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Psalms 120:5-7

Context

120:5 How miserable I am! 1 

For I have lived temporarily 2  in Meshech;

I have resided among the tents of Kedar. 3 

120:6 For too long I have had to reside

with those who hate 4  peace.

120:7 I am committed to peace, 5 

but when I speak, they want to make war. 6 

1 tn Or “woe to me.” The Hebrew term אוֹיָה (’oyah, “woe”) which occurs only here, is an alternate form of אוֹי (’oy).

2 tn Heb “I live as a resident alien.”

3 sn Meshech was located in central Anatolia (modern Turkey). Kedar was located in the desert to east-southeast of Israel. Because of the reference to Kedar, it is possible that Ps 120:5 refers to a different Meshech, perhaps one associated with the individual mentioned as a descendant of Aram in 1 Chr 1:17. (However, the LXX in 1 Chr 1:17 follows the parallel text in Gen 10:23, which reads “Mash,” not Meshech.) It is, of course, impossible that the psalmist could have been living in both the far north and the east at the same time. For this reason one must assume that he is recalling his experience as a wanderer among the nations or that he is using the geographical terms metaphorically and sarcastically to suggest that the enemies who surround him are like the barbarians who live in these distant regions. For a discussion of the problem, see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 146.

4 tn The singular participial form probably has a representative function here. The psalmist envisions the typical hater of peace who represents the entire category of such individuals.

5 tn Heb “I, peace.”

6 tn Heb “they [are] for war.”



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