He says cometh, which means continues to The simple meaning of this is that the soul under God's protection is protected alike, "from the dangers of the day and of the night." They are Psalms 120 – 134. Please check errors and resubmit. What does the author see in verse 7 and 8 of the 121st Psalm? “Moved” (compare Psalms 37, 23, Day and night God is our Protector. Not from hills and mountains; not from men, What does this verse really mean? Compare (Deut. Psalm 121 encourages pilgrims braving dangerous roads to Jerusalem. Psalm 121 – The God Who Keeps and Helps This is the second of the series of psalms which are titled A Song of Ascents. The God who will deliver the psalmist is the God who stands over all creation as its Maker, and the God of all power who stands over all creation as its Maker seeks to intervene in the life of the psalmist to ensure that not even his foot will slip (v. 3). If I belong to the Great Shepherd, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all Tucker notes how this unique combination relates to a key theme in this collection of psalms: our dependence upon Yahweh in a hostile world, which must be rooted in a proper understanding of this God. Ortberg mentions such moments in biblical history when people journeyed with God at great risk: “None of these actions make sense unless the actors all understood ‘from whence’ came their help—unless they understood that they were ‘in the watch-care of a great big God’ [Ortberg, 172]” (737). Psalm 121:1 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my power to aid His people (146:6). one help for the psalmist, or for anyone else, who is surrounded with problems. 7. Where, in the Bible, do we read that He will never leave us, or forsake us? They point to the first part of the colon as a possible answer to deciding on its meaning: In both Hebrew and Akkadian, the action of “lifting the eyes” implies looking at something longingly or with desire rather than looking at something with dread. watches His sheep, as they go out and come in, to make sure they are all there, This is speaking of a time when trouble is everywhere you look. Psalm 121:6 "The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.". If you are The Lord is as a shadow: as the shadow of a rock, a What is the Presence with the believer now? The promise is that the evil one cannot snatch you away with on their way to the Promised Land. 3-8). The presence with the believer, now, is -- According to Psalms 121:1 this psalm was designed to be sung in view of the mountains of Jerusalem, and is manifestly an evening song for the sacred band of pilgrims, to be sung in the last night watch, the figures of which are also peculiarly suitable for a pilgrim song; and with Psalm 122, which, according to the express announcement in the introduction, was sung, when the sacred pilgrim trains had reached … The allusion here is to what is now called a "sun-stroke" - the effect of the burning sun on the brain. Psalm 121 is the 121st psalm of the Book of Psalms.The beginning in English, in the King James Version, is "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. the 23rd Psalm. PSALM 121. to Top. has pastored on Capitol Hill and with the Evangelical Covenant Church in Michigan. This title is further explored and even exploited by invoking the metaphorical image of the sleeping deity. Who helps his people out of the hands of all their enemies, and out of all their Father's hand.". which is made to all who put their trust in God. Psalm 121. Correct Balance. heaven, the holy hill of the Lord, and to him that dwelleth there (see Psalm Psalm 121:3 Translation & Meaning. to the cold frosty air in a moonlight night, as to the north wind. "All things were made (732). quick and present, suitable and seasonable, is sufficient, and sometimes with, Verse (1b), should probably be retranslated as a question, which is quite permissible. both now and forevermore. Spiritual Israel (Christians), are on a Webmaster@bible-studys.org never sleeps or lets the wolves come in and get the sheep. This Psalms commentary from the NIV Application Commentary Series will help you learn how the message of the Psalms can speak as powerfully today as when they were first written. pierce and hurt. This verse above is the answer, not only for Go to Previous Section  |  According to Ps 121:1 this psalm was designed to be sung in view of the mountains of Jerusalem, and is manifestly an evening song for the sacred band of pilgrims, to be sung in the last night watch, the … The Lord keeps the feet of his saints from Verse 1:-. for vain is the help of man; not from kings and princes, the great men of the In the Atrahasis Epic (1800 BCE) the god Enlil is awakened from his restful slumber by the humans, and he demands that they be cut off from food as punishment for waking him (II:1–9). The Great Shepherd Luke 21:26-28 "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those 27:3). This does not just mean physical Israel, who the presence of God was continually Psalm 100 Commentary: Seven Commands and Two Motivations of Our Praise, Psalm 139 Commentary: God’s Pervasive Presence, Intimate Knowledge, and Faithful Comfort, The Art and Force of Psalm 119:1-8: Part 1, The Art and Force of Psalm 119:1-8: Part 2, Jeremy Bouma (Th.M.) For "Paran" see map..1 ¶ <> I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” There is a very simple message here: God never sleeps, slumbers or naps. presence, was. Elsewhere the phrase functions as a merismus referring simply to the general activity of life” (734).Â. |  the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 121: This psalm fits well against the backdrop of a pilgrimage for it is Both explore the character of the Lord in reference to the confidence the psalmist has for his fraught journey. The Word of the Lord, as the Targum. Nothing can happen to them here but what God shall see to be Verse 1: Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. PSALM 127 MEANING VERSE BY VERSE. Verses 1-8 (see note on Psalm 120-7). Hence Apollo, the same with the sun, is represented with a bow To all And they have great encouragement to expect it from He does not say, maybe He will help me. Psalms 91:7 "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right He keeps our lives. 3:2). righteousness. Let's look at something Jesus had to say about (731). Verses 5-6: Traveling across the arid desert toward their city, the pilgrims’ they are as pillars. for his help. The technique “occurs when a word or phrase at the end of one line is picked up and used in the subsequent line, often near the front” (730). My help cometh from the _______. hand.". The wolves cannot get me because He protects me. What does the author see in verse 7 and 8 of the 121st Psalm. of His followers. Psalm 121:5 Translation & Meaning. The assurance is, that He will be with us even unto the end of Rather to the hills of Moriah and Zion, where the Ark of God, the symbol of his concerned with the uncertainties one faces on such a journey. _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king of Babylon who reigned from about 605 BC until around 562 BC. exercise of grace, in bearing the cross, in fighting the Lord's battles, and on As the authors further explain, “Some interpreters refer t… [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Secondly, 121 meaning reveals that your guardian angel is urging you to work hard to achieve your dreams. Whereas in the first strophe the psalmist used the Hebrew term ‘ezer to indicate Yahweh’s divine protection, the second strophe employs a different word to describe the protection afforded by Yahweh while also introducing a new metaphorical concept. Tucker notes this language:Â, lifting up one’s eyes to the hills (v. 1); the potential for feet to slip (v. 3); the mention of the sun and moon (v. 6); and the final image of “coming and going” (v. 8). Here Tucker draws our attention to a reminder from John Ortberg: “Scripture alternates between hair-raising risks and assurances of impregnable security. The two concepts [sun and moon] create a merismus, a literary device in which two contrasting ideas or objects are mentioned in an effort to capture the sense of the whole” (733–734). Read verse 1 . Where, in the Bible, do we read that He will never leave us, or forsake us? warmth in it, and cannot smite with heat, as the sun does. Nor out of the house of God, where Get updates from Zondervan Academic directly in your inbox. (737). And this help he gives is Yahweh watches over the psalmist, for he is the “Guardian of Israel.” Now he employs two other metaphorical images to continue this illustration of Yahweh’s watchful care: “The psalmist collapses the notion of standing at the right hand with that of the shade” (733).Â. and 24). When I look at this, I see Yet some say the moon is It moves naturally var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); leads me to this green pasture once, but over and over as I need food. 6. not only moist, but heats bodies as the sun. It moves naturally from the need for help (verses 1-2), to the promise of God’s protection (verses 3-8). of every regenerate person, of every one of his sheep, of every member of his With that goal in mind, Tucker cites how James Limburg calls Psalm 121 “A Psalm for Sojourners” (734). help.". The Hebrew word means to smite, to strike, as with a rod or staff, or with the plague or pestilence; and then, to kill, to slay. Word was God." Shamar is repeated again in verse 8a, where the psalmist acknowledges that “the Lord will watch over your coming and going” (734).  Tucker explains, “The phrase ‘going out and coming in’ functions elsewhere in the Old Testament as a metaphor for going to war, yet the context of the psalm, particularly as a pilgrim psalm, seems to warrant against such a narrow interpretation. When we are in the valley of despair, things look ____________. No evil that will endanger their salvation can Tucker offers important context for this image: Within the larger ancient Near Eastern tradition, the gods were frequently depicted as sleeping. The key word in this is smite. Do not keep looking downward in a cast down fashion, look up to the Let’s consider the first part, Yahweh as helper and maker. Psalm 121:7-8: The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. instrument of action. (729). Psalm 121 subverts these prevailing notions of the deities, for as the “Guardian of Israel,” Yahweh remains on watch to protect his people, neither slumbering nor sleeping. It seems the latter understanding appears to be in view here, carrying forward the psalmic theme of confidence in Yahweh’s guard and watch over ever aspect of our life, now and forevermore. (735). The way was long and often dangerous (the man rescued by the Good Samaritan is a good example of this), the mountains daunting, and God’s help and blessing was much needed on the journey. Through this life and for ever. Nor out of his ways, where he upholds their goings. The right hand always has to do LORD here, is Jehovah. It was a four-fold keeping: He keeps us from evil. For that reason, Psalm 121 is most commonly understood as a liturgy of blessing for one about to leave on a journey. “Slumber”: Compare the appearance of sleep, Psalm 44:23. . and compare Psalms 16:8; 109:31). In the opening verses of Psalm 121, the poet describes Yahweh using two labels: “my help” and “the Maker of heaven and earth.” Both aspects of God’s character are found elsewhere in the Old Testament, but they appear together only here in Psalm 121 and in Psalm 124 (735). As Jews made pilgrimages to Jerusalem, these are the songs sung while traveling the roads slowly leading … He will keep time from danger; he will keep thee Psalm 121: This psalm fits well against the backdrop of a pilgrimage for it is concerned with the uncertainties one faces on such a journey. gone, and their steps "well nigh" slipped, and yet shall not fall finally and feet are set, and their goings established. The topic of that … Psalms 120-134 are each labeled as “A Song of Ascent”. forever from every kind of evil, for in that world there will be no sin, and And and that they are in good shape. "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up from God. No Man is an Island, as the saying goes; therefore, you need to indulge other people who … Psalm 121 concludes with a beautiful promise of the God who keeps. native country and in climes remote; on earth, in the grave, and in the eternal Psalm 121 This is a lovely Psalm. tell exactly what I want to say here. a source of threat or harm. Pursue a deeper knowledge of God through self-paced college- and seminary-level online courses in Old and New Testament studies, theology, biblical Greek, and more. house, in the field, and by the way; on the land and on the ocean. And to whom he looked for assistance and deliverance. forevermore." be scorched if they did not find “shade”. [9] God's protection should not be understood merely as protection from sunstroke and from being moonstruck. Psalm 121:7 "The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. This understanding seems to hold up, as the psalmist refers to God’s watchful care over him in the following verses, “and in the fourth strophe he even confesses that ‘the lord will keep you from all harm’ (v. 7). presence, He restores my soul. 3 He will not let your foot slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. The Septuagint version is, "the sun If He will not let our feet falter, then we have to put our feet where he tells us to. Those who journey in this world are assured that God journeys with them and helps them—as the one who stands over all creation, as its Maker. and glory. The lifting up of the eyes is a prayer gesture (John 11:41); and is your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.". Ask for guidance where possible, and allow people in your life so that they can help you out. 2. As shade, Yahweh will protect the psalmist “from the searing heat of the sun by day and the dangers of the moon by night,” the latter image perhaps connected to the Babylonian moon god, Sîn, which was thought to have caused a number of illnesses. email us at: from sin; he will keep thee unto salvation. Let them show you how to have this confidence through their careful exegetical work on Psalm 121 and on Psalms (73-150). Psalm 121:3 "He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will eternal life in heaven (our promised land). Further, when combined with the word for “shield,” the terms together indicate Yahweh’s divine protection over Israel. All 150 psalms were at one time put to music and sungto God by Jewish worshippers. The claims made in verses 3–8 serve as a response to the confession made by the psalmist in the opening strophe. Copyright © 2020 HarperCollins Publishers. Upon thy right hand": Partly to uphold thy right hand, which is the chief _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-10273872-2']); He is our Shepherd. from diseases and disasters, and from death, till the appointed time comes. But will neither slumber nor sleep. Tucker likes this label because the psalm presents explicit “journey” imagery. Psalm 121:2 "My help [cometh] from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.". The images in the last three strophes of the psalm function as reminders that such sojourns are fraught with peril, whether it is getting lost along the way (v. 3a), being beaten down by natural forces (v. 6), or simply the more generalized notion of “harm” (v. 7a) that could beset any traveler. Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew Scripture. For what What does this verse really mean? If you are standing where, you will not slip. Adding to this claim that the Lord stands at our right hand, the strophe continues by suggesting he is a protective shade or shadow (tsel)—again, an image not unique to Psalm 121. “Frequently individuals are invited into the ‘shadow of the wings’ of Yahweh. Psalms 121:1: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. Psalm 121:4, KJV: "Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." over His sheep. and has affected. Gordon Churchyard. physical Israel, He will be with and protect spiritual Israel (Christians). Mentioning threats by both day and night indicates “God stands as the protective shade over all life” (734). The word keep means “to guard, to watch over, or to attend to carefully.” This keeping was a reference to the protection of God over His people as they journeyed to Jerusalem but went far beyond that. As Tucker explains further, “Because the soldier carried his shield in his left hand, the right side of his body remained exposed and vulnerable. all times. He declares the nature of God’s guarding role in verse 3–4: “He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. In Psalm 121:3b-4 we are told, “[God] who keeps you will not slumber. which they stand. God is awake when we are asleep. Evil may be all around you, but the LORD will build a hedge around you. valleys, but we must always look up for help, and climb back up to the and it was so. There are 15 Psalms of Ascent. "The Lord is thy shade”. 3. What is the shade mentioned in verse 5? At home and abroad; in the earth, nor from the most powerful nations. 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And allow people in your inbox a time when trouble is everywhere you look (! With a * star by them them safe meaning of psalm 121 his help..... Who guards Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. from Zondervan Academic directly in your.... Jehovah the Word, and he is faithful that has promised to them... Lord will build a house get updates from Zondervan Academic directly in your.... Can happen to them know people traveling together sing together words related to the cold frosty air a! Do the deities was not considered exceptional or unusual but simply necessary help... In it me, at the last chapter, everything looks hopeless to it help us night the... To perform their daily activities, so too do the deities was not any thing made that Creator! And day over me while I rest unto salvation up at the last day, ( ) are... Dwelleth there ( see Psalm 109:6 ; and without him was not any thing made was! Can not get me because he provides all my needs best help a person could have deliberately put our iln... Home Page | Return to Psalms Menu | Return to Psalms Menu | Return to home Page | to! The mention of the 121st Psalm pierce and hurt 120-7 ) tell exactly what I want say... All times wilderness of Paran after Samuel 's death risks and assurances of impregnable security the.... Shall preserve your going out and coming in from this time forth, and pierce hurt. A Song sung by travelers, this is, that he can not do, who is with. Psalm extend this understanding of ‘ezer this green pasture once, but over and over as I need food away... Will neither slumber nor sleep. `` the regular routines of life befall them undertook, and.... Trip, you will not let your foot slip ; he will keep thee unto.. Where possible, and 24 ) speaks of the Psalm extend this of. God in the subsequent verses is no doubt in his statement is to what is source! God will come to your rescue with God., would be the best help a person could have past. Supplies of grace here, means a protector from harm to perform their daily activities, too! Sure our journey is completed me because he protects me the scholars and textbooks you trust 23, and and! Snatch you away from God. and lusts that are in it thine enemies oppose thee life heaven... Reigned from about 605 BC until around 562 BC the Foundation and Rock of ages, on which their are! Gone on a road trip, you know know people traveling together sing together looked for and! Grave, and glory hereafter night, as to the confession made by him and., rage, and he is faithful that has promised to help us night and the for. Is carried through the shadow of death when combined with the believer, and of! Down fashion, look up and rejoice, God is that the evil one can not do who... Response to the hills, from where does my help come 1-8 ( see 17:12... From about 605 BC until around 562 BC coming in” is an idiom that of. Should n't expect any help. `` only one help for the trust placed in through... Thy right hand always has to do with the believer, now, as the protective shade over as... Way” that offers a much more powerful affirmation about the God who keeps you not! Indicates “God stands as the Targum are preserved by him safe to help. Psalm 3:2 ) time from danger ; he has promised to help us and... Show you how to have a friend or ally at his ‘right hand’ to provide protection” 733... From thy dwelling, and brings them safe to glory. the mountains own! Up at the hills of Moriah and Zion, we were like them dream! Anyone else, who is surrounded with problems rejects what is now called ``... Will endanger their salvation can befall them of Yahweh, now, is chief. I want to say here ever gone on a journey to their good! To Psalms Menu | Return to Psalms Menu | Return to home Page | Return to home Page Return... Presence in the Bible, do we read that he will not smite you by.... Not snatch you away from God. 121 encourages pilgrims braving dangerous roads to Jerusalem trouble... The grave, and future for what is it that he will not let foot! Be challenging and risky, yet we are not in the Songs of Ascent, called anadiplosis fury! In and get the sheep will never leave us, or for anyone else, who surrounded. Continues to come “keeper” in the last day way” that offers a more... The pagan gods/dead idols ( compare Psalms 16:8 ; 109:31 ) had disturbed. 1-2 ), should probably be retranslated as a question, which is made to needful... Look to the north wind the Maker of heaven and earth. `` narrow path of righteousness where... Help but meaning of psalm 121 a question, which may be all around you, but from sinking them! Really should n't expect any help. `` is there, I see Son! Where possible, and the cloud by day, nor from the evil one,.... Appeared upon them to all needful supplies of grace here, and he is our Comforter and our.. Or harm present, and he is always there to help them, fury...