Sunday, January 10, 2010

ZION: The Old Testament (Psalm 53 to Song of Solomon)

The Old Testament (Psalm 53 to Song of Solomon)

JST Psalm 53:7

This verse is very similar to Psalm 14:7, previously cited. David longs for the redemption of Zion.

Oh that Zion were come, the salvation of Israel; for out of Zion shall they be judged, when God bringeth back the captivity of his people. And Jacob shall rejoice; Israel shall be glad.

Psalm 65:1-2

These verses open a psalm of David acknowledging the power and goodness of God, yet another expression of his faith concerning the salvation he longs for in "Sion." Once again, this is the Greek translation.

Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.
O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

Psalm 69:35-36

In this Messianic psalm David reaffirms the promise that Zion will be redeemed. Judah is promised an inheritance in Zion. As members of the Church in this dispensation, having received modern revelation concerning our work in the kingdom, we too often lose sight of the rich blessings promised to Judah as well as Joseph.

For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.
The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.

Psalm 74:1-2

Knowing the Lord's promises to his people, Asaph pleads that Israel will not be forever cast off.

O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?
Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt.

Psalm 76:1-2

Asaph specifies in this passage once again that Salem (ancient Jerusalem) is the dwelling place of the God of Judah.

In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel.
In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.

Psalm 78:67-72

This psalm recounts the history of Israel through Asaph's poetry, and reaffirms that God chose Judah and David, blessed them, and established his sanctuary among them in mount Zion at Jerusalem.

Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:
But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.
And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.
He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:
From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

Psalm 84:5-12

Yet another psalm of praise to the Lord, reaffirming that those who call upon God will be heard. He will give every good thing to those who seek Zion.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

Psalm 87

The Lord loves the gates of Zion, and he himself shall establish her.

His foundation is in the holy mountains.
The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.
I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me; behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.
And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.
The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.
As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.

Psalm 97:6-10

This Messianic psalm speaks of conditions that will prevail at the time of the Lord's coming to usher in the Millennium. Those who love the Lord will hate evil.

The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.
Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.
Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD.
For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.
Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 99:1-2, 9

The Lord is great in Zion, exalt the Lord in our worship at his "holy hill," yet another reference to the temple site at Jerusalem.

The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.
The LORD is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.
Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

Psalm 102:11-23

This Messianic psalm is a prayer by the afflicted, and expresses the hope that Zion shall be built up when the Lord appears in his glory. Several familiar latter day themes are spoken in this psalm.

My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.
For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.
So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.
He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.
For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;
To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;
When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.

Psalm 110

David's Messianic psalm declares Christ shall sit on the Lord's right hand. Christ is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. It is such an appointment to the priesthood that all holy men will seek.

The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill their streets with their dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. [This verse from JST]
He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

JST Psalm 125

Those who trust in the Lord, those who seek Zion, in short, those who make their calling and election sure will obtain a celestial inheritance in the heavenly Zion, and their names can never be removed from the Lamb's book of life thereafter.

They that trust in the LORD in mount Zion, cannot be removed, but abide for ever.
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.
Do good, O LORD, unto the good, and unto the upright in their hearts.
As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.

Psalm 126

The Lord has done great things for his people Israel.

When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, the LORD hath done great things for them.
The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 128

Blessed are those who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.

Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.

Psalm 129

Despite the collective and individual suffering of Israel through every dispensation the psalmist now declares, "The Lord is righteous, and those who hate Zion will be confounded."

Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:
Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.
The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.
Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.
Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:
Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.
Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the LORD be upon you: we bless you in the name of the LORD.

Psalm 132:11-18

A Messianic psalm declares that out of David's loins will come the promised Messiah. The Lord will bless Zion, and her saints will shout for joy.

The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.

Psalm 133

David says: "It is pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Surely he speaks of the condition that will exist in Zion.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

Psalm 134

The servants of the Lord are here admonished to bless the Lord, and he will bless thee.

Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.
The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.

JST Psalm 135:15-21

Joseph Smith makes a significant change in the last verse of this psalm, consistent with the passage in D&C 133:21, "And he shall utter his voice out of Zion, and he shall speak from Jerusalem, and his voice shall be heard among all people." (See also Isaiah 2:3). The psalmist condemns idolatry, for the Lord is above all gods. These inferior gods are with us yet.

The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not;
They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths.
They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.
Bless the LORD, O house of Israel: bless the LORD, O house of Aaron:
Bless the LORD, O house of Levi: ye that fear the LORD, bless the LORD.
Blessed be the LORD out of Zion; Blessed be the LORD out of Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.

JST Psalm 137

The psalmist here offers up a poignant plea for the mercy of the Lord to be showered upon Israel in her captivity in Babylon. Though he saw it only through visionary eyes when this psalm was written, his lament is real. One wonders if we even realize we are held captive today in a spiritual Babylon. (See D&C 133:4-7). One must strain to hear even the slightest complaint from the saints today, yet we are every bit as much bondsmen to our Egyptian captors as were the ancient children of Israel. We still await the Deliverer. Do we weep when we remember Zion? Because of sorrow they could not even sing the songs of Zion.

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning.
If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it even to the foundation thereof.
O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Psalm 146:8-10

The Lord works miracles of sight for the spiritually blind, eases the burdens of those who are heavy laden, fatherless, widows, and punishes the wicked.

The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:
The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.

Psalm 147:12

A psalm of praise for the blessings the Lord sends down upon Israel.

Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.

Psalm 149:1-4

Praise the Lord in our congregations. He will beautify the meek with salvation.

Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.
Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.

The Song of Solomon 3:9-11

Joseph Smith thought this book of "scripture" of so little value that he did not include it in the JST. To be complete in our compilation, however, it is included here. Even in "profane" scripture, nevertheless, the linkage between Zion and Jerusalem comes through.

King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.
He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.
Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.

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