120 In my trouble I cried to the Lord, And He answered me. 2 Rescue my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, And from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, You deceitful tongue?— 4 Sharp arrows of the warrior, With the [b]burning coals of the broom tree.
5 Woe to me, for I sojourn in Meshech, and I live among the tents of Kedar [among hostile people]! 6 Too long my soul has had its dwelling With those who hate peace. 7 I am for peace, but when I speak, They are for war.
Psalm 120:1It is possible that the fifteen psalms (chs 120-134) known as the “Songs of Degrees or Ascents” were sung by the caravans of pilgrims going up to attend the annual feasts at Jerusalem. But it is equally possible that the title has reference to some peculiarity in connection with the music or the manner of using it.
Psalm 120:4The ancient rabbis explained that coals from a broom tree are unusual in that they continue burning on the inside even after they are extinguished on the outside. They compared this to a person who listens to slander: even if you try to persuade him otherwise and he seems to be convinced, he is still “burning” on the inside, i.e. still unconvinced.