Truth, Understanding, Insight

Psalm 133

18th December 2003, hej


1) Psalm 133 is poetry

Below is a literal word-for-word translation from Hebrew of the well-known Psalm.

Here what good and what pleasant praise brothers also together. 1

Just as the-good on the head comes down the beard- Aaron’s beard. 2

that comes down on facing of (robe?). 3

As dew (of)Hermon that comes down on mountains Zion. 4

For there decreed Yahweh the blessing life until the-ever. 5

It should be noted that this is poetry in song. Poetry tends to use language devices and word associations. By translating it word-for-word it no longer flows and at first reading it hardly makes sense. Let us examine the words of this song.

Structure of Psalm 133

This is a ‘tight’ poem, as the whole poem is one thought. The first line introduces the thought and the last line summarises that same thought, as the use of the word “for” indicates. The three centre lines introduced by “as” are similes or analogies of that one thought. They are pictures. Let us take out the analogies of the oil, beard and dew and connect the thoughts in lines 1 and 5.

Here what good and what pleasant praise brothers also-together

For there decreed-Yahweh the blessing - life until the-ever.

With these two lines tied in juxtaposition by the use of the word ‘for’ that links ‘here’ in line 1 with ‘there’ in line 5, we can see the blessing of eternal life is the ‘good’ referred to in line 1. The “what good” in line 1, which is the subject of the poem’s thought, is the Hebrew ‘ma-tov’. In modern Israeli idiom ma-tov means “so much better!” or “what an improvement!”.

The‘so much better’ of brethren being “also-together” is the “there” or location. In this ‘location’ is decreed or ordained the blessing – which is life forever – chaiyim ad-haOlam.

2) Meaning of Psalm 133

To those who have read Phanerosis by John Thomas, the idea of a the blessing of eternal life being in people unified in Deity, immediately makes sense. Yahweh, the Name, means ‘He who will be’ or He who will show His character in his servants (John 17:21). So in the psalm the idea of ‘brethren also-together’ is related to the meaning of the Name. The psalm, therefore, says that the blessing ordained (or planned) in the ‘He-who-will-be’ is the ‘good’, worthy of praise, of the brethren ‘also-together’.

The similes in lines 2-4 above are thoughts relating to the ‘good’ that is worthy of praise. This ‘good’ is like three things:

  1. the oil that anoints

  2. the beard of Aaron

  3. and the dew of Hermon that is to come down on Zion.

These form three pictures:

  1. We have someone being anointed,

  2. a priest in robes and dew on Mt Zion,

  3. the dew Hermon coming down at Jerusalem.

The third picture is puzzling. Consider this: How can the dew of Mt Hermon literally come down some 160km south at Jerusalem? One solution that is possible is that ‘Hermon’ is not Mount Hermon. A reference in Deuternomy 4:48, that David would have known well, calls Mt Zion ‘Hermon’. Another solution is that ‘Hermon’ means ‘abrupt’.

It should be pointed out, however, that focusing on the meaning of Hermon misses the point of the simile. Have a look at the repetition in lines 2, 3 and 4. We see that in all cases something is ‘coming down’. The Hebrew word ‘yored’, used three times, means ‘go down, come down, descend or drop’. The focus is on the action. We miss the point if we focus on the characteristics of the oil and the dew. The ‘good’ blessing is not like the oil or the dew at all! In fact the word ‘oil’ is not used at all! Instead it is like something refreshing that comes down. Psalm 72 explains this idea in verse six where the blessing of right judgement is described as being like rain coming down on mown grass.

Here what good and what pleasant praise brethren as-one

Just AS the-good on the head comes down the beard-

Aaron’s beard -that comes down on facing of Robe

AS Zion’sdew that comes down on mountains Zion

For there ordained He-who-will-be the blessing of life forever

Where was the good blessing of life-forever ordained? Yes, it is to be on the Mountains of Zion. And it will be the saints like dew coming down. It will be in the spirit coming down anointing the king-priest. But all this is located where? Surely, if we are becoming brethren-as-one, it is ‘Here’!

From this analysis it is evident this psalm is not so much about here and now, but is about the blessing in the future of life eternal. This blessing will come down on the brethren when they become as one body.

This blessing will be complete in the future at the coming down of Yeshua, the ‘head’.

For more Psalm 149 and Messiah's return

Topics: psalms, exegesis

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