Praise the name of Yahweh!
O servants of Yahweh!
You stand in the house of Yahweh!
You stand in the courts of the house of our God!
Yahweh is good!
Sing to his name!
He is gracious!
Yahweh has chosen Jacob for himself.
Israel is his own possession.”
Psalm 135 does not have a title as this hymn praises God for his mighty deeds. This psalm begins with a “praise Yahweh” that is equivalent to an “alleluia,” the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” The psalmist wanted all the servants of Yahweh to praise his name. They were standing in the house of Yahweh, in the courtyards. They were to praise Yahweh and sing to his name. After all, Yahweh was gracious. He had chosen Jacob and made Israel his possession.
“The righteous flourish
Like the palm tree.
The righteous grow
Like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted
In the house of Yahweh.
In the courts of our God.
They still produce fruit
In old age.
They are always green.
They are full of sap.
They show that
Yahweh is upright.
He is my rock.
There is no unrighteousness in him.”
This psalm ends with the righteous flourishing. The upstanding people flourish like palm trees or like the cedars in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of Yahweh. They flourish in God’s courtyards. Even in old age, they still produce fruit as they are green and full of sap. The growth of all these plants and trees shows the uprightness of Yahweh since there is no unrighteousness in him. Thus the faithful ones are like giant growing trees.
“Then Judas and his brothers said.
‘Behold, our enemies are crushed.
Let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary
Let us go up to dedicate the sanctuary.’
All the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion. There they saw the sanctuary desolate. The altar was profaned. The gates were burned. In the courts they saw bushes springing up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. Then they tore their clothes. They mourned with great lamentation. They sprinkled themselves with ashes. They fell face down on the ground. When the signal was given with the trumpets, they cried out to heaven.”
Judas Maccabeus with his brothers decided that since they had defeated their enemies, they would cleanse the Jerusalem sanctuary. Thus the whole army when to Mount Zion, Jerusalem. There they saw the sorry state of affairs. The altar was profaned. The gates were burned. The courtyards were full of thick bushes. The priestly chambers were ruined. Therefore, they did what any good man would do. They tore their clothes as a sign of mourning and upset. To get the mood right, they sprinkled ashes on themselves and fell to the ground. When the trumpets sounded they prayed to God in heaven.