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ayin jade

Psalm 133

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ayin jade    16,709

I had a tooth removed this past week so I opted for a short psalm to study. Real short. 

 

Psalms 133

This psalm is entitled “A Song of Degrees of David.” There is no reason to doubt the correctness of the inscription. As to the occasion on which the psalm was composed, however, we have no information. Perhaps there was nothing special in the occasion which called it forth, since it may have been written at any time to set forth the beauty and the power of brotherly love. It may have been composed either for the service of the people when gathered in their annual festivals, or in view of the harmony - the beauty and order - evinced when they were thus gathered together.

The psalm is an illustration, in beautiful language, of brotherly love, particularly in regard to its calm, and gentle, and sweet influence - like the ointment which flowed down from the head of the anointed priest, or like the gentle dew on Hermon or Zion. It is a psalm applicable alike to a church; to family; to a gathering of friends.

There are different opinions concerning this Psalm. One scholar believes that the most probable explanation is that it represents the priests and Levites returned from captivity, and united in the service of God in the sanctuary. This, the preceding, and the following, appear to make one subject. In the one hundred and thirty-second, the Lord is entreated to enter his temple, and pour out his benediction; in the one hundred and thirty-third, the beautiful order and harmony of the temple service is pointed out, and in the one hundred and thirty-fourth, all are exhorted to diligence and watchfulness in the performance of their duty. Other opinions include: when all the tribes of Israel united and chose and anointed him king over them, 2Sa 5:1  And all the tribes of Israel came to David, to Hebron, and spoke, saying, Behold, we are your bone and your flesh.; when the rebellion of his son Absalom was quelled, and all the tribes of Israel strove who should first bring back the king, and show the greatest zeal and loyalty to him, 2Sa_19:9-10; it was prophetic, and to have respect to the union of the tribes after the Babylonish captivity, who had been disunited in the times of Rehoboam, but now were no more two nations and kingdoms; Eze_37:16-17 And you, son of man, take a stick and write on it, For Judah and for his companions, the sons of Israel. And take another stick and write on it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and all the house of Israel, his companions.  And join them to one another into one stick. And they shall become one in your hand.; to the first times of the Gospel, when the Christians were of one heart and of one soul, Act 4:32  And the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul. And not one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own. But they had all things common. It may indeed be applied to any community, civil or religious, that is in peace and unity: and no doubt the design of David was to promote peace and harmony among his subjects; and love and affection in his family, among his children, brethren one of another, and of Solomon; who was to be his heir and successor, and under whose government it would be well for them to live peaceably and quietly. Others refer the psalm to the times of the Messiah, and take it to be a prediction of the peace and concord between the King Messiah and the priest, of which Zerubbabel and Joshua were types (see my study on typology if you do not understand what this means); Zec 6:13  Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Psa 133:1  A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

A Song of Degrees - Literally, "of ascents." Perhaps chanted by the people as they went up to Jerusalem to the feasts.

Behold - The word Behold suggests that some special manifestation of unity was taking place under the psalmist’s eyes. We must not only be one in God’s purpose, but must be willing to dwell together, that is, to manifest our unity in outward action.

dwelling together in unity – It includes serving one another in love, and it has often to be cemented by forgiveness. Now, such calls for special notice. “Behold.” And it is “good.” For it is God’s will for us. It obeys the new command of Christ. It is one of the chief proofs of our discipleship. It makes the communion of saints good and edifying.

dwelling together in unity – dwelling together in unity also makes the body of believers stronger. Ecc 4:12  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

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ayin jade    16,709

Psa 133:2  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

Precious ointment upon the head – The anointing oil upon Aaron’s head was made of several different compounds, all precious in themselves. Exo 30:23-25  Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. No wonder that the compound was most fragrant. Aaron was not qualified to minister until thus anointed.

Precious ointment upon the head – The oil here specified was very sacred. It was prepared with four ingredients—myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, and cassia. Its composition was thus a skillful union of diverse materials. Here were mingled the bitter, the aromatic, the sweet, the fragrant, substances very dissimilar, all compounded in the pure beaten oil. The prescription was Divine. The mystery and glory of true Christian oneness arises from its composite character. True Christian brotherhood must be sought in spiritual affinity. It is to be of spirits who are “in Christ.” Life in Him is the basis, and variety the charm. The music of the true Church of God is a harmony rather than a melody. The garments of our King smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia, not one fragrance alone. The Word of God is as full of commands to live in unity with the people of the Lord as it is to be separate from the people of the world. Separation from those who are His is as wrong as union with those who are not His. It is the downflowing that is common to both figures in the psalm. The precious ointment flows from head to beard, and from beard to the skirts of the garments. And the dew of lofty Hermon floats down to the mountains of Zion. The oneness of true believers is not to be cultivated amongst a select few, who have attained the lofty heights of some defined doctrinal scheme, but to pour out its fertilizing influence upon the lesser hills of Zion.

It is like the precious ointment upon the head - That is, which was poured upon the head of the high priest, when consecrated to the holy office. The Hebrew is, “the good ointment.” Anointing with oil was common on festivals and joyous occasions (see the notes at Psa_23:5), and hence, it became an emblem of anything joyous, happy, beautiful; and the idea seemed to be carried to the highest degree when it was connected with the anointing of a high priest to the sacred duties of his office. There is no other resemblance between the idea of anointing with oil and that of harmony among brethren than this which is derived from the gladness - the joyousness - connected with such an anointing. The psalmist wished to give the highest idea of the pleasantness of such harmony; and he, therefore, compared it with that which was most beautiful to a pious mind - the idea of a solemn consecration to the highest office of religion.

That ran down upon the beard - Descending from the head upon the long, flowing beard. The idea here is that of copiousness, or abundance - as if so much ointment was poured forth as to descend on the whole person, consecrating the entire man.

Ran down upon the beard - The oil was poured upon the head of Aaron so profusely as to run down upon his garments. It is customary in the east to pour out the oil on the head so profusely as to reach every limb.

Even Aaron’s beard - The word “even” here, introduced by translators, weakens the force and beauty of the comparison. The psalmist had the simple image of Aaron before his mind, without intending to compare him with any other.

that went down to the skirts of his garments – In the Hebrew the holy oil is said to descend upon the mouth of Aaron’s garments. This has suggested a curious ancient comment. By the mouth, which the Chaldaic version translates the speech, is said to be meant the breastplate or Urim and Thummim, which was the mouth of the oracle of God. And in the second figure of the psalm the suggestion is that of descending to come into contact with that which is of higher honor. The unction of holy love is to flow over our utterance. If we think we have the oracles of God we must speak the truth in love. On the lower edge of Aaron’s robe were the golden bells which put forth sweet sounds wherever he went. All the music of our lives is to be sweetened with the consecrating unction of holy affection.

that went down to the skirts of his garments – or, "the mouth" or "opening of his garments"; not the extremity of them, for not so great a quantity of oil was poured upon him; nor would it have been decent to have his clothes thus greased from top to bottom: but the upper part of his garment, the top of the coat, on which the beard lay; the neck or collar of it; the hole in which the head went through when it was put on, about which there was a band, that it might not be rent, Exo_28:32. It appears that David means the superior aperture of the garment, the neck or collar band. This was typical of the grace of the Spirit, the unction from the Holy One; which has been poured on Christ, the head of the church, without measure; and with which he has been anointed above his fellows; and from him it is communicated to all his members; to every one of whom is given grace.

That went down to the skirts of his garments - literally, “to the mouth of his garment.” The idea is that the anointing oil was abundant enough to flow down so as to fall on his entire robe, diffusing a sweet fragrance all around.

The Psalmist gives us two figures. They are the figures of the oil and the dew. Brotherly unity is like “the precious oil upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that came down upon the skirt of his garments.” Brotherly unity is like “the dew of Hermon, that cometh down upon the mountains of Zion.” God Himself pours on men the sacred anointing of His Divine Spirit and the dew of His quickening influences. When His servants are knit together, as they should be, they impart to one another the spiritual gifts received from above. When Christians are truly one as brethren, God’s grace will fructify through each to all.

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ayin jade    16,709

Psa 133:3  As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion - This was not Mount Zion in Jerusalem, but Sion which is a part of Hermon, Deu 4:48  from Aroer, on the edge of the river Arnon, even to Mount Zion, which is Hermon, On this mountain the dew is very copious.

As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion - Hermon was a very high hill beyond Jordan; the Sidonians called it Sirion, and the Amorites Shenir, Deu_3:8; hence Shenir and Hermon are mentioned together, Son_4:8; and sometimes Sion or Seon, Deu_4:48; and is the Zion here intended; for the dew of Hermon could never descend on the mountain of Zion near Jerusalem, which was a hundred miles distant; besides Zion was but one mountain, these many. Hermon was remarkable for its dew.

The mountains of Zion - The mountains of Zion were those that were near to Zion, and not the mountain itself, those that were round about Jerusalem, on which the dew also fell in great plenty; and to which

Even life for evermore - literally, “Life to eternity.” That is, such influences go from that place as to lead to eternal life, or as to secure eternal life. It is in Zion, in his church, that he has made known the way to eternal life, and the means by which it may be obtained.

even life for evermore - the great blessing of all, which includes all others in the promise of the covenant, the blessing of the Gospel; which is in the hands of Christ, and comes through him to all his people; these shall live forever in a happy eternity.

The Lord commanded the blessing - That is, an everlasting life.

for there the Lord commanded the blessing -  if Mount Zion is meant by it, the church, often signified thereby, is the dwelling place of the Lord; here he records his name and blesses; here his word is preached, which is full of blessings; and here ordinances are administered, which are blessed of God to his people.

Unity among brethren is here compared, because it comes from God in heaven, as the dew does. Saints are taught of God to love one another; contentions and quarrels come from lusts within, but this comes from above from the Father; and, because of its gentle nature, this makes men pure, and peaceable, and gentle, and easy to be entreated; as the dew falls gently in a temperate and moderate air, not in stormy and blustering weather: and because of its cooling nature; it allays the heats and animosities in the minds of men; and because it makes the saints fruitful, and to grow and increase in good works;

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