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scripture

 

PSALM 84*

Prayer of a Pilgrim to Jerusalem

1For the leader; “upon the gittith.” A psalm of the Korahites.

I

2How lovely your dwelling,

O LORD of hosts!a

3My soul yearns and pines

for the courts of the LORD.b

My heart and flesh cry out

for the living God.

4*As the sparrow finds a home

and the swallow a nest to settle her young,

My home is by your altars,

LORD of hosts, my king and my God!c

5Blessed are those who dwell in your house!

They never cease to praise you.

Selah

II

6Blessed the man who finds refuge in you,

in their hearts are pilgrim roads.

7As they pass through the Baca valley,*

they find spring water to drink.

The early rain covers it with blessings.

8They will go from strength to strength*

and see the God of gods on Zion.

III

9LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;

listen, God of Jacob.

Selah

10*O God, watch over our shield;

look upon the face of your anointed.d

IV

11Better one day in your courts

than a thousand elsewhere.

Better the threshold of the house of my God

than a home in the tents of the wicked.

12For a sun and shield is the LORD God,

bestowing all grace and glory.

The LORD withholds no good thing

from those who walk without reproach.

13O LORD of hosts,

blessed the man who trusts in you!

* [Psalm 84] Israelites celebrated three pilgrimage feasts in Jerusalem annually. The Psalm expresses the sentiments of the pilgrims eager to enjoy the divine presence.

* [84:4] The desire of a restless bird for a secure home is an image of the desire of a pilgrim for the secure house of God, cf. Ps 42:23, where the image for the desire of the pilgrim is the thirst of the deer for water.

* [84:7] Baca valley: Hebrew obscure; probably a valley on the way to Jerusalem.

* [84:8] Strength to strength: pass through outer and inner wall.

* [84:10] Our shield…your anointed: the king had a role in the liturgical celebration. For the king as shield, cf. Ps 89:19.

a. [84:2] Ps 43:34; 122:1.

b. [84:3] Ps 42:23; 63:23; 143:6; Is 26:9.

c. [84:4] Ps 5:3.

d. [84:10] Ps 89:19.




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