Daily thoughts on aesthetics and theology, and the entire world in between.

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Psalm 122: where fellowship is complete

One of my desires is to pictorially interpret the Songs of Degrees (Psalms 120-134); one composition per psalm. Psalm 120 and 121 are here and here.

I've been stuck on Psalm 122 for about 4 weeks; none of my sketches have been satisfying. There's so much in this psalm. Here is the first complete effort for 122, although it doesn't satisfy me either.

In this psalm, the wanderer finds himself already in the precincts of Jerusalem, the City of God and, in verse 3, he notices something.

This something is translated in our English versions as "Jerusalem is a city that is compact together," or "... is bound firmly together," or variations thereof.
But I like the English translation of the Septuagint, which is the Greek version of the Old Testament. Here, verse 3 is translated this way:

"Jerusalem is built as a city whose fellowship is complete ..."

A city whose fellowship is complete.

I've been wondering and wandering over this for days.


Psalm 122
, ESV (121 in the Septuagint)

1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
2 Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!
3 Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together,

(3 Jerusalem is built as a city whose fellowship is complete),

4 to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions' sake I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

Somewhere over the rainbow

Upon seeing the above painting, my friend Joshua Gilstrap was reminded of Psalm 97. I think it is an appropriate passage to post with this image.

I had titled the painting "somewhere over the rainbow."

Oil pastels and color pencil on paper.


Psalm 97.1 The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! 2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. 3 Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. 4 His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles.

Psalm 121

Oil pastels on paper.


121:1-8 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? / My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. / He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. / Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. / The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. / The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. / The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. / The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 120

Oil pastels on paper


Psalm 120.1-7 In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? A warrior's sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree! Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!