The psalmist prays to God to deliver him from false and malicious tongues. (1-4) He complains of wicked neighbours. (5-7)
Verses 1-4 The psalmist was brought into great distress by a deceitful tongue. May every good man be delivered from lying lips. They forged false charges against him. In this distress, he sought God by fervent prayer. God can bridle their tongues. He obtained a gracious answer to this prayer. Surely sinners durst not act as they do, if they knew, and would be persuaded to think, what will be in the end thereof. The terrors of the Lord are his arrows; and his wrath is compared to burning coals of juniper, which have a fierce heat, and keep fire very long. This is the portion of the false tongue; for all that love and make a lie, shall have their portion in the lake that burns eternally.
Verses 5-7 It is very grievous to a good man, to be cast into, and kept in the company of the wicked, from whom he hopes to be for ever separated. See here the character of a good man; he is for living peaceably with all men. And let us follow David as he prefigured Christ; in our distress let us cry unto the Lord, and he will hear us. Let us follow after peace and holiness, striving to overcome evil with good.
Psalms 120:1-7 . This is the first of fifteen Psalms (Psalms 120-134) entitled "A Song of Degrees" ( Psalms 121:1 --literally, "A song for the degrees"), or ascents. It seems most probable they were designed for the use of the people when going up (compare 1 Kings 12:27 1 Kings 12:28 ) to Jerusalem on the festival occasions ( Deuteronomy 16:16 ), three times a year. David appears as the author of four, Solomon of one ( Psalms 127:1 ), and the other ten are anonymous, probably composed after the captivity. In this Psalm the writer acknowledges God's mercy, prays for relief from a malicious foe, whose punishment he anticipates, and then repeats his complaint.
2, 3. Slander and deceit charged on his foes implies his innocence.
tongue--as in Psalms 52:2 Psalms 52:4 .
4. Sharp arrows of the mighty--destructive inflictions.
coals of juniper--which retain heat long. This verse may be read as a description of the wicked, but better as their punishment, in reply to the question of Psalms 120:3 .
5. A residence in these remote lands pictures his miserable condition.
6, 7. While those who surrounded him were maliciously hostile, he was disposed to peace. This Psalm may well begin such a series as this, as a contrast to the promised joys of God's worship.