Psalms 120-125

Jerusalem city#120

Yet another plea from some poor tormented person to god to rescue him from all those other nasty wicked people, and then punish them. I think we’ve heard this before. Note that this is the beginning of a whole group of psalms dedicated to pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. I wasn’t sure about that word ‘ascending’ but a photo of the city makes the meaning clear.


Another really well-known psalm, and another example of wishful thinking – if only the lyrics were true, but alas! I mean, really – ‘the sun will not harm you by day’ (v 6)??? It was the inspiration for the hymn How Great Thou Art, and there are dozens of choral versions of it on YouTube, all kinds of ancient and modern variations. The best known is probably this from Mendelssohn’s Elijah.


We’re supposedly back to David. It’s an ode to Jerusalem. Another poem that would be nice if it were true – “Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls…” (v 6-7) Has the fighting ever ceased?


This one is anonymous. Verses 1-2, about looking to the heavens for slight changes, suggest to me someone watching the weather, and that would make sense in the context of a civilization that believed god(s) controlled the weather. But to our modern sensibilities, the analogies to servants and slaves show up the social iniquities of the past and the absolute fear that those of lower castes suffered.


Another psalm of David. He attributes success in battle to god’s intervention. Yup, god’s on our side – said every general, ever.


More of the ‘god will protect the righteous and punish the wicked’ variety. It’s anonymous.

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