Psalm 134:2
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Lift up your hands (see Note, Psalm 28:2) (in) the sanctuary.—The usual meaning would be to the sanctuary (see reference above), but since the servants of Jehovah are here addressed as standing in the sanctuary, this direction seems unreasonable. Render, therefore, in holiness, and comp. “lifting up holy hands” (1Timothy 2:8).

134:1-3 An exhortation to bless the Lord. - We must stir up ourselves to give glory to God, and encourage ourselves to hope for mercy and grace from him. It is an excellent plan to fill up all our spare minutes with pious meditations, and prayers and praises. No time would then be a burden, nor should we murder our hours by trifling conversation and vain amusements, or by carnal indulgences. We need desire no more to make us happy, than to be blessed of the Lord. We ought to beg spiritual blessings, not only for ourselves, but for others; not only, The Lord bless me, but, The Lord bless thee; thus testifying our belief that there is enough for others as well as for us, and showing our good will to others.Lift up your hands in the sanctuary - Margin, In holiness. The Hebrew word properly means holiness, but it may be applied to a holy place. See Psalm 20:2. The lifting up of the hands is properly expressive of prayer, but the phrase may be used to denote praise or worship in general.

And bless the Lord - In the night-watches - while all around is still, - let there be one place where the voice of praise shall ascend on high.

2. Lift up your hands—(Compare Ps 28:2). Lift up your hands unto God in prayer and praises, thus expressing and exciting your inward devotion. In the sanctuary; in that holy house of God Where you stand, Psalm 134:1. Or, in or with holiness, lift up your hands, as it is prescribed, 1 Timothy 2:8. Do not content yourselves with lifting up your hands, but see that this be done with pure and holy hearts.

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,.... Which Aben Ezra interprets of the priests lifting up their hands to bless the people; but Kimchi, better, of lifting up of the hands to God in prayer; see Psalm 141:2; which should be done "with holiness", as the Targum renders it, in a holy manner; and is the same with lifting up holy hands, 1 Timothy 2:8; or towards the holy place; the oracle in the holy of holies, and the ark of the covenant, typical of Christ; see 1 Kings 8:29, Psalm 28:2; so Kimchi; or rather, according to Arama, unto the holy name of God, to whom prayer is to be directed;

and bless the Lord; which is repeated, to show the importance of the work, that it might not be forgotten and neglected; this being a principal part of spiritual service, and greatly acceptable to God.

Lift up your {b} hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.

(b) For their charge was not only to keep the temple, but to pray there and to give God thanks.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. Lift up your hands] The gesture of prayer. Cp. Psalm 28:2; 1 Timothy 2:8.

in the sanctuary] Rather to the sanctuary, towards the most holy place, as the earthly dwelling-place of Jehovah. The rendering of R.V. marg., in holiness, is less probable.

Verse 2. - Lift up your hands. The attitude of prayer and praise (Psalm 63:4; Psalm 119:48; Psalm 141:2). In the sanctuary; rather, towards the sanctuary; i.e. towards the holy of holies. Others render, "in holiness." And bless the Lord (compare the first clause of ver. 1). Psalm 134:2The Psalm begins, like its predecessor, with הנּה; there is directs attention to an attractive phenomenon, here to a duty which springs from the office. For that it is not the persons frequenting the Temple who are addressed is at once clear from the fact that the tarrying of these in the Temple through the night, when such a thing did actually occur (Luke 2:37), was only an exception. And then, however, from the fact that עמד is the customary word for the service of the priests and Levites, Deuteronomy 10:8; Deuteronomy 18:7; 1 Chronicles 23:30; 2 Chronicles 29:11 (cf. on Isaiah 61:10, and Psalm 110:4), which is also continued in the night, 1 Chronicles 9:33. Even the Targum refers Psalm 134:1 to the Temple-watch. In the second Temple the matter was arranged thus. After midnight the chief over the gate-keepers took the keys of the inner Temple and went with some of the priests through the little wicket of the Fire Gate (שׁער בית המוקד). In the inner court this patrol divided into two companies, each with a burning torch; one company turned west, the other east, and so they compassed the court to see whether everything was in readiness for the service of the dawning day. At the bakers' chamber, in which the Mincha of the high priest was baked (לשׁכת עשׂי הביתין), they met with the cry: All is well. In the meanwhile the rest of the priests also arose, bathed, and put on their garments. Then they went into the stone chamber (one half of which was the place of session of the Sanhedrim), where, under the superintendence of the chief over the drawing of the lots and of a judge, around whom stood all the priests in their robes of office, the functions of the priests in the service of the coming day were assigned to them by lot (Luke 1:9). Accordingly Tholuck, with Kster, regards Psalm 134:1. and Psalm 134:3 as the antiphon of the Temple-watch going off duty and those coming on. It might also be the call and counter-call with which the watchmen greeted one another when they met. But according to the general keeping of the Psalm, Psalm 134:1. have rather to be regarded as a call to devotion and intercession, which the congregation addresses to the priests and Levites entrusted with the night-service in the Temple. It is an error to suppose that "in the nights" can be equivalent to "early and late." If the Psalter contains Morning Psalms (Psalm 3:1-8, Psalm 63:1-11) and Evening Psalms (Psalm 4:1-8, Psalm 141:1-10), why should it then not contain a vigil Psalm? On this very ground Venema's idea too, that בּלּילות is syncopated from בּהלּילות, "with Hallels, i.e., praises," is useless. Nor is there any reason for drawing ἐν ταῖς νυξίν, as the lxx does, to Psalm 134:2,

(Note: The lxx adjusts the shortening of Psalm 134:1 arising from this, by reading בחצרות בית אלהינו העמדים בבית ה after Psalm 135:2.)

or, what would be more natural, to the בּרכוּ that opens the Psalm, since it is surely not strange that, so long as the sanctuary was standing, a portion of the servants of God who ministered in it had to remain up at night to guard it, and to see to it that nothing was wanting in the preparations for the early service. That this ministering watching should be combined with devotional praying is the purport of the admonition in Psalm 134:2. Raising suppliant hands (ידכם, negligently written for ידיכם) towards the Most Holy Place (τὰ ἅγια), they are to bless Jahve. קדשׁ (according to B. Sota 39a, the accusative of definition: in holiness, i.e., after washing of hands), in view of Psalm 28:2; Psalm 5:8; Psalm 138:2 (cf. רום in Habakkuk 3:10), has to be regarded as the accusative of the direction.

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