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The Songs of Ascent I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Psalm 122:1-2. Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives (from the east). The Songs of Ascent . Psalms 120-134

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The Songs of Ascent

I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Psalm 122:1-2



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The Songs of Ascent the east)

Psalms 120-134

Also: Pilgrim Songs, Songs of Degrees or Gradual Psalms

So named because the pilgrim Israelites sang them as they traveled from their homes all over the land and ascended Mt. Zion/Jerusalem (2600’) for the annual feasts (Lev. 23)

Meant to provide travel inspiration

“A Song of Ascents” – superscription found in all 15

Expresses the confidence & hope of worshippers

David composed at least four of these 15 psalms (Pss. 122, 124, 131, and 133). Solomon wrote one (Ps. 127), and the remaining 10 are anonymous.


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The Songs of Ascent the east)

Jerusalem (Zion) is prominently mentioned in these psalms:

"Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem" (122:2)

"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion" (125:1)

"When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed" (126:1)

"May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life” (128:5)

"May all who hate Zion be turned back in shame" (129:5)

"The Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling" (132:13).


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The Songs of Ascent the east)

Peace is an important concept in the Songs of Ascents.

Two psalms end with the blessing: "Peace (shalom) be upon Israel" (125:5; 128:6).

Psalm 122 is a prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.

God’s protection is another theme of these psalms:

"The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore" (121:8)

"As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore" (125:2)

"Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain" (127:1).


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The Songs of Ascent the east)

Two consecutive songs of ascent mention the blessing of children:

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them" (127:3-5)

"Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table" (128:3).


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The Songs of Ascent the east)

The Songs of Ascents are short and average about seven verses, whereas in Psalms as a whole, the average psalm length is about 16 verses.

But for all their brevity, they are profoundly inspirational.

The returning exiles may have sung: "Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him" (Psalm 126:4-6). The last verse became the basis of the famous hymn "Bringing in the Sheaves." Similarly, a popular Hebrew folk song is based on Psalm 133:1, which proclaims: "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" Psalm 134 provides a fitting conclusion to this collection: "Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord. May the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion" (vs. 1-3).


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The Festivals in Zion the east)

  • Hebrew calendar originally began in the spring

  • Once in the land the beginning of the calendar moved to the fall festivals

  • The worship calendar contained three pilgrimages: (spring, early summer, fall)

  • The festivals were characterized by rejoicing, sacrifices, psalms, special and ceremony particular to each fest.


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The Festivals in Zion the east)

The Hebrew Calendar (original order):

  • Purim: from Esther

  • Passover or Feast of Unleavened Bread

  • Firstfruits (with Feast of Unleavened Bread)

  • Pentecost (Feast of Weeks; Shabouth)

  • Rosh Hashanah (beginning of new calendar)

  • Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

  • Booths or Feast of Tabernacles/Ingathering


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The Hallel Psalms the east)

Psalms 113-118 form the Hallel, the Hymns of Praise, which were to be sung at the Festivals of Passover, Pentecost, & Tabernacles, as well as the Festival of the Dedication and New Moons.  At a domestic celebration of the Passover, Psalms 113 and 114 would be sung before the meal, and Psalms 115‑118 after it, when the fourth cup had been filled.  Psalm 118, at least, was probably the hymn sung by Jesus and His disciples in the upper room at their Passover supper (Matt. 26:30; Mk. 14:26).


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Psalm 113:1-3 the east)

“Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD. Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised.”


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The Hallel Psalms the east)

Psalm 113 is a psalm of praise for the Lord's greatness and grace.  Anyone who knows of the incarnation could not miss the obvious parallels between the psalm and that doctrine.  It is the nature of the LORD to come down in order to exalt the helpless and the weak.  

Psalm 114 celebrates the Exodus from Egypt, and so is altogether appropriate at Passover, or any other national Festival.  It declares how God delivered His people with miraculous intervention, calling for the earth to tremble at His presence. 

Psalm 115 was apparently written in a time of national humiliation.  It is a prayer for the Lord to vindicate His honor by delivering His people.  The psalm contrasts the powerless gods of the pagans, who drag down their worshippers to their level of impotence and senselessness, with the sovereign Lord who is omnipotent.  Israel’s sense of her own need adds to the call for faith in Him.


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The Hallel Psalms the east)

Psalm 116 is a psalm that praises the Lord for answered prayer and promises lifelong praise for it.  The psalmist can look forward to a long, tranquil life because the Lord proved Himself gracious to him.  The psalmist had not lost faith in the great time of trouble, and so can now praise the Lord and edify others.  The psalm is praise for deliverance from imminent danger of death. 

Psalm 117 is a call for praise for the Lord's loyal love and truth.  Some have suggested that this short passage served as a doxology in the use at the Festivals.  At any rate, it is used by Paul in Romans 15:11 to show that the grace of God was extended to Gentiles. 

Psalm 118, perhaps the grandest of the Hallel psalms, is filled with significant theology and typology. Note 118:22-29!!


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Psalm 150 the east)

Psalm 150 is the finale in the Psalms’ concluding “praise-fest” known as the Hallelujah Psalms (146-150)

Psalm 150 is the last of the 150 psalms found in the psalter

“Hallelujah” begins & ends each of these final 5 psalms.

33% of the “praise” terms in the entire Book of Psalms occurs in these final 5 psalms.

Musically, Psalm 150 is the crescendo of the Psalms, the climatic end of the inspired hymnal. 13 usages of “praise”

Psalm 150 is the final doxology of the Psalms. Its message is simple and action-oriented:

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!


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Psalm 150 the east)

1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse.

2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

3 Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre.

4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.

5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!


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Psalm 150 the east)

The Call (150:1)

The Cause (150:2)

The Celebration (150:3-5)

The Culmination (150:6)


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Psalm 150 the east)

THE CALL: 150:1

1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse.


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Psalm 150 the east)

THE CAUSE: 150:2

2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.


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Psalm 150 the east)

THE CELEBRATION: 150:3-5

3 Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre.

4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.

5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.


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Psalm 150:6 the east)

The Culmination: 150:6

The Psalms’ Final Words:

Let everything that has breath give praise to the LORD! Hallelujah!


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“LORD” in Psalm 150:6 the east)

יהוה

YHWH

Yahweh

Yah


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“Praise the LORD” in Psalm 150:6 the east)

Hy w llh

Hallel u yah



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“Praise” in Psalm 150:6 the east)

Deep acknowledgement of Superiority or Greatness

Commend for a Reason

Exalt; Lift up

“Bragging on somebody for something”

Articulate the Particulars!


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“Praise” in Psalm 150:6 the east)

Examples of Praise:

Sarah's beauty (Gen. 12:15)

Tyre’s wealth (Ezek. 26:17)

Good wife’s works (Prov. 31:31)


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“Praise” in Psalm 150:6 the east)

“In any area of life one naturally praises what one appreciates; in fact, the praise is part of the enjoyment. It does not matter whether it is sports, flowers, sunsets, children, cars, great books, or anything else. To enjoy something fully one must speak of it.”

C.S. Lewis

Reflections in the Psalms


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Psalm 150:6 the east)

Let everything that has breath give praise to the LORD! Halleluyah!


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Psalms Bible Study: 7:00-8:45pm the east)

June 10 Intro & Psalm1

June 17 Psalm 2

June 24 NO CLASS

July 1 Psalm 63

July 8 Psalm 23

July 15 Psalms (Songs) of Ascent

Hallel Psalms

Hallelujah Psalms

Psalm 150


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