A Psalm of Ascent
Running to God
in times of
This page contains a simple commentary.
I will present
an introduction to the topic:
During Old Testament times,
all 150 psalms were
put to music and sung
by Jewish worshippers.
Psalm 120-134 are called
Songs of Ascent.
The word “ascent” means to go up in elevation.
Jerusalem is higher in elevation
The Songs of Ascent were a group of psalms
that Jewish worshippers
(who didn't live in Jerusalem)
three times every year
as they journeyed to Israel
Passover, Pentecost, and the
Feast of Tabernacles
They were also probably sung
by all the worshippers in Jerusalem
as they ascended the stairs
to the temple area
for those celebrations.
appears to be a personal lament
of the psalmist.
since this psalm is included
Psalms of Ascent,
it shows that
they have application to
Israel as a whole.
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Below is a recent example of this
being put to music.
King James Version
In my distress
I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.
This appears to be speaking of past distresses.
The psalmist is remembering
and the faithfulness of God.
2 Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips,
and from a deceitful tongue.
Verse 2 exposes the root of the current distress
lying and deceitfulness against the psalmist.
3 What shall be given unto thee?
or what shall be done unto thee,
thou false tongue?
4 Sharp arrows of the mighty,
with coals of juniper.
In verses 3-4,
the psalmist is reminding himself
that lying and deceitfulness
will be punished by God at some point.
The psalmist pictures
the wicked lies and deceptive schemes
as sharp arrows and as coals of juniper.
We see this type of illustration in
Psalm 57:4 NKJV
My soul is among lions:
I lie among the sons of men
Who are set on fire,
Whose teeth are spears and arrows,
And their tongue a sharp sword.
If we think about it,
we can understand why
lies and deceptive schemes
are like sharp arrows.
But what about the coals of Juniper?
Coals of the juniper -
is also translated
Coals of the broom plant / tree.
The juniper or broom tree
by Arabs of that time
to make a charcoal that burned very hot
and burned for a long time.
Proverbs 16:27 says,
An ungodly man diggeth up evil:
and in his lips there is
as a burning fire.
The psalmist also pictures
what God will do to them
as coming with
sharp arrows and coals of juniper.
The psalmist is saying,
"For these deeds, you are going to get
an extremely harsh
Bible verses for more clarity:
Tongue as an arrow: Jeremiah 9:8-9
Arrows: Proverbs 26:18-19
Words are arrows and swords: Psalm 57:4
Tongue as a fire: James 3:6
Sharp arrows of God:
Ps. 64:7-8, Ps. 7:11-13, Ps. 18:13-14, Ps. 144:6, Deuteronomy 32:23-27, Lamentations 3:12-13
5 Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech,
that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!
This verse lets us know
that he is forced
among these people
who are giving him so much grief.
Mesech - Genesis 10:2 - son of Japheth
These people are offspring of Noah's son, Japheth.
These are Gentiles.
Kedar - Genesis 25:13 - He is the second son of Ishmael.
The Arabs are the offspring of Ishmael.
Ishmael is one of the sons of Abraham.
Arabs are Arab Gentiles.
The world is divided up into Jews and Gentiles.
Gentiles are made up of Arabs and non-Arab people.
Christians are made up of Jews and Gentiles who have repented and given their life to Jesus Christ.
Shem is one of the sons of Noah.
Jews and Arabs are the offspring of Shem.
Abraham is of the line of Shem.
Abraham's son Isaac produced the Jews.
Abraham's son Ishmael produced the Arabs.
So, here we see that the Kedar people are the offspring of Ishmael. They would be included in the people who are the Arabs of today.
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This psalm was applicable to individuals at that time and it is applicable to every time in history.
This psalm is also applicable to
the nation of Israel.
This is also an "end time" psalm.
This psalm predicts that one day Israel
will have to
dwell among Arab peoples
who are angry with the Jews.
We might be living in those "end time" days.
It predicts that people
- which includes the area of present-day Turkey -
will be lying about them and to them.
Interestingly, only a couple of years ago
the country of Turkey was a friend to Israel.
It has only been in the last couple of years that Turkey has become an enemy to Israel.
"End time" Scriptures tell us that
the country of Turkey
will be against Israel in the end days.
Many Arab people are not hostile,
and in addition,
there are many Arab people
who have accepted
as their personal Savior.
So this does not mean that "every" Arab person
is being referenced.
6 My soul hath long dwelt with him
that hateth peace.
Here the psalmist is saying that
he has been dealing
for a long, long time
with people who consider him an enemy.
That verse paints a picture
in my mind
frustration and fatigue.
If you are dealing with a situation of
frustration, fatigue, or weariness,
consider our pages:
7 I am for peace:
but when I speak, they are for war.
No matter how hard the psalmist tries,
his efforts are fruitless.
Most of us have experienced this.
Most of us have known someone who just wanted to create strife and enmity.
Some people just want conflict.
no matter how much we want to get along
some people just don't want to cooperate.
Romans 12:18 says,
"If it is possible, as much as depends on you,
live peaceably with all men.
Consider our Prayer Pages:
expands on God's thoughts
about this kind of situation.
Here is the NKJV version:
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you,
live peaceably with all men.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves,
but rather give place to wrath;
for it is written,
“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.
Before Jesus comes back,
times will get worse for Israel.
Many powerful Arab nations are made up of leadership that hates the country of Israel.
Israel is not a perfect nation or a perfect people.
Israel is the only nation in the middle east
where people of all faiths can live together
with freedom to worship as they choose.
Note that we have a page that discusses some
When I looked up Meshech and found that it was in
the area of Turkey,
it was another clue that
this was an "end time" psalm -
meaning it has "end time" meaning
personal meaning to us as we read it.
all the 7 churches in Revelation
(chapters 2 through 3)
are located in Turkey.
That seems to indicate that Turkey
will be very active in "end time" activities.
Recently world news
has reported on Turkey destroying churches.
Certain people enjoy stirring up strife and trouble.
People who have the
are often seen as
Learning about the personality styles
can help us gain strategies
to avoid strife.
Consider our other Psalm pages!