Psalm 120

120:0Psalms 120-134 are called ‘Songs of Ascent’ in many Bibles. ‘Ascent’ means ‘going up.’ This translation calls it ‘climbing.’ But what are we climbing? Bible students give us 4 answers:

– One line in the psalm ‘climbs’ on the line in front of it. This means that it repeats the line. Read the start of Psalm 124 for an example.

– There were 15 steps from where the women stood to where the men stood outside the temple. The temple was God's house in Jerusalem. As the men climbed the steps, they sang one psalm on each step. This is why most of the psalms for climbing are short.

– Jerusalem was on the top of a hill called ‘Zion.’ The Jews often went to Jerusalem to worship God at the temple. ‘Worship’ means ‘Tell God how wonderful that he is. And tell him that you love him.’ The Jews sang these psalms for climbing as they went up to Jerusalem.

– Hezekiah was a king of the Jews. He was so ill that he thought he would soon die. He prayed for a longer life. God made the clock ‘climb’ back 10 degrees. This was about an hour. It was a sign that Hezekiah would live another 15 years. Hezekiah made a book of 15 psalms, 10 of them new, the other 5 by David and Solomon. The story is in Isaiah chapter 38.

We do not know which of these is the true answer. It may be something else! Perhaps answers 3 and 4 are the true answers.

Who wrote the psalms for climbing? Some are by David, and one or two are by Solomon. Solomon was David's son. The other psalms for climbing may be by Hezekiah or one of his friends like Isaiah; or by Ezra or Nehemiah. Ezra and Nehemiah were leaders of the Jews 500 years after Solomon built the temple, or 250 years after Hezekiah was king. This was when the Jews made the Book of Psalms. The psalms for climbing were part of this Book of Psalms.

LORD, Give Me Peace

This is a song for climbing.

1 I cried to the LORD in my trouble

and he answered me.

2 LORD, save me from lips that tell lies.

And save me from a false tongue.

120:2The word LORD is a special Bible word. It is one of God's many names. It is his covenant name. A covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here, God agreed to love his people and to send them help. His people agreed to love and obey God. LORD is ‘Yahweh’ in Hebrew. Hebrew is the language that the psalmist spoke. There is another word ‘Lord.’ This means ‘master’ or ‘someone with authority.’ Often it is a name for God, but not in this psalm.

3 What will he do to you

and what else will happen to you, you false tongue?

4 The sharp arrows of a soldier will hurt you,

like wood that is burning.

5 It is bad for me to live in Mesech,

with a home among the tents of Kedar.

6 I have lived too long with the people that hate peace.

7 I want peace, but when I say this they want war.