Psalm 121:4
Behold, he that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
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(4) Slumber nor sleep.—This repetition, with the addition of a synonym, offers a very good instance of the step-like style supposed by many critics to give their name to these psalms. But it must be carefully noticed that there is no climax in the force of the two words, the first, if anything, being the stronger. It is used of the sleep of death (Psalm 76:5).

121:1-8 The safety of the godly. - We must not rely upon men and means, instruments and second causes. Shall I depend upon the strength of the hills? upon princes and great men? No; my confidence is in God only. Or, we must lift up our eyes above the hills; we must look to God who makes all earthly things to us what they are. We must see all our help in God; from him we must expect it, in his own way and time. This psalm teaches us to comfort ourselves in the Lord, when difficulties and dangers are greatest. It is almighty wisdom that contrives, and almighty power that works the safety of those that put themselves under God's protection. He is a wakeful, watchful Keeper; he is never weary; he not only does not sleep, but he does not so much as slumber. Under this shade they may sit with delight and assurance. He is always near his people for their protection and refreshment. The right hand is the working hand; let them but turn to their duty, and they shall find God ready to give them success. He will take care that his people shall not fall. Thou shalt not be hurt, neither by the open assaults, nor by the secret attempts of thine enemies. The Lord shall prevent the evil thou fearest, and sanctify, remove, or lighten the evil thou feelest. He will preserve the soul, that it be not defiled by sin, and disturbed by affliction; he will preserve it from perishing eternally. He will keep thee in life and death; going out to thy labour in the morning of thy days, and coming home to thy rest when the evening of old age calls thee in. It is a protection for life. The Spirit, who is their Preserver and Comforter, shall abide with them for ever. Let us be found in our work, assured that the blessings promised in this psalm are ours.Behold, he that keepeth Israel - The Keeper - the Guardian - of his people. The psalmist here passes from his own particular case to a general truth - a truth to him full of consolation. It is, that the people of God must always be safe; that their great Guardian never slumbers; and that he, as one of his people, might, therefore, confidently look for his protecting care.

Shall neither slumber nor sleep - Never slumbers, never ceases to be watchful. Man sleeps; a sentinel may slumber on his post, by inattention, by long-continued wakefulness, or by weariness; a pilot may slumber at the helm; even a mother may fall asleep by the side of the sick child; but God is never exhausted, is never weary, is never inattentive. He never closes his eyes on the condition of his people, on the needs of the world.

3, 4. His sleepless vigilance is added.

to be moved—(Compare Ps 38:16; 66:9).

No text from Poole on this verse. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. He that kept Israel or Jacob, when asleep, and appeared to him in a dream, and promised to keep him in all places, and did; who found his posterity in the wilderness, and kept them as the apple of his eye: he keeps his spiritual Israel, whom he has chosen, redeemed, and calls; and he that is in general their keeper, is the keeper of every particular believer, who may promise themselves the utmost safety under his care; since, though he may sometimes seem to sleep, when he withdraws his gracious presence, defers help, and does not arise so soon to the assistance of his people as they wish for and expect; yet does not in reality sleep, nor is any ways negligent of them; no, not so much as slumber, nor is in the least indifferent about them, and careless of them; see Genesis 28:15. So Homer (k) represents Jupiter as not held by sleep, while other gods and men slept all night; and hence Milton (l) has the phrase of "the unsleeping eyes of God": but the Phrygians had a notion that their god slept in winter, and was awake in summer (m).

(k) Iliad. 2. v. 1, 2.((l) Paradise Lost, B. 5. v. 647. (m) Plutarch. de Iside & Osir. prope finem.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
Verse 4. - Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The assurance rises from the particular to the general. It is not one Israelite alone over whom God will watch unceasingly, but the whole people of Israel. Since arrows and broom-fire, with which the evil tongue is requited, even now proceed from the tongue itself, the poet goes on with the deep heaving אויה (only found here). גּוּר with the accusative of that beside which one sojourns, as in Psalm 5:5; Isaiah 33:14; Judges 5:17. The Moschi (משׁך, the name of which the lxx takes as an appellative in the signification of long continuance; cf. the reverse instance in Isaiah 66:19 lxx) dwelt between the Black and the Caspian Seas, and it is impossible to dwell among them and the inhabitants of Kedar (vid., Psalm 83:7) at one and the same time. Accordingly both these names of peoples are to be understood emblematically, with Saadia, Calvin, Amyraldus, and others, of homines similes ejusmodi barbaris et truculentis nationibus.

(Note: If the Psalm were a Maccabaean Psalm, one might think משׁך, from משׁך, σύρειν, alluded to the Syrians or even to the Jewish apostates with reference to משׁך ערלה, ἐπισπᾶσθαι τὴν ἀκροβυστίαν (1 Corinthians 7:18).)

Meshech is reckoned to Magog in Ezekiel 38:2, and the Kedarites are possessed by the lust of possession (Genesis 16:12) of the bellum omnium contra omnes. These rough and quarrelsome characters have surrounded the poet (and his fellow-countrymen, with whom he perhaps comprehends himself) too long already. רבּת, abundantly (vid., Psalm 65:10), appears, more particularly in 2 Chronicles 30:17., as a later prose word. The להּ, which throws the action back upon the subject, gives a pleasant, lively colouring to the declaration, as in Psalm 122:3; Psalm 123:4. He on his part is peace (cf. Micah 5:5, Psalm 119:4; Psalm 110:3), inasmuch as the love of peace, willingness to be at peace, and a desire for peace fill his σου; but if he only opens his mouth, they are for war, they are abroad intent on war, their mood and their behaviour become forthwith hostile. Ewald (362, b) construes it (following Saadia): and I-- although I speak peace; but if כּי (like עד, Psalm 141:10) might even have this position in the clause, yet וכי cannot. שׁלום is not on any account to be supplied in thought to אדבּר, as Hitzig suggests (after Psalm 122:8; Psalm 28:3; Psalm 35:20). With the shrill dissonance of שׁלום and מלחמה the Psalm closes; and the cry for help with which it opens hovers over it, earnestly desiring its removal.

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