Free Online Bible Library | Songs of Ascents

We also have classes for: provides a comprehensive biblical education from world-class professors
to encourage spiritual growth in the church, for free.

Would you do us the favor of answering this two question poll so we can know how to serve you better? You will also be given the opportunity to join our team tasked with how to make better. Thank you.  --Bill Mounce


Songs of Ascents

ASCENTS, SONGS OF. The title given to Ps.120.1-Ps.120.7-Ps.34.1-Ps.34.22. There is uncertainty about the origin of the title. Some Jewish authorities attributed it to the use made of fifteen steps leading from the court of men to the court of women in the temple. The Levitical musicians performed with these steps as the stage. Some scholars attribute the title to the way in which the thought advances from step to step, as seen in Ps.121.4-Ps.121.5, Ps.124.1-Ps.124.4, but not all these songs do this. Because Ezra (Ps.7.9) used the word hamma‘lah, meaning “a going up from Babylon,” some have thought the title originated when exiles were returning to Jerusalem during the reign of Artaxerxes in Babylon. The most logical explanation is that the title was given the series of hymns because they were used by pilgrims going up to the three annual pilgrimage feasts of Jerusalem (see Feasts).

These lovely pilgrim songs should be studied in groups of three: In each triad the first finds the pilgrim far away (e.g., Ps.120.1-Ps.120.7, he feels himself an alien in Kedar; Ps.129.1-Ps.129.8, still among enemies); the second in each triad concentrates on the Lord’s power to preserve, whatever the vicissitudes of the way; and the third is a psalm of arrival and security in Zion. In this way the whole “pilgrim hymnbook” is vibrant with the theme of going up and going home to Zion.

Biblical Training

The BiblicalTraining app gives you access to 2,300 hours of instruction (129 classes and seminars). Stream the classes, or download and listen to them offline. Share classes via social media, email, and more.