*LORD, Give Me *Peace

Psalm 120

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 120


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the *Hebrew Bible.

The notes explain some of the words with a *star by them. A word list at the end explains all the words that have a *star by them.

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Jesus said, "My *peace I give to you" (John 14:27).

Psalm 120

  (This is) a song for climbing.

v1   I cried to the *LORD in my trouble
  and he answered me.

v2   *LORD, save me from lips that tell *lies.
  And save me from a false *tongue.

v3   What will he do to you
  and what else will happen to you, you false *tongue?

v4   The sharp *arrows of a soldier (will hurt you),
  like wood that is burning.

v5   It is bad for me to live in Mesech,
  with a home among the *tents of Kedar.

v6   I have lived too long with the people that hate *peace.

v7   I want *peace, but when I say this they want war.

The Story of Psalms 120 Ė 134

These 15 psalms are called "Songs of Ascent" in many Bibles. "Ascent" means "going up". We have translated it "climbing". But what are we climbing? Students of the Bible give us 4 answers:

1.  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.

2.  There were 15 steps from where the women stood to where the men stood outside the *temple. The *temple was Godís house in Jerusalem. As the men climbed the steps, they sang one psalm on each step. This is why most of these psalms are short.

3.  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 that he is *wonderful. And tell him that you love him". The *Jews sang these psalms for climbing as they went up the hills to Jerusalem.

4.  Hezekiah was a king of the *Jews. He was so ill that he would soon die. He asked God 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 for another 15 years. Hezekiah made a book of 15 psalms, 10 of them new, the other 5 by David and Solomon. The story of Hezekiahís illness is in Isaiah chapter 38.

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

Who wrote the psalms for climbing? Some are by David, and one or two are by Solomon. Solomon was Davidís 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.

What Psalm 120 means

The *LORD has given help to the *psalmist (verse 1), so he prays for help again (verse 2). The *psalmist wrote the psalm. Lies are words that are not true. A false *tongue tells lies. The *tongue is the part of our mouth that talks. And it tastes things. Verse 4 tells us that God will *punish (or hurt because they did wrong) some people. They are the people that live near the *psalmist. Arrows are sharp sticks that a bow shoots. Mesech and Kedar were places where bad people lived. A tent is a small house that people make out of animal skins. People could move it easily. The *psalmist wanted to live in *peace. *Peace is when there is no war. But the people of Mesech and Kedar wanted war!

The word *LORD is a special Bible word. It is one of Godís 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.

Something to do

1.  Some people want *peace. But they have to live in places where most people want war. Pray for those people.

2.  Pray for the *peace that Jesus gives. You can have this *peace even in war!

Word List

arrows ~ sharp sticks that a bow shoots.

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look in Psalm 120 about the covenant.

Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

lies ~ words that are not true.

LORD ~ the *covenant name for God; a *covenant is something that people agree to do.

peace ~ when there is no war; *peace with God is when Jesus gives us "his *peace".

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

punish ~ hurt someone because they have not obeyed the rules.

temple ~ a place where people meet to *worship God.

tents ~ small houses that people made from animal skins; people move their tents from place to place.

tongue ~ the part of our mouth that speaks and tastes things.

wonderful ~ great things or great people that surprise you.

worship ~ you tell someone that they are very great. And you tell them that you love them.


© 1997-2004, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

January 2004

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