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Psalm 122

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Psalm 122
"I was glad"
Verses 2 and 3 engraved in Hebrew and English on a rock in Tzahal Square, outside the Walls of Jerusalem
Other name
  • Psalm 121 (Vulgate)
  • "Laetatus sum"
LanguageHebrew (original)

Psalm 122 is the 122nd psalm of the Book of Psalms, beginning in English in the King James Version: "I was glad" and in Latin entitled Laetatus sum. It is attributed to King David and one of the fifteen psalms described as A song of ascents (Shir Hama'alot). Its title, I was glad, is reflected in a number of choral introits by various composers.

In the slightly different numbering system used in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate translations of the Bible, this psalm is Psalm 121.



The following table shows the Hebrew text[1][2] of the Psalm with vowels alongside an English translation based upon the JPS 1917 translation (now in the public domain).

Verse Hebrew English translation (JPS 1917)
1 שִׁ֥יר הַֽמַּעֲל֗וֹת לְדָ֫וִ֥ד שָׂ֭מַחְתִּי בְּאֹמְרִ֣ים לִ֑י בֵּ֖ית יְהֹוָ֣ה נֵלֵֽךְ׃ A Song of Ascents; of David. I rejoiced when they said unto me: 'Let us go unto the house of the LORD.'
2 עֹ֭מְדוֹת הָי֣וּ רַגְלֵ֑ינוּ בִּ֝שְׁעָרַ֗יִךְ יְרוּשָׁלָֽ͏ִם׃ Our feet are standing within thy gates, O Jerusalem;
3 יְרוּשָׁלַ֥͏ִם הַבְּנוּיָ֑ה כְּ֝עִ֗יר שֶׁחֻבְּרָה־לָּ֥הּ יַחְדָּֽו׃ Jerusalem, that art builded as a city that is compact together;
4 שֶׁשָּׁ֨ם עָל֪וּ שְׁבָטִ֡ים שִׁבְטֵי־יָ֭הּ עֵד֣וּת לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לְ֝הֹד֗וֹת לְשֵׁ֣ם יְהֹוָֽה׃ Whither the tribes went up, even the tribes of the LORD, as a testimony unto Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
5 כִּ֤י שָׁ֨מָּה ׀ יָשְׁב֣וּ כִסְא֣וֹת לְמִשְׁפָּ֑ט כִּ֝סְא֗וֹת לְבֵ֣ית דָּוִֽד׃ For there were set thrones for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6 שַׁ֭אֲלוּ שְׁל֣וֹם יְרוּשָׁלָ֑͏ִם יִ֝שְׁלָ֗יוּ אֹהֲבָֽיִךְ׃ Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; May they prosper that love thee.
7 יְהִי־שָׁל֥וֹם בְּחֵילֵ֑ךְ שַׁ֝לְוָ֗ה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָֽיִךְ׃ Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
8 לְ֭מַעַן אַחַ֣י וְרֵעָ֑י אֲדַבְּרָה־נָּ֖א שָׁל֣וֹם בָּֽךְ׃ For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say: 'Peace be within thee.'
9 לְ֭מַעַן בֵּית־יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ אֲבַקְשָׁ֖ה ט֣וֹב לָֽךְ׃ For the sake of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.

King James Version[edit]

  1. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
  2. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
  3. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
  4. Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
  5. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
  6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
  7. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
  8. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
  9. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.


The psalm is attributed to King David;[3] however, Alexander Kirkpatrick suggests that its author lived "in the country, at a distance from Jerusalem. He recalls the joy with which he heard the invitation of his neighbours to join the company of pilgrims". He adds, "the psalm may best be explained thus, as the meditation of a pilgrim who, after returning to the quiet of his home, reflects upon the happy memories of his pilgrimage."[4]



Psalm 122 is recited following Mincha between Sukkot and Shabbat Hagadol.[5] It is also recited on Shabbat Nachamu (the Shabbat after Tisha B'Av) in some traditions.[6]

It is recited on Yom Yerushalayim in the Conservative Jewish tradition due to the psalmist speaking of a united Jerusalem.[7]

Verses 7–9 are part of Talmud Brachos 64a.[8]


As one of the Songs of Ascents (known in the Orthodox Church as the Eighteenth Kathisma), the Psalm is read towards the start of Vespers on weekdays during the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th weeks of Great Lent, between September 22 and December 19, between January 15 and The Sunday of the Prodigal Son, and on all Fridays except Good Friday, except when these days either form part of an All-night vigil or fall the day after one.

Catholic Church[edit]

According to the rule of St. Benedict set to 530, this Psalm was traditionally performed during the third act of the week, that is to say Tuesday – Saturday after Psalm 120 (119) and Psalm 121 (120).[9]

In the Liturgy of the Hours today, Psalm 122 is recited or sung at Vespers on Saturday of the fourth week. In the liturgy of the Mass, it is recited on the feast of Christ the King, the first Sunday of Advent in year A and the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time in year C.


In the Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 122 is to be said or sung on Day 27 at Morning Prayer.[10]

Verse 1 is used in the introit for Mothering Sunday which coincides with Laetare Sunday, also called "Mid-Lent Sunday" or Refreshment Sunday.[11]


Verse 6, Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, is reflected in a sculpture by Dani Karavan in the wall of the Knesset building in Jerusalem.[12]

Musical settings[edit]

  • Monteverdi set the Latin (Vulgate) text, Laetatus sum, at least three times, in his Vespro della Beata Vergine of 1610 and twice as a stand-alone motet in 1643.
  • Heinrich Schütz composed a metred paraphrase of the psalm in German, "Es ist ein Freud dem Herzen mein", SWV 227, for the Becker Psalter, published first in 1628.
  • Charpentier set the same text in 1671, again as a motet, catalogued as H.161, for soloists, chorus, flutes, strings and continuo. In 1690, he set another "Laetatus sum" H.216, for soloists, chorus, 2 treble instruments and continuo.
  • Jommelli did the same, in 1743.
  • An abridged form of the Book of Common Prayer translation, I was glad, is used in Parry's 1902 coronation anthem of that name.
  • The same English text was used for coronation music by Henry Purcell, William Boyce, Thomas Attwood and others.
  • Herbert Howells set verses 6 and 7 in his anthem "O, pray for the peace of Jerusalem."
  • In 1676 Biber conceives a name piece (C.9) to Salzburg. In 1693, Michel-Richard Delalande wrote his grand motet (S.47), but unfortunately, today lost.
  • Jules Van Nuffel set the psalm in Latin, Laetatus sum, for mixed choir and organ in 1935.


  1. ^ "Psalms – Chapter 122". Mechon Mamre.
  2. ^ "Psalms 122 - JPS 1917". Sefaria.org.
  3. ^ Psalm 122: NKJV
  4. ^ Kirkpatrick, A. (1906), Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Psalm 122, accessed 4 June 2022
  5. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur, p. 530
  6. ^ The Artscroll Tehillim, p. 329
  7. ^ Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays. Rabbinical Assembly. 2002. pp. 209–210.
  8. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur, p. 479.
  9. ^ Règle de saint Benoît, traduction de Prosper Guéranger (réimpression ed.), Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, 2007, p. 46{{citation}}: CS1 maint: others (link).
  10. ^ "The Book of Common Prayer". The Church of England. Retrieved 26 November 2016. The Psalms of David – Day 27. Morning
  11. ^ Burgess, Francis (1921). The English Gradual, part 2. London: Plainchant Publications Committee.
  12. ^ Knesset, Art and archeology in the Knesset, accessed 4 June 2022

External links[edit]