Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 122:6-9. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem — In the prosperity of which both your civil and religious privileges are deeply concerned. They shall prosper that love thee — Or, Let them prosper, the future being taken imperatively, as is very frequent. The Lord grant them prosperity and all happiness. Peace be within thy walls — In all thy dwellings; and prosperity within thy palaces — Especially in the dwellings of thy princes and rulers, whose welfare and prosperity may be a public blessing to all the people. For my brethren and companions’ sakes — And this I desire, says David, not only, nor chiefly, for my own security and for the glory of my empire, but for the sake of all my fellow-citizens, and of all the Israelites, whom, though my subjects, I must own for my brethren and companions in the chief privileges and blessings enjoyed at Jerusalem. Because of the house of the Lord — Which is now fixed in this city; because of the ordinances of his worship, which are here established. I will seek thy good — Thy protection, peace, and prosperity. Thus, “in these concluding verses, the psalmist declares the two motives which induced him to utter his best wishes, and to use his best endeavours for the prosperity of Jerusalem; namely, the love of his brethren, whose happiness was involved in that of their city; and the love of God, who had there fixed the residence of his glory. These motives are ever in force, and ought, surely, to operate with marvellous energy upon our hearts, to stir us up to imitate the pattern now before us, in fervent zeal and unwearied labour for the salvation of men, and the glory of our great Redeemer; both which will then be complete, when the church militant shall become the church triumphant, and the heavenly paradise shall be filled with plants taken from its terrestrial nursery.” — Horne. Psalm 51:18. This is the language which those who were going up to the city - to the house of the Lord - addressed to each other, expressing the joyful feelings of their hearts at their own near approach to the city. It breathes the desire that all would pray for the peace and prosperity of a city so dear to their own souls; where the worship of God was celebrated; where God himself dwelt; where justice was administered: a city of so much importance and so much influence in the land. To us now it inculcates the duty of praying for the church: its peace; its unity; its prosperity; its increase; its influence on our country and on the world at large. It is a prayer that the church may not be divided by schism or heresy; that its members may cherish for each other right feelings; that there may be no jealousies, no envyings, and no jars; that the different branches of the church may regard and treat each other with kindness, with respect, and with mutual recognition; that prosperity may attend them all.
The shall prosper that love thee - Or rather, They shall have peace that love thee; or, May they have peace that love thee. The word prosper conveys an idea which is not in the original. The Hebrew word means to be "secure," "tranquil," "at rest," spoken especially of one who enjoys quiet prosperity, Job 3:26; Job 12:6. The essential idea is that of quietness or rest; and the meaning here is, that those who love Zion will have peace; or, that the tendency of that love is to produce peace. See Romans 5:1. The prayer was for "peace;" the thought in connection with that was naturally that those who loved Zion would have peace. It is indeed true, in general, that they who love Zion, or who serve God, will "prosper" (compare the notes at 1 Timothy 4:8), but that is not the truth taught here. The idea is that they will have peace: peace with God; peace in their own consciences; peace in the prospect of death and of the future world; peace amidst the storms and tempests of life; peace in death, in the grave, and forever.Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; in whose prosperity both your civil and your religious privileges are deeply concerned. They shall prosper; or, let them prosper; the future being taken imperatively, as is very frequent. The Lord grant them prosperity and all happiness. Jeremiah 29:7; but for the spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem, the church of God, and for the peace of it; that Christ, the Man, the Peace, the Peacemaker, who then was not come, might come; that the members of it might enjoy spiritual peace in their son is, and might have peace one with another, and be at peace with their enemies; and enjoy the abundance of peace and prosperity, which will be in the latter day; and will lie in freedom from persecution, in a destruction of antichrist and all the the enemies of the church; in the purity of Gospel truths and ordinances, and the spread of them; in numerous conversions of Jews and Gentiles; in the unity of the Lord's people in sentiment, worship, and affection; and in a large increase of spiritual light and holiness: all which should be earnestly prayed for by the well-wishers of the cause of Christ; see Isaiah 62:6. There may be an allusion to the name of Jerusalem, which signifies "they shall see peace"; and it should be prayed for that they might. The argument enforcing this duty exhorted to follows:
they shall prosper that love thee; that love Jerusalem, the church of God; that love Christ, her King; the saints, her citizens; her laws and ordinances; and the word of the Lord that goes out of her, and is ministered in her: which is shown by an attendance with her on them, and by their prayers for her prosperity and welfare: and such prosper in their outward affairs, as Obededom and his family were blessed for the sake of the ark he took in and took care of; and in their spiritual affairs their souls prosper, as Gaius's did, and as such do who are favoured with the discoveries of the love of God, with an application of pardoning grace and mercy; have a spiritual appetite for the word; when their graces are in lively exercise, their corruptions are subdued, spiritual light and zeal for truth are increased, inward strength is renewed, communion with God is enjoyed, and they are fruitful in every good work.Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem] This is probably the right rendering; but the phrase might also be rendered Inquire for the welfare of J., greet or salute her, the customary salutation being “Is it well (lit. peace) with thee?” or “Peace be unto thee.” Cp. Jeremiah 15:5. The rendering of the LXX, “Ask now for Jerusalem the things which belong unto peace,” contains the phrase (τὰ εἰς εἰρήνην) used by our Lord as He entered Jerusalem (Luke 19:42, τὰ πρὸς εἰρήνην). May not the whole Psalm have been in His mind at the moment, as Psalms 137 appears to have been (v. 44, ἐδαφιοῦσίν σε καὶ τὰ τέκνα σου ἐν σοί), suggesting a pathetic contrast between the peace which might have been her lot, and the doom of her enemies which she was blindly dragging down upon herself?
they shall prosper] Better, may they prosper (R.V. marg.).
that love thee] The reading may thy tents prosper (cf. Psalm 118:15), found in one MS, but in no Ancient Version, is at first sight attractive. But the prayer for the prosperity of those who love Jerusalem follows naturally on the invitation to them to pray for her welfare. Contrast the anathema on those who hate Zion in Psalm 129:5. The expression may have been suggested by Lamentations 1:5, “her enemies prosper.” The words for lover and enemy in Heb. differ by one letter only (אהב—איב).
6–9. The recollection of the past glories of Jerusalem leads the Psalmist to pray and bid others pray for her future welfare. A new era of hope seems to be opening before her.Verse 6. - Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Let all true Israelites "pray for the peace of Jerusalem," i.e. for her tranquility and for her prosperity. They shall prosper that love thee. A covert threat, as well as a promise. "Such as love Jerusalem, and pray for her peace, shall prosper; such as do not love her shall lack prosperity." 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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