Baptist Minister Mark Tronson, who is a qualified Holy Land guide, has revisited Psalm 122 verse 6a, challenging the translation which reads "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem".
M V Tronson says that this verse has caused him more concern and uneasiness than any other in relation to things Israel. He noted that "war" has been a consistent feature of Israel's existence, past, present and future and that the City of David was established in "war and blood" [2 Samuel 5:8].
He said that he has been puzzled that Christians in his holy land circles pray Psalm 122:6a daily, yet Jerusalem's populations have suffered more wars and seen more bloodshed than any other city. Some years ago he painted "Jerusalem" in blood red in one of his paintings, under his artistic guise, 'Tronson du Coudray – the missionary painter'.
Prayer is a precious commodity according to the will of God, but when said outside "His will" its value is questionable; moreover those who hold Jesus Christ as Lord recognise the validity of this statement, otherwise a prayer by a non-Christian would be of equal eternal value.
The question therefore he stated was whether the English translation of Psalm 122:6a "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" is true and correct, and if not, such prayers based on this verse are dubious at best. He is quite worried by all of this.
The Hebrew text is "Shalu Shlom Yerushalayim" where Shalu is translated 167 times as "ask, enquire, request, salute, greet" and yet once and only once, translated as "pray" and it is in Psalm 122 verse 6.
"Shlom" means "peace", a familiar greeting for hello and goodbye, as in "Shalom alechem", 'Peace to you!' (Luke 24:36, John 20:19; 21 and 26).
Mark Tronson pointed out that Psalms 120-134 are the Psalms of ascent, that is, the Psalms that were recited, chanted or sung, as the Israelites travelled up to Jerusalem for the feasts of the Lord.
He cited Ramon Bennett's book 'Saga, Israel and the Demise of the Nations' - "Those travelling up to Jerusalem were cared for in the villages along the way, in the homes of people who were not going up to the feasts. As the travellers set out again on their journey, the hosts would exclaim, 'Shalu Shlom Yerushalayim!'" [Psalm 122:6a].
M V Tronson said that this literally meant, "Ask the peace of Jerusalem"; in today's vernacular "Say 'hello' to Jerusalem for me" and illustrated this by explaining how friends say to him, 'Say hello to Tweed Heads for me' [where he lives].
The syntax and 'other textual' Biblical use is expressed as 'Salute Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you' as the word "Salute" encompasses the ideas of a greeting, go well, personal acknowledgement of the place of Jerusalem in one's heart, a love for the City of David.
M V Tronson said that "peace" comes to Jerusalem after Messiah comes to reign in His city, the City of the Great King (Psalm 48:2), therefore those passionate for things Israel might better exclaim, "Even so, Come Lord Jesus".
The translation as it now stands is consistent with 'Replacement Theology', in which some theologians (but not M V Tronson) believe that with the death of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary, the Christian religion replaced Judaism, and the Jews were no longer regarded as God's chosen people.
This also resonated with the Biblical passages that stated that the Jews were responsible for Jesus crucifixion, and therefore the blood of the Jews would be upon their children and children's children. If this were true, then no wonder one would want to 'pray' for the peace of Jerusalem!
However, Mark Tronson notes that this threat was revoked when Jesus on the Cross exclaimed "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."
In this light, then, let us rejoice with the worshippers of old, who exclaimed, "Salute Jerusalem, may they prosper who love you".