Updated: Apr 1
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1 Oh, how good and pleasant it is, *
when brethren live together in unity!
2 It is like fine oil upon the head *
that runs down upon the beard,
3 Upon the beard of Aaron, *
and runs down upon the collar of his robe.
4 It is like the dew of Hermon *
that falls upon the hills of Zion.
5 For there the Lord has ordained the blessing: *
life for evermore.
This is the Psalm that will be read aloud on the second Sunday of Easter, Year B, according to the lectionary of the Episcopal Church. It will be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor, following the mandatory reading from Acts [this Sunday Acts 4:32-35], which says, “the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul.” This song of praise will precede an Epistle reading from First John, which states, “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” Finally, this song will accompany the Gospel reading from John 20, where Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
This Psalm is actually only three verses in length, although everything above [5 verses] is stated in three verses. It begins [although not translated] with a statement that says, “A song of Ascents of David.” The psalms of David numbered 120-134 [fifteen] are “Songs of Ascent,” or “variously called Gradual Psalms, Songs of Degrees, Songs of Steps, songs for going up to worship or Pilgrim Songs.” (Wikipedia) This is then believed to be a song sung as one was walking up the steps of the Lower City, leading to the Tabernacle or [later] the Temple of Jerusalem. Others say it could refer to walking up the steps that led from the women’s court to the temple. Since the Temple was not built when David wrote songs, the assumption is pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for the three festivals would sing them as they walked the road to there, and then up the steps leading to the Tabernacle.
The three verses, based on the BibleHub Interlinear of the Hebrew-English presentation, is like this (using the NRSV translations):
Oh, how good and pleasant it is, when brethren live together in unity!
It is like fine oil upon the head that runs down upon the beard, upon the beard of Aaron, and runs down upon the collar of his robe.
It is like the dew of Hermon that falls upon the hills of Zion. For there the Lord has ordained the blessing: life for evermore.
This needs to be read as a song of praise for all who had married their souls to Yahweh, such that that common bond of relationship brought “brothers moreover together in unity (or unitedness)” [from “’a·ḥîmgam- yā·ḥaḏ”]. Here, the element of “unity” must be seen as being “brothers” in “Christ,” where the masculinity of being “brothers” is a Spiritual designation [all that is Spiritual is masculine; all that is material is feminine], as “Sons of God.” This must not to be read as a limitation to only human male Israelites. It is in this way that the songs of David apply globally, at all times, to more than certain people or religious beliefs. The “good and pleasant” [from “mah- ṭō·wḇ ū·mah-nā·‘îm”] can only be brought about by Yahweh within one’s being.
Evidence in this regard comes from Jesus, when we read in both Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels: “As [Jesus] was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” [Mark 10:17-18, Luke 18:18-19] That needs to be seen as a universal law that states no one is “good” unless one’s soul is married to Yahweh, so He brings one true “goodness” and “pleasure.”
It is then from that awareness that one can see the element spoken of in the second verse as relative to one's being Anointed by Yahweh. David was anointed by Samuel, when he did not have a beard, because he was still a child. Thus, the metaphor of “like fine oil upon the head” acts as the presence of the Holy Spirit of Yahweh that has been poured out upon one’s soul. The prophet Joel said, "I [YHWH] will pour out my Spirit upon all people." With the “head” being where one’s brain is encased; the metaphor then becomes the Mind of Christ, which is a Spiritual outpouring that fills one with the Holy Spirit. No longer will one then think in terms of self-preservation, through the weakness of a big brain. When one has been Anointed by Yahweh, one ceases all intellectual pursuits for self, in complete subjection to the Lord’s Will.
The element of a beard must then be recognized as how adult Jewish males [and those of Islam and other religions] do not trim the edges of their whiskers, as a way of signaling to the world, “I am a wife of Yahweh.” The beard is therefore a sign of a priest that serves the One God completely. In this regard, Aaron was the High Priest who served Yahweh, under Moses. Therefore, the naming of Aaron and his robes [or garments] is another way for David to say all who are married to Yahweh will serve Him as His High Priest.
The naming of Aaron then acts as intended to denote the meaning behind the name. In that regard, “Aaron” means “Bright,” “Accumulation,” “Center of Cheer,” and “Very High.” (Abarim Publications) All of these meanings can be seen as known by David, such that they all point to one being illuminated by the Godhead, which becomes a gathering of deeper meanings [the accumulation of wisdom and the illumination as brightness], which elate the soul within [the center core filled with happiness] and place one’s being with a most high responsibility of commitment [becoming very high].
Relative to the meaning being “Very High,” David then sang of Mount Hermon, which holds the highest peaks of northern Israel. That was where Jesus went, along with Peter, James and John [of Zebedee], and was seen transfigured. This means the “dew” is metaphor for the emotions that a soul is filled with, from being one with Yahweh. That "dew" becomes so much that those feelings drift down to the “hills” or “mountains” [from “har·rê”] of “Zion” [“ṣî·yō·wn”], which is the mount of the City of David. The life of a High Priest means having to always climb the steps to reach Mount Moriah. One is Very High when one's body has become the Temple where Yahweh resides.
When this height becomes the place from which David then sang, “For there the Lord has ordained the blessing: life for evermore,” this must be seen as connecting the first verse to the last, where a soul’s marriage to “Yahweh” [not simple a “Lord”] makes Him one’s husband, while making all souls [in bodies of male and female flesh] become “brothers Anointed.” In that relationship, Yahweh does the “commanding” and a willing servant gladly complies. It is that servitude, from a state of gladness and peace, that becomes the willingness to do whatever Yahweh commands, as that is how one’s soul gains “eternal life.”
As a song of praise to be sung during the second Sunday of Easter, the lesson of learning to serve Yahweh is clearly conveyed in these words. To graduate after six weeks of training, and enter ministry as a new Jesus sent into the world, one must reach the point of marriage to Yahweh. It is impossible to go it alone. One must become uplifted by that presence of the divine within. God has to cease being external to one’s being, as an idea that one believes. One must come to know Yahweh, personally, which can only come through one’s soul being married to His Holy Spirit. This is the message of this second Sunday of Easter.