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Adam Clarke Commentary

Psalms 121


The resolution of a godly man, Psalms 121:1 , Psalms 121:2 . The safety and prosperity of such, as they and theirs shall be under the continual protection of God, Psalms 121:3 -8.This appears to be a prayer of the Jews in their captivity, who are solicitous for their restoration. It is in the form of a dialogue.To which the worshipper answers, that he knows that "he who keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep," Psalms 121:4 ; but he seems to express a doubt whether he shall be an object of the Divine attention.

Verse 1

Unto the hills - Jerusalem was built upon a mountain; and Judea was a mountainous country; and the Jews, in their several dispersions, turned towards Jerusalem when they offered up their prayers to God.

Verse 2

My help cometh from the Lord - There is no help for me but in my God; and I expect it from no other quarter.

Verse 3

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved - The foundation, God's infinite power and goodness, on which thou standest, cannot be moved; and whilst thou standest on this basis, thy foot cannot be moved.

Verse 4

He that keepeth Israel - The Divine Being represents himself as a watchman, who takes care of the city and its inhabitants during the night-watches; and who is never overtaken with slumbering or sleepiness. There is a thought in the Antigone of Sophocles, that seems the counterpart of this of the psalmist,Antig. ver. 613, Edit. Johnson.Shall men below control great Jove above,Whose eyes by all-subduing sleepAre never closed, as feeble mortals' are;But still their watchful vigil keepThrough the long circle of th' eternal year?Franklin.

Verse 6

The sun shall not smite thee by day - Thus expressed by the Chaldee: "The morning spectres shall not smite thee by day, during the government of the sun; nor the nocturnal spectres by night, during the government of the moon." I believe the psalmist simply means, they shall not be injured by heat nor cold; by a sun-stroke by day, nor a frost-bite by night.

Verse 7

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil - Spiritual and corporeal, natural and moral.He shall preserve thy soul - Take care of thy life, and take care of thy soul.

Verse 8

Thy going out and thy coming in - Night and day - in all thy business and undertakings; and this through the whole course of thy life: for evermore.

Psalms 121

  1 A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
  2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
  3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
  4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
  5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
  6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
  7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
  8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

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