Ps 120:1-7. This is the first of fifteen Psalms (Psalms 120-134) entitled "A Song of Degrees" (Ps 121:1--literally, "A song for the degrees"), or ascents. It seems most probable they were designed for the use of the people when going up (compare 1Ki 12:27,28) to Jerusalem on the festival occasions (De 16:16), three times a year. David appears as the author of four, Solomon of one (Ps 127:1), and the other ten are anonymous, probably composed after the captivity. In this Psalm the writer acknowledges God's mercy, prays for relief from a malicious foe, whose punishment he anticipates, and then repeats his complaint.
2, 3. Slander and deceit charged on his foes implies his innocence. tongue--as in Ps 52:2,4.
4. Sharp arrows of the mighty--destructive inflictions. coals of juniper--which retain heat long. This verse may be read as a description of the wicked, but better as their punishment, in reply to the question of Ps 120:3. 5. A residence in these remote lands pictures his miserable condition. 6, 7. While those who surrounded him were maliciously hostile, he was disposed to peace. This Psalm may well begin such a series as this, as a contrast to the promised joys of God's worship.