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Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible - Old Testament

Psalm 122 (Chapter CXXII Study)

 

Psalms Exposition: Index | Introduction to the book of Psalms | Psalms 1 | Psalms 2 | Psalms 3 | Psalms 4 | Psalms 5 | Psalms 6 | Psalms 7 | Psalms 8 | Psalms 9 | Psalms 10 | Psalms 11 | Psalms 12 | Psalms 13 | Psalms 14 | Psalms 15 | Psalms 16 | Psalms 17 | Psalms 18 | Psalms 19 | Psalms 20 | Psalms 21 | Psalms 22 | Psalms 23 | Psalms 24 | Psalms 25 | Psalms 26 | Psalms 27 | Psalms 28 | Psalms 29 | Psalms 30 | Psalms 31 | Psalms 32 | Psalms 33 | Psalms 34 | Psalms 35 | Psalms 36 | Psalms 37 | Psalms 38 | Psalms 39 | Psalms 40 | Psalms 41 | Psalms 42 | Psalms 43 | Psalms 44 | Psalms 45 | Psalms 46 | Psalms 47 | Psalms 48 | Psalms 49 | Psalms 50 | Psalms 51 | Psalms 52 | Psalms 53 | Psalms 54 | Psalms 55 | Psalms 56 | Psalms 57 | Psalms 58 | Psalms 59 | Psalms 60 | Psalms 61 | Psalms 62 | Psalms 63 | Psalms 64 | Psalms 65 | Psalms 66 | Psalms 67 | Psalms 68 | Psalms 69 | Psalms 70 | Psalms 71 | Psalms 72 | Psalms 73 | Psalms 74 | Psalms 75 | Psalms 76 | Psalms 77 | Psalms 78 | Psalms 79 | Psalms 80 | Psalms 81 | Psalms 82 | Psalms 83 | Psalms 84 | Psalms 85 | Psalms 86 | Psalms 87 | Psalms 88 | Psalms 89 | Psalms 90 | Psalms 91 | Psalms 92 | Psalms 93 | Psalms 94 | Psalms 95 | Psalms 96 | Psalms 97 | Psalms 98 | Psalms 99 | Psalms 100 | Psalms 101 | Psalms 102 | Psalms 103 | Psalms 104 | Psalms 105 | Psalms 106 | Psalms 107 | Psalms 108 | Psalms 109 | Psalms 110 | Psalms 111 | Psalms 112 | Psalms 113 | Psalms 114 | Psalms 115 | Psalms 116 | Psalms 117 | Psalms 118 | Psalms 119 | Psalms 120 | Psalms 121 | Psalms 122 | Psalms 123 | Psalms 124 | Psalms 125 | Psalms 126 | Psalms 127 | Psalms 128 | Psalms 129 | Psalms 130 | Psalms 131 | Psalms 132 | Psalms 133 | Psalms 134 | Psalms 135 | Psalms 136 | Psalms 137 | Psalms 138 | Psalms 139 | Psalms 140 | Psalms 141 | Psalms 142 | Psalms 143 | Psalms 144 | Psalms 145 | Psalms 146 | Psalms 147 | Psalms 148 | Psalms 149 | Psalms 150

Psalms full text: Psalms 1 | Psalms 2 | Psalms 3 | Psalms 4 | Psalms 5 | Psalms 6 | Psalms 7 | Psalms 8 | Psalms 9 | Psalms 10 | Psalms 11 | Psalms 12 | Psalms 13 | Psalms 14 | Psalms 15 | Psalms 16 | Psalms 17 | Psalms 18 | Psalms 19 | Psalms 20 | Psalms 21 | Psalms 22 | Psalms 23 | Psalms 24 | Psalms 25 | Psalms 26 | Psalms 27 | Psalms 28 | Psalms 29 | Psalms 30 | Psalms 31 | Psalms 32 | Psalms 33 | Psalms 34 | Psalms 35 | Psalms 36 | Psalms 37 | Psalms 38 | Psalms 39 | Psalms 40 | Psalms 41 | Psalms 42 | Psalms 43 | Psalms 44 | Psalms 45 | Psalms 46 | Psalms 47 | Psalms 48 | Psalms 49 | Psalms 50 | Psalms 51 | Psalms 52 | Psalms 53 | Psalms 54 | Psalms 55 | Psalms 56 | Psalms 57 | Psalms 58 | Psalms 59 | Psalms 60 | Psalms 61 | Psalms 62 | Psalms 63 | Psalms 64 | Psalms 65 | Psalms 66 | Psalms 67 | Psalms 68 | Psalms 69 | Psalms 70 | Psalms 71 | Psalms 72 | Psalms 73 | Psalms 74 | Psalms 75 | Psalms 76 | Psalms 77 | Psalms 78 | Psalms 79 | Psalms 80 | Psalms 81 | Psalms 82 | Psalms 83 | Psalms 84 | Psalms 85 | Psalms 86 | Psalms 87 | Psalms 88 | Psalms 89 | Psalms 90 | Psalms 91 | Psalms 92 | Psalms 93 | Psalms 94 | Psalms 95 | Psalms 96 | Psalms 97 | Psalms 98 | Psalms 99 | Psalms 100 | Psalms 101 | Psalms 102 | Psalms 103 | Psalms 104 | Psalms 105 | Psalms 106 | Psalms 107 | Psalms 108 | Psalms 109 | Psalms 110 | Psalms 111 | Psalms 112 | Psalms 113 | Psalms 114 | Psalms 115 | Psalms 116 | Psalms 117 | Psalms 118 | Psalms 119 | Psalms 120 | Psalms 121 | Psalms 122 | Psalms 123 | Psalms 124 | Psalms 125 | Psalms 126 | Psalms 127 | Psalms 128 | Psalms 129 | Psalms 130 | Psalms 131 | Psalms 132 | Psalms 133 | Psalms 134 | Psalms 135 | Psalms 136 | Psalms 137 | Psalms 138 | Psalms 139 | Psalms 140 | Psalms 141 | Psalms 142 | Psalms 143 | Psalms 144 | Psalms 145 | Psalms 146 | Psalms 147 | Psalms 148 | Psalms 149 | Psalms 150 | Psalms 151

This psalm seems to have been penned by David for the use of the people of Israel, when they came up to Jerusalem to worship at the three solemn feasts. It was in David's time that Jerusalem was first chosen to be the city where God would record his name. It being a new thing, this, among other means, was used to bring the people to be in love with Jerusalem, as the holy city, though it was but the other day in the hands of the Jebusites. Observe, I. The joy with which they were to go up to Jerusalem, ver. 1, 2. II. The great esteem they were to have of Jerusalem, ver. 3-5. III. The great concern they were to have for Jerusalem, and the prayers they were to put up for its welfare, ver. 6-9. In singing this psalm we must have an eye to the gospel church, which is called the "Jerusalem that is from above."

The Pleasures of Public Worship.

A song of degrees of David.

1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.   2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.   3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:   4 Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.   5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.

Here we have,

I. The pleasure which David and other pious Israelites took in approaching to and attending upon God in public ordinances, v. 1, 2.

1. The invitation to them was very welcome. David was himself glad, and would have every Israelite to say that he was glad, when he was called upon to go up to the house of the Lord. Note, (1.) It is the will of God that we should worship him in concert, that many should join together to wait upon him in public ordinances. We ought to worship God in our own houses, but that is not enough; we must go into the house of the Lord, to pay our homage to him there, and not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (2.) We should not only agree with one another, but excite and stir up one another, to go to worship God in public. Let us go; not, "Do you go and pray for us, and we will stay at home;" but, We will go also, Zech. viii. 21. Not, "Do you go before, and we will follow at our leisure;" or, "We will go first, and you shall come after us;" but, "Let us go together, for the honour of God and for our mutual edification and encouragement." We ourselves are slow and backward, and others are so too, and therefore we should thus quicken and sharpen one another to that which is good, as iron sharpens iron. (3.) Those that rejoice in God will rejoice in calls and opportunities to wait upon him. David himself, though he had as little need of a spur to his zeal in religious exercises as any, yet was so far from taking it as an affront that he was glad of it as a kindness when he was called upon to go up to the house of the Lord with the meanest of his subjects. We should desire our Christian friends, when they have any good work in hand, to call for us and take us along with them.

2. The prospect of them was very pleasing. They speak it with a holy triumph (v. 2): Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem! Those that came out of the country, when they found the journey tedious, comforted themselves with this, that they should be in Jerusalem shortly, and that would make amends for all the fatigues of their journey. We shall stand there as servants; it is desirable to have a place in Jerusalem, though it be among those that stand by (Zech. iii. 7), though it be the door keeper's place, Ps. lxxxiv. 10. We have now got a resting-place for the ark, and where it is there will we be.

II. The praises of Jerusalem, as Ps. xlviii. 12.

1. It is the beautiful city, not only for situation, but for building. It is built into a city, the houses not scattered, but contiguous, and the streets fair and spacious. It is built uniform, compact together, the houses strengthening and supporting one another. Though the city was divided into the higher and lower town, yet the Jebusites being driven out, and it being entirely in the possession of God's people, it is said to be compact together. It was a type of the gospel-church, which is compact together in holy love and Christian communion, so that it is all as one city.

2. It is the holy city, v. 4. It is the place where all Israel meet one another: Thither the tribes go up, from all parts of the country, as one man, under the character of the tribes of the Lord, in obedience to his command. It is the place appointed for their general rendezvous; and they come together, (1.) To receive instruction from God; they come to the testimony of Israel, to hear what God has to say to them and to consult his oracle. (2.) To ascribe the glory to God, to give thanks to the name of the Lord, which we have all reason to do, especially those that have the testimony of Israel among them. If God speak to us by his word, we have reason to answer him by our thanksgivings. See on what errand we go to public worship, to give thanks.

3. It is the royal city (v. 5): There are set thrones of judgment. Therefore the people had reason to be in love with Jerusalem, because justice was administered there by a man after God's own heart. The civil interests of the people were as well secured as their ecclesiastical concerns; and very happy they were in their courts of judicature, which were erected in Jerusalem, as with us in Westminster Hall. Observe, What a goodly sight it was to see the testimony of Israel and the thrones of judgment such near neighbours, and they are good neighbours, which may greatly befriend one another. Let the testimony of Israel direct the thrones of judgment, and the thrones of judgment protect the testimony of Israel.

Prayer for the Church.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.   7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.   8 For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.   9 Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.

Here, I. David calls upon others to which well to Jerusalem, v. 6, 7. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for the welfare of it, for all good to it, particularly for the uniting of the inhabitants among themselves and their preservation from the incursions of enemies. This we may truly desire, that in the peace thereof we may have peace; and this we must earnestly pray for, for it is the gift of God, and for it he will be enquired of. Those that can do nothing else for the peace of Jerusalem can pray for it, which is something more than showing their good-will; it is the appointed way of fetching in mercy. The peace and welfare of the gospel church, particularly in our land, is to be earnestly desired and prayed for by every one of us. Now, 1. We are here encouraged in our prayers for Jerusalem's peace: Those shall prosper that love thee. We must pray for Jerusalem, not out of custom, nor for fashion's sake, but out of a principle of love to God's government of man and man's worship of God; and, in seeking the public welfare, we seek our own, for so well does God love the gates of Zion that he will love all those that do love them, and therefore they cannot but prosper; at least their souls shall prosper by the ordinances they so dearly love. 2. We are here directed in our prayers for it and words are put into our mouths (v. 7): Peace be within thy walls. He teaches us to pray, (1.) For all the inhabitants in general, all within the walls, from the least to the greatest. Peace be in thy fortifications; let them never be attacked, or, if they be, let them never be taken, but be an effectual security to the city. (2.) For the princes and rulers especially: Let prosperity be in the palaces of the great men that sit at the helm and have the direction of public affairs; for, if they prosper, it will be well for the public. The poorer sort are apt to envy the prosperity of the palaces, but they are here taught to pray for it.

II. He resolves that whatever others do he will approve himself a faithful friend to Jerusalem, 1. In his prayers: "I will now say, now I see the tribes so cheerfully resorting hither to the testimony of Israel, and the matter settled, that Jerusalem must be the place where God will record his name, now I will say, Peace be within thee." He did not say, "Let others pray for the public peace, the priests and the prophets, whose business it is, and the people, that have nothing else to do, and I will fight for it and rule for it." No; "I will pray for it too." 2. In his endeavours, with which he will second his prayers: "I will, to the utmost of my power, seek thy good." Whatever lies within the sphere of our activity to do for the public good we must do it, else we are not sincere in praying for it. Now it might be said, No thanks to David to be so solicitous for the welfare of Jerusalem; it was his own city, and the interests of his family were lodged in it, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. This is true; yet he professes that this was not the reason why he was in such care for the welfare of Jerusalem, but it proceeded from the warm regard he had, (1.) To the communion of saints: It is for my brethren and companions' sakes, that is, for the sake of all true-hearted Israelites, whom I look upon as my brethren (so he called them, 1 Chron. xxviii. 2) and who have often been my companions in the worship of God, which has knit my heart to them. (2.) To the ordinances of God: He had set his affections to the house of his God (1 Chron. xxix. 3); he took a great pleasure in public worship, and for that reason would pray for the good of Jerusalem. Then our concern for the public welfare is right when it is the effect of a sincere love to God's institutions and his faithful worshippers.

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Other commentaries and interpretations on the Book of Psalms:
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