Psalm 122:5 Commentaries: For there thrones were set for judgment, The thrones of the house of David.
Psalm 122:5
For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Thrones.—Jerusalem, at first a cause of wonder as a city, is now to the pilgrims a cause of admiration as the capital. The mention of the “House of David” itself disposes of the title, but does not prove that the monarchy was still in existence, since even the Sanhedrim might be said to administer justice from the throne of the house or successors of David. The administration of justice was the original and principal duty of a monarch in time of peace (1Kings 3:11, seq.). The marginal “do sit” gives the literal rendering of the Hebrew, which in this use of sit, where we should say in English stand, is exactly the provincial Scotch.

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.For there are set - Margin, Do sit. The Hebrew is, "For there sit thrones for judgment." They are established there; or, That is the appointed place for administering justice.

Thrones of judgment - Seats for dispensing justice. The word throne is now commonly appropriated to the seat or chair of a king, but this is not necessarily the meaning here. The word may denote a seat or bench occupied by a judge. The meaning here is, that Jerusalem was the supreme seat of justice; the place where justice was dispensed for the nation. It was at once the religious and the civil capital of the nation.

The thrones of the house of David - Of the family of David, who performed the office of magistrates, or who administered justice. The family of David would naturally be employed in such a service as this. This office, Absalom - who had not been appointed to it - earnestly desired, in order that he might secure popularity in his contemplated rebellion. "Oh that I were made a judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!" 2 Samuel 15:4.

5. there are set thrones—or, "do sit, thrones," used for the occupants, David's sons (2Sa 8:18). This is added as another reason inviting and obliging them to go up to Jerusalem, and as another commendation of this city.

Thrones of judgment; the supreme courts of justice for ecclesiastical, and especially for civil affairs, as the next clause explains it.

The thrones of the house of David; the royal throne allotted by God to David and to his posterity for ever, and the inferior seats of justice established by and under his authority. See 2 Chronicles 19:8-10. For there are set thrones of judgment,.... In Jerusalem as the Targum; here were courts of judicature, and thrones for the judges to sit upon, to execute judgment and justice to the people;

the thrones of the house of David; the Targum is,

"thrones in the house of the sanctuary, for the kings of the house of David;''

who might sit there, as the Jews say, when others might not. In the church of Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem, every saint is a king, as well as a priest, and all have thrones and seats there; have a power of judging, not only lesser matters pertaining to this life, but such as regard the spiritual peace and welfare of the church and interest of Christ; having laws and rules given them to go by, in the admission and exclusion of members, and respecting their conduct to each other, and to their Lord and head: and in the New Jerusalem there will be thrones set, not only for the twelve apostles of Christ, and for the martyrs of Jesus, but for all the saints; there will be the thrones of God and of the Lamb, and every overcomer shall sit down on the same; this honour will have all the saints, Matthew 19:28.

For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of {e} David.

(e) In whose house God placed the throne of justice, and made it a figure of Christ's kingdom.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. For there were set (lit. sat) thrones for judgement] For throne cp. Psalm 9:4; Psalm 9:7. The poet is still looking back to the times before the Exile. Jerusalem was the centre of the nation’s civil life as well as of its religious life. Reference is made to a supreme tribunal at Jerusalem in Deuteronomy 17:8 ff.

the thrones of the house of David] The king appears to have been assisted in his judicial functions by members of the royal family. Cp. Jeremiah 21:11-12. If the verb in the preceding line is taken as a present (are set), ‘thrones of the house of David’ must mean tribunals exercising a jurisdiction corresponding to that of the royal family in ancient times.Verse 5. - For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. Jerusalem was the civil, no less than the religious, center. There David judged controversies, and Absalom when he usurped the throne, and Solomon when David associated him. But the plural may be "a plural of dignity." That which holds good of "the Keeper of Israel" the poet applies believingly to himself, the individual among God's people, in Psalm 121:5 after Genesis 28:15. Jahve is his Keeper, He is his shade upon his right hand (היּמין as in Judges 20:16; 2 Samuel 20:9, and frequently; the construct state instead of an apposition, cf. e.g., Arab. jânbu 'l-grbı̂yi, the side of the western equals the western side), which protecting him and keeping him fresh and cool, covers him from the sun's burning heat. על, as in Psalm 109:6; Psalm 110:5, with the idea of an overshadowing that screens and spreads itself out over anything (cf. Numbers 14:9). To the figure of the shadow is appended the consolation in Psalm 121:6. הכּה of the sun signifies to smite injuriously (Isaiah 49:10), plants, so that they wither (Psalm 102:5), and the head (Jonah 4:8), so that symptoms of sun-stroke (2 Kings 4:19, Judith 8:2f.) appears. The transferring of the word of the moon is not zeugmatic. Even the moon's rays may become insupportable, may affect the eyes injuriously, and (more particularly in the equatorial regions) produce fatal inflammation of the brain.

(Note: Many expositors, nevertheless, understand the destructive influence of the moon meant here of the nightly cold, which is mentioned elsewhere in the same antithesis. Genesis 31:40; Jeremiah 36:30. De Sacy observes also: On dit quelquefois d'un grand froid, comme d'un grand chaud, qu'il est brulant. The Arabs also say of snow and of cold as of fire: jaḥrik, it burns.)

From the hurtful influences of nature that are round about him the promise extends in Psalm 121:7-8 in every direction. Jahve, says the poet to himself, will keep (guard) thee against all evil, of whatever kind it may be and whencesoever it may threaten; He will keep thy soul, and therefore thy life both inwardly and outwardly; He will keep (ישׁמר־, cf. on the other hand ישׁפּט־ in Psalm 9:9) thy going out and coming in, i.e., all thy business and intercourse of life (Deuteronomy 28:6, and frequently); for, as Chrysostom observes, ἐν τούτοις ὁ βίος ἅπας, ἐν εἰσόδοις καὶ ἐξόδοις, therefore: everywhere and at all times; and that from this time forth even for ever. In connection with this the thought is natural, that the life of him who stands under the so universal and unbounded protection of eternal love can suffer no injury.

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