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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 120

Verses 1-3

These Pss. are similar in thought, style, and language. Each bears the heading A Song of degrees, RV ’A Song of Ascents.’ Scholars now agree for the most part in interpreting this title ’A Song of Pilgrimages’ (lit. ’goings up’), as indicating the use of these Pss. for pilgrims on their annual journeys to keep the various feasts at Jerusalem. Others explain the ’Ascent’ as referring to the return of the exiles from Babylon. This section had doubtless been a separate Psalter with this title, ’Songs of Pilgrimages,’ affixed. When these Pss. became a part of the greater collection 90-150, the title was affixed to each Ps. separately. There is also an indication in these titles that the Pss. are specially intended for vocal music. Exquisitely beautiful they are, well fitted for pilgrim songs, either for the Jew to Jerusalem, or for the Christian to that heavenly Zion whose builder and maker is God: see Intro.

Verses 1-7

A cry for help to Jehovah in the midst of sore distress, evidently by an exile under foreign oppression.

4. ’Sharp arrows of a mighty man, with glowing coals of broom,’ i.e. burning charcoal made of broom. Both expressions are figures for divine judgments: cp. Psalms 140:10.

5. Mesech] i.e. the Moschi, a tribe dwelling near the Euxine Sea: cp. Genesis 10:2, also Herodotus 3.94. Kedar] tribes of N. Arabia famous for their black tents: cp. Song of Solomon 1:5. Here the two names are probably taken as typical examples of the wild and inhospitable peoples among whom many of the Jews were exiled.

6. Long] the emphatic word ’all too long.’ Turbulent tribes fond of war surround the writer.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 120". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.