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Verses of Psalms 120

Psalms 120 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

The Psalmist begins by recalling his past experience of answered prayer (1): he prays that he may be delivered from the intrigues of unscrupulous enemies and that just retribution may be meted out to them (Psa 120:2-4): and laments that his lot is cast among men who are no better than rude barbarians (Psa 120:5-7).

It is impossible to determine with any certainty the circumstances which called forth the Psalm. Some commentators have thought that the Psalmist speaks on behalf of Israel, and refers to the misrepresentations by which the Samaritans stopped the building of the Temple (Ezr 4:1-6), or to one of the subsequent occasions upon which they sent false accusations to the Persian court to hinder the rebuilding of the walls (Ezr 4:7 ff.), or to the opposition to Nehemiah which was headed by Sanballat and Tobiah (Neh 2:10; Neh 2:19; Neh 4:1; Neh 4:7 ff.; Neh 6:1 ff.). But the hostility from which the Psalmist is suffering seems rather to be of a personal nature; and like the author of Psalms 119 he may have been a godly Israelite who (with those likeminded) was persecuted and calumniated by the godless party in the community. We may compare the thanksgiving of the son of Sirach for his deliverance “from the snare of a slanderous tongue” which had almost proved his ruin ( Sir 51:1 ff.), and Baethgen refers to Psalms 12 of the “Psalms of Solomon,” which closely resembles this Psalm, and, though belonging to a later time, may have sprung out of similar circumstances. Ryle and James suppose that the accuser against whom that Psalm is directed was a Sadducee, who had brought ruin and perhaps death on some prominent Pharisee by laying information against him at the court. A part of the Psalm may be quoted for illustration:

“O Lord, deliver my soul from the lawless and evil man,

From a lawless and whispering tongue, that speaketh false and crafty words with a froward intent.

The words of the evil man’s tongue are like fire in a threshing floor kindling the straw thereof.

He sojourneth (?) among men to set houses aflame with a false tongue,

To hew down trees of gladness … and lawlessly with whispering lips to confound houses with strife.”

Though our Psalm appears primarily to refer to the sufferings of a pious Israelite among unsympathetic and hostile countrymen, it may easily, as a Pilgrim Psalm, have received a national application to the circumstances of Israel in the Dispersion.

On the title, A song of ascents (R.V.), or A song for the goings up, prefixed to this and the next fourteen Psalms, see Introd. p. xxviii. They are probably taken from a collection of the songs sung by pilgrims as they went up to the Feasts at Jerusalem.

Verses of Psalms 120

Consult other comments:

Psalms 120:0 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Psalms 120:0 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Psalms 120:0 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Psalms 120:0 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Psalms 120:0 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Psalms 120:0 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 120:0 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Psalms 120:0 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Psalms 120:0 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges