Psalms

PSALM 133*

A Vision of a Blessed Community

1A song of ascents. Of David.

How good and how pleasant it is,

when brothers* dwell together as one!

2Like fine oil on the head,*a

running down upon the beard,

Upon the beard of Aaron,

upon the collar of his robe.

3Like dew* of Hermon* coming down

upon the mountains of Zion.b

There the LORD has decreed a blessing,

life for evermore!c

* [Psalm 133] A benediction over a peaceful community, most probably the people Israel, but appropriate too for Israelite families (Ps 133:1). The history of Israel, whether of its ancestors in the Book of Genesis or of later periods, was a history of distinct groups struggling to live in unity. Here that unity is declared blessed, like the holy oils upon the priest Aaron or the dew of the rainless summer that waters the crops (Ps 133:23).

* [133:1] Brothers: in biblical Hebrew this word includes both the male and female members of a group united by blood relationships or by shared experiences and values. In this Psalm, the term could be applied most appropriately to the people of Israel, those privileged by God to be his chosen children.

* [133:2] Oil on the head: oil was used at the consecration of the high priest (Ex 30:2233).

* [133:3] Dew: dew was an important source of moisture in the dry climate (Gn 27:28; Hos 14:6). Hermon: the majestic snow-capped mountain visible in the north of Palestine.

a. [133:2] Ex 30:25, 30.

b. [133:3] Hos 14:6.

c. [133:3] Dt 28:8; 30:20.

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