Verse 1. - I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills. The "holy hills," that stand round about Jerusalem, are intended (Psalm 87:1; Psalm 125:2). There God had "promised his blessing, even life forevermore" (Psalm 133:3). From whence cometh my help. Most modern critics regard this clause as interrogative, and translate, "Whence is it that my help shall come?" But "the question is only asked to give more effect to the answer" (Cheyne).
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
Verse 2. - My help cometh from the Lord; literally, my help is from the Lord. He alone has both the power and the will to assist me. Which made heaven and earth; i.e. "which is omnipotent."
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Verse 3. - He will not suffer thy foot to be moved. The psalmist addresses himself with consolatory assurances. God will not allow any evil to approach him, so as to do him hurt. He that keepeth thee will not slumber. God does not sleep - his vigilance is unceasing (comp. Isaiah 27:3).
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
Verse 4. - Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The assurance rises from the particular to the general. It is not one Israelite alone over whom God will watch unceasingly, but the whole people of Israel.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
Verse 5. - The Lord is thy Keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. "Thy shade" means "thy protection." "thy defense." Protection was especially needed on the right hand, as the side which no shield guarded. Latin writers call the right side "latus aperture."
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
Verse 6. - The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. These were the chief dangers of travelers, whether pilgrims or others. Coup de soleil was feared by day, and the deleterious influence of the moon's rays by night. This last has sometimes been doubted, but the observation of modern travelers seems to show that bad effects actually fellow on sleeping in the moonlight in hot countries (see Curzon's 'Travels,' p. 36; Leopolt, 'India Missions,' p. 7).
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
Verse 7. - The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil; or, "keep thee." The same verb is used throughout. He shall preserve thy soul; or, keep thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Verse 8. - The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in (comp. Deuteronomy 28:6; 1 Samuel 29:6; 2 Samuel 3:25; 1 Kings 3:7; 2 Kings 19:27). The phrase is an equivalent of "The Lord shall preserve thee in all thy ways" (Psalm 91:11). From this time forth, and even forevermore; i.e. so long as thou hast "goings out" and "comings in." But the phrase used rather implies that these will never cease.