Psalm 84

Psalm 84[a]

Longing for God’s Dwelling

1 For the director.[b] “Upon the gittith.” A psalm of the sons of Korah.

2 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts.[c]
3 My soul yearns and is filled with longing
for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
4 Just as the sparrow searches for a home
and the swallow builds a nest for herself
where she may place her young,
so do I seek your altars,[d]
O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
5 Blessed[e] are those who dwell in your house;
they offer continuous praise to you. Selah
6 Blessed are those who find strength in you,
who set their hearts upon your ways.[f]
7 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they turn it into a region of springs,
and the early rain covers it with pools.[g]
8 [h]They move forward with increasing strength
as they behold the God of gods in Zion.
9 O Lord of hosts, hear my prayer;
listen to my pleas, O God of Jacob. Selah
10 O God, look upon our shield[i]
behold the face of your anointed one.
11 It is better to spend one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper[j] in God’s house
than dwell inside the tents of the wicked.
12 The Lord God serves as our sun[k] and our shield;
the Lord showers us with grace and glory.
He does not withhold any good thing
from those who walk in integrity.
13 O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the man who puts his trust in you.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 84:1 During one of the pilgrimages prescribed by the Mosaic Law (see Ex 23:17; 1 Sam 1:3; Lk 2:42), perhaps the one for the harvest, a pilgrim expresses his joy at finding himself near God in the temple. At the last stage, the Lord has already manifested his favor to the faithful pilgrims (vv. 6-7). He reserves even more happiness for those who follow his law. Another opinion holds that this psalm recalls Ps 42 and reflects its circumstances. The psalmist is a Levite who has no access to God’s house, possibly at the time when Sennacherib was overrunning Judah (see 2 Ki 18:13-16), and expresses his longing for the closeness in the temple that he experienced in the past.
    This pilgrim song, overflowing with the desire for and joy of God, becomes the song of hope and confidence for all Christians en route to the house of the Father where they will sing an Alleluia (or Hallelujah) without end. It also translates the sentiments of all who love Christ’s Eucharistic Presence in the tabernacle.
  2. Psalm 84:1 For the director: these words are thought to be a musical or liturgical notation. “Upon the gittith”: see note on Ps 8:1. Sons of Korah: see note on Ps 42:1.
  3. Psalm 84:2 Lord of hosts: see note on Ps 24:10. Soul: see note on Ps 6:4. Heart . . . flesh: i.e., entire being (see Ps 73:26).
  4. Psalm 84:4 God sees to it that even the “birds of the air have nests” (Mt 8:20); hence, he will welcome his faithful to the shelter of his altars.
  5. Psalm 84:5 Blessed: see note on Ps 1:1.
  6. Psalm 84:6 Who set their hearts upon your ways: literally, “in whose hearts are the open roads.”
  7. Psalm 84:7 Through God’s care, even the most fearsome path becomes a path of blessings and praise (see 2 Chr 20:26). Valley of Baca: valley of “weeping” or “balsam trees”; in the Vulgate, it is called “the Valley of Tears,” which gave rise, in the ascetical and preaching tradition, to the familiar expression, “vale of tears,” for our earthly pilgrimage. Pools: or “blessings.”
  8. Psalm 84:8 Zion: see note on Ps 9:12. Lord of hosts: see note on Ps 24:10. Jacob: i.e., Israel (see Gen 32:28-29).
  9. Psalm 84:10 Our shield: the king (see Ps 89:19). Anointed one: either the king (who was God’s earthly regent over his people) or the high priest (who led the community of Israel after the disappearance of the royalty).
  10. Psalm 84:11 Doorkeeper: some of the sons of Korah (see v. 1) were doorkeepers or gatekeepers in the temple (see 1 Chr 26:1).
  11. Psalm 84:12 There is no joy that can outweigh and replace supernatural joys that have their source in God alone, for he denies no grace to his faithful ones. Sun: see note on Ps 27:1 on God as “light.”

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