A song of ascents, of David
“If it had not been Yahweh
Who was on our side,
Let Israel now say.
If it had not been Yahweh
Who was on our side,
When our enemies attacked us,
Then they would have swallowed us up alive.
Their anger was kindled against us.
Then the flood would have swept us away,
The torrent would have gone over us.
Then over us would have gone
The raging waters.”
Psalm 124 is another short song or psalm of thanksgiving on the pilgrimage ascending to Jerusalem, like the others in this series. Notice the repetition of the opening verses that made it easier to remember while moving on pilgrimage. If Yahweh was not on their side, they would have been swallowed up alive. Their enemies or the flood waters would have destroyed them. They were blessed that Yahweh was on their side of the battle against man and nature.
A song of ascents
“To you I lift up my eyes.
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
As the eyes of servants
Look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid
Look to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to Yahweh our God,
Until he has mercy upon us.”
Psalm 123 is another very short psalm, or song, sung on the ascending way to Jerusalem in a pilgrimage. However, the tone is more somber as there is a cry for help against enemies. Both the male and female servants look to Yahweh to help them. They lift up their eyes to the heavens, like servants looking to the hands of their masters. Their eyes cry for mercy towards Yahweh, their God.
“Remember your word to your servant!
You have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my distress.
Your promise gives me life.
The arrogant utterly deride me.
But I do not turn away from your law.
When I think of your ordinances from of old,
I take comfort.
Hot indignation seizes me
Because of the wicked.
They forsake your law.
Your statutes have been my songs,
Wherever I make my home.
I remember your name in the night.
I keep your law.
This blessing has fallen to me.
I have kept your precepts.”
This psalmist wanted Yahweh to remember what he promised. His promises gave hope to him when he was in distress. Even though arrogant people made fun of him, he did not turn away from the laws of Yahweh. He was comforted by remembering the ordinances of Yahweh. He really was mad about those who had not followed Yahweh’s precepts. This psalmist was putting the commandments of Yahweh to song. He remembered them when he lay in bed at night. He considered the precepts of the law to be a blessing. So ends this section on the seventh consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Zain.
A song, a psalm of David
“My heart is steadfast!
My heart is steadfast!
I will sing!
I will make melody!
O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you
Among the peoples!
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
Your steadfast love is higher than the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”
Psalm 108 seems to be compilation of 2 other psalms, Psalm 57 and Psalm 60. The title is simply a song or psalm of David. This first section is almost word for word from Psalm 57. David was steadfast in his love, just as God had shown his steadfast love to him. He was ready to sing and make melody on the harp and lyre. He wanted his soul to wake up. He was going to wake the morning dawn. He was going to give thanks to Yahweh among all the people. He would sing his praises among the nations because God’s love was as high as the heavens. His faithfulness extended beyond the clouds. David loved Yahweh as Yahweh loved David.
“Yahweh is the ruler king.
He is robed in majesty.
Yahweh is robed.
He is girded with strength.
He has established the world.
It shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old.
You are from everlasting.”
Psalm 93 is a very short psalm with no title as it praises God the King. This psalm is closely related to Psalm 47, as this is part of a few psalms where Yahweh is the ruler. This might have been a song sung on the vigil of the Sabbath. Yahweh is the ruler king robed in majesty. He has the strength that established the whole unmovable world. His throne was and is established forever.
God is known.
His name is great
His abode has been established
His dwelling place is
There he broke
The flashing arrows,
And the weapons of war.”
Psalm 76 is another in the string of Asaph choral psalms. This one is a song with stringed instruments about the ultimate victory of God in Judah and Jerusalem. God was known in Judah, the southern stronghold. His name was great in northern Israel. His home was in Jerusalem or Salem, the ancient name of Jerusalem. He dwelt in Zion, the Temple on Mount Zion. There he broke all the instruments of war of the people who were attacking Jerusalem. He broke the arrows, shields, and swords. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.
To the choirmaster leader, a song, a psalm
”Make a joyful noise to God!
All the earth!
Sing the glory of his name!
Give glorious praise to him!
Say to God.
‘How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power
Your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you.
They sing praises to you.
They sing praises to your name.’”
Psalm 66 is a public worship thanksgiving song and psalm with a choral leader. It has a strong communitarian rather than individualistic tone. In fact, it is almost cosmic with all the earth asked to chime in with a joyful noise to God. They were to sing glory to his name. God’s deeds were awesome. He had such great power that his enemies would cringe. The whole earth worshipped God. They sang praises to him and his name. This section concludes with a musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.