Psalm 84

Prayer of a Pilgrim to Jerusalem

1   For the leader; "upon the gittith."  A psalm of the Korahites.


2   How lovely your dwelling,

          O LORD of hosts!a

3   My soul yearns and pines

          for the courts of the LORD.b

     My heart and flesh cry out

          for the living God.

4   As the sparrow finds a home

          and the swallow a nest to settle her young,

     My home is by your altars,

          LORD of hosts, my king and my God!c

5   Happy are those who dwell in your house!

          They never cease to praise you. Selah


6   Happy are those who find refuge in you,

          whose hearts are set on pilgrim roads.

7   As they pass through the Baca valley,

          they find spring water to drink.

     Also from pools the Lord provides water

          for those who lose their way.

8   They pass through outer and inner wall

          and see the God of gods on Zion.


9   LORD of hosts, hear my prayer;

          listen, God of Jacob. Selah

10  O God, look kindly on our shield;

          look upon the face of your anointed.d


11  Better one day in your courts

          than a thousand elsewhere.

      Better the threshold of the house of my God

          than a home in the tents of the wicked.

12  For a sun and shield is the LORD God,

          bestowing all grace and glory.

     The LORD withholds no good thing

          from those who walk without reproach.

13  O LORD of hosts,

          happy are those who trust in you!


a: Pss 43:3-4; 122:1.

b: Pss 42:2-3; 63:2-3; 143:6; Is 26:9.

c: Ps 5:3.

d: Ps 89:19.


Ps 84  Israelites celebrated three pilgrimage feasts in Jerusalem annually. The psalm expresses the sentiments of the pilgrims eager to enjoy the divine presence.

84:4  The desire of a restless bird for a secure home is an image of the desire of a pilgrim for the secure house of God. Cf. Ps 42:2-3, where the image for the desire of the pilgrim is the thirst of the deer for water.

84:7  Baca valley: Hebrew obscure; probably a valley on the way to Jerusalem.

84:10  Our shield . . . your anointed: the king had a role in the liturgical celebration. For the king as shield, cf. Ps 89:19.

Copyright ©1991 by the confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.