Why do the Songs of Degrees begin with this adverse condition? One assumes that the trip to the annual festivals for males in Jerusalem would have a triumphant flavour. This pilgrim is in distress and confesses the fact. No lies are allowed. There were no doubt some pilgrims who saw only the smug security of being the chosen ones, Abraham’s descendants.
The pilgrim shudders to think of what the phony confession – of his fellow traveller – might bring.
What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?Psalms 120:3
The war and the peace
The pilgrim laments that he speaks for peace, a rare thing in Israel, and gets a pushback in favour of war.
I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.Psalms 120:7
Our identity as pilgrims is rooted in the experience of the patriarchal triad (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). They lived in the promised land as if they were nomads, tenting from place
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:Hebrews 11:9
The pilgrim’s rest
In fact, all the people of faith – not all the people in the narratives – are said to have reckoned themselves to be pilgrims. They saw beyond the land of Canaan. Being there did not guarantee peace or rest, as the writer affirms.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.Hebrews 11:13
We can see that the journey to Jerusalem was not final and is not final.