'9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good. (G) PSALM CXXIII.

A Song of degrees.


UNTO thee lift I up mine eyes, O

thou that dwellest in the heavens. 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

3 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.

4 Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud. (H)


the burning heat of the sun by the moist and refreshing shadow of the cloud; and secured against the inclement influences of the nocturnal heavens by the kindly warmth and splendour diffused from the pillar of fire. Be thou with us, thy servants, O Lord, in the world, as thou wast with Israel in the wilderness; suffer not our virtue to dissolve before the sultry gleams of prosperity; permit it not to be frozen by the chilling blasts of adversity."


(G) The joy of attending the house of God. This psalm, as Bishop Lowth observes, was evidently written on occasion of some public festival at Jerusalem, whither all the tribes were required to go up three times in the year. Jerusalem was a type of the Christian church; and as the former was "compacted together," so the latter, being "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets," is "fitly framed together," and "groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." (Eph. ii. 20, 21.) As it was an object of the earnest desire of true Israelites to attend the typical solemnities of the law; so is it of Christian believers to meet their Lord in the more

spiritual services of the New Testament church; but their ultimate desire is to meet him in the New Jerusalem which is above. Bishop Horne mentions of Theodore Zuinger, a learned physician of the sixteenth century, that, on his death-bed, he took leave of the world in a Latin paraphrase of this psalm, which was translated by Mr. Merrick, and from which we copy the last verse, which is an apostrophe to the New Jerusalem.

"Let me, blest seat, my name behold
Among thy citizens enrolled,
In thee for ever dwell:
Let Charity my steps attend,
My sole companion and my friend,
And Faith and Hope farewell!"


(H) Confidence in God, and prayer for deliverance.-The attention of servants (or slaves) to their masters, is, and perhaps always was, in the east, very particular and minute. Dr. Pococke says, that "at a visit in Egypt, every thing 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 ut most attention every motion of their mas


PSALM CXXII. Ver. 4. The testimony of Israel -That is, the ark of the testimony, Exod. xl. 3, 20. Ver. 5. The thrones of the house of Israel-That is, of the heads of the several tribes.

PSALM CXXIII. Exceedingly filled with con tempt.


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it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel

2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us :

4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: 5 Then the proud waters had gone

over our soul.

6 Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. 7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

fnational deliverance.

8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (I)


A Song of degrees.

THEY that trust in the LORD shall

be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.

2 As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth, even for ever.

3 For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.

4 Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.

5 As for such as turn aside unto


ter, who commands them by signs." Another traveller (La Motraye,) says, ،، that the Eastern ladies are waited on even at the least wink of the eye or motion of the fingers, and that in a manner_not Perreptible to strangers." (Orient. Customs, No. 186.) Supposing this, or somewhat like it, to have been the practice in Judea, the psalmist might borrow hence the imagery of this psalm; in which he is represented as watching the indications of the divine will, so narrowly as a servant (male or female) watched the orders that were expressed by the hand of their master or mistress. Even so "our eyes wait upon the Lord our God."

From the latter part of this psalm, we are led to conclude that it was composed during a period of great contempt and scorn toward Israel from their heathen enemies. Bishop Patrick thinks it was probably at the period of Rabshakeh's blasphemy, when Hezekiah and the pious Jews watched the motions of divine providence (if we may so speak) with the most diligent attention. If so, it was probably written by Isaiah. (See 2 Kings xix. 1—5.) If the Lord's servants apply to him for relief or for redress under injuries, it is ne

cessary that they should watch as well as pray; or "look up," as David himself expresses it. (Psalm v. 3.)


(1) Acknowledgments of divine mercy received. This is a psalm of David, but it is not necessary, nor perhaps possible, to ascertain the occasion of its being written. David was frequently distressed by the inroads of numerous armies of his enemies, as by the Philistines when they spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim; and when the Ammonites and Syrians combined against him like the billows of an overwhelming sea; but the Lord was on his side, and they were defeated. (See 2 Sam. v. 17-25; x. 6-19.) Christians can have no difficulty in making a proper use of passages like these. "The great lesson which this Psalm inculcates (says Bishop Horne) is, that for every deliverance, whether of a temporal or spiritual nature, we should, in imitation of the saints above, ascribe salvation to God and to the Lamb."

"Our help is in Jehovah's name,

Who form'd the earth and built the skies:
He that upholds that wondrous frame,
Guards his own church with watchful eyes." Watts.


PSALM CXXIV. Ver. 4. Then the waters had overwhelmed us-Meaning, the army of the enemy. Compare Is. lix. 19.

PSALM CXXV. Ver. 3. The rod (or sceptre, see

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[from captivity.

then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.

3 The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

4 Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.

5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (L)


(K) The final prosperity of Zion, and destruction of her enemies. In this psalm the church is comforted with the promises of God's protection and defence; and to remove, in due time, the band of persecution from them, so that the rod (or sceptre) of the wicked (or of wickedness) shall not rest permanently on the lot (or portion) of the righteous. The reason given is, "lest the righteous put forth their hands to iniquity:" that is, lest from the universal prevalence of iniquity, they also should be drawn into the vortex of crime. Dr. Hammond quotes Aben Ezra as applying this psalm to the kingdom of the Messiah, when "the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains," (Isa. ii. 2.); while those who turn aside to the "crooked ways" of idolatry, shall be led forth to punishment with other workers of iniquity. But " peace shall be upon Israel;" or as we should rather render it, "Peace be on Israel!" (See Gal. vi. 16.)


(L) This psalm is generally, and we think justly, applied to the first return from captivity, which to many must be so unexpected, and appear so marvellous, that it must seem rather a dream than a reality. The decree of Cyrus, doubtless, filled their "mouth with songs," and even those of the heathen around them with admiration. "The Lord hath done great things for them," said they; and the Jews replied, "True! indeed the Lord hath done great things for us, and we are glad." The prayer which now arose in their hearts (for our

mercies should teach us to pray as well as praise) will bear a two-fold interpretation, By "streams in the south," Bishop Lowth understands the torrents produced by the periodical rains in the south of Judea, which dried up during the beat of summer; but, when the time came round, returned again from the same cause, and filled the same channels. So Israel were now about to return to their country. But Dr. Durell gives rather a different turn to the words, which he renders," The turning of our captivity, O Lord, is as streams in the south," or desert of Judea; equally welcome and delightful as rain upon the thirsty sands.

The Israelites now going forth from Babylon, are compared to husbandmeni sowing with tears, lest they should not be permitted to reap the fruit of their industry. A traveller in that country remarks: "In Palestine we have often seen the busbaudman sowing, accompanied by an armed friend, to prevent his being robbed of the seed." Mr. Harmer observes, that these Israelites were in similar circumstances they had reason to fear that their enemies would defeat their efforts; but the author of this psalm (perhaps Ezra) predicts a happy issue to their efforts, and promises them a joyful harvest. (See Harmer's Observ. vol. i. p. 87.

Bishop Horne remarks, that "the return of Israel from Babylon holds forth a figure of the same import with the Exodus of that people from Egypt. And this psalm, like the prophecies of Isaiah, representeth the blessed effects of a spiritual redemption, in words primarily alluding to that temporal release."


PSALM CXXVI. Ver. 1. When the Lord turned again-" Returned the returning of Zion."

Ver. 2. Hath done great things for them-Heb. "Hath magnified to do with them."

Ver. 5. Reap in joy · Marg. "With singing;"

which is no doubt to be understood literally, as at our harvest homes; but with this difference, that they sung songs of praise to the true God, and not to Bacchus, or Ceres, &c. as is too common in our rejoicings. See Ruth ii. 4.



A Song of degrees for Solomon.




A Song of degrees.

EXCEPT the LORD build the house, BLESSED is every one that fear


they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, watchman waketh but in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed; but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (M)



eth the LORD; that walketh in his

2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.

4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.

5 The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.

6 Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel. (N)


(M) The importance of God's blessing on all our affairs.-Judging from the title, we should consider this psalm as probably cumposed by Solomon, at the time of building his own house, or the temple. The chief doctrine meant to be inculcated is, that all our labours are iu vain, either to build, or to guard our habitations, without the divine aid and concurrence. Solomon expresses the same sentiment in his Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. (Prov. iii. 5, 6; Eeries. ix. 11.)

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The second doctrine of the psalm is, that children are an heritage of (or from) the Lord, and bestowed as a reward on those that serve him. Among the Jews, instead of being a burden, (as many among us consider them,) they were arrows in the hand of a mighty man," that is, as weapons of defence; so that their father, when himself aged and infirm, need not be afraid to speak with his enemies in the gate: since, if he were accused before the elders, they were ready to plead lis cause: or, if war should be at his

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(N) The blessings of a virtuous marriage." Marriage (says Bishop Horne,) was ordained by God, to complete the felicity of man in a state of innocency; and the benediction of heaven will ever descend upon it, when undertaken in the fear of the Lord. The vine, a lowly plant, raised with tender care, becoming, by its luxuriaucy, its beauty, its fragrance, and its clusters, the ornament and glory of the house to which it is joined, and by which it is supported, forms the finest imaginable emblem of a fair, virtuous, and faithful wife." The children round the family table are no less beautifully represented by à plantation of young olives, "ever fair and green.' And both images, taken together, compose the most engaging picture of a happy family ever drawn by the hand of a poet. They form a most pleasing and


PSALM CXXVII. Title-For Solomon. Margin, "ofi.e. by Solomon.

Ver. 1. That build it —Heb. "That are builders of it."

Ver. 2. So- Ainsworth, "surely;" Hammond, "since"-he giveth his beloved sleep-An allusion to Solomon's name, Jedidiek. 2 Sam. xii. 25.

Vers. That hath kis quiver full-Heb. “That hath filled his quiver with them."- -Speak withMarg. "Subdue," or "destroy his enemies." Mr. Merrick quotes a Chinese remark: "When a son is

born in a family, it is customary to hang up a bow and arrow before the house, as a sign that the family has acquired a defender.

PSALM CXXVIII. Ver. 3. Thy children like olive plants, &c.-Or, Thy children round thy table like olive plants; i. e. ever fresh and flourishing; Harser, Boothroyd. Ainsworth thinks the allusion to the olive, implies legitimacy, as the olive admits no foreign graft.

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2 Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.

3 The plowers plowed upon my back they made long their furrows. 4 The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.

5 Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.

6 Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:

7 Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.

8 Neither do they which go by say,

[from affliction.

The blessing of the LORD be upon you we bless you in the name of the LORD. (0)


A Song of degrees.

OUT of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.

2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.

3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

5 I wait for the LORD; my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for


suitable part of the marriage service of the Church of England, though, it is to be feared, but too little attended to by many thoughtless young persons who enter into its sacred engagements without consider. ation.

The blessings here promised are, indeed, of a temporal nature; but pious Jews, as well as pious Christians, were used to look through these images to higher objects, of which we have an example in the Chaldee paraphrase of this expression, "It shall be well with thee," which adds "in the world to come."


(0) A retrospective view of persecution., This is evidently the language of the Jewish church in a state of captivity, or rather just emerging from it; having been subject, not only to privations and to poverty, but to the inflictions of the scourge and of the dungeon. Of these she here takes a retrospective view, alluding to the various sufferings of the nation, from the days of Pharaoh to the Babylonish captivity, and the third verse in particular

"The plowers plowed upon my back," &c. has been often applied, (and not improperly,) to the scourging that our Saviour himself endured from his apostate countrymen. The psalm itself, we have remarked, seems to have been written in the dawn of Judah's deliverance from Babylon.

"The Lord is righteous," saith the prophet, in the name of his brethren; "He hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked," with which they had bound and scourged their captives.

The following part of the psalm, though in an imprecatory form, may rather be considered (as Bishop Horne renders it,) as predictive of their speedy deliverance, and the righteous retribution of heaven upon their enemies. They are not only compared to grass, as in other places; but to grass on the house tops, where it could have no depth of soil, and where it withered before it could attain sufficient growth to fill the mower's hand, or to attract the admiration of the passers by, who were accustomed to bless the productions of the earth, and those who cultivated them. (Ruth ii. 4.)


PSALM CXXIX. Ver. 2. Many a time- Marg. "Much." So Bp. Lowth.

Ver. 2. Not prevailed-That is, so as to extirpate the Jewish nation, as appears to have been their object.

Ver. 6. As grass upon the house top-This was not unusual in Juden; and it is probable that they

there also grew some kinds of grain. See Orient. Cust. No. 1014.

PSALM CXXX. Ver. 6. More than they that watch, &c.-Ainsworth," More than the watchmen for the morning-more than the watchmen for the morning." Hammond, "My soul hasteneth to the Lord, from the time of the morning watches."

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