Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
This Psalm consists of a call (Psalm 134:1-2) and a response (Psalm 134:3). The call appears to be addressed by the worshippers in the Temple to the priests and Levites whose duty it was to render the nightly service of praise to Jehovah, and their leader responds to it with a priestly blessing. The Psalm forms a fit conclusion to the collection of Pilgrim-Songs. It may have been composed after the restoration of the Temple-services by Nehemiah (Nehemiah 12:44-47). “The people,” we read there, “rejoiced over the priests and the Levites that waited,” lit. stood, i.e. took their part in ministering, as in Psalm 134:1. But there is no definite indication of date or occasion.
A Song of degrees. Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.1. all ye servants of the Lord] Not Israelite worshippers in general, but, as the following clause shews, ministrants in the Temple.
which by night stand in the house of the Lord] ‘To stand before Jehovah’ was the regular term for priestly or Levitical ministration. Cp. Deuteronomy 10:8 &c.; Hebrews 10:11.
The words imply that services of praise and thanksgiving were held in the Temple at night; possibly a reference to such services is to be found in 1 Chronicles 9:33.
The addition even in the courts of the house of our God in the P.B.V. is derived through the Vulg. from the LXX, and comes from Psalm 135:2.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.2. Lift up your hands] The gesture of prayer. Cp. Psalm 28:2; 1 Timothy 2:8.
in the sanctuary] Rather to the sanctuary, towards the most holy place, as the earthly dwelling-place of Jehovah. The rendering of R.V. marg., in holiness, is less probable.
The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.3. The response of the priests,
Jehovah bless thee out of Zion,
Even the maker of heaven and earth.
The first line is taken from the priestly blessing in Numbers 6:24, with the addition of out of Zion (Psalm 128:5). The singular thee may denote the congregation as a whole or each individual in it. The attribute Maker of heaven and earth implies Jehovah’s power to bless. Cp. Psalm 115:15, note.