The Word Made Fresh
(To the worship leader: according to Gittith. A psalm of the Korahites.)
1Your house is beautiful,
LORD God of multitudes!
2My soul yearns, and even grows faint for the LORD’s courtyards.
My heart and voice sing joyfully to the living God.
3Even sparrows can find a home, and swallows build a nest
at your altar in which to lay their young, O LORD of multitudes,
my King and my God.
4Those who live in your temple are glad,
and are always singing praises to you.
5Those in whom your strength dwells are gratified,
for their hearts are pathways to you.
6Even as they walk through the valley of Baca
they see it is a lovely place of springs and pools from early rains.
7They grow stronger and stronger as they go,
until they appear before God in Zion.
8LORD God of multitudes, hear my prayer!
Listen to my words, O God of Jacob!
9See our king, O God, our shield,
and look upon the face of your anointed one.
10A day in your courtyards is better than a thousand anywhere else.
I’d rather be a doorkeeper in God’s house than live with the wicked.
11The LORD God is like the sun and like a shield. God is the one whose favor
and honor we should seek.
The LORD holds nothing back from those who live right.
12LORD of multitudes, everyone who trusts in you rejoices.
Superscription: for a note on the “Gittith” see Psalm 8. Eleven of the psalms are “of the Korahites;” this is the eighth of them. For a note on the Korahites see Psalm 42.
Many commentators include Psalm 84 in a group called the “songs of Zion” along with Psalms 46, 48, 76, 87, and 122 because they extol the temple or its locale. It should be noted that most of them are ascribed to the Korahite division of the priestly caste.
1-2: The psalm is the prayer of a pilgrim who longs to visit again the temple in Jerusalem, the beautiful “dwelling place” of God.
3-4: The birds that nest in the temple are the happy residents of God’s house, ever singing God’s praise.
5-7: Here is a snapshot of the pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. The “valley of Baca” is unknown, and this is the only mention of it in the Bible. But it may not be a place at all: the word “Baca” is related to the word for “tears,” and this would give the passage the sense that mourning is being turned into rejoicing as Mt. Zion comes into view.
8-9: As they near the city a prayer is raised for the king, God’s anointed one. The word “shield” usually is used for God (as in verse 11) but may also refer to the king (see Psalm 89:18, for example).
10-12: The end of the psalm returns to the pilgrim’s longing for the temple and joy at finally arriving there.
Finally, a psalm without violence! How refreshing. Only one thing is better than worshiping God, and that is worshiping God in the company of other believers.