An exhortation to praise
A Song of degrees.
Psalm 134: Though the first song of degrees found the psalmist in the dire straits of alien territory, this last one finds God’s servants serving Him day and night in His house. The psalm is apparently antiphonal: the people call on the priests to bless the Lord (verse 1-2); the priests respond by pronouncing a blessing on the people (verse 3).
Verses 1-3 (see note on Psalm 120:1-7). This final song in the “songs of ascent” seems to picture the worshipers exhorting the priests to continued faithfulness (134:1-2), while the priests bestow a final blessing on the faithful as the feast ends and the pilgrims depart Zion for home (134:3).
- Exhortation to Faithfulness (134:1-2);
- Solicitation of Blessing (134:3).
Verses 1-2: The final Song of Ascent pictures the pilgrim arriving at the temple. “Stand in the house of the Lord” is a technical expression that signifies some type of official service in the sanctuary. The lifting up of “hands” is properly expressive of prayer, but the phrase may be used to denote praise or worship in general.
Psalm 134:1 “Behold, bless ye the LORD, all [ye] servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.”
“Servants”: Levites who ministered to God’s people.
“By night”: The burnt offerings continued day and night (compare Lev. 6:8-13), as did the Levitical service (compare 1 Chron. 9:33).
“House of the LORD”: Refers to the tabernacle up to the time of David (Exodus 23:19; 2 Sam. 12:20), and to the temple from Solomon on (1 Kings 9:10).
The eyes cannot behold the glorious things of the Lord. Stop, look and take notice. What blessings belong to the LORD who created all? These servants of the LORD are believers of all ages with faithful Abraham. It is even more directed to the Christians. Notice, standing indicates a steadfastness. We are not sitting in laziness, but standing.
Psalm 134:2 “Lift up your hands [in] the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.”
“Lift up your hands”: A common Old Testament praise practice (compare Psalms 28:2; 63:4; 119:48; 14:1-2; Lam. 2:19), which was understood figuratively in the New Testament (1 Tim. 2:8)
When you lift up your hands to the Lord, you are recognizing Him as the object of your worship. It shows our humbleness of heart to the Deity who is above all. When you do this, open your hands with palms upward for the LORD to fill your hands. The angels in heaven cry Holy, Holy, Holy. The saints in the church here can do no less. He is my God, and I will praise Him. God inhabits the praises of His people.
Psalm 134:3 “The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.”
“The LORD”: The Creator blesses His human creation.
“Bless thee out of Zion”: Since God’s presence resided in the tabernacle/temple on Zion, from a human perspective it would be the source of divine blessing.
This is like a benediction being poured out on the people from the church (Zion). The true source of the blessing is from God. The minister in charge is acting as God’s agent here on the earth, as they speak this blessing on all people.
Psalm 134 Questions
- Quote Psalm 134:1.
- What are we told to do in verse 2 in the sanctuary?
- How does the author suggest that you do this, and why?
- What is 134:3?