World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Prayer for Deliverance from Slanderers
A Song of Ascents.
In my distress I cry to the Lord,
that he may answer me:
“Deliver me, O Lord,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.”
What shall be given to you?
And what more shall be done to you,
you deceitful tongue?
A warrior’s sharp arrows,
with glowing coals of the broom tree!
Woe is me, that I am an alien in Meshech,
that I must live among the tents of Kedar.
Too long have I had my dwelling
among those who hate peace.
I am for peace;
but when I speak,
they are for war.
Ps 120:1-7. This is the first of fifteen Psalms (Psalms 120-134) entitled "A Song of Degrees" (Ps 121:1—literally, "A song for the degrees"), or ascents. It seems most probable they were designed for the use of the people when going up (compare 1Ki 12:27, 28) to Jerusalem on the festival occasions (De 16:16), three times a year. David appears as the author of four, Solomon of one (Ps 127:1), and the other ten are anonymous, probably composed after the captivity. In this Psalm the writer acknowledges God's mercy, prays for relief from a malicious foe, whose punishment he anticipates, and then repeats his complaint.
2, 3. Slander and deceit charged on his foes implies his innocence.
4. Sharp arrows of the mighty—destructive inflictions.
coals of juniper—which retain heat long. This verse may be read as a description of the wicked, but better as their punishment, in reply to the question of Ps 120:3.
5. A residence in these remote lands pictures his miserable condition.
6, 7. While those who surrounded him were maliciously hostile, he was disposed to peace. This Psalm may well begin such a series as this, as a contrast to the promised joys of God's worship.