The Lord who made heaven and earth Bless you from Zion! Psalm 134:3
Blessed Are Night-watchers
Psalm 134 concludes the songs of ascent. This psalm was likely read as a responsive poem of praise. The structure of this brief poem is as follows: 1. The blessing of the priests by the people (vv. 1, 2); 2. The blessing of the people by the priests (v. 3). This psalm acknowledges that those who serve God are the most blessed of all.
134:1, 2 To bless the Lord is to identify Him as the source of all blessing. In this context, servants of the Lord refers to the priests of Israel who conducted their ministry at all hours in the temple. The idea behind this blessing was that the people who had come to worship at the temple were getting ready to go home. They had come for a great festival but had to return to their regular work and routine. However, the priests remained at the holy temple. It was their continuing worship of the Lord that allowed God’s blessing to continue on the nation as a whole.
1 A Song of Ascents. Behold, bless the Lord, All you servants of the Lord, Who by night stand in the house of the Lord! 2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the Lord.
134:3 Bless you from Zion may have been the grateful response of the priests to the people, their own blessing on the people from the holy temple.
3 The Lord who made heaven and earth Bless you from Zion!
** Being a watchman is a thankless job exposed to become the enemy’s first target. But, it is a God-given job. Prophets, leaders as well as journalists are supposed to act as watchmen to inform and alert people people when their lives are in danger. A watchman has his/her reward –- blessing from God and also from people. But when a sentry neglects his duty, the offense is punishable by death. The role is that critical!
Watchman (Heb. tsaphah)
This noun is derived from the verb meaning “to watch in anticipation.” This verb is used to describe the actions of individuals waiting in ambush as they watch for their prey. Watchman was an official military position. They were stationed on the towers of a city and were responsible for spotting approaching armies and sounding the alarm to warn the city. The imagery behind the watchman is much like that of the shepherd, though watchman as a symbolic title was limited to the office of a prophet (Hos. 9:8). A watchman’s failure was punishable by death. In the case of Ezekiel, punishment would come directly from God if he failed to report to the people the messages God gave him (Hosea 33:8).
Vigilante entered English in the 19th century, borrowed from the Spanish word of the same spelling which meant “watchman, guard” in that language. The Spanish word can be traced back to the Latin vigilare, meaning “to keep awake.” [From Merriam-Webster Dictionary]