Psalm 122:5
For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
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(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.

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." Psalm 122:5The imposing character of the impression was still greatly enhanced by the consideration, that this is the city where at all times the twelve tribes of God's nation (which were still distinguished as its elements even after the Exile, Romans 11:1; Luke 2:36; James 1:1) came together at the three great feasts. The use of the שׁ twice as equivalent to אשׁר is (as in Canticles) appropriate to the ornamental, happy, miniature-like manner of these Songs of degrees. In שׁשּׁם the שׁם is, as in Ecclesiastes 1:7, equivalent to שׁמּה, which on the other hand in Psalm 122:5 is no more than an emphatic שׁם (cf. Psalm 76:4; Psalm 68:7). עלוּ affirms a habit (cf. Job 1:4) of the past, which extends into the present. עדוּת לישׂראל is not an accusative of the definition or destination (Ew. ֗300, c), but an apposition to the previous clause, as e.g., in Leviticus 23:14, Leviticus 23:21, Leviticus 23:31 (Hitzig), referring to the appointing in Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:23; Deuteronomy 16:16. The custom, which arose thus, is confirmed in Psalm 122:5 from the fact, that Jerusalem, the city of the one national sanctuary, was at the same time the city of the Davidic kingship. The phrase ישׁב למשׁפּט is here transferred from the judicial persons (cf. Psalm 29:10 with Psalm 9:5; Psalm 28:6), who sit in judgment, to the seats (thrones) which are set down and stand there fro judgment (cf. Psalm 125:1, and θρόνος ἔκειτο, Revelation 4:2). The Targum is thinking of seats in the Temple, viz., the raised (in the second Temple resting upon pillars) seat of the king in the court of the Israelitish men near the שׁער העליון, but למשׁפט points to the palace, 1 Kings 7:7. In the flourishing age of the Davidic kingship this was also the highest court of judgment of the land; the king was the chief judge (2 Samuel 15:2; 1 Kings 3:16), and the sons, brothers, or kinsmen of the king were his assessors and advisers. In the time of the poet it is different; but the attractiveness of Jerusalem, not only as the city of Jahve, but also as the city of David, remains the same for all times.
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