Psalm 121

121A: To the Hills I Lift My Eyes

Performance Notes:

Text Information:

A profession of the LORD's sure protection of his people.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-4
st. 2 = vv. 5-8

Psalm 121 is one of fifteen "Songs of Ascents" (120-134), psalms the Israelites sang as they went up to worship at the temple in Jerusalem. Its main theme–that the LORD is the unfailing Protector of those who look to him–surely made it appropriate for such use. However, it is equally appropriate for God's pilgrims on the journey of life. We confess that our security comes from the LORD, the Maker and Ruler of all creation, and receive assurance that the LORD never sleeps (st. 1), but watches over us day and night to protect us from harm no matter where we go (st. 2). The (altered) versification is from the 1912 Psalter. Other settings of Psalm 121 are at 180 and 448.

Liturgical Use:
Whenever the Christian church confesses its assurance in God's care and keeping; stanza 2 makes a fine choral benediction.

Tune Information:

Converted to Christianity as a youth at a mission in Buffalo, New York, Marcus Morris Wells (b. Cooperstown, NY, 1815; d. Hartwick, NY, 1895) spent most of his life near Hartwick as a farmer and maker of farm implements. He is remembered in hymnody for writing both the text and tune of "Holy Spirit, Faithful Guide." "On a Saturday afternoon, October 1858, while at work in my cornfield, the sentiment of the hymn came to me," writes Wells. "The next day, Sunday, being a very stormy day, I finished the hymn and wrote the tune for it and sent it to Prof. I. B. Woodbury." Isaac Woodbury was the editor of the New York Musical Pioneer, and the original text and tune were first published in that periodical's November 1858 issue.

GUIDE has been associated with Psalm 121 since the 1887 Psalter. GUIDE is a rounded bar form (AABA); it has basically one rhythmic pattern and a very simple harmony. One antiphonal arrangement that works nicely is to have a soloist ask the opening question and everyone sing the rest in reply. The tune's simplicity invites unaccompanied singing in harmony.

 Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalter, 1912, alt., P.D.
  • Music (GUIDE 7.7.7.7 D): Marcus M. Wells, 1858, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: both are in Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint this song.

121B: Total Praise

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1089 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Richard Smallwood (b. 1948) © 1996 Universal Music—Z Songs/T Autumn Music, admin. Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.
  • Music: Richard Smallwood (b. 1948); arr. Stephen Key © 1996 Universal Music—Z Songs/T Autumn Music, admin. Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.
  • Reprint Information:

121C: Alzo a los montes mis ojos/Lift Your Eyes Up to the Mountains

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1089 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: anonymous, Psalm 121 © Plegaria Colombia; tr. Mary Louise Bringle (b. 1953), 2011
  • Music: anonymous; arr. Marcus Hong, 2011, © Plegaria Colombia

121D: A Responsorial Setting

Performance Notes:

  • For notes on this setting, see page 1089 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalm 121
  • Music: Daniel Richardson and Angel Napieralski © 2010 Daniel Richardson and Angel Napieralski, admin. Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Psalm Text: from Evangelical Lutheran Worship © 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Tone: © 2011 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net or a CCLI License.
    • When reprinting the Psalm Text and Tone, please use the correct copyright line. Faith Alive Christian Resources gives you permission to reprint the Tone for use in a worship setting.

121E: I to the Hills Will Lift My Eyes

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1089 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalter, 1912, alt. 1988, P.D.
  • Music (UNION 8.6.8.6): Genuine Church Music, 1832, attr. Stephen Jenks, P.D.; arr. Alice Parker © 2000 Alice Parker
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words: The Words are in Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint them.
    • Music (tune): The Tune is in Public Domain; you do not need permission to reprint it.
    • Music (arrangement): please contact Alice Parker

121F: Naega sanŭl hyanghayŏ

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1089 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Song-suk Im, Korea © 1990 and English tr. Emily R. Brink (b. 1940) © 2011 Christian Conference of Asia, admin. GIA Publications, Inc.
  • Music (NA-UI DO-UM 11.11.11.11): Song-ch’on Lee, Korea © 1990 Christian Conference of Asia, admin. GIA Publications, Inc.
  • Reprint Information:

121G: A Benediction

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • John D. Witvliet, 2011, © Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Reprint Information:
    • You do not need permission to reprint this Benediction; please use the correct copyright line.

121H: I Lift My Eyes Up to the Mountains

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1089 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words and Music: Brian Doerksen (b. 1965) © 1990 Vineyard Songs (Canada)/ION Publishing, admin. in North America by Music Services o/b/o Vineyard Music USA
  • Reprint Information:

121I: Our Help Is from the Lord

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information: