PSALM ONE HUNDRED TWENTY TWO
Outline
  1. The Joyful Remembrance of Pilgrimage to the Temple (vv.1,2)
  2. In Praise of Jerusalem (vv.3-5)
  3. Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (vv.6-9)
TITLE A Song of Ascents, of David ( ryvi [n.m.s., song] tAl[]M;h; [def.art.w/n.f.p. hl'[]m; ma-alah, ascent] dwId'l. [prep.w/pr.n.]).

INTRODUCTION

  1. This psalm is spoken by an individual (vv.1,8,9) who functions as a member of a larger group (vv.2,9) and at one point addresses that group (v.6a).
  2. These factors, together with the psalmís references to the Holy City and Jerusalem, identify the speaker as a pilgrim visitor to the holy city.
  3. In form, the psalm is closely related to the Songs of Zion.
  4. Most of these psalms feature Zionís universal role in grandiose terms (Pss.46,48,76), but this one, like Ps.84, regards Jerusalem with a pilgrimís affection of emotion rather than with depth of doctrinal understanding.
  5. But a knowledge of Zion theology and of the character of the more sophisticated Songs of Zion is presupposed.
  6. Jerusalem (Zion) was the religious and civic center of the nation of Israel.
  7. David made it his capital and began the process that resulted in the building of the Temple in the reign of his son, Solomon.
  8. Jerusalem, past and future (Millennial), remains the spiritual capital of the nation and the world.
  9. The psalm was no doubt sung in procession to the Temple for communal worship.
Joyful Remembrance of Pilgrimage to the Temple (vv.1,2)
VERSE 1 I was glad when they said to me ( yTix.m;f' [Qal.pf.1.c.s., shamach, be glad] ~yrIm.aoB. [prep.w/Qal.pt.m.p., amar, say] yli [prep.w/1.c.s.sf.; "to me"]),

"Let us go to the house of the LORD ( `%lenE [Qal.impf.1.c.p., halak, walk; "go"] tyBe n.m.s.cstr., bayith, house] hw"hy [pr.n.])."

VERSE 2 Our feet are standing ( Wnyleg>r; [n.f.dual.w/1.c.p.sf., regel, foot] Wyh' [Qal.pf.3.c.p., hayah, to be; "are"] tAdm.[o [Qal.pt.f.p. dm[ amadh, stand])

Within your gates, O Jerusalem ( %yIr;['v.Bi [prep.w/n.m.p.w/2.f.s.sf. r[;v; sha-ar, gate] `~l'iv'Wry [pr.n.]),

ANALYSIS: VERSES 1,2

  1. The setting of the psalm is indicated in these verses.
  2. A pilgrim has come to Jerusalem to worship at one of the three national assemblies (Ex.23:14-17), and stands among the assembly of fellow-pilgrims with whom he has journeyed.
  3. The psalmist captures the joyful enthusiasm of a positive believer who was told it was time to "go to the house of the LORD".
  4. He looks back to the time when local leaders announced pilgrimage to the Temple.
  5. He had anticipated this visit so keenly (v.1), and now, at last, he and his fellow citizens are here (v.2).
  6. Jerusalem was the place where the Temple, with all its services, depicted the POG.
  7. Here, he and those who worshipped God in truth could be encouraged, informed, and built up.
  8. The various "gates" to the city provided access so that the throngs could come to "the house of the LORD" where they could give thanks to the One who had preserved and blessed the nation.
 
In Praise of Jerusalem (vv.3-5)

VERSE 3 Jerusalem, that is built ( ~l;iv'Wry> [pr.n.] hy"WnB.h; [def.art. w/Qal.pass.pt.f.s., banah, build]),

As a city that is compact together ( ry[iK. [prep.w/n.f.s., ir, city] HL'-hr'B.xuv, [Pual.pf.3.f.s. rbx chabhah, unite, + prep.w/3.f.s.sf.] `wD'x.y: [adv., yachida, together]);

VERSE 4 To which the tribes go up, even the tribes of the LORD ( ~V'v, [adv., shesham, there; "to which"; hapax] ~yjib'v. [n.m.p. jb,ve shebhet, tribe] Wl[' [Qal.pf.3.c.p., alah, go up] Hy"-yjeb.vi [n.m.p.cstr. + pr.n.])Ė

An ordinance for Israel ( tWd[e [n.f.s., edhuth, testimony; "ordinance"] laer'f.yIl [prep.w/pr.n.])Ė

To give thanks to the name of the LORD ( tAdhol.. [prep.w/Hiphil.infin.cstr., yadha, give thanks]) ~vel. [prep.w/n.m.s., shem, name] `hw"hy> [pr.n.]).

VERSE 5 For there thrones were set for judgment ( yKi [conj.] hM'v' [adv., there] tAas.ki [n.m.p. aSeKi kisse, throne] Wbv.y" [Qal.pf.3c.p. bvy yashabh, dwell, remain; "were set"] jP'v.mil. [prep.w/n.m.s., mishepat, judgment]),

The thrones of the house of David ( tAas.Ki [n.m.p., kisse, throne] tybel. [prep. w/n.m.s.cstr., bayith, house] `dywID' [pr.n.]).

ANALYSIS: VERSES 3-5

  1. Echoing other Songs of Zion celebrating "Jerusalem the Golden", the psalmist admires the manner in which the city is laid out (v.3; cp. Ps.48:12-13).
  2. The city stood as a closely compacted city, in which one house joins itself to the next house.
  3. The cityís layout portrayed the doctrine of unity.
  4. As the buildings of the city were joined one to another, so the people were to be joined in a common faith, as symbolized in the particulars of the Temple.
  5. The expression "compact together" speaks to this type of layout.
  6. The same verb (chabhar, unite, join, be coupled) is found in the instructions for making the Tabernacle (Ex.26:11).
  7. So the very manner in which the city was built taught the principle of unity in the truth.
  8. For the believer, the only real basis for fellowship is unity in a common belief and practice.
  9. Too often the symbolism of the cityís layout was not reflected in the soulís of its inhabitants (cp. Lk.13:34).
  10. The Millennial and Eternal Jerusalemís will have both.
  11. In praise of Jerusalem, he cites its role as the spiritual center of the federated tribes, which were bound together in a common allegiance to Yahweh.
  12. In the course of Israelite history, it had taken over as from earlier cultic centers the function of territorial sanctuary.
  13. Israel was a family of tribes, each with its distinctive personality (Gen.49; Deut.33).
  14. But the tie was more than blood or convenience; these were "tribes of the LORD", and Jerusalem was where they were to meet Him three times a year (Ex.23:14).
  15. King Jeroboam, with his breakaway kingdom, feared this rallying-point (1Kgs.12:26ff), ignoring what was decreed for Israel (Deut.12:13).
  16. The words "An ordinance/testimony for Israel" is a reference to the Mosaic requirement, as seen in Ex.23:14,17; 34:23,24; Deut.16:16.
  17. Note that the overriding object of these pilgrim feasts was "to give thanks to the name of the LORD" (v.4c).
  18. Pagan feasts were all too often a means to get from the gods what one wanted, whereas the feasts in honor of Israelís God was a time of appreciation of the blessings conferred.
  19. The city was also the center for the administration of justice (v.5; cf. Deut.17:8-13).
  20. This function had passed to the Davidic dynasty, to be guarantor under God of law and order in Israel (cf. Ps.101:8; 2Sam.8:15; Jer.21:12).
  21. BD teaches that a rulerís or leaderís first duty and best gift is the administration of justice (cp. Isa.2:4; 42:3,4; Ps.72:1-4).
 
Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (vv.6-9)

VERSE 6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem ( Wla]v; [Qal.imper. lav sha-al, inquire; "pray"] ~Alv. [n.m.s.cstr., shalom] ~l'iv'Wry> [pr.n.]:

"May they prosper who love you ( Wyl'v.yI [Qal.impf.3.m.p. hlv shalah, be at ease, prosper] `%yIb'h]ao [Qal.pt.m.p.w/3.f.s.sf., ahabh, love]).

VERSE 7 "May peace be within your walls ( ~Alv'-yhiy> [Qal.impf.3.m.s., hayah, be, + n.m.s., shalom, peace, prosperity] %leyxeB. [prep.w/n.m.s.w/2.f.s.sf. lyxe chel, wall; cf. Ezek.26:12; 27:10]),

And prosperity within your palaces ( hw"l.v; [n.f.s., peace, prosperity] `%yIt'Anm.r>a;B. [prep.w/n.m.p. !Amr>a; aremon, citadel, palace])."

VERSE 8 For the sake of my brothers and my friends ( ![;m;l. [prep., on account of] yx;a; [n.m.p.w/1.c.s.sf., ach, brother] ] y['rew> [conj.w/n.m.p.w/1.c.s.sf., rea, friend]),

I will now say, "May peace be within you ( aN"-hr'B.d;a [prep., now, + Piel.impf.1.c.s., dabhar, say] ~Alv' [n.m.s., peace] `%B' [prep.w/2.f.s.sf., "with you"])."

VERSE 9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God ( ![;m;l. [prep., on account of] hw"hy>-tyBe [n.m.s.cstr., bayith, house, + pr.n.] Wnyhel{a/ [n.m.p.w/1.c.p.sf., Elohim]),

I will seek your good (hv'q.b;a] [Piel.impf.1.c.s. vqB baqash, seek] bAj [n.m.s., tobh, good] `%l' [prep.w/2.m.s.sf.; "your"]).

 

ANALYSIS: VERSES 6-9

  1. Davidís love and concern for the peace and prosperity of his beloved capital is reflected in the prayer-wishes (vv.6-8) and vow (v.9) that conclude this song of Zion.
  2. He calls upon Godís people, near and far, to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem".
  3. This prayer is dependent upon the overall spiritual disposition of the citizens and leaders at any given time frame.
  4. Peace is the absence of internal and external conflict.
  5. For the city to enjoy peace there has to be strong positive volition within the general population.
  6. The city has known more turmoil than it has known peace under the blessing of God.
  7. But when Christ returns, the city will experience uninterrupted and unprecedented peace.
  8. The Jerusalem of Jesusí day was not at peace with God, and it was a matter of time before the external peace was shattered.
  9. Jesus lamented this fact (Lk.19:41-44).
  10. To pray for this today is to pray for the Lordís return, when the city will live in peace and tranquil security.
  11. The population will be united in the truth and enjoy unparalleled prosperity.
  12. Its fulfillment depends upon the spiritual character of the people.
  13. True peace is the consequence of the rule of justice mentioned in v.5.
  14. The prayer petition, as to its content, continues in vv.6b-8.
  15. For those who are pro-Jerusalem in the strictly Biblical sense, he asks that they "prosper".
  16. To be pro-Jerusalem is to desire that the city be under Jewish control and that those who rule over it are positive adjusted believers.
  17. History has moved into that period when it is time for God to show compassion upon the city and to restore her to the spiritual and material glory spoken of in Scripture (cp. Ps.72:13-16).
  18. Peace and prosperity is what he prays for for the city of destiny (v.7).
  19. Jerusalem is truly the holy and eternal city.
  20. Rome is a satanic rival.
  21. All members of the covenant community through the ages benefit from the welfare and safety of the city, past and future.
  22. When peace is a fait accompli in the royal city of Godís choosing, then will all believing members of greater Israel benefit.
  23. All will be there as one redeemed and restored nation under Christ at His coming.
  24. All will have access to the city restored from the violence of the Tribulation.
  25. At the heart of the city lay the Temple, dedicated to the proclamation of the Person and Work of Christ.
  26. So, in the final verse the psalmist David vows to "seek" the "good" of his royal city, because a secure and stable city guaranteed the safety of the Temple, the crown jewel.
  27. David unified the tribes, took possession of the city, and initiated plans for the construction of the Temple.
  28. He certainly did everything he could for the welfare of the city in his lifetime.
  29. David, from the doctrine in his soul, fortified the city and built up the military.
  30. This, in turn, ensured freedom to worship God.
END: PSALM ONE HUNDRED TWENTY TWO
JACK M. BALLINGER
OCTOBER, 1997
 

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