English Basic Explanation - Chapter 122
In Chapter 122 David sings an enthusiastic song of praise to the city of Jerusalem – the site of the "House of God" (verse 1) where the Tribes of Israel would assemble to celebrate festivals and give thanks to the Almighty (verse 4). David calls upon his readers to join him in praying for the peace and security of Jerusalem and for the well-being of those who appreciate its unique spiritual qualities (verses 6-9).
The commentators offer different possibilities in identifying the context for which this Psalm was composed. The Radak maintains that David wrote this poem for the period of exile, when the Jews would longingly reminisce about the glory of the Bet Ha'mikdash and the sight of throngs of Jews pouring through its gates to give praise to God. The prayer in the final verses of this chapter is thus a prayer for the rebuilding of the Temple and the safe return of the Jewish people to Zion and to the service of God in the Mikdash.
Rashi, however, understood that David speaks of his own time, when people eagerly anticipated the long-awaited construction of the Mikdash. God had already informed David that the Temple would be built only after his death, and so the people's anticipation of the Mikdash meant their eagerness to see David pass on and his son once and for all build the Bet Ha'mikdash. Nevertheless, David "rejoiced" (verse 1) upon hearing people speak so anxiously and enthusiastically about the Temple's construction. He recognized the importance and centrality of the Bet Ha'mikdash in the nation's religious experience, and therefore he was not disturbed at all by the anticipation of the opportunity for its construction, which depended on his death. To the contrary, he felt proud and gratified that the people under his charge displayed such enthusiasm and eagerness for the permanent site of the Shechina (Divine Presence) to finally be established in their midst. He therefore proudly composed this poem as a beautiful expression of the people's fervor and excitement over the Temple's imminent construction.