The Lord My Guardian
1A song of ascents.
I raise my eyes toward the mountains.*
From whence shall come my help?a
2My help comes from the LORD,
the maker of heaven and earth.b
3He will not allow your foot to slip;c
or your guardian to sleep.
4Behold, the guardian of Israel
never slumbers nor sleeps.
5*The LORD is your guardian;
the LORD is your shade
at your right hand.d
6By day the sun will not strike you,
nor the moon by night.e
7The LORD will guard you from all evil;
he will guard your soul.f
8The LORD will guard your coming and going
both now and forever.g
* [Psalm 121] A blessing given to someone embarking on a dangerous journey whether a soldier going on a campaign or a pilgrim returning home from the Temple. People look anxiously at the wooded hills. Will God protect them on their journey (Ps 121:1)? The speaker declares that God is not confined to a place or a time (Ps 121:2), that every step is guarded (Ps 121:3–4); night and day (Ps 121:5–6) God watches over their every movement (Ps 121:7–8).
* [121:1] The mountains: possibly Mount Zion, the site of the Temple and hence of safety, but more probably mountains as a place of dangers, causing anxiety to the psalmist.
* [121:5–6] The image of shade, a symbol of protection, is apt: God as shade protects from the harmful effects that ancients believed were caused by the sun and moon.
c. [121:3] Ps 66:9; 91:12; 1 Sm 2:9; Prv 3:23.
e. [121:6] Wis 18:3; Is 25:4; 49:10.