Psalms

PSALM 121*

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 121:34); night and day (Ps 121:56) God watches over their every movement (Ps 121:78).

* [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.

* [121:56] 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.

a. [121:1] Jer 3:23.

b. [121:2] Ps 124:8; 146:6.

c. [121:3] Ps 66:9; 91:12; 1 Sm 2:9; Prv 3:23.

d. [121:5] Ps 16:8; 73:23.

e. [121:6] Wis 18:3; Is 25:4; 49:10.

f. [121:7] Ps 97:10.

g. [121:8] Dt 28:6.

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