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120. Psalm 120

1In my distress I cried unto Jehovah,

And he answered me.

2Deliver my soul, O Jehovah, from lying lips,

And from a deceitful tongue.

3What shall be given unto thee, and what shall be done more unto thee,

Thou deceitful tongue?

4 aSharp arrows of the mighty,

With coals of ajuniper.

5Woe is me, that I sojourn in Meshech,

That I dwell among the tents of Kedar!

6My soul hath long had her dwelling

With him that hateth peace.

7I am for peace:

But when I speak, they are for war.

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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.

tongue—as in Ps 52:2, 4.

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.