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Psalm 120-134 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Psalm 120[a]

A song of ascents.[b]

120 In my distress I cried out
to the Lord and he answered me.
I said,[c] “O Lord, rescue me[d]
from those who lie with their lips[e]
and those who deceive with their tongues.[f]
How will he severely punish you,
you deceptive talker?[g]
Here’s how![h] With the sharp arrows of warriors,
with arrowheads forged over the hot coals.[i]
How miserable I am.[j]
For I have lived temporarily[k] in Meshech;
I have resided among the tents of Kedar.[l]
For too long I have had to reside
with those who hate[m] peace.
I am committed to peace,[n]
but when I speak, they want to make war.[o]

Psalm 121[p]

A song of ascents.[q]

121 I look up[r] toward the hills.
From where[s] does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,[t]
the Creator[u] of heaven and earth.
May he not allow your foot to slip.
May your Protector[v] not sleep.[w]
Look! Israel’s Protector[x]
does not sleep or slumber.
The Lord is your protector;
the Lord is the shade at your right hand.
The sun will not harm you by day,
or the moon by night.[y]
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
he will protect your life.
The Lord will protect you in all you do,[z]
now and forevermore.

Psalm 122[aa]

A song of ascents;[ab] by David.

122 I was glad because[ac] they said to me,
“We will go to the Lord’s temple.”
Our feet are[ad] standing
inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is a city designed
to accommodate an assembly.[ae]
The tribes go up[af] there,[ag]
the tribes of the Lord,
where it is required that Israel
give thanks to the name of the Lord.[ah]
Indeed,[ai] the leaders sit[aj] there on thrones and make legal decisions,
on the thrones of the house of David.[ak]
Pray[al] for the peace of Jerusalem.
May those who love her prosper.[am]
May there be peace inside your defenses,
and prosperity[an] inside your fortresses.[ao]
For the sake of my brothers and my neighbors
I will say, “May there be peace in you.”
For the sake of the temple of the Lord our God
I will pray for you to prosper.[ap]

Psalm 123[aq]

A song of ascents.[ar]

123 I look up[as] toward you,
the one enthroned[at] in heaven.
Look, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a female servant look to the hand of her mistress,[au]
so our eyes will look to the Lord, our God, until he shows us favor.
Show us favor, O Lord, show us favor!
For we have had our fill of humiliation, and then some.[av]
We have had our fill[aw]
of the taunts of the self-assured,
of the contempt of the proud.

Psalm 124[ax]

A song of ascents;[ay] by David.

124 “If the Lord had not been on our side”—
let Israel say this.—
if the Lord had not been on our side,
when men attacked us,[az]
they would have swallowed us alive,
when their anger raged against us.
The water would have overpowered us;
the current[ba] would have overwhelmed[bb] us.[bc]
The raging water
would have overwhelmed us.[bd]
The Lord deserves praise,[be]
for[bf] he did not hand us over as prey to their teeth.
We escaped with our lives,[bg] like a bird from a hunter’s snare.
The snare broke, and we escaped.
Our deliverer is the Lord,[bh]
the Creator[bi] of heaven and earth.

Psalm 125[bj]

A song of ascents.[bk]

125 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved and will endure forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
now and forevermore.
Indeed,[bl] the scepter of a wicked king[bm] will not settle[bn]
upon the allotted land of the godly.
Otherwise the godly
might do what is wrong.[bo]
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
to the morally upright.[bp]
As for those who are bent on traveling a sinful path,[bq]
may the Lord remove them,[br] along with those who behave wickedly.[bs]
May Israel experience peace.[bt]

Psalm 126[bu]

A song of ascents.[bv]

126 When the Lord restored the well-being of Zion,[bw]
we thought we were dreaming.[bx]
At that time we laughed loudly
and shouted for joy.[by]
At that time the nations said,[bz]
“The Lord has accomplished great things for these people.”
The Lord did indeed accomplish great things for us.
We were happy.
O Lord, restore our well-being,
just as the streams in the arid south are replenished.[ca]
Those who shed tears as they plant
will shout for joy when they reap the harvest.[cb]
The one who weeps as he walks along, carrying his bag[cc] of seed,
will certainly come in with a shout of joy, carrying his sheaves of grain.[cd]

Psalm 127[ce]

A song of ascents;[cf] by Solomon.

127 If the Lord does not build a house,[cg]
then those who build it work in vain.
If the Lord does not guard a city,[ch]
then the watchman stands guard in vain.
It is vain for you to rise early, come home late,
and work so hard for your food.[ci]
Yes,[cj] he provides for those whom he loves even when they sleep.[ck]
Yes,[cl] sons[cm] are a gift from the Lord;
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Sons born during one’s youth
are like arrows in a warrior’s hand.[cn]
How blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them.
They will not be put to shame[co] when they confront[cp] enemies at the city gate.

Psalm 128[cq]

A song of ascents.[cr]

128 How blessed is every one of the Lord’s loyal followers,[cs]
each one who keeps his commands.[ct]
You[cu] will eat what you worked so hard to grow.[cv]
You will be blessed and secure.[cw]
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine[cx]
in the inner rooms of your house;
your children[cy] will be like olive branches,
as they sit all around your table.
Yes indeed, the man who fears the Lord
will be blessed in this way.[cz]
May the Lord bless you[da] from Zion,
that you might see[db] Jerusalem prosper
all the days of your life,
and that you might see[dc] your grandchildren.[dd]
May Israel experience peace.[de]

Psalm 129[df]

A song of ascents.[dg]

129 “Since my youth they have often attacked me,”
let Israel say.
“Since my youth they have often attacked me,
but they have not defeated me.
The plowers plowed my back;
they made their furrows long.
The Lord is just;
he cut the ropes of the wicked.”[dh]
May all who hate Zion
be humiliated and turned back.
May they be like the grass on the rooftops,
which withers before one can even pull it up,[di]
which cannot fill the reaper’s hand,
or the lap of the one who gathers the grain.
Those who pass by will not say,[dj]
“May you experience the Lord’s blessing!
We pronounce a blessing on you in the name of the Lord.”

Psalm 130[dk]

A song of ascents.[dl]

130 From the deep water[dm] I cry out to you, O Lord.
O Lord, listen to me.[dn]
Pay attention to[do] my plea for mercy.
If you, O Lord, were to keep track of[dp] sins,
O Lord, who could stand before you?[dq]
But[dr] you are willing to forgive,[ds]
so that you might[dt] be honored.[du]
I rely on[dv] the Lord.
I rely on him with my whole being;[dw]
I wait for his assuring word.[dx]
I yearn for the Lord,[dy]
more than watchmen do for the morning,
yes, more than watchmen do for the morning.[dz]
O Israel, hope in the Lord,
for the Lord exhibits loyal love,[ea]
and is more than willing to deliver.[eb]
He will deliver[ec] Israel
from all their sins.[ed]

Psalm 131[ee]

A song of ascents,[ef] by David.

131 O Lord, my heart is not proud,
nor do I have a haughty look.[eg]
I do not have great aspirations,
or concern myself with things that are beyond me.[eh]
Indeed,[ei] I have calmed and quieted myself[ej]
like a weaned child with its mother;[ek]
I am content like a young child.[el]
O Israel, hope in the Lord
now and forevermore!

Psalm 132[em]

A song of ascents.[en]

132 O Lord, for David’s sake remember
all his strenuous effort,[eo]
and how he made a vow to the Lord,
and swore an oath to the Powerful One of Jacob.
He said,[ep] “I will not enter my own home,[eq]
or get into my bed.[er]
I will not allow my eyes to sleep,
or my eyelids to slumber,
until I find a place for the Lord,
a fine dwelling place[es] for the Powerful One of Jacob.”[et]
Look, we heard about it[eu] in Ephrathah;[ev]
we found it in the territory of Jaar.[ew]
Let us go to his dwelling place.
Let us worship[ex] before his footstool.
Ascend, O Lord, to your resting place,
you and the ark of your strength.
May your priests be clothed with integrity.[ey]
May your loyal followers shout for joy.
10 For the sake of David, your servant,
do not reject your chosen king.[ez]
11 The Lord made a reliable promise to David;[fa]
he will not go back on his word.[fb]
He said,[fc] “I will place one of your descendants[fd] on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
and the rules I teach them,
their sons will also sit on your throne forever.”
13 Certainly[fe] the Lord has chosen Zion;
he decided to make it his home.[ff]
14 He said,[fg] “This will be my resting place forever;
I will live here, for I have chosen it.[fh]
15 I will abundantly supply what she needs;[fi]
I will give her poor all the food they need.[fj]
16 I will protect her priests,[fk]
and her godly people will shout exuberantly.[fl]
17 There I will make David strong;[fm]
I have determined that my chosen king’s dynasty will continue.[fn]
18 I will humiliate his enemies,[fo]
and his crown will shine.”

Psalm 133[fp]

A song of ascents;[fq] by David.

133 Look! How good and how pleasant it is
when brothers truly live in unity.[fr]
It is like fine oil poured on the head,
which flows down the beard[fs]
Aaron’s beard,
and then flows down his garments.[ft]
It is like the dew of Hermon,[fu]
which flows down upon the hills of Zion.[fv]
Indeed,[fw] that is where the Lord has decreed
a blessing will be available—eternal life.[fx]

Psalm 134[fy]

A song of ascents.[fz]

134 Attention![ga] Praise the Lord,
all you servants of the Lord,
who serve[gb] in the Lord’s temple during the night.
Lift your hands toward the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
May the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth,
bless you[gc] from Zion.[gd]

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 120:1 sn Psalm 120. The genre and structure of this psalm are uncertain. It begins like a thanksgiving psalm, with a brief notice that God has heard the psalmist’s prayer for help and has intervened. But v. 2 is a petition for help, followed by a taunt directed toward enemies (vv. 3-4) and a lament (vv. 5-7). Perhaps vv. 2-7 recall the psalmist’s prayer when he cried out to the Lord.
  2. Psalm 120:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  3. Psalm 120:2 tn The words “I said” are supplied in the translation for clarification. See the introductory note for this psalm.
  4. Psalm 120:2 tn Or “my life.”
  5. Psalm 120:2 tn Heb “from a lip of falsehood.”
  6. Psalm 120:2 tn Heb “from a tongue of deception.”
  7. Psalm 120:3 tn Heb “What will he give to you, and what will he add to you, O tongue of deception?” The psalmist addresses his deceptive enemies. The Lord is the understood subject of the verbs “give” and “add.” The second part of the question echoes a standard curse formula, “thus the Lord/God will do…and thus he will add” (see Ruth 1:17; 1 Sam 3:17; 14:44; 20:13; 25:22; 2 Sam 3:9, 35; 19:13; 1 Kgs 2:23; 2 Kgs 6:31).
  8. Psalm 120:4 tn The words “here’s how” are supplied in the translation as a clarification. In v. 4 the psalmist answers the question he raises in v. 3.
  9. Psalm 120:4 tn Heb “with coals of the wood of the broom plant.” The wood of the broom plant was used to make charcoal, which in turn was used to fuel the fire used to forge the arrowheads.
  10. Psalm 120:5 tn Or “woe to me.” The Hebrew term אוֹיָה (ʾoyah, “woe”) which occurs only here, is an alternate form of אוֹי (ʾoy).
  11. Psalm 120:5 tn Heb “I live as a resident foreigner.”
  12. Psalm 120:5 sn Meshech was located in central Anatolia (modern Turkey). Kedar was located in the desert to east-southeast of Israel. Because of the reference to Kedar, it is possible that Ps 120:5 refers to a different Meshech, perhaps one associated with the individual mentioned as a descendant of Aram in 1 Chr 1:17. (However, the LXX in 1 Chr 1:17 follows the parallel text in Gen 10:23, which reads “Mash,” not Meshech.) It is, of course, impossible that the psalmist could have been living in both the far north and the east at the same time. For this reason one must assume that he is recalling his experience as a wanderer among the nations or that he is using the geographical terms metaphorically and sarcastically to suggest that the enemies who surround him are like the barbarians who live in these distant regions. For a discussion of the problem, see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 146.
  13. Psalm 120:6 tn The singular participial form probably has a representative function here. The psalmist envisions the typical hater of peace who represents the entire category of such individuals.
  14. Psalm 120:7 tn Heb “I, peace.”
  15. Psalm 120:7 tn Heb “they [are] for war.”
  16. Psalm 121:1 sn Psalm 121. The psalm affirms that the Lord protects his people Israel. Unless the psalmist addresses an observer (note the second person singular forms in vv. 3-8), it appears there are two or three speakers represented in the psalm, depending on how one takes v. 3. The translation assumes that speaker one talks in vv. 1-2, that speaker two responds to him with a prayer in v. 3 (this assumes the verbs are true jussives of prayer), and that speaker three responds with words of assurance in vv. 4-8. If the verbs in v. 3 are taken as a rhetorical use of the jussive, then there are two speakers. Verses 3-8 are speaker two’s response to the words of speaker one. See the note on the word “sleep” at the end of v. 3.
  17. Psalm 121:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  18. Psalm 121:1 tn Heb “I lift my eyes.”
  19. Psalm 121:1 tn The Hebrew term מֵאַיִן (meʾayin) is interrogative, not relative, in function. Rather than directly stating that his source of help descends from the hills, the psalmist is asking, “From where does my help come?” Nevertheless, the first line does indicate that he is looking toward the hills for help, probably indicating that he is looking up toward the sky, or up toward the temple, in anticipation of supernatural intervention. The psalmist assumes the dramatic role of one needing help. He answers his own question in v. 2.
  20. Psalm 121:2 tn Heb “my help [is] from with the Lord.”
  21. Psalm 121:2 tn Or “Maker.”
  22. Psalm 121:3 tn Heb “the one who guards you.”
  23. Psalm 121:3 tn The prefixed verbal forms following the negative particle אַל (ʾal) appear to be jussives. As noted above, if they are taken as true jussives of prayer, then the speaker in v. 3 would appear to be distinct from both the speaker in vv. 1-2 and the speaker in vv. 4-8. However, according to GKC 322 §109.e), the jussives are used rhetorically here “to express the conviction that something cannot or should not happen.” In this case one should probably translate, “he will not allow your foot to slip, your protector will not sleep,” and understand just one speaker in vv. 4-8. But none of the examples in GKC for this use of the jussive are compelling.
  24. Psalm 121:4 tn Heb “the one who guards Israel.”
  25. Psalm 121:6 sn One hardly thinks of the moon’s rays as being physically harmful, like those of the sun. The reference to the moon may simply lend poetic balance to the verse, but it is likely that the verse reflects an ancient, primitive belief that the moon could have an adverse effect on the mind (note the English expression “moonstruck,” which reflects such a belief). Another possibility is that the sun and moon stand by metonymy for harmful forces characteristic of the day and night, respectively.
  26. Psalm 121:8 tn Heb “your going out and your coming in.”
  27. Psalm 122:1 sn Psalm 122. The psalmist expresses his love for Jerusalem and promises to pray for the city’s security.
  28. Psalm 122:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  29. Psalm 122:1 tn Heb “in the ones saying to me.” After the verb שָׂמַח (samakh), the preposition ב (bet) usually introduces the reason for joy.
  30. Psalm 122:2 tn Or “were.”
  31. Psalm 122:3 tc Heb “Jerusalem, which is built like a city which is joined to her together.” The meaning of the Hebrew text is unclear. Many regard this as a description of the compact way in which the city was designed or constructed. The translation assumes an emendation of the verb חֻבְּרָה (khubberah, “is joined”) to a noun חֶבְרָה (khevrah, “association; company”). The text then reads literally, “Jerusalem, which is built like a city which has a company together.” This in turn can be taken as a reference to Jerusalem’s role as a city where people congregated for religious festivals and other civic occasions (see vv. 4-5).
  32. Psalm 122:4 tn Or “went up.”
  33. Psalm 122:4 tn Heb “which is where the tribes go up.”
  34. Psalm 122:4 tn Heb “[it is] a statute for Israel to give thanks to the name of the Lord.”
  35. Psalm 122:5 tn Or “for.”
  36. Psalm 122:5 tn Or “sat.”
  37. Psalm 122:5 tn Heb “Indeed, there they sit [on] thrones for judgment, [on] thrones [belonging] to the house of David.”
  38. Psalm 122:6 tn Heb “ask [for].”
  39. Psalm 122:6 tn Or “be secure.”
  40. Psalm 122:7 tn or “security.”
  41. Psalm 122:7 tn The psalmist uses second feminine singular pronominal forms to address personified Jerusalem.
  42. Psalm 122:9 tn Heb “I will seek good for you.” The psalmist will seek Jerusalem’s “good” through prayer.
  43. Psalm 123:1 sn Psalm 123. The psalmist, speaking for God’s people, acknowledges his dependence on God in the midst of a crisis.
  44. Psalm 123:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  45. Psalm 123:1 tn Heb “I lift my eyes.”
  46. Psalm 123:1 tn Heb “sitting.” The Hebrew verb יָשַׁב (yashav) is here used metonymically of “sitting enthroned” (see Pss 9:7; 29:10; 55:19; 102:12).
  47. Psalm 123:2 sn Servants look to their master for food, shelter, and other basic needs.
  48. Psalm 123:3 tn Heb “for greatly we are filled [with] humiliation.”
  49. Psalm 123:4 tn Heb “greatly our soul is full to it.”
  50. Psalm 124:1 sn Psalm 124. Israel acknowledges that the Lord delivered them from certain disaster.
  51. Psalm 124:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  52. Psalm 124:2 tn Heb “rose up against us.”
  53. Psalm 124:4 tn Or “stream.”
  54. Psalm 124:4 tn Heb “would have passed over.”
  55. Psalm 124:4 tn Heb “our being.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) with a pronominal suffix is often equivalent to a pronoun, especially in poetry (see BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.a).
  56. Psalm 124:5 tn Heb “then they would have passed over our being, the raging waters.”
  57. Psalm 124:6 tn Heb “blessed [be] the Lord.”
  58. Psalm 124:6 tn Heb “[the one] who.”
  59. Psalm 124:7 tn Heb “our life escaped.”
  60. Psalm 124:8 tn Heb “our help [is] in the name of the Lord.”
  61. Psalm 124:8 tn Or “Maker.”
  62. Psalm 125:1 sn Psalm 125. The psalmist affirms his confidence in the Lord’s protection and justice.
  63. Psalm 125:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  64. Psalm 125:3 tn Or “for.”
  65. Psalm 125:3 tn Heb “a scepter of wickedness.” The “scepter” symbolizes royal authority; when collocated with “wickedness” the phrase refers to an oppressive foreign conqueror.
  66. Psalm 125:3 tn Or “rest.”
  67. Psalm 125:3 tn Heb “so that the godly might not stretch out their hands in wrongdoing.” A wicked king who sets a sinful example can have an adverse moral and ethical effect on the people he rules.
  68. Psalm 125:4 tn Heb “pure of heart.” The “heart” is here viewed as the seat of one’s moral character and motives. The “pure of heart” are God’s faithful followers who trust in and love the Lord and, as a result, experience his deliverance (see Pss 7:10; 11:2; 32:11; 36:10; 64:10; 94:15; 97:11).
  69. Psalm 125:5 tn Heb “and the ones making their paths twisted.” A sinful lifestyle is compared to a twisting, winding road.
  70. Psalm 125:5 tn Heb “lead them away.” The prefixed verbal form is understood as a jussive of prayer here (note the prayers directly before and after this). Another option is to translate, “the Lord will remove them” (cf. NIV, NRSV).
  71. Psalm 125:5 tn Heb “the workers of wickedness.”
  72. Psalm 125:5 tn Heb “peace [be] upon Israel.” The statement is understood as a prayer (see Ps 122:8 for a similar prayer for peace).
  73. Psalm 126:1 sn Psalm 126. Recalling the joy of past deliverance, God’s covenant community asks for a fresh display of God’s power and confidently anticipate their sorrow being transformed into joy.
  74. Psalm 126:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  75. Psalm 126:1 tn Heb “turns with a turning [toward] Zion.” The Hebrew noun שִׁיבַת (shivat) occurs only here in the OT. For this reason many prefer to emend the form to the more common שְׁבִית (shevit) or שְׁבוּת (shevut), both of which are used as a cognate accusative of שׁוּב (shuv; see Ps 14:7). However an Aramaic cognate of שְׁבִית appears in an eighth century b.c. Old Aramaic inscription with the verb שׁוּב. This cognate noun appears to mean “return” (see J. Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Treaties of Sefire [BibOr], 119-20) or “restoration” (see DNWSI 2:1125). Therefore it appears that שְׁבִית should be retained and understood as a cognate accusative of שׁוּב. In addition to Fitzmyer (119-20) see L. C. Allen, who offers the literal translation, “turn with a turning toward” (Psalms 101-150 [WBC], 170). Allen takes שְׁבִית as construct and understands “Zion” as an objective genitive.
  76. Psalm 126:1 tn Heb “we were like dreamers.” This could mean the speakers were so overcome with ecstatic joy (see v. 3b) that they were like those who fantasize about pleasurable experiences in their sleep (see Isa 29:7-8). Since dreams are more commonly associated in the OT with prophetic visions, the community may be comparing their experience of God’s renewed favor to a prophet’s receiving divine visions. Just as a prophetic dream sweeps the individual into a different dimension and sometimes brings one face-to-face with God himself (see Gen 28:11-15; 1 Kgs 3:5-15), so the community was aware of God’s presence in a special way in the day of Zion’s restoration. Though the MT as it stands makes good sense, some choose to understand a homonymic root here meaning “to be healthy; to be strong” (see BDB 321 s.v. I חָלַם) and translate, “we were like those restored to health.” This reading appears to have the support of several ancient translations as well as 11QPsa. See L. C. Allen (Psalms 101-150 [WBC], 170-71) for a discussion of the viewpoints.
  77. Psalm 126:2 tn Heb “then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with a shout.”
  78. Psalm 126:2 tn Heb “they said among the nations.”
  79. Psalm 126:4 tn Heb “like the streams in the Negev.”sn The streams in the arid south. Y. Aharoni writes of the streams in the Negev: “These usually dry wadis collect water on rainy days from vast areas. The situation is also aggravated by floods from the desert mountains and southern Judah. For a day or two or, more frequently, for only a few hours they turn into dangerous torrents” (Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible, 26). God’s people were experiencing a “dry season” after a time of past blessing; they pray here for a “flash flood” of his renewed blessing. This does not imply that they are requesting only a brief display of God’s blessing. Rather the point of comparison is the suddenness with which the wadis swell during a rain, as well as the depth and power of these raging waters. The community desires a sudden display of divine favor in which God overwhelms them with blessings.
  80. Psalm 126:5 sn O. Borowski says regarding this passage: “The dependence on rain for watering plants, the uncertainty of the quantity and timing of the rains, and the possibility of crop failure due to pests and diseases appear to have kept the farmer in a gloomy mood during sowing” (Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 54). Perhaps the people were experiencing a literal drought, the effects of which cause them to lament their plight as they plant their seed in hopes that the rain would come. However, most take the language as metaphorical. Like a farmer sowing his seed, the covenant community was enduring hardship as they waited for a new outpouring of divine blessing. Yet they are confident that a time of restoration will come and relieve their anxiety, just as the harvest brings relief and joy to the farmer.
  81. Psalm 126:6 tn The noun occurs only here and in Job 28:18 in the OT. See HALOT 646 s.v. I מֶשֶׁךְ which gives “leather pouch” as the meaning.
  82. Psalm 126:6 tn The Hebrew noun אֲלֻמָּה (ʾalummah, “sheaf”) occurs only here and in Gen 37:7 in the OT.sn Verse 6 expands the image of v. 5. See the note on the word “harvest” there.
  83. Psalm 127:1 sn Psalm 127. In this wisdom psalm the psalmist teaches that one does not find security by one’s own efforts, for God alone gives stability and security.
  84. Psalm 127:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  85. Psalm 127:1 sn The expression build a house may have a double meaning here. It may refer on the surface level to a literal physical structure in which a family lives, but at a deeper, metaphorical level it refers to building, perpetuating, and maintaining a family line. See Deut 25:9; Ruth 4:11; 1 Sam 2:35; 2 Sam 7:27; 1 Kgs 11:38; 1 Chr 17:10, 25. Having a family line provided security in ancient Israel.
  86. Psalm 127:1 sn The city symbolizes community security, which is the necessary framework for family security.
  87. Psalm 127:2 tn Heb “[it is] vain for you, you who are early to rise, who delay sitting, who eat the food of hard work.” The three substantival participles are parallel and stand in apposition to the pronominal suffix on the preposition. See לָכֶם (lakhem, “for you”).
  88. Psalm 127:2 tn Here the Hebrew particle כֵּן (ken) is used to stress the following affirmation (see Josh 2:4; Ps 63:2).
  89. Psalm 127:2 tn Heb “he gives to his beloved, sleep.” The translation assumes that the Hebrew term שֵׁנָא (shenaʾ, “sleep,” an alternate form of שֵׁנָה, shenah) is an adverbial accusative. The point seems to be this: Hard work by itself is not what counts, but one’s relationship to God, for God is able to bless an individual even while he sleeps. (There may even be a subtle allusion to the miracle of conception following sexual intercourse; see the reference to the gift of sons in the following verse.) The statement is not advocating laziness, but utilizing hyperbole to give perspective and to remind the addressees that God must be one’s first priority. Another option is to take “sleep” as the direct object: “yes, he gives sleep to his beloved” (cf. NIV, NRSV). In this case the point is this: Hard work by itself is futile, for only God is able to bless one with sleep, which metonymically refers to having one’s needs met. He blesses on the basis of one’s relationship to him, not on the basis of physical energy expended.
  90. Psalm 127:3 tn or “look.”
  91. Psalm 127:3 tn Some prefer to translate this term with the gender neutral “children,” but “sons” are plainly in view here, as the following verses make clear. Daughters are certainly wonderful additions to a family, but in ancient Israelite culture sons were the “arrows” that gave a man security in his old age, for they could defend the family interests at the city gate, where the legal and economic issues of the community were settled.
  92. Psalm 127:4 tn Heb “like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so [are] sons of youth.” Arrows are used in combat to defend oneself against enemies; sons are viewed here as providing social security and protection (see v. 5). The phrase “sons of youth” is elliptical, meaning “sons [born during the father’s] youth.” Such sons will have grown up to be mature adults and will have children of their own by the time the father reaches old age and becomes vulnerable to enemies. Contrast the phrase “son of old age” in Gen 37:3 (see also 44:20), which refers to Jacob’s age when Joseph was born.
  93. Psalm 127:5 tn Being “put to shame” is here metonymic for being defeated, probably in a legal context, as the reference to the city gate suggests. One could be humiliated (Ps 69:12) or deprived of justice (Amos 5:12) at the gate, but with strong sons to defend the family interests this was less likely to happen.
  94. Psalm 127:5 tn Heb “speak with.”
  95. Psalm 128:1 sn Psalm 128. The psalmist observes that the godly individual has genuine happiness because the Lord rewards such a person with prosperity and numerous children.
  96. Psalm 128:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  97. Psalm 128:1 tn Heb “every fearer of the Lord.”
  98. Psalm 128:1 tn Heb “the one who walks in his ways.”
  99. Psalm 128:2 tn The psalmist addresses the representative God-fearing man, as indicated by the references to “your wife” (v. 3) and “the man” (v. 4), as well as the second masculine singular pronominal and verbal forms in vv. 2-6.
  100. Psalm 128:2 tn Heb “the work of your hands, indeed you will eat.”
  101. Psalm 128:2 tn Heb “how blessed you [will be] and it will be good for you.”
  102. Psalm 128:3 sn The metaphor of the fruitful vine pictures the wife as fertile; she will give her husband numerous children (see the next line).
  103. Psalm 128:3 tn One could translate “sons” (see Ps 127:3 and the note on the word “sons” there), but here the term seems to refer more generally to children of both genders.
  104. Psalm 128:4 tn Heb “look, indeed thus will the man, the fearer of the Lord, be blessed.”
  105. Psalm 128:5 tn The prefixed verbal form is understood as a jussive of prayer (note the imperatives that are subordinated to this clause in vv. 5b-6a). Having described the blessings that typically come to the godly, the psalmist concludes by praying that this ideal may become reality for the representative godly man being addressed.
  106. Psalm 128:5 tn The imperative with prefixed vav (ו) conjunctive indicates purpose/result after the preceding jussive.
  107. Psalm 128:6 tn The imperative with prefixed vav (ו) conjunctive indicates purpose/result after the jussive in v. 5a.
  108. Psalm 128:6 tn Heb “sons to your sons.”
  109. Psalm 128:6 tn Heb “peace [be] upon Israel.” The statement is understood as a prayer (see Ps 125:5).
  110. Psalm 129:1 sn Psalm 129. Israel affirms God’s justice and asks him to destroy the enemies of Zion.
  111. Psalm 129:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  112. Psalm 129:4 tn The background of the metaphor is not entirely clear. Perhaps the “ropes” are those used to harness the ox for plowing (see Job 39:10). Verse 3 pictures the wicked plowing God’s people as if they were a field. But when God “cut the ropes” of their ox, as it were, they could no longer plow. The point of the metaphor seems to be that God took away the enemies’ ability to oppress his people. See L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 187.
  113. Psalm 129:6 tn The Hebrew verb שָׁלַף (shalaf) normally means “to draw [a sword]” or “to pull.” BDB 1025 s.v. suggests the meaning “to shoot up” here, but it is more likely that the verb here means “to pluck; to pull up,” a nuance attested for this word in later Hebrew and Aramaic (see Jastrow 1587 s.v. שָׁלַף).
  114. Psalm 129:8 tn The perfect verbal form is used for rhetorical effect; it describes an anticipated development as if it were already reality.
  115. Psalm 130:1 sn Psalm 130. The psalmist, confident of the Lord’s forgiveness, cries out to the Lord for help in the midst of his suffering and urges Israel to do the same.
  116. Psalm 130:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  117. Psalm 130:1 tn Heb “depths,” that is, deep waters (see Ps 69:2, 14; Isa 51:10), a metaphor for the life-threatening danger faced by the psalmist.
  118. Psalm 130:2 tn Heb “my voice.”
  119. Psalm 130:2 tn Heb “may your ears be attentive to the voice of.”
  120. Psalm 130:3 tn Heb “observe.”
  121. Psalm 130:3 tn The words “before you” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The psalmist must be referring to standing before God’s judgment seat. The rhetorical question expects the answer, “No one.”
  122. Psalm 130:4 tn Or “surely.”
  123. Psalm 130:4 tn Heb “for with you [there is] forgiveness.”
  124. Psalm 130:4 tn Or “consequently you are.”
  125. Psalm 130:4 tn Heb “feared.”
  126. Psalm 130:5 tn Or “wait for.”
  127. Psalm 130:5 tn Heb “my soul waits.”
  128. Psalm 130:5 tn Heb “his word.”
  129. Psalm 130:6 tn Heb “my soul for the master.”
  130. Psalm 130:6 tn Heb “more than watchmen for the morning, watchmen for the morning.” The words “yes, more” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  131. Psalm 130:7 tn Heb “for with the Lord [is] loyal love.”
  132. Psalm 130:7 tn Heb “and abundantly with him [is] redemption.”
  133. Psalm 130:8 tn Or “redeem.”
  134. Psalm 130:8 tn Or “all the consequences of their sins.” The Hebrew noun עָוֹן (ʿavon) can refer to sin, the guilt sin produces, or the consequences of sin. Only here is the noun collocated with the verb פָּדָה (padah, “to redeem; to deliver”). The psalmist may refer to deliverance from the national consequences of sin or forgiveness per se (v. 4). See L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 192.
  135. Psalm 131:1 sn Psalm 131. The psalmist affirms his humble dependence on the Lord and urges Israel to place its trust in God.
  136. Psalm 131:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  137. Psalm 131:1 tn Heb “and my eyes are not lifted up.”
  138. Psalm 131:1 tn Heb “I do not walk in great things, and in things too marvelous for me.”
  139. Psalm 131:2 tn Or “but.”
  140. Psalm 131:2 tn Heb “I make level and make quiet my soul.”
  141. Psalm 131:2 tn Heb “like a weaned [one] upon his mother.”
  142. Psalm 131:2 tn Heb “like the weaned [one] upon me, my soul.”
  143. Psalm 132:1 sn Psalm 132. The psalmist reminds God of David’s devotion and of his promises concerning David’s dynasty and Zion.
  144. Psalm 132:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  145. Psalm 132:1 tn Heb “all his affliction.” This may refer to David’s strenuous and tireless efforts to make provision for the building of the temple (see 1 Chr 22:14). Some prefer to revocalize the text as עַנַוָתוֹ (ʿanavato, “his humility”).
  146. Psalm 132:3 tn The words “he said” are supplied in the translation to clarify that what follows is David’s vow.
  147. Psalm 132:3 tn Heb “the tent of my house.”
  148. Psalm 132:3 tn Heb “go up upon the bed of my couch.”
  149. Psalm 132:5 tn The plural form of the noun may indicate degree or quality; David envisions a special dwelling place (see Pss 43:3; 46:4; 84:1).
  150. Psalm 132:5 tn Or “the Mighty One of Jacob.”
  151. Psalm 132:6 tn Rather than having an antecedent, the third feminine singular pronominal suffix here (and in the next line) appears to refer to the ark of the covenant, mentioned in v. 8. (The Hebrew term אָרוֹן [ʾaron, “ark”] is sometimes construed as grammatically feminine. See 1 Sam 4:17; 2 Chr 8:11.)
  152. Psalm 132:6 sn Some understand Ephrathah as a reference to Kiriath Jearim because of the apparent allusion to this site in the next line (see the note on “Jaar”). The ark was kept in Kiriath Jearim after the Philistines released it (see 1 Sam 6:21-7:2). However, the switch in verbs from “heard about” to “found” suggests that Ephrathah not be equated with Jair. The group who is speaking heard about the ark while they were in Ephrath. They then went to retrieve it from Kiriath Jearim (“Jaar”). It is more likely that Ephrathah refers to a site near Bethel (Gen 35:16, 19; 48:7) or to Bethlehem (Ruth 4:11; Mic 5:2).
  153. Psalm 132:6 tn Heb “fields of the forest.” The Hebrew term יָעַר (yaʿar, “forest”) is apparently a shortened alternative name for קִרְיַת יְעָרִים (qiryat yeʿarim, “Kiriath Jearim”), the place where the ark was kept after it was released by the Philistines and from which David and his men retrieved it (see 1 Chr 13:6).
  154. Psalm 132:7 tn Or “bow down.”
  155. Psalm 132:9 tn Or “righteousness.”
  156. Psalm 132:10 tn Heb “do not turn away the face of your anointed one.”
  157. Psalm 132:11 tn Heb “the Lord swore an oath to David [in] truth.”
  158. Psalm 132:11 tn Heb “he will not turn back from it.”
  159. Psalm 132:11 tn The words “he said” are supplied in the translation to clarify that what follows are the Lord’s words.
  160. Psalm 132:11 tn Heb “the fruit of your body.”
  161. Psalm 132:13 tn Or “for.”
  162. Psalm 132:13 tn Heb “he desired it for his dwelling place.”
  163. Psalm 132:14 tn The words “he said” are added in the translation to clarify that what follows are the Lord’s words.
  164. Psalm 132:14 tn Heb “for I desired it.”
  165. Psalm 132:15 tn Heb “I will greatly bless her provision.” The infinitive absolute is used to emphasize the verb.
  166. Psalm 132:15 tn Heb “her poor I will satisfy [with] food.”
  167. Psalm 132:16 tn Heb “and her priests I will clothe [with] deliverance.”
  168. Psalm 132:16 tn Heb “[with] shouting they will shout.” The infinitive absolute is used to emphasize the verb.
  169. Psalm 132:17 tn Heb “there I will cause a horn to sprout for David.” The horn of an ox underlies the metaphor (cf. Deut 33:17; 1 Kgs 22:11; Pss 18:2; 92:10). The horn of the wild ox is frequently a metaphor for military strength; the idiom “exalt the horn” signifies military victory (see 1 Sam 2:10; Pss 89:17, 24; 92:10; Lam 2:17). In the ancient Near East powerful warrior-kings would sometimes compare themselves to a goring bull that used its horns to kill its enemies. For examples, see P. Miller, “El the Warrior,” HTR 60 (1967): 422-25, and R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 135-36.
  170. Psalm 132:17 tn Heb “I have arranged a lamp for my anointed one.” Here the “lamp” is a metaphor for the Davidic dynasty (see 1 Kgs 11:36).
  171. Psalm 132:18 tn Heb “his enemies I will clothe [with] shame.”
  172. Psalm 133:1 sn Psalm 133. The psalmist affirms the benefits of family unity.
  173. Psalm 133:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  174. Psalm 133:1 sn This statement refers to the extended family structure of ancient Israel, where brothers would often live in proximity to one another (Deut 25:5), giving the family greater social prominence and security. However, in its later application in the nation of Israel it probably envisions unity within the covenant community. See L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 212-15.
  175. Psalm 133:2 tn Heb “[it is] like the good oil on the head, going down on the beard.”
  176. Psalm 133:2 tn Heb “which goes down in accordance with his measured things.” The Hebrew phrase מִדּוֹתָיו (middotayv, “his measured things”) refers here to the robes worn by Aaron. HALOT 546 s.v. *מַד derives the term from מַד (mad, “robe”) rather than מִדָּה (middah, “measured thing”). Ugaritic md means “robe” and is pluralized mdt.
  177. Psalm 133:3 sn Hermon refers to Mount Hermon, located north of Israel.
  178. Psalm 133:3 sn The hills of Zion are those surrounding Zion (see Pss 87:1; 125:2). The psalmist does not intend to suggest that the dew from Mt. Hermon in the distant north actually flows down upon Zion. His point is that the same kind of heavy dew that replenishes Hermon may also be seen on Zion’s hills. See A. Cohen, Psalms (SoBB), 439. “Dew” here symbolizes divine blessing, as the next line suggests.
  179. Psalm 133:3 tn Or “for.”
  180. Psalm 133:3 tn Heb “there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forever.”
  181. Psalm 134:1 sn Psalm 134. The psalmist calls on the temple servants to praise God (vv. 1-2). They in turn pronounce a blessing on the psalmist (v. 3).
  182. Psalm 134:1 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.
  183. Psalm 134:1 tn Heb “Look!”
  184. Psalm 134:1 tn Heb “stand.”
  185. Psalm 134:3 tn The pronominal suffix is second masculine singular, suggesting that the servants addressed in vv. 1-2 are responding to the psalmist.
  186. Psalm 134:3 tn Heb “may the Lord bless you from Zion, the maker of heaven and earth.”
New English Translation (NET)

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