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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Psalms 122

Verses 1-9

Psalms 122:0

Psalms 122:1 (A Song of degrees of David.) I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

Psalms 122:1 Word Study on “degrees” - Strong says the Hebrew word “ma’alah” ( מַעֲלָה ) (H4609) literally means, “elevations,” and in book of Psalms it means, “a climatic progression.” Strong says this word is derived from the Hebrew verb “‘alah” ( עָלָה ) (H5927), which means “to ascend.” This noun occurs 45 times in the Old Testament Scriptures and is often translated “steps,” as in 1 Kings 10:19. In 2 Kings 20:9-11 “ma’alah” ( מַעֲלָה ) is translated “degrees,” referring to the ten steps the shadow regressed on the king’s sundial.

Psalms 122:2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.

Psalms 122:3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:

Psalms 122:3 Word Study on “Jerusalem” Strong says the Hebrew name “Jerusalem” ( יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ) (H3389) means, “founded peacefully.” The name “Jerusalem” is derived from two root words, ( יָרָה ) and ( שָׁלַם ). Strong says the Hebrew word ( יָרָה ) (H3384) literally means, “to flow,” thus, “to lay, or to throw,” and figuratively it means, “to point out, or to teach.” The Hebrew word ( שָׁלַם ) (H7999) means, “to be safe,” and figuratively it means, “to be completed,” thus, “to be at peace.”

The usage of the name “Jerusalem” is often found in the dual in this Hebrew text, as opposed to the singular usage ( יְרוּשָׁלֵם ) (H3390), which is also used in the biblical text. Besides the singular and plural forms that most languages are limited to, the Hebrew language has an additional form, called the dual. It refers to “two” things that are never mentioned apart from each other, such as eyes and ears. Jewish scholars see this dual form as a reference to the earthly Jerusalem below being one day united with the heavenly Jerusalem that is above. [115] Thus, the prayer for the peace of Jerusalem in Psalms 122:4 of this psalm would refer to the complete and full unity of the heavenly and earthly Jerusalem.

[115] John Gill, Psalms, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Psalms 122:3.

Comments - Alfred Edersheim says the allusion of Jerusalem being built as a compact city is to a reference to the various hills which, like companies, are joined together to form “the appearance of an immense natural fortress.” [116] John Gill says that in David's time, the upper and lower cities were joined together. Thus, the streets and houses were able to be built in an orderly fashion. [117]

[116] Alfred Edershein, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as they were at the Time of Jesus Christ (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1908), 27-28.

[117] John Gill, Psalms, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Psalms 122:3.

Note other translations:

BBE, “O Jerusalem, you are like a town which is well joined together;”

YLT, “Jerusalem--the builded one--Is as a city that is joined to itself together.”

Psalms 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

Psalms 122:6 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” Comments - We know that there will be no peace until Jesus comes again. Thus, when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we are essentially praying for Jesus’ Return.

Psalms 122:6 Comments - We are to keep our eyes upon Israel because the events that take place in this nation reveal the events that are about to take place upon this earth. The events that are taking place in the nation of Israel today are prophetic of what is about to take place upon the nations of the earth. When Israel is at war, then the nations will soon experience war. When there is peace in Jerusalem, then there is sure to be peace for other nations. This verse tells us to pray for peace in Israel so that we may have peace in our nations. Prosperity for a nation comes during times of peace. For example, when the Muslim terrorists in Palestine began to wage a war against Israel in 2000, little did the nations of the world know that this same war would soon spread to many other nations by these same terrorists.

Psalms 122:7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.

Psalms 122:8 For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.

Psalms 122:9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 122". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/psalms-122.html. 2013.