Psalms 121:1

1 I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?

Psalms 121:1 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 121:1

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills
Not to the hills and mountains in Judea, looking about to see if the inhabitants of them, or any bodies of men, appeared upon them to his help in distress; rather to the hills of Moriah and Zion, where the ark of God, the symbol of his presence, was, and to whom he looked for assistance and deliverance: or to heaven, the holy hill of the Lord, and to him that dwelleth there; see ( Psalms 3:2 ) ( 123:1 ) . The lifting up of the eyes is a prayer gesture, ( John 11:41 ) ( 17:1 ) ; and is expressive of boldness and confidence in prayer, and of hope and expectation of help and salvation, ( Job 11:15 ) ( Ezekiel 18:6 ) ; when, on the contrary, persons abashed and ashamed, hopeless and helpless, cannot look up, or lift up their eyes or face to God, ( Ezra 9:6 ) ( Psalms 40:12 ) ( Luke 18:13 ) . Some read the words, "I will lift up mine eyes upon the hills" F6; standing there and looking up to the heavens, and God in the heavens; who is the most High over all the earth, higher than the highest, and above all gods. Others render them interrogatively, "shall I lift up mine eyes to the hills?"


F7 to the idols worshipped on hills and mountains, and pray unto them, and expect help from them? No, I will not; salvation is not to be had from them, ( Jeremiah 3:23 ) ; or to the kings of the nations, as R. Obadiah interprets it; and to powerful kingdoms and states he was in alliance with, comparable to mountains and hills, ( Psalms 46:2 ) ( Zechariah 4:7 ) ? No, I will not; "it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes", ( Psalms 118:9 ) . And so the following clause may be read,

from whence shall my help come?
F8 not from hills and mountains; not from men, for vain is the help of man; not from kings and princes, the great men of the earth, nor from the most powerful nations; but from the Lord, as in ( Psalms 121:2 ) , which may be an answer to this.

F6 (Myrhh la) "super montes", Vatablus, Amama; so Kimchi.
F7 (ynye ava) "attollerem oculos meos ad illos montes?" Junius & Tremellius; "attollamne" Piscator; so Gejerus and Ainsworth.
F8 So Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Michaelis.

Psalms 121:1 In-Context

1 I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
2 No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
3 He won't let you stumble, your Guardian God won't fall asleep.
4 Not on your life! Israel's Guardian will never doze or sleep.
5 God's your Guardian, right at your side to protect you -

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Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.