The book of Psalms, of which Psalm 121 is a part, has been a collection of liturgical poems, hymns, and chants for Jewish people for thousands of years. Many psalms are attributed to ancient Jewish heroes like King David, but this one is unattributed. Using poetic repetition called “parallelism,” the psalm describes different ways in which the Jewish god Yahweh is a protector of his people.
The book of Psalms is also included in the Christian Bible and has found a special place in public and private settings of Christian devotion. Even though Psalm 121 talks about the god of the nation of Israel (Ps 121:4), Christians like Du Vernet could interpret the promises of protection as being directed to him and other Christians. When Du Vernet commented on Psalm 121, he may have described contemporary scenarios in which he believed God protected his people.