Psalms 125

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion;
it cannot be upended and will endure forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
now and forevermore.
Indeed,
Or “for.”
the scepter of a wicked king
Heb “a scepter of wickedness.” The “scepter” symbolizes royal authority; when collocated with “wickedness” the phrase refers to an oppressive foreign conqueror.
will not settle
Or “rest.”

upon the allotted land of the godly.
Otherwise the godly might
do what is wrong.
Heb “so that the godly might not stretch out their hands in wrongdoing.” A wicked king who sets a sinful example can have an adverse moral and ethical effect on the people he rules.

Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
to the morally upright!
Heb “pure of heart.” The “heart” is here viewed as the seat of one’s moral character and motives. The “pure of heart” are God’s faithful followers who trust in and love the Lord and, as a result, experience his deliverance (see Pss 7:10; 11:2; 32:11; 36:10; 64:10; 94:15; 97:11).

As for those who are bent on traveling a sinful path,
Heb “and the ones making their paths twisted.” A sinful lifestyle is compared to a twisting, winding road.

may the Lord remove them,
Heb “lead them away.” The prefixed verbal form is understood as a jussive of prayer here (note the prayers directly before and after this). Another option is to translate, “the Lord will remove them” (cf. NIV, NRSV).
along with those who behave wickedly!
Heb “the workers of wickedness.”

May Israel experience peace!
Heb “peace [be] upon Israel.” The statement is understood as a prayer (see Ps 122:8 for a similar prayer for peace).

Psalm 126

Psalm 126. Recalling the joy of past deliverance, God’s covenant community asks for a fresh display of God’s power and confidently anticipate their sorrow being transformed into joy.

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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