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122. Psalm 122

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.

2Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.

3Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:

4Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.

5For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.

6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

7Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.

8For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.

9Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.

3. Jerusalem is built as a city. Here David begins to celebrate the praises of Jerusalem; and he does this with the design of encouraging the people to persevere with uniform steadfastness in their obedience. It was of great importance for the minds of the godly, instead of being drawn hither and thither, to be kept constantly fixed on that city, which was the bond of a holy unity. When the people came to be divided into two bodies, that was the commencement of melancholy devastation. It is not surprising, then, to find David commending with such earnestness the place which God had chosen, knowing, as he did, that the prosperity of the Church depended upon the children of Abraham worshipping God there in purity, according to the appointed observances of the law; and next, upon their acknowledging the royal seat which the same God had erected there by his own authority, and had taken under his own protection When it is said that Jerusalem is built as a city, it is not to be understood as referring only to the walls, or towers, or ditches of that city, but chiefly to the good order and holy polity by which it was distinguished, although I allow that there is some allusion to its ancient state. Salem, indeed, had been a noted town even from the beginning; but when God selected it to be the head of the kingdom, it changed its appearance, and in a manner its nature, so that then it began to deserve the name of a well-regulated city. At first sight it may seem a poor commendation to call Jerusalem a city; but it is to be observed that it is here exhibited as it were standing alone in the whole world — taking the precedence of all other cities, which will in vain attempt to equal it. David, certainly, in thus speaking, does not intend to divest other cities of the rank to which they may be entitled, but he raises Jerusalem higher, that it may appear conspicuous above them all, even as we find Isaiah, (Isaiah 2:2,) when speaking of mount Zion, asserting that it “shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills.” In that passage the Prophet, to magnify this little hill, brings down the loftiest mountains of the world, that they may not obscure its glory. In like manner David here affirms that Jerusalem is compacted as a city, to induce the faithful, instead of gazing in all directions around them, to rest contented with the city which God had chosen, since they would nowhere find its equal. After having humbled all other cities, he shows, in a few words, the excellence of Jerusalem, representing it as regularly built, or fitly and neatly joined together in all its parts. Some take these words as expressing literally and without figure, that its citizens live together in peace and unity; but I see no impropriety in supposing that they describe, metaphorically, the peaceable state of a city. Thus the mutual concord which reigns among the citizens of a city, and by which they are united to each other, is compared to buildings, compacted together by a skillful and elegant workmanship, so that there is nothing imperfect, in joined together, or rent, but throughout a beautiful harmony’. By this David teaches us, that the Church can only remain in a state of safety when unanimity prevails in her, and when, being joined together by faith and charity, she cultivates a holy unity.


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