Psalm 122:1
A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) Let us go.—Or, we will go. This verse is inscribed over the portico of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Psalm 122:1-2. I was glad when they said, Let us go, &c. — Or, We will go, into the house of the Lord — They are the words of the people, exhorting one another to go and attend upon the worship of God at his tabernacle or temple at Jerusalem, and especially at the three great festivals; and they are intended to signify with what great joy such Israelites as were pious received and complied with invitations from their brethren to accompany them on these occasions. But with how much greater joy ought Christians to embrace all opportunities of approaching God, and assembling with his people in the more rational, spiritual, and edifying worship of the New Testament church! Our feet shall stand within thy gates, &c. — Thither we will come, and there we will continue during the times of solemn worship; O Jerusalem — The city where the ark of the covenant and God’s holy altars are now fixed. We shall wander no more, as we did formerly, when the ark was removed from place to place. We have now got a settled habitation for it, and where it is there will we be.

122:1-5 The pleasure and profit from means of grace, should make us disregard trouble and fatigue in going to them; and we should quicken one another to what is good. We should desire our Christian friends, when they have any good work in hand, to call for us, and take us with them. With what readiness should we think of the heavenly Jerusalem! How cheerfully should we bear the cross and welcome death, in hopes of a crown of glory! Jerusalem is called the beautiful city. It was a type of the gospel church, which is compact together in holy love and Christian communion, so that it is all as one city. If all the disciples of Christ were of one mind, and kept the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, their enemies would be deprived of their chief advantages against them. But Satan's maxim always has been, to divide that he may conquer; and few Christians are sufficiently aware of his designs.I was glad - It was a subject; of joy to me. The return of the happy season when we were to go up to worship filled me with joy. The language is expressive of the, happiness which is felt by those who love God and his sanctuary, when the stated season of worship returns. The heart is drawn to the house of prayer; the soul is filled with peace at the prospect of being again permitted to worship God. Who the speaker here is, is not known. It may have been David himself; more probably, however, it was designed by him to be used by those who should go up to worship, as expressive of their individual joy.

When they said unto me - When it was said unto me. When the time arrived. When I was invited by others to go. The announcement was joyful; the invitation was welcome. It met the desires of my heart, and I embraced the invitation cheerfully and joyfully.

Let us go into the house of the Lord - Up to the place where God dwells; the house which he has made his abode. If the psalm was composed in the time of David, this would refer to the tabernacle as fixed by him on Mount Zion; if at a later period, to the temple. The language will admit of either interpretation. Compare the notes at Isaiah 2:3.

PSALM 122

Ps 122:1-9. This Psalm might well express the sacred joy of the pilgrims on entering the holy city, where praise, as the religious as well as civil metropolis, is celebrated, and for whose prosperity, as representing the Church, prayer is offered.

1, 2. Our feet shall stand—literally, "are standing."

1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.

2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.

3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:

4 Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.

5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.

8 For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.

9 Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.

Psalm 122:1

"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." Good children are pleased to go home, and glad to hear their brothers and sisters call them thither. David's heart was in the worship of God, and he was delighted when he found others inviting him to go where his desires had already gone: it helps the ardour of the most ardent to hear others inviting them to a holy duty. The word was not "go," but "let us go"; hence the ear of the Psalmist found a double joy in it. He was glad for the sake of others' glad that they wished to go themselves, glad that they had the courage and liberality to invite others. He knew that it would do them good; nothing better can happen to men and their friends than to love the place where God's honour dwelleth. What a glorious day shall that be when many people shall go and say, "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." But David was glad for his own sake: he loved the invitation to the holy place, he delighted in being called to go to worship in company, and, moreover, he rejoiced that good people thought enough of him to extend their invitation to him. Some men would have been offended, and would have said, "Mind your own business. Let my religion alone;" but not so King David, though he had more dignity than any of us, and less need to be reminded of his duty. He was not teased but pleased by being pressed to attend holy services. He was glad to go into the house of the Lord, glad to go in holy company, glad to find good men and women willing to have him in their society. He may have been sad before, but this happy suggestion cheered him up: he pricked up his ears, as the proverb puts it, at the very mention of his Father's house. Is it so with us? Are we glad when others invite us to public worship, or to church fellowship? Then we shall be glad when the spirits above shall call us to the house of the Lord not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

"Hark! they whisper: angels say,

Sister spirit, come away."

If we are glad to be called by others to our Father's house, how much more glad shall we be actually to go there. We love our Lord, and therefore we love his house, and pangs of strong desire are upon us that we may soon reach the eternal abode of his glory. An aged saint, when dying, cheered herself with this evidence of grace, for she cried, "I have loved the habitation of thine house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth," and therefore she begged that she might join the holy congregation of those who for ever behold the King in his beauty. Our gladness at the bare thought of being in God's house is detective as to our character, and prophetic of our being one day happy in the Father's house on high. What a sweet Sabbath Psalm is this! In prospect of the Lord's day, and all its hallowed associations, our soul rejoices. How well, also, may it refer to the church! We are happy when we see numerous bands ready to unite themselves with the people of God. The pastor is specially glad when many come forward and ask of him assistance in entering into fellowship with the church. No language is more cheering to him than the humble request, "Let us go into the house of the Lord."

continued...THE ARGUMENT

This Psalm seems to have been written by David for the use of the people when they came up to Jerusalem to the solemn feasts.

David professeth his joy when he went into the house of the Lord, Psalm 122:1-5; prayeth for the welfare, prosperity, and peace of it, Psalm 122:6-9.

Let us go; exhorting one another to it, as Deu 33:19. Or, We will go. The sense is, It delighteth me much to hear that the people, who had so long lived in the neglect or contempt of God’s worship, were now ready and forward in it.

I was glad when they said unto me,.... Or, "I rejoiced in", or "because of, those that said unto me" (b); or, "in what was said unto me". For it may regard not only the time when he had this pleasure of mind, but the persons who gave it, as well as the ground and reason of the things said unto him, as follows:

let us go into the house of the Lord; the house of the sanctuary, as the Targum; the tabernacle, the place of divine worship, typical of the church of God; which is an house of his building, beautifying, and repairing, and where he dwells: it has all the essentiality of a house; its materials are lively stones; its foundation Christ; its pillars ministers of the word; the beams of it stable believers; its windows the ordinances; and the door into it faith in Christ, and a profession of it. Now it is both the duty and privilege of believers to go into it; here they find spiritual pleasure, enjoy abundance of peace and comfort, and have their spiritual strength renewed, as well as it is to their honour and glory: and it becomes them to stir up one another to go thither; some are slothful and backward; some are lukewarm and indifferent; some are worldly and carnally minded; and others are conceited of their knowledge, and think themselves wiser than their teachers, and therefore need to be excited to their duty; and truly gracious souls are glad when they are stirred up to it, both on their own account, and on the account of others, and because of the glory of God.

(b) "in dicentibus mihi", Montanus; so Ainsworth, Vatablus, Cocceius; "in his quae dicta sunt mihi", V. L. so Junius & Tremellius.

<> I {a} was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

(a) He rejoices that God had appointed a place where the ark would still remain.

1. The Psalmist recalls his joy when his neighbours summoned him to join in the pilgrimage to the sanctuary.

I was glad] The A.V. rightly follows the Ancient Versions in translating the verb as a past.

Let us go into &c.] Rather, We will go to the house of Jehovah. Cp. Isaiah 2:3.

Verse 1. - I was glad when they said unto us, Let us go into the house of the Lord (comp. Psalm 5:7; Psalm 28:2; Psalm 138:2). Psalm 122:1The preterite שׂמחתי may signify: I rejoice (1 Samuel 2:1), just as much as: I rejoiced. Here in comparison with Psalm 122:2 it is a retrospect; for היה with the participle has for the most part a retrospective signification, Genesis 39:22; Deuteronomy 9:22, Deuteronomy 9:24; Judges 1:7; Job 1:14. True, עמדות היוּ might also signify: they have been standing and still stand (as in Psalm 10:14; Isaiah 59:2; Isaiah 30:20); but then why was it not more briefly expressed by עמדוּ (Psalm 26:12)? The lxx correctly renders: εὐφράνθην and ἑστῶτες ἦσαν. The poet, now again on the journey homewards, or having returned home, calls to mind the joy with which the cry for setting out, "Let us go up to the house of Jahve!" filled him. When he and the other visitors to the feast had reached the goal of their pilgrimage, their feet came to a stand-still, as if spell-bound by the overpowering, glorious sight.

(Note: So also Veith in his, in many points, beautiful Lectures on twelve gradual Psalms (Vienna 1863), S. 72, "They arrested their steps, in order to give time to the amazement with which the sight of the Temple, the citadel of the king, and the magnificent city filled them.")

Reviving this memory, he exclaims: Jerusalem, O thou who art built up again - true, בּנה in itself only signifies "to build," but here, where, if there is nothing to the contrary, a closed sense is to be assumed for the line of the verse, and in the midst of songs which reflect the joy and sorrow of the post-exilic restoration period, it obtains the same meaning as in Psalm 102:17; Psalm 147:2, and frequently (Gesenius: O Hierosolyma restituta). The parallel member, Psalm 122:3, does not indeed require this sense, but is at least favourable to it. Luther's earlier rendering, "as a city which is compacted together," was happier than his later rendering, "a city where they shall come together," which requires a Niph. or Hithpa. instead of the passive. חבּר signifies, as in Exodus 28:7, to be joined together, to be united into a whole; and יחדּו strengthens the idea of that which is harmoniously, perfectly, and snugly closed up (cf. Psalm 133:1). The Kaph of כּעיר is the so-called Kaph veritatis: Jerusalem has risen again out of its ruined and razed condition, the breaches and gaps are done away with (Isaiah 58:12), it stands there as a closely compacted city, in which house joins on to house. Thus has the poet seen it, and the recollection fills him with rapture.

(Note: In the synagogue and church it is become customary to interpret Psalm 122:3 of the parallelism of the heavenly and earthly Jerusalem.)

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