This psalm is a brief but very important psalm.  In its entirety the psalm says, “A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Psalm 133:1-3). 

In my study, I have a handmade plaque that constantly reminds me that “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”  It was made and given to me by a dear brother in the Lord who knew and valued the importance of unity among believers. 

This psalm was written by David.  Some think it speaks of the time when all the tribes of Israel united and chose and anointed him king over them.  According to others, it speaks of when the rebellion of his son Absalom was conquered, and all the tribes of Israel strove for who would first bring back the king and show the greatest loyalty to him.  Either way, David expresses his pleasure in finally seeing unity among God’s people.  He declared it to be good, and he declared it be pleasant.  I’m reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:1-3, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; ENDEAVOURING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE.”  Notice that we are not called upon to CREATE unity.  We are called upon to KEEP the unity that the Spirit has created among all believers.  The Lord Jesus prayed for this unity in John 17:20-21, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That THEY ALL MAY BE ONE; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” 

David compares the goodness and pleasantness of unity to the precious ointment that flowed down Aaron’s beard and body.  This certainly refers to the anointing oil that was poured out upon Aaron when he was appointed to the office of priest.  We read in Exodus 30:30, “And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.”  This is the main point of comparison.  The oil did not remain limited to the place where it was poured, but it flowed down the High Priest’s hair and ran down his beard.  Even so, brotherly love descending from the head sanitizes and descends, anointing as it runs, and it gives fragrance to all it runs across.  Once set in motion it would not stop flowing.  It ran down the skirts of his garments…it saturated his clothes.

Unity is then compared to the dew of Hermon.  It is like the morning dews of Hermon which ran down, giving moisture to the land beneath it.  We know that Hermon and Zion are the same place for we read in Deuteronomy 4:48, “From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto mount Sion, which is Hermon.”  So, we get the picture of dew running down and giving precious water to that which was beneath it.  It was from Zion that the Lord “commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”  This pictures a wonderful blessing of how the Lord provided nourishment for His people. 

In this psalm, we are brought to celebrate, along with David, the joy of experiencing unity among the Lord’s people.  How wonderful it is, being compared to the anointing oil of the High Priest and the nourishing dew of Hermon.  May we seek to observe and obey the words of Ephesians 4:3, “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  It is good and pleasant to both God and man.  (407.6)