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CXX. Prayer Against Calumniators.— Here begin the Psalms of Ascents, i.e. Pss. intended to be sung by the pilgrims at the three great feasts on their way up to Jerusalem, which stood on a height. Psalms 120-134 all bear this title (see also Psalms 84:5). The title “ Psalms of Ascents” may have been originally given to the collection and then written over each Ps. individually.
Psalms 120:1-4 . “ What shall he ( i.e. Yahweh) give unto thee?” The punishment is in accordance with the guilt. In Jeremiah 9:7 the deceitful tongue is compared to a deadly arrow. It is therefore fitting that Yahweh should send sharp arrows against those who slander the righteous. The author adds burning broom, which emits intense heat. But the collocation of arrows and burning charcoal is awkward.
Psalms 120:5-7 . The Psalmist compelled to dwell among foes. The men of Kedar were an Arab tribe, deriving their name “ black” from their swarthy complexion or, more probably, from the black tents in which they lived. The men of Meshech, on the other hand, lived between the Caspian and the Black Sea. The names Kedar and Meshech are mentioned, not because the Jews of the Dispersion found a home among them, but because they are types of wild and half-civilised men. Compare our name of Tartar or Turk. It is not they who attack the Jews, they would have found other weapons than calumny, but men who are Jews themselves and yet hate their godly fellow-countrymen with savage fury. It is remarkable that in this, the first song of ascents, there is no reference to pilgrimage. Most likely Psalms 120:5-7 led to its use by the pilgrims.
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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 120". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13