Psalms 122

1I was glad because
Heb “in the ones saying to me.” After the verb שָׂמַח (samakh), the preposition בְּ (bet) usually introduces the reason for joy.
they said to me,
“We will go to the Lord’s temple.”
2 Our feet are
Or “were.”
inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is a city designed
to accommodate an assembly.
Heb “Jerusalem, which is built like a city which is joined to her together.” The meaning of the Hebrew text is unclear. Many regard this as a description of the compact way in which the city was designed or constructed. The translation assumes an emendation of the verb חֻבְּרָה (khubberah, “is joined”) to a noun חֶבְרָה (khevrah, “association; company”). The text then reads literally, “Jerusalem, which is built like a city which has a company together.” This in turn can be taken as a reference to Jerusalem’s role as a city where people congregated for religious festivals and other civic occasions (see vv. 4–5).

4 The tribes go up
Or “went up.”
Heb “which is where the tribes go up.”

the tribes of the Lord,
where it is required that Israel
give thanks to the name of the Lord.
Heb “[it is] a statute for Israel to give thanks to the name of the Lord.”

5 Indeed,
Or “for.”
the leaders sit
Or “sat.”
there on thrones and make legal decisions,
on the thrones of the house of David.
Heb “Indeed, there they sit [on] thrones for judgment, [on] thrones [belonging] to the house of David.”

6 Pray
Heb “ask [for].”
for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love her prosper!
Or “be secure.”

7 May there be peace inside your defenses,
and prosperity
or “security.”
inside your fortresses!
The psalmist uses second feminine singular pronominal forms to address personified Jerusalem.

8 For the sake of my brothers and my neighbors
I will say, “May there be peace in you!”
For the sake of the temple of the Lord our God
I will pray for you to prosper.
Heb “I will seek good for you.” The psalmist will seek Jerusalem’s “good” through prayer.

Psalm 123

Psalm 123. The psalmist, speaking for God’s people, acknowledges his dependence on God in the midst of a crisis.

A song of ascents.

The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120–134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101–150 (WBC), 219-21.
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