120. In My Distress I Cry to God

Text Information
First Line: In my distress I cry to God
Title: In My Distress I Cry to God
Versifier: Clarence P. Walhout (1982)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: CMD
Topic: Deliverance; Afflictions
Language: English
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Harmonizer: Kenneth Munson (1964)
Meter: CMD
Key: d minor
Source: Kentucky Harmony, 1816

Text Information:

A prayer for deliverance from slanderers and the harm they cause.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-4
st. 2 = vv. 5-7

Psalm 120 is the first in a series of "Songs of Ascents" (120-134) sung by the Israelites as they went up to worship at the LORD's temple on Mount Zion. A prayer for deliverance from false accusers, the last verse (v. 7) suggests that the author was a king. If so, his enemies were trying to discredit him at home or spread lies about him in foreign lands to fuel a concerted effort to attack him. For pilgrims to Jerusalem, this song could serve as a prayer for deliverance from those who spread false reports about them along the way. The psalmist pleads for God's deliverance from the barbed tongues of malicious slanderers (st. 1), noting the vulnerability and isolation of one slandered by associates (st. 2).

Clarence P. Walhout (PHH 6) versified this psalm in 1982 for the Psalter Hymnal.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

SALVATION is an anonymous tune that was published in Ananias Davisson's Kentucky Harmony (1816), the first Southern shape-note tune book. The melody was originally in the tenor. A rounded bar form (AABA'), SALVATION must be sung solemnly but not too slowly; the half-note rhythms define the energy of this music.

The harmonization was composed by Kenneth John Munson (b. Galesburg, IL, 1916; d. Burlington, VT, 1986) and first appeared in the Unitarian Universalist Hymns for the Celebration of Life (1964) set to three different texts. Munson studied at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, and received a Ph.D. in music from Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York. He served as chair of the music department at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, from 1942-1981, and was organist and choir director in several churches throughout his career.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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