I was glad when they said to me: Let us go to the house of the Lord! (Psalm 122:1-9)

51 Custom

Psalm 122 is a part of the Songs of Ascents, which is a collection of psalms (Psalms 120-134) sung by pilgrims as they ascended to Jerusalem for the three major Jewish festivals. Psalm 122, attributed to David, expresses joy and reverence for Jerusalem as a place of worship and divine presence.

The psalmist begins by expressing joy when called to go to the house of the Lord, signifying eagerness and delight in worship. The initial verse employs the Hebrew term שָׂמַח [samach], meaning "to rejoice" or "be glad," capturing the psalmist's joy at the prospect of worship in Jerusalem. Upon arriving, they stand within Jerusalem's gates, which is a moment of fulfillment and reverence.

Jerusalem is described as a city compactly built together, symbolizing unity and strength. It is a place where tribes go up, as decreed, to praise the Lord's name according to the law of Israel. This highlights the centrality of Jerusalem in Jewish religious life. Here the divine presence is especially manifest, and people gather to fulfill religious duties. It symbolizes God's covenant with Israel, serving as a focal point for worship, justice, and communal unity.

The psalmist urges prayers for the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem, linking the city's welfare with the happiness of its people. The term שָׁלוֹם [shalom], meaning "peace," "wholeness," or "well-being," is a central theme. The psalmist's prayer for Jerusalem's peace reflects a deep yearning for divine blessing and protection over the city, linking its welfare to the well-being of the people.

The psalm concludes with a pledge of peace and prosperity for Jerusalem's sake, underscoring the speaker's devotion to the city not only as a political capital but as a spiritual home.


Word Meaning
שִׁיר song
הַ definite article
מַעֲלָה ascent, step, stair
לְ to
דָּוִד David
שׂמח rejoice
בְּ in
אמר to say
אֲנִי I
בַּיִת house; family; interior

Biblical text

122:1שִׁ֥יר הַֽמַּעֲל֗וֹת לְדָ֫וִ֥ד שָׂ֭מַחְתִּי בְּאֹמְרִ֣ים לִ֑י בֵּ֖ית יְהוָ֣ה נֵלֵֽךְ׃2עֹ֭מְדוֹת הָי֣וּ רַגְלֵ֑ינוּ בִּ֝שְׁעָרַ֗יִךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָֽם׃3יְרוּשָׁלִַ֥ם הַבְּנוּיָ֑ה כְּ֝עִ֗יר שֶׁחֻבְּרָה־לָּ֥הּ יַחְדָּֽו׃4שֶׁשָּׁ֨ם עָל֪וּ שְׁבָטִ֡ים שִׁבְטֵי־יָ֭הּ עֵד֣וּת לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לְ֝הֹד֗וֹת לְשֵׁ֣ם יְהוָֽה׃5כִּ֤י שָׁ֨מָּה ׀ יָשְׁב֣וּ כִסְא֣וֹת לְמִשְׁפָּ֑ט כִּ֝סְא֗וֹת לְבֵ֣ית דָּוִֽיד׃6שַׁ֭אֲלוּ שְׁל֣וֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָ֑ם יִ֝שְׁלָ֗יוּ אֹהֲבָֽיִךְ׃7יְהִֽי־שָׁל֥וֹם בְּחֵילֵ֑ךְ שַׁ֝לְוָ֗ה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָֽיִךְ׃8לְ֭מַעַן אַחַ֣י וְרֵעָ֑י אֲדַבְּרָה־נָּ֖א שָׁל֣וֹם בָּֽךְ׃9לְ֭מַעַן בֵּית־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ אֲבַקְשָׁ֖ה ט֣וֹב לָֽךְ׃