Psalms 133

PSALM CXXXIII

The comfort and benefit of the communion of saints, 1-3.

NOTES ON PSALM CXXXIII

There are different opinions concerning this Psalm; the most

probable is, that it represents the priests and Levites returned

from captivity, and united in the service of God in the sanctuary.

This, the preceding, and the following, appear to make one

subject. In the one hundred and thirty-second, the Lord is

entreated to enter his temple, and pour out his benediction; in

the one hundred and thirty-third, the beautiful order and harmony

of the temple service is pointed out, and in the one hundred and

thirty-fourth, all are exhorted to diligence and watchfulness in

the performance of their duty. It is attributed to David by the

Hebrew, the Syriac, and the Vulgate; but no name is prefixed in

the Septuagint, AEthiopic, Arabic, and Anglo-Saxon.

Verse 1. Behold, how good and how pleasant] Unity is, according

to this scripture, a good thing and a pleasant; and especially

among brethren-members of the same family, of the same Christian

community, and of the same nation. And why not among the great

family of mankind? On the other hand, disunion is bad and hateful.

The former is from heaven; the latter, from hell.

Verse 2. Like the precious ointment] The composition of this

holy anointing oil may be seen, Ex 30:23;

sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia lignea, and olive oil. The

odour of this must have been very agreeable, and serves here as a

metaphor to point out the exquisite excellence of brotherly love.

Ran down upon the beard] The oil was poured upon the head of

Aaron so profusely as to run down upon his garments. It is

customary in the east to pour out the oil on the head so profusely

as to reach every limb.

Verse 3. As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended

upon the mountains of Zion] This was not Mount Zion, tsiyon,

in Jerusalem, but Sion, which is a part of Hermon, see

De 4:48: "Mount Sion, which is Hermon." On this mountain the

dew is very copious. Mr. Maundrell says that "with this dew, even

in dry weather, their tents were as wet as if it had rained the

whole night." This seems to show the strength of the comparison.

For there] Where this unity is.

The Lord commanded the blessing] That is, an everlasting life.

There he pours out his blessings, and gives a long and happy life.

For other particulars, see the commentators passim, and the

following analysis.

ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THIRD PSALM

In this Psalm the blessings of peace and unity are recommended

and described, whether in the Church, family, or kingdom.

I. It is, says the prophet, a good and pleasant thing, &c.,

Ps 133:1.

II. He declares both by similitudes.

1. The pleasantness, by the ointment with which the high priest

was anointed.

2. The goodness, by the dew which fell upon the mountains.

3. But in plainer terms, by the blessing of God upon the head of

the peaceful.

1. The prophet begins with an encomium of peace, unity, and

concord.

1. "Behold." Take notice of it in its effects.

2. "How good and pleasant," &c. He admires, but cannot express

it.

3. The encomium itself is expressed by two epithets: 1. It is

good, and brings much profit. 2. It is pleasant, and brings much

content with it.

4. The concord itself is thus expressed: Brethren, either in a

Church, family, or kingdom, should be of one soul, and intent on

the common good.

II. The pleasantness is compared to "the precious ointment upon

the head."

1. All benefit from this concord; princes, nobles, and people.

The head, beard, and skirts.

2. It sends forth a sweet and reviving savour.

3. It is as balsam poured into wounds.

The profit he compares to the dews: "As the dew of Hermon," &c.,

gently descending, and fructifying and enriching the ground.

And this he sets down without any metaphor: "For there the Lord

commanded the blessing," &c.; which approbation he manifests by

the abundance he pours where concord and unity are found.

1. He commands his blessing. Makes all creatures useful to them.

2. His blessing is prosperity, good success. To bless is to

benefit.

3. This he calls life; for with troubles, griefs, &c., a man's

life is no life. A quiet life those shall have who live in peace,

without dissensions respecting religion or in matters connected

with the state.

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