John Goldingay on Psalm 133

John Goldingay’s translation of Psalm 133 (Hebrew text provided) with select comments from his theological observations:

הנה מה־טוב ומה־נעים

שׁבת אחים גם־יחד

Now: How good and how lovely

is kinfolk living as one

כשׁמן הטוב על־הראשׁ

ירד על־הזקן

זקן־אהרן שׁירד

על־פי מדותיו

Like Good oil upon the head,

going down upon the beard,

Aarons beard, which goes down

upon the collar of his clothing.

כטל־חרמון שׁירד

על־הררי ציון

כי שׁם צוה יהוה את־הברכה

חיים עד־העולם

Like the dew of Hermon, which goes down

upon the mountains of Zion

Because there Yhwh commanded the blessing,

life for evermore.

The presence of this Psalm in the Psalter, and the particular terms in which it speaks, reminds the community how significant for the worshipping community is living as one. . . . The most spectacularly unanswered prayer in world history is Jesus’s prayer in John 17:20-23. Christian kinfolk live in breathtaking disharmony. This devastates their witness as it removes the goodness and the loveliness from them; it removes their joy and surrenders their blessing.The psalm invites us to consider the loveliness of kinfolk living as one and to meditate on the images for this that it offers, to see if this inspires us to live as one.


Goldingay, John. Psalms, Vol 3. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008) 563-9


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s