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Psalm 120 | King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version

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Psalm 120, a cry for deliverance and peace, is the first of the fifteen Songs of Ascents (Psalms 120-134) in the Book of Psalms. Traditionally attributed to King David, these psalms were sung by pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem for the great feasts. Psalm 120 reflects a deep yearning for deliverance from deceit and falsehood.

The opening verse, ‘In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me,’ sets a tone of urgency and vulnerability. The psalmist’s distress is not a fleeting emotion but an experience that drives him to seek divine intervention. This opening appeal to the Lord is a powerful reminder of the psalmist’s dependence on God for deliverance and relief. The phrase ‘In my distress’ suggests a situation of intense difficulty or trouble, indicating that the psalmist’s plea arises from a place of deep personal anguish.

The verse, ‘Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue,’ expresses the nature of the psalmist’s distress. Reference to ‘lying lips’ and a ‘deceitful tongue’ highlights the struggle against falsehood and dishonesty. This plea for deliverance from deceit is especially relevant in our contemporary world, where truth is often obscured or manipulated.

Verses 3 and 4 pose a rhetorical question and provide an answer: ‘What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.’ These verses evoke destructive power of deceitful words, likening them to ‘sharp arrows’ and ‘coals of juniper’. The imagery of arrows suggests the piercing, wounding nature of lies, while the coals of juniper, known for their intense heat, symbolize the burning, lingering pain caused by deceit.

The psalm shifts to lamentation of the psalmist’s circumstances in verses 5 and 6: ‘Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.’ The locations Mesech and Kedar, interpreted as symbolic of barbarous and hostile lands, metaphorically represent the psalmist’s alienation in a world filled with deceit and conflict. The psalmist feels like an outsider, weary from living among those who oppose peace. This sense of alienation expresses the psalmist’s longing for a different, more harmonious existence.

In the final verse, the psalmist declares, ‘I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.’ This stark contrast between the psalmist’s desire for peace and the reality of war encapsulates the central theme of the psalm – the struggle between truth and falsehood, peace and conflict. It underscores the challenges faced by those who seek peace in a world marred by strife and deception.

Psalm 120 can be seen as a microcosm of human experience, with themes of honesty, conflict, alienation and yearning for peace. Powerful imagery and heartfelt pleas resonate with anyone who has ever felt besieged by falsehood or longing for a more truthful and peaceful existence. The psalm’s structure, oscillating between personal lament and universal longing, allows it to transcend time and culture, speaking to the core of the human condition.

Psalm 120 | Song Of Ascents

Psalm 120 is an introduction to the Songs of Ascents, setting the stage for a spiritual journey. This journey is not just a physical pilgrimage to Jerusalem but also a metaphorical journey towards spiritual growth and enlightenment. Each subsequent psalm builds on this theme, exploring various facets of human life and the soul’s journey toward God.

In a broader theological context, Psalm 120 illustrates the essential role of prayer in seeking divine guidance and intervention. The psalmist’s direct appeal to God demonstrates a profound faith in the Almighty’s ability to deliver and protect. This act of turning to God in times of distress is a foundational aspect of many religious traditions and underscores the importance of faith and reliance on a higher power.

Psalm 120 | King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version

In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.

Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?

Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.

Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!

My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.

I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalm 120 KJV Audio | King James Audio Bible | King James Version | Word Aloud | Oliver Peers

Jesus Is Lord | Psalms | King James Audio Bible

Psalm 120 | King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version

  • Cry For Deliverance: The psalmist’s urgent plea to God for rescue from distress, highlighting a deep yearning for divine intervention in times of trouble.
  • Conflict With Deceit: A strong emphasis on the struggle against lies and deceitful speech, portraying the pain and turmoil caused by dishonesty and false accusations.
  • Desire For Peace: A profound longing for peace in the midst of conflict and hostility, underscoring the psalmist’s inclination towards harmony over discord.
  • Sense Of Alienation: Feelings of isolation and being an outsider in a hostile environment, as symbolized by the references to Mesech and Kedar, places perceived as distant or foreign.
  • Contrast Between Peace And War: The stark contrast between the psalmist’s peaceful intentions and the aggressive, war-like stance of others, highlighting the tension between the desire for peace and the reality of conflict.
  • Dependence On God: The psalmist’s reliance on God for protection and justice, indicating a deep faith in divine power and righteousness.
  • Symbolism And Imagery: Use of vivid imagery, such as ‘sharp arrows’ and ‘coals of juniper’, to convey the harmful impact of deceitful words and actions.
  • Human Struggle And Resilience: The psalm reflects the universal human experience of dealing with adversity, maintaining integrity in the face of deceit, and the resilience required to continue seeking truth and peace.
  • Introduction To The Songs Of Ascents: Setting the tone for the subsequent collection of psalms, which are characterized by themes of journeying, both physically and spiritually, towards a state of higher understanding and closer relationship with God.

Psalm 120 KJV Audio | King James Audio Bible | King James Version | Word Aloud | Oliver Peers

Jesus Is Lord | Psalms | King James Audio Bible