They go the Mount of Olives (Mt 26:30-26:30)

“When they had sung

The hymns,

They went out

To the Mount of Olives.”

 

Καὶ ὑμνήσαντες ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν.

 

This is exactly word for word in Mark, chapter 14:26, and similar in Luke, chapter 22:39.  Both Matthew and Mark agree that after they had sung the praise hymns (Καὶ ὑμνήσαντες), they went out to the hill or the Mount of Olives (ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν).  The hymns that they would have sung would be the Hallel Psalms 115-118, that were usually associated with the Passover service.  The Mount of Olives was about 2 miles east of the old city of Jerusalem, where many people had been buried for thousands of years.  Thus, when Jesus and his 12 disciples had finished with their Passover hymn singing of the Hallel psalms, they went outside the city about 2 miles to this graveyard where there was a hill with a lot of olive trees on it.

Bows and arrows (Hab 3:9-3:9)

“You brandished

Your naked bow!

Overflowing arrows

Were at your command.”

Selah

This hymn of Habakkuk talked about a bow ready to shoot many arrows, since there were more than enough arrows for this empty bow.  Then we have the psalmist pause for mediation with Selah, reminding us that this was a chant or hymn being sung.

The victory chant (Isa 26:1-26:6)

“On that day,

This song will be sung

In the land of Judah.

‘We have a strong city.

He sets up victory,

Like walls,

Like bulwarks.

Open the gates!

Thus the righteous nation

That keeps faith

May enter in.

You keep them in peace

Those of a steadfast mind.

You keep them in peace

Because they trust you.

Trust in Yahweh forever!

Trust in Yahweh God!

You have an everlasting rock.

He has brought low

The inhabitants of the heights.

He lays low the lofty city.

He lays it low to the ground.

He casts it to dust.

The foot tramples it.

The feet of the poor

Trample it.

The steps of the needy

Trample it.’”

Isaiah presents this victory song or chant that may have used in processions into Jerusalem, since this text says that it should be sung in Judah. There is an emphasis on a strong city like Jerusalem because of its protective walls. In typical fashion, the high people are brought low. The gates are open so that everyone in the righteous nation might enter. They have peace because they trusted the Lord, Yahweh, who is their eternal rock. However, the lofty city was laid low. He has crushed the mighty into the ground so that they are like dust. Now all can trample on them. Both the needy and the poor trample away.

Yahweh is the source of all (Ps 127:1-127:2)

A song of ascents, of Solomon

“Unless Yahweh builds the house,

Those who build it

Labor in vain.

Unless Yahweh guards the city,

The guard keeps watch in vain.

It is in vain

That you rise up early.

It is in vain

That you go late to rest.

It is in vain

To eat the bread of anxious toil.

He gives sleep to his beloved.”

Psalm 127 is another of these short pilgrimage songs or psalms sung on the way ascending to Jerusalem. However, this one has the name of Solomon since there is a little wisdom saying embedded here about God’s providence. Unless Yahweh builds the house, your work is in vain. Unless Yahweh guards your city, it is in vain to have guards watch it. You should not be anxious for your daily bread. It is in vain to rise up early to work or stay up late at night to work. Yahweh gives sleep to his beloved ones. Do not be anxious for Yahweh is the source of all things.

The servant prayer (Ps 123:1-123:2)

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.

Sing a new song to Yahweh (Ps 96:1-96:6)

“O sing to Yahweh!

Sing a new song!

Sing to Yahweh,

All the earth!

Sing to Yahweh!

Bless his name!

Tell of his salvation

From day to day!

Declare his glory

Among the nations!

Declare his marvelous works

Among all the peoples!

Yahweh is great!

He is greatly to be praised!

He is to be revered above all gods.

All the gods of the peoples are idols.

But Yahweh made the heavens.

Honor and majesty are before him.

Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.”

Once again, this Psalm 96 is a worship Temple psalm without any title. This psalmist calls for a new song to be sung to Yahweh. All the earth should sing to Yahweh. His name should be blessed. His salvation should be made known daily. His glory and marvels should be known among all peoples and nations. Yahweh is great. Thus he is revered over all the other idol gods. Yahweh made the heavens so that honor and majesty are due him. His strength and beauty can be seen in his sanctuary.

Yahweh rules (Ps 93:1-93:2)

“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.

A cry for help in the flood (Ps 69:1-69:3)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Lilies, a psalm of David

“Save me!

O God!

The waters have come up to my neck.

I sink in deep mire.

There is no foothold.

I have come into deep waters.

The flood sweeps over me.

I am weary with my crying.

My throat is parched.

My eyes grow dim

With waiting for my God.”

Psalm 69 is another choral lament about being delivered from enemies. It is called a psalm of David that is sung to the melody of “Lilies” like Psalm 45. David wants to be saved because the water of the flood is up to his neck. He is mired in mud with nothing to stand on. The floods keep sweeping over him. He is weary from crying since he has a parched throat. His eyes are growing dim as he waits for God.

God is with us (Ps 46:1-46:3)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of the Korahites, according to Alamoth, a song

“God is our refuge.

God is our strength.

He is a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear!

Even though the earth should change.

Even though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.

Even though its waters roar and foam.

Even though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”

Selah

Psalm 46 is another of the psalms or songs of the sons of Korah. However, this is a victory song that inspired Martin Luther to write his famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.” In fact, it is a hymn of Mount Zion that was to be sung by an Alamoth, who was a soprano or female voice. God was their refuge and strength. He was present during any time of trouble. Therefore they would not fear. Even though great changes on the earth were taking place, they would not be afraid. There was a mention of the underwater earthquakes, tsunamis, or above ground earthquakes, when God would be there. At this thought there is a musical interlude or pause, a Selah.

A penitential psalm to Yahweh (Ps 6:1-6:3)

“To the choirmaster leader with stringed instruments, according to the Sheminith, a psalm of David.

Yahweh!

Do not rebuke me in your anger!

Do not discipline me in your wrath!

Be gracious to me!

Yahweh!

I am languishing.

Yahweh!

Heal me!

My bones are shaking with terror.

My soul also is struck with terror.

But you Yahweh!

How long will this last?”

This Psalm 6 is a psalm for healing or a penitential psalm. Once again, there is a note to the choirmaster or leader about stringed instruments. It also is a psalm of David without any particular designation of any event in his life. However, there is this note about Sheminith, the Hebrew word for 8th so that it may mean this psalm should be sung in an 8th key or octave, perhaps the lowest male note. This would fit with the concept of this penitential lament. This is addressed to Yahweh directly. David did not want to be rebuked or disciplined by Yahweh because he was angry. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him. Both his body and soul were struck with terror. He wanted to know how long this was going to last.