Psalm 133


In the psalm, David speaks about the importance of unity when the tribes of Israel came together to celebrate the different national feasts.


‘A song of ascents. Of David.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading tells us this is a song of ascents, written by David. Psalms 120-134 all have the same heading.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Several theories of why this group of psalms is so named are available. The Jewish explanation is that there were fifteen steps from the Court of the Women to the Court of the Men in the Temple, and that each of these psalms was sung in succession on those steps. Another view is that these songs were sung in successive phases of the Jews’ return from captivity. Apparently the true explanation is that these psalms were written for the pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem for the great annual feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. ‘It seems most probable that these songs form a collection for the use of pilgrims who came up to Jerusalem at the great feasts.’

‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.’ Psalm 133:1-3

David begins by declaring how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity, Genesis 49:15 / 2 Samuel 1:26 / Proverbs 15:26. There is power and strength in unity, when we’re united as a people, we are united with God, John 17:20-23 / Ephesians 1:9-10.

That unity with God brings joy to us all, Revelation 18:14, and helps us stay at peace with all those around us, Romans 12:18 / Matthew 23:8 / John 17:21. For unity to remain, we must have the desire to spend time together, and when we love one another, then unity will prevail, John 13:34-35.

Unity is very precious, like precious oils being poured on our heads, Luke 7:46 / Exodus 29:7. The oil being poured on a guest’s head would run down their beard and onto their garments, this was very refreshing for the one receiving the oil, which also gave them a pleasant aroma, Isaiah 61:3.

David mentions the oil running down Aaron’s beard which then flowed on the collar of his robes. This is a reference to the time when Aaron was anointed as the high priest of Israel, Exodus 30:22-30.

All of these references to the oil, speak of the preciousness and value of unity among God’s people. The fact that the oil ran down the beard of Arron and then onto his collar tells us this wasn’t just a sprinkling of oil, it flowed and therefore, speaks of the abundant blessings which unity provides for God’s people.

David now speaks of unity in terms of the dew falling from Hermon into Mount Zion. The mountain regions of Mount Hermon in northern Palestine were at a high altitude and there would be dew on the mountains in the summer, and frost in the winter. In other words, unity is refreshing when God’s people are united, their lives thrive and they are healthy, Genesis 27:28 / Hosea 14:5.

The dew fell on Mount Zion, that is, God’s blessing would come upon Jerusalem and their unity would be shown to everyone and everyone would enjoy the blessings which come from being united, Proverbs 19:12 / Isaiah 18:4 / Hosea 14:5 / Micah 5:7.

David says from Jerusalem the LORD bestows his blessings, even life forevermore. In other words, unity comes from the LORD and is commanded by the LORD, John 17:20-23 / Ephesians 1:9-10 / Romans 12:18. There is security in national unity and being united to each other and to God, truly does bring life.


David speaks about the preciousness of unity among God’s people, but how can the individual Christian help to keep this unity?

1. By being ‘filled with the Spirit.’ Ephesians 5:18.

The filling of the Spirit is not a one-time event. The tense of the words should be understood as saying, ‘keep on being filled by or with the Spirit’.

Remember the first time the New Testament records the coming of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost. There was a tremendous sound, which filled the house and was heard outside of the house so that the people congregated in the house to find out what was happening.

The apostles emerged from the house and must have made their way to the temple probably to the ‘Court of the Gentiles’, which would be large enough to accommodate the size of the crowd which Acts 2 indicates came together.

The crowd heard the apostles, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, proclaiming the wonderful deeds of God. And they could not understand what was happening. We are told that they were ‘amazed’. ‘Amazement’ is the loss of the ability to collect one’s thoughts.

They didn’t understand what was happening. They were ‘perplexed’. When their minds began to function they recognised that they could find no explanation for what was happening. They ‘criticised’. The only thing they could find to say was, ‘These men are full of new wine’. They are drunk! Acts 2:1-12.

And what was Peter’s response? Not in the way you think are they drunk! It is only nine o’clock in the morning! Yes! They are drunk! But not with the spirit you are thinking about. This is what the prophet Joel spoke about. They are ‘filled with the Spirit of God.’ Acts 2:4.

Have we ever been accused of being drunk with our faith? The world today sees very little in the church that amazes it, perplexes it or moves it to criticism. The world is not at all ‘critical’ of the church, because the church is not disturbing it!

If it thinks about the church at all, it sees it as something like a prehistoric, out-of-date, harmless old body. Gone are the days when a Spirit-filled church, so worried the world that people said of the Christians, ‘these men have turned the world upside down and now they have come here also. Acts 17:6.

2. By maintaining the unity of the Spirit, Ephesians 4:3.

Please note we’re not commanded to create unity but maintain it, which suggests that unity should already exist among God’s people. We are to ‘make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit’ and how do we do this, ‘through the bond of peace’.

When the Holy Spirit rules in a congregation, there is unity and peace and so, this unity must be maintained.

Go To Psalm 134


"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."