1. Summons to the Priests on Duty (vv.1,2)
  2. Priestly Benediction upon the Worshippers (v.3)
TITLE A Song of Ascents ( ryvi [n.m.s., song] tAl[]M;h; [, ma-alah, step, stair; ascent]).
Summons to the Priests on Duty (vv.1,2)

VERSE 1 Behold, bless the LORD, all servants of the LORD ( hNEhi [interj.] Wkr]B' [Piel.imper., barak, bless] hw"hy>-ta, [dir.obj. marker + pr.n.] ydeb.[;-lK' [n.m.s., all, + n.m.p.cst., ebhedh, servant] hw"hy> [pr.n.]),

Who serve by night in the house of the LORD ( ~ydIm.[oh' [, amadh, stand; "serve"] `tAlyLeB [prep.w/n.m.p., layil, night] hw"hy>-tybeB [prep.w/n.m.s.cst., bayith, house, + pr.n.])!

VERSE 2 Lift up your hands to the sanctuary ( ~k,dey>-Waf [Qal.imper., nasha, lift, + n.f.dual.w/2.m.p.sf., yadh, hand] vd,qo [n.m.s., qodhesh, holiness, sacredness, apartness; "sanctuary"]),

And bless the LORD ( Wkr]b'W [conj.w/Piel.imper., barakh, bless] `hw"hy>-ta,. [dir.obj. marker + pr.n.]).


  1. The Songs of Ascent, which began in the alien surroundings of Meshech and Kedar (Ps.120), end fittingly on the note of serving and worshipping God at the Temple in Zion.
  2. It is possible that there is a greeting (vv.1,2) and a response here (v.3): the pilgrims addressing the priests and Levites in vv.1,2, and the pilgrims receiving the blessing of the priesthood in v.3.
  3. We learn from 1Chr.9:33 that the Levitical singers (whose turns of duty are outlined in 1Chr.25) were on duty "day and night".
  4. The law of Moses had summed up the role of this tribe "to carry the ark of the covenant…to stand before the Lord to serve Him, and to bless in His name…" (Deut.10:8).
  5. When the ark found its resting place, David gave the Levites new responsibilities, but worship remained paramount: "they are to stand every morning to thank and to praise the LORD, and likewise at evening" (1Chr.23:30).
  6. These, rather than the congregation at large, are the particular "servants of the LORD" addressed here.
  7. "All the servants of the LORD" include the sons of Aaron, the priests, the Levites, the singers, etc.
  8. This psalm begins, like Psalm 133, with "Behold", which draws attention to duty which arises from the office.
  9. "Servant" is the customary word for the service of the priests and Levites (Deut.10:8; 18:7; 1Chr.23:30; 2Chr.29:11), which also continued into the night (1Chr.9:33).
  10. The Targum refers v.1b to the Temple-watch.
  11. In the second Temple, the service was arranged as follows.
  12. After midnight, the chief over the gate-keepers took the keys of the inner Temple and went with some of the priests through the Fire Gate.
  13. In the inner court this patrol divided into two companies, each with a burning torch; one company turned west, the other east, and so they compassed the court to see whether everything was in readiness for the service of the dawning day.
  14. At the baker’s chamber, in which the minchah of the high priest was baked, they met with the cry, "All is well".
  15. In the meantime, the rest of the priests arose, bathed, and put on their garments.
  16. Then they went into the stone chamber, where, under the superintendence of the chief over the drawing of lots and of a judge, around whom stood all the priests in their robes of office, the functions of the priests in the service of the coming day were assigned to them by lot (Lk.1:9).
  17. Verses 1,2 are regarded as a call to devotion (v.1) and intercession (v.2), which the general congregation addresses to the priests and Levites entrusted with the night service in the Temple.
  18. This psalm should probably be considered as a vigil psalm.
  19. So a portion of the servants of God who ministered in the Temple had to remain up all night to guard it, and to see to it that nothing was wanting in the preparations for the early service.
  20. The call to "bless the LORD" is equivalent to offering praise and thanks for who He is and for all His grace benefits (cf. Neh.9:5; Pss.16:7; 26:12; 34:1; 68:26; 96:21; 103:1,2,20-22; 104:1,35; 115:18; 135:19,20; 145:21; Jam.3:9).
  21. The gesture of lifting up their hands towards "the sanctuary" symbolized their supplication for His blessing upon the people.
  22. This was done toward the Most Holy Place, a type of heaven (cp. Pss.28:2; 63:4; 119:2).
  23. The lifting up of clean hands (priests washed their hands) speaks of acknowledgement and dependence.
  24. Verse 2a repeats v.1a, and is a call to praise the Lord for who He is and for what He does.
Priestly Benediction upon the Worshippers (v.3)

VERSE 3 May the LORD bless you from Zion ( hw"hy> [pr.n.] ^k.r,b'y [Piel.imperf.3.m.s. w/2.m.s.sf., barakh, bless] !AYCimi [prep.w/pr.n.]),

He who made heaven and earth ( hfe[o [, ashah, do, make] ~yIm;v' [n.m.p., shamayim, heaven] `#r,a'w [conj.w/n.f.s., eretz, earth]).


  1. The words of v.3 come from the priests and Levites.
  2. The general congregation received a benediction of blessing from the servants of the Lord serving in the Temple.
  3. The word "bless" is the key-note of the psalm (occurring in each of the three verses).
  4. To bless God is to acknowledge gratefully who and what He is; but to bless man, God must make of him what he is not, and give him what he has not.
  5. The blessings of divine providence (spiritual and physical) are said to be "from Zion", a particular and discoverable place to which the Israelite could get up and go.
  6. The earthly Mount Zion is a type of the greater and heavenly Zion.
  7. According to Num.6:24, this was the formula of the priestly benediction.
  8. God is only free to bless those who comply with His revealed will.
  9. God blessed the nation from His place in the heavens.
  10. The heavenly Zion is the prototype (an original thing or person in relation to a copy or imitation) to the earthly Jerusalem with its Temple (cp. Heb.12:22-24).
  11. The prayer-wish of the spiritual custodians of the covenant was that the positive nation be blessed in time and eternity for their fidelity to the POG.
  12. Blessing comes from none other than the Creator of heaven and earth.
  13. Thus indicating that God gives without measure, and His ways are past finding out.
  14. Those who adhere to God’s commandments are given the desires of their heart (Ps.37).


FEBRUARY 22, 1998
© Copyright 1998, Maranatha Church Inc.