Monday, April 9, 2012

Mondays with the New Psalms: Psalm 121 (120)

Psalm 121

1 A song of ascents.
I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
From whence shall come my help?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not allow your foot to slip;
or your guardian to sleep.
4 Behold, the guardian of Israel
never slumbers nor sleeps.

5 The LORD is your guardian;
the LORD is your shade
at your right hand.
6 By day the sun will not strike you,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will guard you from all evil;
he will guard your soul.
8 The LORD will guard your coming and going
both now and forever.


1 A song of Ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains;
from where shall come my help?
2 My help shall come from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

3 He will keep your foot from stumbling.
Your guard will never slumber.
4 No, he sleeps not nor slumbers,
Israel’s guard.

5 The LORD your guard, the LORD your shade
at your right hand.
6 By day the sun shall not smite you,
nor the moon in the night.

7 The LORD will guard you from evil;
he will guard your soul.
8 The LORD will guard your going and coming,
both now and forever.

--Revised Grail Psalms

NABRE Notes:
[Psalm 121] A blessing given to someone embarking on a dangerous journey whether a soldier going on a campaign or a pilgrim returning home from the Temple. People look anxiously at the wooded hills. Will God protect them on their journey (Ps 121:1)? The speaker declares that God is not confined to a place or a time (Ps 121:2), that every step is guarded (Ps 121:3–4); night and day (Ps 121:5–6) God watches over their every movement (Ps 121:7–8).

[121:1] The mountains: possibly Mount Zion, the site of the Temple and hence of safety, but more probably mountains as a place of dangers, causing anxiety to the psalmist.

[121:5–6] The image of shade, a symbol of protection, is apt: God as shade protects from the harmful effects that ancients believed were caused by the sun and moon.


Dan Z. said...

On this one, I prefer the NABRE. It is clearer and flows better than the Grail, which has an awkwardness to it.

rolf said...

I agree with Dan Z. The NABRE reads smoother, it flows well!

Russ said...


I like the NABRE, although I don't much care for the "whence" that's used. However, the Psalmist immediately calls to mind Genesis 1:1 and the profession of faith with his "maker of heaven and earth" declaration.

Chrysostom said...

I like them both here (I probably would give a minor edge to the NABRE, even with the notes), but I much prefer the RSV-2CE, ESV, or KJV to all of them:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:
he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel
shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

The NCPB has proper versification, which is a major gripe of mine in the standard KJV (and DRC) Psalms: verse-per-paragraph settings make poetry read very, very poorly.