Psalm 125

For my post today about my weekly quiet time, I will blog about Psalm 125.  I will post the Psalm in the King James Version (which is in the public domain), then I will reflect on it.

Psalm 125 states:

<A Song of degrees.> They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
 2 As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
 3 For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.
 4 Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.
 5 As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.

When was Psalm 125 written?  I read commentaries that dated it to Israel’s post-exilic period, but does that really work?  Vv 1-2 portray Mount Zion as impregnable.  Would that make sense, after Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed?  There does appear to be concern, however, about the wicked possessing the land of the righteous.  The Psalm seems to be saying that such a state of affairs will not last.  That would make sense during the exile, when foreigners possessed land in Israel.  Still, I can’t get past vv 1-2!

Perhaps Psalm 125 has the sort of view that is in First Isaiah, where we encounter the inviolability of Zion, mixed with the notion that God will discipline Judah for her sins and will rebuild the nation on a righteous remnant that is in the land.  In this scenario, Jerusalem is preserved, yet Judah and Jerusalem are still purified of wicked people.  Oppression by the wicked is also a salient theme in First Isaiah.  Isaiah 5:8 states: ” Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!”  Doesn’t that sound like the wicked possessing the land of others, the sort of thing that is condemned in Psalm 125?

Perhaps Psalm 125 is pre-exilic and concerns God’s preservation of Jerusalem, even as God purifies Israel of evildoers.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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