Anointing with oil. It was common during festivals for people to have their foreheads anointed with fragrant oils. This not only provided a pleasant aroma but gave the person a glistening look of good health. (See 133:2.)
What does it mean to “redeem” someone? The word “redeem” expresses the idea of rescue and protection. The Psalms speak of God redeeming Israel (44:26; 111:9). God’s acts of redemption in the OT anticipate redemption from sin through the death of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:13–14).
Watchmen (130:6) were stationed along the walls of ancient cities. They would sound an alarm if an enemy approached the city. Fields and vineyards also had watchmen to protect the grain and produce from thieves and animals.
What are fowlers? A “fowler” is someone who traps birds. In the Scriptures, it is used figuratively to describe active enemies of God’s people. The psalmist describes God as delivering his people from the fowler’s snare (91:3; 124:7).
Psalm 122 is one of the 15 Songs of Ascents, which were sung by worshipers who were on their way up to the temple. It reflects the joy of seeing God’s chosen city, Jerusalem, and being in the house of God to worship. The Songs of Ascents include Psalms 120–134.
The wood of the broom tree makes excellent charcoal (120:4). Charcoal was an ideal source of fuel in Bible times because it was lightweight and created a hot fire that retained its heat for a long time.
Unique verses. Out of the 176 verses in Psalm 119, only seven lack an explicit mention of God’s Word: vv. 84, 90–91, 120, 122, 132, and 149.