Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 120:5

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

That I sojourn in Mesech - The Chaldee has it, "Wo is me that I am a stranger with the Asiatics, (אוסאי useey ), and that I dwell in the tents of the Arabs." Calmet, who understands the Psalm as speaking of the state of the captives in Babylon and its provinces, says, "Meshec was apparently the father of the Mosquians, who dwelt in the mountains that separate Iberia from Armenia, and both from Colchis. These provinces were subjugated by Nebuchadnezzar; and it is evident from 2 Kings 17:23, 2 Kings 17:24; 2 Kings 18:11; 2 Kings 19:12, 2 Kings 19:13, that many of the Jews were held in captivity in those countries. As to Kedar, it extended into Arabia Petraea, and towards the Euphrates; and is the country afterwards known as the country of the Saracens."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Woe is me - My lot is a sad and pitiable one, that I am compelled to live in this manner, and to be exposed thus to malignant reproaches. It is like living in Mesech or in Kedar.

That I sojourn - The word used here does not denote a permanent abode, but it usually refers to a temporary lodging, as when one is a traveler, a pilgrim, a stranger, and is under a necessity of passing a night in a strange land on his way to the place of his destination. The trouble or discomfort here referred to is not that which would result from having his home there, or abiding there permanently, but of feeling that he was a stranger, and would be exposed to all the evils and inconveniences of a stranger among such a people. A man who resided in a place permanently might be subject to fewer inconveniences than if he were merely a temporary lodger among strangers.

In Mesech - The Septuagint and Vulgate render this, “that my sojourning is protracted.” The Hebrew word - משׁך meshek - means, properly “drawing,” as of seed “scattered regularly along the furrows” Psalm 126:6; and then possession, Job 28:18. The people of Meshech or the Moschi, were a barbarous race inhabiting the Moschian regions between Iberia, Armenia, and Colchis. Meshech was a son of Japheth, Genesis 10:2; 1 Chronicles 1:5. The name is connected commonly with “Tubal,” Ezekiel 27:13: “Tubal and Meshech they were thy merchants.” Ezekiel 39:1: “I am against … the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal,” Herodotus (iii. 94; vii. 78) connects them with the Tibarenes. The idea here is, that they were a barbarous, savage, uncivilized people. They dwelt outside of Palestine, beyond what were regarded as the borders of civilization; and the word seems to have had a signification similar to the names Goths, Vandals, Turks, Tartars, Cossacks, in later times. It is not known that they were particularly remarkable for slander or calumny; but the meaning is that they were barbarous and savage - and to dwell among slanderers and revilers seemed to the psalmist to be like dwelling among a people who were strangers to all the rules and principles of civilized society.

That I dwell in the tents of Kedar - The word Kedar means properly dark skin, a darkskinned man. Kedar was a son of Ishmael Genesis 25:13, and hence, the name was given to an Arabian tribe descended from him, Isaiah 42:11; Isaiah 60:7; Jeremiah 49:28. The idea here also is, that to dwell among slanderers was like dwelling among barbarians and savages.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is very grievous to a good man, to be cast into, and kept in the company of the wicked, from whom he hopes to be for ever separated. See here the character of a good man; he is for living peaceably with all men. And let us follow David as he prefigured Christ; in our distress let us cry unto the Lord, and he will hear us. Let us follow after peace and holiness, striving to overcome evil with good.