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359

PSALM CXXXIV.

1 Behold, bless Jehovah, all ye servants of Jehovah,

Who stand in the house of Jehovah in the night seasons.

2 Lift up your hands to the sanctuary,

And bless Jehovah.

3 Jehovah bless thee out of Zion,

The Maker of heaven and earth!

This fragment of song closes the pilgrim psalms after the manner of a blessing. It is evidently antiphonal, vv. 1, 2, being a greeting, the givers of which are answered in ver. 3 by a corresponding salutation from the receivers. Who are the parties to the little dialogue is doubtful. Some have thought of two companies of priestly watchers meeting as they went their rounds in the Temple; others, more probably, take vv. 1, 2, to be addressed by the congregation to the priests, who had charge of the nightly service in the Temple, while ver. 3 is the response of the latter, addressed to the speakers of vv. 1, 2. 1 Chron. ix. 33 informs us that there was such a nightly service, of the nature of which, however, nothing is known. The designation "servants of Jehovah" here denotes not the people, but the priests, for whose official ministrations "stand" is a common term. They are exhorted to fill the night with prayer as well as watchfulness, and to let their hearts go up in blessing to Jehovah. The voice of praise should echo360 through the silent night and float over the sleeping city. The congregation is about to leave the crowded courts at the close of a day of worship, and now gives this parting salutation and charge to those who remain.

The answer in ver. 3 is addressed to each individual of the congregation—"Jehovah bless thee!" and it invokes on each a share in the blessing which, according to the preceding psalm, "Jehovah has commanded" in Zion. The watchers who remain in the sanctuary do not monopolise its blessings. These stream out by night, as by day, to all true hearts; and they are guaranteed by the creative omnipotence of Jehovah, the thought of which recurs so often in these pilgrim psalms, and may be due to the revulsion from idolatry consequent on the Captivity and Restoration.

With this sweet interchange of greeting and exhortation to continual worship, this group of psalms joyously ends.

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