120 1-2 I’m in trouble. I cry to God,
desperate for an answer:
“Deliver me from the liars, God!
They smile so sweetly but lie through their teeth.”
3-4 Do you know what’s next, can you see what’s coming,
all you bold-faced liars?
Pointed arrows and burning coals
will be your reward.
5-7 I’m doomed to live in Meshech,
cursed with a home in Kedar,
My whole life lived camping
among quarreling neighbors.
I’m all for peace, but the minute
I tell them so, they go to war!
121 1-2 I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
3-4 He won’t let you stumble,
your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
Guardian will never doze or sleep.
5-6 God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.
7-8 God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.
122 1-2 When they said, “Let’s go to the house of God,”
my heart leaped for joy.
And now we’re here, O Jerusalem,
inside Jerusalem’s walls!
3-5 Jerusalem, well-built city,
built as a place for worship!
The city to which the tribes ascend,
all God’s tribes go up to worship,
To give thanks to the name of God—
this is what it means to be Israel.
Thrones for righteous judgment
are set there, famous David-thrones.
6-9 Pray for Jerusalem’s peace!
Prosperity to all you Jerusalem-lovers!
Friendly insiders, get along!
Hostile outsiders, keep your distance!
For the sake of my family and friends,
I say it again: live in peace!
For the sake of the house of our God, God,
I’ll do my very best for you.
123 1-4 I look to you, heaven-dwelling God,
look up to you for help.
Like servants, alert to their master’s commands,
like a maiden attending her lady,
We’re watching and waiting, holding our breath,
awaiting your word of mercy.
Mercy, God, mercy!
We’ve been kicked around long enough,
Kicked in the teeth by complacent rich men,
kicked when we’re down by arrogant brutes.
124 1-5 If God hadn’t been for us
—all together now, Israel, sing out!—
If God hadn’t been for us
when everyone went against us,
We would have been swallowed alive
by their violent anger,
Swept away by the flood of rage,
drowned in the torrent;
We would have lost our lives
in the wild, raging water.
6 Oh, blessed be God!
He didn’t go off and leave us.
He didn’t abandon us defenseless,
helpless as a rabbit in a pack of snarling dogs.
7 We’ve flown free from their fangs,
free of their traps, free as a bird.
Their grip is broken;
we’re free as a bird in flight.
8 God’s strong name is our help,
the same God who made heaven and earth.
125 1-5 Those who trust in God
are like Zion Mountain:
Nothing can move it, a rock-solid mountain
you can always depend on.
Mountains encircle Jerusalem,
and God encircles his people—
always has and always will.
The fist of the wicked
will never violate
What is due the righteous,
provoking wrongful violence.
Be good to your good people, God,
to those whose hearts are right!
God will round up the backsliders,
corral them with the incorrigibles.
Peace over Israel!
126 1-3 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
“God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.
4-6 And now, God, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout “Yes!” at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
127 1-2 If God doesn’t build the house,
the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?
3-5 Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.
128 1-2 All you who fear God, how blessed you are!
how happily you walk on his smooth straight road!
You worked hard and deserve all you’ve got coming.
Enjoy the blessing! Soak in the goodness!
3-4 Your wife will bear children as a vine bears grapes,
your household lush as a vineyard,
The children around your table
as fresh and promising as young olive shoots.
Stand in awe of God’s Yes.
Oh, how he blesses the one who fears God!
5-6 Enjoy the good life in Jerusalem
every day of your life.
And enjoy your grandchildren.
Peace to Israel!
129 1-4 “They’ve kicked me around ever since I was young”
—this is how Israel tells it—
“They’ve kicked me around ever since I was young,
but they never could keep me down.
Their plowmen plowed long furrows
up and down my back;
But God wouldn’t put up with it,
he sticks with us.
Then God ripped the harnesses
of the evil plowmen to shreds.”
5-8 Oh, let all those who hate Zion
grovel in humiliation;
Let them be like grass in shallow ground
that withers before the harvest,
Before the farmhands can gather it in,
the harvesters get in the crop,
Before the neighbors have a chance to call out,
“Congratulations on your wonderful crop!
We bless you in God’s name!”
130 1-2 Help, God—I’ve hit rock bottom!
Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
Listen to my cries for mercy.
3-4 If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
and that’s why you’re worshiped.
5-6 I pray to God—my life a prayer—
and wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
waiting and watching till morning,
waiting and watching till morning.
7-8 O Israel, wait and watch for God—
with God’s arrival comes love,
with God’s arrival comes generous redemption.
No doubt about it—he’ll redeem Israel,
buy back Israel from captivity to sin.
131 God, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
or fantasized grandiose plans.
2 I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
my soul is a baby content.
3 Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope.
Hope now; hope always!
132 1-5 O God, remember David,
remember all his troubles!
And remember how he promised God,
made a vow to the Strong God of Jacob,
“I’m not going home,
and I’m not going to bed,
I’m not going to sleep,
not even take time to rest,
Until I find a home for God,
a house for the Strong God of Jacob.”
6-7 Remember how we got the news in Ephrathah,
learned all about it at Jaar Meadows?
We shouted, “Let’s go to the shrine dedication!
Let’s worship at God’s own footstool!”
8-10 Up, God, enjoy your new place of quiet repose,
you and your mighty covenant ark;
Get your priests all dressed up in justice;
prompt your worshipers to sing this prayer:
“Honor your servant David;
don’t disdain your anointed one.”
11-18 God gave David his word,
he won’t back out on this promise:
“One of your sons
I will set on your throne;
If your sons stay true to my Covenant
and learn to live the way I teach them,
Their sons will continue the line—
always a son to sit on your throne.
Yes—I, God, chose Zion,
the place I wanted for my shrine;
This will always be my home;
this is what I want, and I’m here for good.
I’ll shower blessings on the pilgrims who come here,
and give supper to those who arrive hungry;
I’ll dress my priests in salvation clothes;
the holy people will sing their hearts out!
Oh, I’ll make the place radiant for David!
I’ll fill it with light for my anointed!
I’ll dress his enemies in dirty rags,
but I’ll make his crown sparkle with splendor.”
133 1-3 How wonderful, how beautiful,
when brothers and sisters get along!
It’s like costly anointing oil
flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard,
flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon
flowing down the slopes of Zion.
Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing,
ordains eternal life.
134 1-3 Come, bless God,
all you servants of God!
You priests of God, posted to the nightwatch
in God’s shrine,
Lift your praising hands to the Holy Place,
and bless God.
In turn, may God of Zion bless you—
God who made heaven and earth!