A song of ascents. Of David.
A. The Pilgrim’s Joy
122:1 I [a pilgrim to the Holy City] rejoiced with those [other pilgrims going up to Jerusalem for the feasts] who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord [where God promised to meet His people].”
122:2 Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem [the goal of the pilgrimage; three annual pilgrimages during the feasts of Passover (God’s goodness in the Exodus), Firstfruits (God’s goodness in the Conquest), and Booths (God’s goodness and care throughout Israel’s history); cf. Deut. 16:16].
B. The Pilgrim’s Praise
122:3 Jerusalem [an impressive city to the pilgrims] is built like a city that is closely compacted together [as compared to the villages where the pilgrims came from].
122:4 That is where the tribes [from near and far] go up — the tribes of the Lord [note that they are not described here as the tribes “of Israel” but rather as the tribes “of the Lord”] — to praise the name of the Lord [this was the reason the tribes met together in Jerusalem] according to the statute given to Israel [cf. Deut. 12:5-6; 16:16].
122:5 There stand the thrones [Jerusalem was not only the religious center but also the political center] for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
C. The Pilgrim’s Prayer
122:6 Pray for the peace [more than the absence of strife; refers to health and well-being] of Jerusalem [the city of peace]: “May those who love you be secure.
122:7 May there be peace [JB Phillips notes: “It is doubtful if any city in all the world has so belied its name in the course of its history as Jerusalem. … History records nearly three dozen sieges of Jerusalem.”] within your walls and security [from enemies] within your citadels.”
122:8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”