The servant of the Lord wearing with the strife of tongues 

The title, A Song of Degrees, is also prefixed to the following fourteen psalms. Its certain meaning is lost to us, and conjectures are many. They are thought to be either psalms sung as the Jews made their tri-annual ascent to Jerusalem; or a musical scaling up from each to each; or that the Levites sung one on every step of the fifteen steps up to the courts of the Lord. 

This particular psalm commemorates David’s deliverance from Doeg, and from his deceiving and lying tongue. Our blessed Lord was also subject to this behaviour in His day, and the father of lies especially instigated it. James instructs us to the propensity of the tongue to promote evil and character assassinations. To dwell as David did, and also Christ, among those foreign to godliness and true religion, is a particular affliction. When one knows the peace of God, and the One who is the Prince of Peace, then that stands in stark contrast to the warring, destructive influences of the world. In v. 7, if the italics are left out, it reads, “I peace,” and there is only One who can make that claim.

Psalm 120

 1  In my distress to God I cried,
       and he gave ear to me.
 2  From lying lips, and guileful tongue,
       O Lord, my soul set free.

 3  What shall be giv'n thee? or what shall
       be done to thee, false tongue?
 4  Ev'n burning coals of juniper,
       sharp arrows of the strong.

 5  Woe's me that I in Mesech am
       a sojourner so long;
    That I in tabernacles dwell
       to Kedar that belong.

 6  My soul with him that hateth peace
       hath long a dweller been.
 7  I am for peace; but when I speak,
       for battle they are keen.

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