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Thursday, September 28th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 121

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Verse 1

Psalms 121:0.

The great safety of the godly, who put their trust in God's protection.

A Song of Degrees.

Title. המעלות שׁיו Shiir hammangaloth.] This psalm is thought by some to have been written by David, while he was in the field with his army during Absalom's rebellion; but if the psalms of ascent were sung by those who went up to the temple, it is most probable that it begins as with a person just come to Jerusalem, and looking round him in great anxiety towards the mountains about it for divine help. In the second verse he fixes his eye upon the mountain where the temple stood, and expects help from thence: here he is supposed to offer his sacrifice, and pay his devotions to God. While this is doing, some person, in the third verse, wishes he may find the favour and protection of his God. From the fourth onward, the priest, probably seeing the usual sign of favour (Behold), promises him most assuredly the divine protection and blessing.

Verse 2

Psalms 121:2. My help cometh from the Lord My help is from the house of the Lord. מעם Meim, is not from the Lord, but from with the Lord; from where he resides.

Verse 5

Psalms 121:5. The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand In those countries, where the heat of the sun was intolerable, shady places were esteemed as not only very refreshing, but likewise as salutary and necessary to the preservation of life. When therefore the Psalmist stiles Jehovah his shade or shelter, he means that he protected him from danger, and refreshed him with comforts. Mudge, instead of smite in the next verse, reads hurt, after the Syriac; and he observes, that they attributed distempers to the influences of the sun and moon, and that this expression points to a country life, where they were more exposed day and night to the influences of those luminaries: As the heat of the sun in the day, so the copious dews which fell most abundantly in the moonshine, were very pernicious in those countries.

Verse 8

Psalms 121:8. The Lord shall preserve thy going out, &c.— That is; "Shall protect and prosper thee in all thy undertakings."

REFLECTIONS.—In every distress the Psalmist fled to a covenant God. We have,

1. His prayer. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, the place of God's tabernacle, or to the heavenly hills, the place where his honour dwelleth, from whence cometh my help; or it may be read interrogatively, Shall I lift mine eyes to the hills? to idols, or the mighty men of the earth? from whence shall my help come? from these? No; in vain is salvation hoped for from these hills, Jeremiah 3:23. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth; his arm is my dependance, his grace my sole support, and his power almighty; he who created all things, can and will preserve me from the power of my enemies. Note; (1.) God is a sure refuge to those who fly to him. (2.) When human help is despaired of, with God nothing is impossible.

2. The answer. Either thus the Psalmist may have replied to himself, or he speaks to every humble petitioner in his circumstances: He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; though earth and hell assail the believer's soul, the grace and power of Jehovah is sufficient for him. He that keepeth thee will not slumber, watchful over his saints, their sure protector; and well and safely kept must they be, whom he keeps. Behold, he that keepeth Israel, his believing people, shall neither slumber nor sleep, but, ever attentive to their concerns, and careful for their good, shall preserve them from the power of evil. The Lord is thy keeper, the Lord Jesus, the great, the good shepherd of the sheep, whose infinite love engages him to watch them with tenderest care: yea, the least lamb of his flock may confidently expect his kind regard. The Lord is thy shade; as the thick cloud which shelters from the scorching beams of day, so God will cover them with his wings from danger, and refresh them, as under the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, Isa 32:2 and ever near to fly unto, even upon thy right hand, a very present help in trouble. Thus hid in God, the sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night; the fiercest blasts of persecution shall not scorch us up, as the seed on the rock, nor the cold and nipping frosts or inclement dews of temptation blast. Thus hid in God, the Lord shall preserve thee from all evil, whether of sin or suffering; sin shall not have dominion, and Satan shall not be able to prevail. He shall preserve thy soul, either the life from death; or if he give the enemy power over the body, the soul shall be precious in his sight, and the glorious crown of martyrdom amply recompence all the pains that this flesh can suffer. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in; in all our travels by land or water, in our commerce and business, and in all our affairs, this divine protection is over us, and God will prosper the work of our hands: from this time forth, and even for evermore, not only the guard of faithful souls through life, but their guide to death, in death their stay; and after death their everlasting portion. Lord Jesus, fulfil these thy promises to my soul, I beseech thee!

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 121". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/psalms-121.html. 1801-1803.
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