Exposition - Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher - Works Upon This Psalm
TITLE. A Song of Degrees. A joyful song indeed: let
all pilgrims to the New Jerusalem sing it often. The degrees or ascents are very
visible; the theme ascends step by step from, "afflictions" to a "crown", from
"remember David", to, "I will make the horn of David to bud." The latter half is
like the over arching sky bending above "the fields of the wood" which are found
in the resolves and prayers of the former portion.
DIVISION. Our translators have rightly divided this Psalm.
It contains a statement of David's anxious care to build a house for the Lord
(Ps 132:1-7); a prayer at the removal of the Ark (Ps 132:8-10); and a pleading
of the divine covenant and its promises (Ps 132:11-18).
Verse 1. LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions. With
David the covenant was made, and therefore his name is pleaded on behalf of his
descendants, and the people who would be blessed by his dynasty. Jehovah, who
changes not, will never forget one of his servants, or fail to keep his
covenant; yet for this thing he is to be entreated. That which we are assured
the Lord will do must, nevertheless, be made a matter of prayer. The request is
that the Lord would remember, and this is a word full of meaning. We know
that the Lord remembered Noah, and assuaged the flood; he remembered Abraham,
and sent Lot out of Sodom; he remembered Rachel, and Hannah, and gave them
children; he remembered his mercy to the house of Israel, and delivered his
people. That is a choice song wherein we sing, "He remembered us in our
low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever"; and this is a notable prayer,
"Lord remember me." The plea is urged with God that he would bless the family of
David for the sake of their progenitor; how much stronger is our master argument
in prayer that God would deal well with us for Jesus' sake! David had no
personal merit; the plea is based upon the covenant graciously made With him:
but Jesus has deserts which are his own, and of boundless merits these we may
urge without hesitation. When the Lord was angry with the reigning prince, the
people cried, "Lord remember David"; and when they needed any special blessing,
again they sang, "Lord, remember David." This was good pleading, but it was not
so good as ours, which runs on this wise, "Lord, remember Jesus, and all
The afflictions of David here meant were those which
came upon him as a godly man his endeavours to maintain the worship of Jehovah,
and to provide for its decent and suitable celebration. There was always an
ungodly party in the nation, and these persons were never slow to slander,
hinder, and molest the servant of the Lord. Whatever were David's faults, he
kept true to the one, only, living, and true God; and for this he was a speckled
bird among monarchs. Since he zealously delighted in the worship of Jehovah, his
God, he was despised and ridiculed by those who could not understand his
enthusiasm. God will never forget what his people suffer for his sake. No doubt
innumerable blessings descend upon families and nations through the godly lives
and patient sufferings of the saints. We cannot be saved by the merits of
others, but beyond all question we are benefited by their virtues. Paul saith,
"God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have
showed toward his name." Under the New Testament dispensation, as well as under
the Old, there is a full reward for the righteous. That reward frequently comes
upon their descendants rather than upon themselves: they sow, and their
successors reap. We may at this day pray--Lord, remember the martyrs and
confessors of our race, who suffered for thy name's sake, and bless our people
and nation with gospel grace for our fathers' sakes.
Verse 2. How he sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty
God of Jacob. Moved by intense devotion, David expressed his resolve
in the form of a solemn vow, which was sealed with an oath. The fewer of such
vows the better under a dispensation whose great Representative has said, "swear
not at all." Perhaps even in this case it had been wiser to have left the pious
resolve in the hands of God in the form of a prayer; for the vow was not
actually fulfilled as intended, since the Lord forbade David to build him a
temple. We had better not swear to do anything before we know the Lord's mind
about it, and then we shall not need to swear. The instance of David's vows
shows that vows are allowable, but it does not prove that they are desirable.
Probably David went too far in his words, and it is well that the Lord did not
hold him to the letter of his bond, but accepted the will for the deed, and the
meaning of his promise instead of the literal sense of it. David imitated Jacob,
that great maker of vows at Bethel, and upon him rested the blessing pronounced
on Jacob by Isaac, "God Almighty bless thee" (Ge 28:3), which was remembered by
the patriarch on his death bed, when he spoke of "the mighty God of Jacob." God
is mighty to hear us, and to help us in performing our vow. We should be full of
awe at the idea of making any promise to the Mighty God: to dare to trifle with
him would be grievous indeed. It is observable that affliction led both David
and Jacob into covenant dealings with the Lord: many vows are made in anguish of
soul. We may also remark that, if the votive obligations of David are to be
remembered of the Lord, much more are the suretyship engagements of the Lord
Jesus before the mind of the great Lord, to whom our soul turns in the hour of
our distress. Note, upon this verse, that Jehovah was the God of Jacob, the
same God evermore; that he had this for his attribute, that he is mighty-- mighty
to succour his Jacobs who put their trust in him, though their afflictions be
many. He is, moreover, specially the Mighty One of his people; he is the
God of Jacob in a sense in which he is not the God of unbelievers. So here we
have three points concerning our God: --name, Jehovah; attribute,
mighty; special relationship, "mighty God of Jacob." He it is who is
asked to remember David and his trials, and there is a plea for that blessing in
each one of the three points.
Verse 3. Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house,
nor go up into my bed. Our translators give the meaning, though not
the literal form, of David's vow, which ran thus, "If I go" --"If I go up", etc.
This was an elliptical form of imprecation, implying more than it expressed, and
having therefore about it a mystery which made it all the more solemn. David
would not take his ease in his house, nor his rest in his bed, till he had
determined upon a place for the worship of Jehovah. The ark had been neglected,
the Tabernacle had fallen into disrespect; he would find the ark, and build for
it a suitable house; he felt that he could not take pleasure in his own palace
till this was done. David meant well, but he spake more than he could carry out.
His language was hyperbolical, and the Lord knew what he meant: zeal does not
always measure its terms, for it is not thoughtful of the criticisms of men, but
is carried away with love to the Lord, who reads the hearts of his people. David
would not think himself housed till he had built a house for the Lord, nor would
he reckon himself rested till he had said, "Arise, O Lord, into thy rest." Alas,
we have many around us who will never carry their care for the Lord's worship
too far! No fear of their being indiscreet? They are housed and bedded, and as
for the Lord, his people may meet in a barn, or never meet at all, it will be
all the same to them. Observe that Jacob in his vow spoke of the stone being
God's house, and David's vow also deals with a house for God.
Verse 4. I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to
wine eyelids. He could not enjoy sleep till he had done his best to
provide a place for the ark. It is a strong expression, and it is not to be
coolly discussed by us. Remember that the man was all on fire, and he was
writing poetry also, and therefore his language is not that which we should
employ in cold blood. Everybody can see what he means, and how intensely he
means it. Oh, that many more were seized with sleeplessness because the house of
the Lord lies waste? They can slumber fast enough, and not even disturb
themselves with a dream, though the cause of God should be brought to the lowest
ebb by their covetousness. What is to become of those who have no care about
divine things, and never give a thought to the claims of their God?
Verse 5. Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation
for the mighty God of Jacob. He resolved to find a place where
Jehovah would allow his worship to be celebrated, a house where God would fix
the symbol of his presence, and commune with his people. At that time, in all
David's land, there was no proper place for that ark whereon the Lord had placed
the mercy seat, where prayer could be offered, and where the manifested glory
shone forth. All things had fallen into decay, and the outward forms of public
worship were too much disregarded; hence the King resolves to be first and
foremost in establishing a better order of things. Yet one cannot help remembering that the holy resolve of David
gave to a place and a house much more importance than the Lord himself ever
attached to such matters. This is indicated in Nathan's message from the Lord to
the king--"Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me
an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the
time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day,
but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have
walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of
Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me
an house of cedar?" Stephen in his inspired speech puts the matter plainly:
"Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made
with hands." It is a striking fact that true religion never flourished more in
Israel than before the temple was built, and that from the day of the erection
of that magnificent house the spirit of godliness declined. Good men may have on
their hearts matters which seem to them of chief importance, and it may be
acceptable with God that they should seek to carry them out; and yet in his
infinite wisdom he may judge it best to prevent their executing their designs.
God does not measure his people's actions by their wisdom, or want of wisdom,
but by the sincere desire for his glory which has led up to them. David's
resolution, though he was not allowed to fulfil it, brought a blessing upon him:
the Lord promised to build the house of David, because he had desired to build
the house of the Lord. Moreover, the King was allowed to prepare the treasure
for the erection of the glorious edifice which was built by his son and
successor. The Lord shows the acceptance of what we desire to do by permitting
us to do something else which his infinite mind judges to be fitter for us, and
more honourable to himself.
Verse 6. Meanwhile, where was the habitation of God among
men? He was wont to shine forth from between the cherubim, but where was the
ark? It was like a hidden thing, a stranger in its own land. Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah. Rumours came that it was
somewhere in the land of Ephraim, in a temporary lodging; rather an object of
dread than of delight. Is it not wonderful that so renowned a symbol of the
presence of the Lord should be lingering in neglect-- a neglect so great that it
was remarkable that we should have heard of its whereabouts at all? When a man
begins to think upon God and his service it is comforting that the gospel is
heard of. Considering the opposition which it has encountered it is marvellous
that it should be heard of, and heard of in a place remote from the central
city; but yet we are sorrowful that it is only in connection with some poor
despised place that we do hear of it. What is Ephratah Who at this time knows
where it was? How could the ark have remained there so long?
David instituted a search for the ark. It had to be hunted for
high and low; and at last at Kirjathjearim, the forest city, he came upon it.
How often do souls find Christ and his salvation in out of the way places! What
matters where we meet with him so long as we do behold him, and final life in
him? That is a blessed Eureka which is embedded in our text--"we found
it." The matter began with hearing, led on to a search, and concluded in a
joyful find. "We found it in the fields of the wood." Alas that there
should be no room for the Lord in the palaces of kings, so that he must needs
take to the woods. If Christ be in a wood he will yet be found of those who seek
for him. He is as near in the rustic home, embowered among the trees, as in the
open streets of the city; yea, he will answer prayer offered from the heart of
the black forest where the lone traveller seems out of all hope of hearing. The
text presents us with an instance of one whose heart was set upon finding the
place where God would meet with him; this made him quick of hearing, and so the
cheering news soon reached him. The tidings renewed his ardour, and led him to
stick at no difficulties in his search; and so it came to pass that, where he
could hardly have expected it, he lighted upon the treasure which he so much
Verse 7. We will go into his tabernacles. Having found the
place where he dwells we will hasten thereto. He has many dwellings in one in
the various courts of his house, and each of these shall receive the reverence
due: in each the priest shall offer for us the appointed service; and our hearts
shall go where our bodies may not enter. David is not alone, he is represented
as having sought for the ark with others, for so the word "we" implies;
and now they are glad to attend him in his pilgrimage to the chosen shrine,
saying, "We found it, we will go." Because these are the Lord's
courts we will resort to them. We will worship at his footstool. The best
ordered earthly house can be no more than the footstool of so great a King. His
ark can only reveal the glories of his feet, according to his promise that he
will make the place of his feet glorious: yet thither will we hasten with joy,
in glad companionship, and there will we adorn him. Where Jehovah is, there
shall he be worshipped. It is well not only to go to the Lord's house, but to
worship there: we do but profane his tabernacles if we enter them for any
other purpose. Before leaving this verse let us note the ascent of this Psalm
of degrees--"We heard...we found...we will go...we will worship."
Verse 11. Here we come to a grand covenant pleading of the
kind which is always prevalent with the Lord. The LORD hath sworn in
truth unto, David. We cannot urge anything with God which is equal to his
own word and oath. Jehovah swears that our faith may have strong confidence in
it: he cannot forswear himself. He swears in truth, for he means every word that
he utters; men may be perjured, but none will be so profane as to imagine this
of the God of truth. By Nathan this covenant of Jehovah was conveyed to David,
and there was no delusion in it. He will not turn from it. Jehovah is not
a changeable being. He never turns from his purpose, much less from his promise
solemnly ratified by oath. He turneth never. He is not a man that he should lie,
nor the son of man that he should repent. What a rock they stand upon who have
an immutable oath of God for their foundation! We know that this covenant was
really made with Christ, the spiritual seed of David, for Peter quotes it at
Pentecost, saying, "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the
patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us
unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an
oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would
raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the
resurrection of Christ." Christ therefore sits on a sure throne for ever and
ever, seeing that he has kept the covenant, and through him the blessing comes
upon Zion, whose poor are blessed in him. Of the fruit of thy body will I set
upon thy throne. Jesus sprang from the race of David, as the
evangelists are careful to record; he was "of the house and lineage of David":
at this day he is the King of the Jews, and the Lord has also given him the
heathen for his inheritance. He must reign, and of his kingdom there shall be no
end. God himself has set him on the throne, and no rebellion of men or devils
can shake his dominion. The honour of Jehovah is concerned in his reign, and
therefore it is never in danger; for the Lord will not suffer his oath to be
Verse 12. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony
that I shall teach them. There is a condition to the covenant so far
as it concerned kings of David's line before the coming of the true Seed; but
he has fulfilled that condition, and made the covenant indefeasible
henceforth and for ever as to himself and the spiritual seed in him. Considered
as it related to temporal things it was no small blessing for David's dynasty to
be secured the throne upon good behaviour. These monarchs held their crowns from
God upon the terms of loyalty to their superior Sovereign, the Lord who had
elevated them to their high position. They were to be faithful to the covenant
by obedience to the divine law, and by belief of divine truth, they were to
accept Jehovah as their Lord and their Teacher, regarding him in both relations
as in covenant with them. What a condescension on God's part to be their
teacher! How gladly ought they to render intelligent obedience! What a proper,
righteous, and needful stipulation for God to make that they should be true to
him when the reward was the promise, Their children shall also sit upon
thy throne for evermore. If they will sit at his feet God will make them
sit on a throne; if they will keep the covenant they shall keep the crown from
generation to generation.
The kingdom of Judah might have stood to this day had its kings
been faithful to the Lord. No internal revolt or external attack could have
overthrown the royal house of David: it fell by its own sin, and by nothing
else. The Lord was continually provoked, but he was amazingly long suffering,
for long after seceding Israel had gone into captivity, Judah still remained.
Miracles of mercy were shown to her. Divine patience exceeded all limits, for
the Lord's regard for David was exceeding great. The princes of David's house
seemed set on ruining themselves, and nothing could save them; justice waited
long, but it was bound at last to unsheathe the sword and strike. Still, if in
the letter man's breach of promise caused the covenant to fail, yet in spirit
and essence the Lord has been true to it, for Jesus reigns, and holds the throne
for ever. David's seed is still royal, for he was the progenitor according to
the flesh of him who is King of kings and Lord of lords. This verse shows us the need of family piety. Parents must see
to it that their children know the fear of the Lord, and they must beg the Lord
himself to teach them his truth. We have no hereditary right to the divine
favour: the Lord keeps up his friendship to families from generation to
generation, for he is loath to leave the descendants of his servants, and never
does so except under grievous and long continued provocation. As believers, we
are all in a measure under some such covenant as that of David: certain of us
can look backward for four generations of saintly ancestors, and we are now glad
to look forward and to see our children, and our children's children, walking in
the truth. Yet we know that grace does not run in the blood, and we are filled
with holy fear lest in any of our seed there should be an evil heart of unbelief
in departing from the living God.
Verse 13. For the LORD hath chosen Zion. It was no more than
any other Canaanite town till God chose it, David captured it, Solomon built it,
and the Lord dwelt in it. So was the church a mere Jebusite stronghold till
grace chose it, conquered it, rebuilt it, and dwelt in it. Jehovah has chosen
his people, and hence they are his people. He has chosen the church, and hence
it is what it is. Thus in the covenant David and Zion, Christ and his people, go
together. David is for Zion, and Zion for David: the interests of Christ and his
people are mutual. He hath desired it for his habitation. David's
question is answered. The Lord has spoken: the site of the temple is fixed: the
place of the divine manifestation is determined. Indwelling follows upon
election, and arises out of it: Zion is chosen, chosen for a habitation of God.
The desire of God to dwell among the people whom he has chosen for himself is
very gracious and yet very natural: his love will not rest apart from those upon
whom he has placed it. God desires to abide with those whom he has loved with an
everlasting love; and we do not wonder that it should be so, for we also desire
the company of our beloved ones. It is a double marvel, that the Lord should
choose and desire such poor creatures as we are: the indwelling of the Holy
Ghost in believers is a wonder of grace parallel to the incarnation of the Son
of God. God in the church is the wonder of heaven, the miracle of eternity, the
glory of infinite love.
Verse 14. This is my rest for ever. Oh, glorious words! It
is God himself who here speaks. Think of rest for God! A Sabbath for the Eternal
and a place of abiding for the Infinite. He calls Zion my rest.
Here his love remains and displays itself with delight. "He shall rest in his
love." And this forever. He will not seek another place of repose, nor
grow weary of his saints. In Christ the heart of Deity is filled with content,
and for his sake he is satisfied with his people, and will be so world without
end. These august words declare a distinctive choice--this and no other; a
certain choice--this which is well known to me; a present choice
--this which is here at this moment. God has made his election of old, he
has not changed it, and he never will repent of it: his church was his rest and
is his rest still. As he will not turn from his oath, so he will never
turn from his choice. Oh, that we may enter into his rest, may be part and
parcel of his church, and yield by our loving faith a delight to the mind of him
who taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in them that hope in his mercy.
Here will I dwell; for I have desired it. Again are we filled with
wonder that he who fills all things should dwell in Zion--should dwell in his
church. God does not unwillingly visit his chosen; he desires to dwell with
them; he desires them. He is already in Zion, for he says here, as one
upon the spot. Not only will he occasionally come to his church, but he will
dwell in it, as his fixed abode. He cared not for the magnificence of Solomon's
temple, but he determined that at the mercy seat he would be found by
suppliants, and that thence he would shine forth in brightness of grace among
the favoured nation. All this, however, was but a type of the spiritual house,
of which Jesus is foundation and cornerstone, upon which all the living stones
are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Oh, the
sweetness of the thought that God desires to dwell in his people and rest among
them! Surely if it be his desire he will cause it to be so. If the desire of the
righteous shall be granted much more shall the desire of the righteous God be
accomplished. This is the joy of our souls, for surely we shall rest in God, and
certainly our desire is to dwell in him. This also is the end of our fears for
the church of God; for if the Lord dwell in her, she shall not be moved; if the
Lord desire her, the devil cannot destroy her.
Verse 15. I will abundantly bless her provision. It must be
so. How can we be without a blessing when the Lord is among us? We live upon his
word, we are clothed by his charity, we are armed by his power: all sorts of
provision are in him, and how can they be otherwise than blessed? The provision
is to be abundantly blessed;then it will be abundant and blessed. Daily
provision, royal pie vision, satisfying provision, overflowingly joyful
provision the church shall receive; and the divine benediction shall cause us to
receive it with faith, to feed upon it by experience, to grow upon it by
sanctification, to be strengthened by it to labour, cheered by it to patience,
and built up by it to perfection. I will satisfy her poor with bread. The
citizens of Zion are poor in themselves, poor in spirit, and often poor in
pocket, but their hearts and souls shall dwell in such abundance that they shall
neither need more nor desire more. Satisfaction is the crown of experience.
Where God rests his people shall be satisfied. They are to be satisfied with
what the Lord himself calls "bread", and we may be sure that he knows
what is really bread for souls. He will not give us a stone. The Lord's poor
shall "have food convenient for them": that which will suit their palate, remove
their hunger, fill their desire, build up their frame, and perfect their growth.
The breadth of earth is "the bread that perisheth", but the bread of God
endureth to life eternal. In the church where God rests his people shall not
starve; the Lord would never rest if they did. He did not take rest for six days
till he had prepared the world for the first man to live in; he would not stay
his hand till all things were ready; therefore, we may be sure if the Lord rests
it is because "it is finished", and the Lord hath prepared of his goodness for
the poor. Where God finds his desire his people shall find theirs; if he is
satisfied, they shall be. Taking the two clauses together, we see that nothing but an
abundant blessing in the church will satisfy the Lord's poor people: they are
naked and miserable till that comes. All the provision that Solomon himself
could make would not have satisfied the saints of his day: they looked higher,
and longed for the Lord's own boundless blessing, and hungered for the bread
which came down from heaven. Blessed be the Lord, they had in this verse two of
the "I wills" of God to rest upon, and nothing could be a better support to
Verse 16. More is promised than was prayed for. See how the
ninth verse asks for the priests to be clad in righteousness, and the answer is,
I will also clothe her priests with salvation. God is wont to do
exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or even think. Righteousness is but
one feature of blessing, salvation is the whole of it. What cloth of gold is
this! What more than regal array! Garments of salvation! we know who has woven
them, who has dyed them, and who has given them to his people. These are the
best robes for priests and preachers, for princes and people; there is none like
them; give them me. Not every priest shall be thus clothed, but only her
priests, those who truly belong to Zion by faith which is in Christ Jesus who
hath made them priests unto God. These, are clothed by the Lord himself, and
none can clothe as he does. It even the grass of the field is so clothed by the
Creator as to out do Solomon in all his glory, how must his own children be
clad? Truly he shall be admired in his saints; the liveries of his servants
shall be the wonder of heaven. And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
Again we have a golden answer to a silver prayer. The Psalmist would have the
"saints shout for joy." "That they shall do", saith the Lord, "and aloud
too"; they shall be exceedingly full of delight; their songs and shouts shall be
so hearty that they shall sound as the noise of many waters, and as great
thunders. These joyful ones are not, however, the mimic saints of superstition,
but her saints, saints of the Most High, "sanctified in Christ Jesus."
These shall be so abundantly blessed and so satisfied, and so apparelled that
they can do no otherwise than shout to show their astonishment, their triumph,
their gratitude, their exultation, their enthusiasm, their joy in the Lord. Zion
has no dumb saints. The sight of God at rest among his chosen is enough to make
the most silent shout. If the morning stars sang together when the earth and
heavens were made, much more will all the sons of God shout for joy when the new
heavens and the new earth are finished, and the New Jerusalem comes down out of
heaven from God, prepared as a bride for her husband. Meanwhile, even now the
dwelling of the Lord among us is a perennial fountain of sparkling delight to
all holy minds. This shouting for joy is guaranteed to Zion's holy ones: God
says they shall shout aloud, and depend upon it they will: who shall stop
them of this glorying? The Lord hath said by his Spirit, "let them shout aloud":
who is he that shall make them hold their peace? The Bridegroom is with them,
and shall the children of the bride chamber fast?: Nay, verily, we rejoice, yea
and will rejoice.
Verse 17. There will I make the horn of David to bud. In
Zion David's dynasty shall develop power and glory. In our notes from other
authors we have included a description of the growth of the horns of stags,
which is the natural fact from which we conceive the expression in the text to
be borrowed. As the stag is made noble and strong by the development of his
horns, so the house of David shall advance from strength to strength. This was
to be by the work of the Lord--"there will I make", and therefore it would be
sure and solid growth. When God makes us to bud none can cause us to fade. When
David's descendants left the Lord and the worship of his house, they declined in
all respects, for it was only through the Lord, and in connection will his
worship that their horn would bud. I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. David's name was
to be illustrious, and brilliant as a lamp; it was to continue shining like a
lamp in the sanctuary; it was thus to be a comfort to the people, and an
enlightenment to the nations. God would not suffer the light of David to go out
by the extinction of his race: his holy ordinances had decreed that the house of
his servant should remain in the midst of Israel. What a lamp is our Lord Jesus!
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel. As the
anointed-- the true Christ, he shall be the light of heaven itself. Oh for grace
to receive our illumination and our consolation from Jesus Christ alone.
Verse 18. His enemies will I clothe with shame. They shall
be utterly defeated, they shall loathe their evil design, they shall be despised
for having hated the Ever Blessed One. Their shame they will be unable to hide,
it shall cover them: God will array them in it for ever, and it shall be their
convict dress to all eternity. But upon himself shall his crown
flourish. Green shall be his laurels of victory. He shall win and wear the
crown of honour, and his inherited diadem shall increase in splendour. Is it not
so to this hour with Jesus? His kingdom cannot fail, his imperial glories cannot
fade. It is himself that we delight to honour; it is to himself that the honour
comes, and upon himself that it flourishes. If others snatch at his crown their
traitorous aims are defeated; but he in his own person reigns with ever growing
"Crown him, crown him,
Crowns become the victor's brow."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. Lightfoot ascribes this Psalm to David, and
supposes it to have been composed on the second removal of the ark from the
house of Obededom: 1Ch 15:4, etc. But the mention of David's name in the tenth
verse in the third person, and the terms there employed, militate against his
being the author. Others ascribe it to Solomon, who, they think, wrote it about
the time of the removing of the ark into the Temple which he had built for it:
2Ch 5:2, etc. Others are of opinion, that it was composed by Solomon for the
solemn services that were celebrated at the dedication of the Temple. --James
Anderson's note to Calvin in loc.
Whole Psalm. The Psalm is divided into four stanzas of ten
lines, each of which contains the name of David. The first part begins with
speaking of David's vow to the Lord, the third with the Lord's promise to David.
Whole Psalm. The parallelisms need to be traced with some
care. Ps 132:1-6 are answered by Ps 132:12, Ps 132:7 by Ps 132:13; Ps 132:8 by
Ps 132:14; Ps 132:9 by Ps 132:15-16; Ps 132:10 by Ps 132:17-18. An attention to these parallelisms is often necessary to bring
out the meaning of Scripture. --Joseph Angus, in "The Bible Handbook",
Verse 1. LORD, remember. It is a gracious privilege to be
permitted to be God's reminders. Faith is encouraged to remind him of his
covenant, and of his precious promises. There is, indeed, no forgetfulness with
him. The past, as also the future, is a present page before his eye. But by this
exercise we impress on our own minds invaluable lessons. --Henry Law.
Verse 1. Remember David, and all his afflictions. Solomon
was a wise man, yet pleads not any merit of his own; --I am not worthy, for whom
thou shouldest do this, but, "Lord, remember David", with whom thou
madest the covenant; as Moses prayed (Ex 32:13), "Remember Abraham", the
first trustee of the covenant; remember "all his afflictions"; all the
troubles of his life, which his being anointed was the occasion of; or his care
and concern about the ark, and what an uneasiness it was to him that the ark was
in curtains (2Sa 7:2). Remember all his humility and weakness, so some
read it; all that pious and devout affection with which he had made the
following vow. --Matthew Henry.
Verse 1. Remember...all his afflictions. The sufferings of
believers for tim cause of truth are not meritorious, but neither are they in
vain; they are not forgotten by God. Mt 5:11-12. --Christopher Starke,
Verse 1. Afflictions. The Hebrew word for
"afflictions" is akin to the word for "trouble" in 1Ch 12:14: "Now,
behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the Lord an
hundred thousand talents of gold." --H. T. Armfeld.
Verses 1-2. If the Jew could rightly appeal to God to show
mercy to his church and nation for the sake of that shepherd youth whom he had
advanced to the kingdom, much more shall we justly plead our cause in the name
of David's son (called David four times in the prophets), and of all his
trouble, all the sorrows of his birth and infancy, his ministry and passion
and death, which he bore as a consequence of his self dedication to his father's
will, when his priesthood, foreordained from all eternity, was confirmed with an
oath, "for these Levitical priests were made without swearing an
oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will
not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek": Heb 7:21
Ps 100:4. --Theodoret and C'assiodorus, in Neale and Littledale.
Verse 2. And vowed. The history does not record the time nor
the occasion of this vow; but history does record how it was ever in David's
thoughts and on David's heart. David, indeed, in the first verse, asks of God to
remember his afflictions, and then records his vow; and you may, perhaps, think
that the vow was the consequence of his afflictions, and that he made it
contingent on his deliverance ...It is far more consistent with the character of
David to look upon the affliction to which he alludes as resulting from the
Lord's not permitting him to carry out his purpose of erecting an earthly
habitation for the God of heaven, inasmuch as he had shed blood abundantly. And
if, as is more than probable, amid that blood which he had shed, David's
conscience recalled the blood of Uriah as swelling the measure, he could not but
be deeply afflicted, even while he acknowledged the righteousness of the
sentence. But though not permitted of God to execute his purpose, we
cannot but feel and own that it was a noble resolution which David here makes;
and though recorded in all the amplification of Oriental imagery, it expresses
the holy determination of the Psalmist to forego every occupation and pursuit,
and not to allow a single day to elapse till he had at least fixed on the site
of the future temple. --Barton Bouchier.
Verse 2. He vowed. He who is ready to vow on every occasion
will break his vow on every occasion. It is a necessary rule, that "we be as
sparing in making our vows as may be"; there being many great inconveniences
attending frequent and multiplied vows. It is very observable, that the
Scripture mentions very few examples of vows, compared with the many instances
of very great and wonderful providences; as if it would give us some instances,
that we might know what we have to do, and yet would give us but few, that we
might know we are not to do it often. You read Jacob lived seven score and seven
years (Ge 47:28); but you read, I think, but of one vow that he made. Our
extraordinary exigencies are not many; and, I say, our vows should not be more.
Let this, then, be the first necessary ingredient of a well ordered vow. Let it
be no oftener made than the pressing greatness of an evil to be removed, or the
alluring excellency of a blessing extraordinary to be obtained, will well
warrant. Jephthah's vow was so far right; he had just occasion; there was a
great and pressing danger to be removed; there was an excellent blessing to be
obtained: the danger was, lest Israel should be enslaved; the blessing was
victory over their enemies. This warranted his vow, though his rashness marred
it. It was in David's troubles that David sware, and vowed a vow to the Most
High; and Jacob forbare to vow until his more than ordinary case bade his vow,
and warranted him in so doing: Ge 28:20. Let us do as he did, --spare to vow,
until such case puts us on it. --Henry Hurst (1629? --1690), in "The
Verse 2. Vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob. The first holy
votary that ever we read of was Jacob here mentioned in this text, who is
therefore called thee father of vows: and upon this account some think David
mentions God here under the title of "the mighty God of Jacob",
rather than any other, because of his vow. --Abraham Wright.
Verse 2. The mighty God of Jacob. The title strong one
of Jacob, by which God is here designated, first used by Jacob
himself, Ge 49:24, and thence more generally used as is clear from Isa 1:24
49:26, and other places, here sets forth God both as the most mighty who is able
most severely to punish perjury, and with whom no one may dare to contend, and
also as the defender and most mighty vindicator of Israel, such as Jacob had
proved him, and all his descendants, in particular David, who frequently
rejoiced and gloried in this mighty one and defender. Such a mighty one of Jacob
was worthy to have a temple built for him, and was so great that he would not
suffer perjury. --Hermann Venema.
Verse 2. Where the interpreters have translated, "the God
of Jacob", it is in the Hebrew, "the mighty in Jacob." Which
name is sometimes attributed unto the angels, and sometimes it is also applied
to other things wherein are great strength and fortitude; as to a lion, an ox,
and such like. But here it is a singular word of faith, signifying that God is
the power and strength of his people; for only faith ascribes this unto God.
Reason and the flesh do attribute more to riches, and such other worldly helps
as man seeth and knoweth. All such carnal helps are very idols, which deceive
men, and draw them to perdition; but this is the strength and fortitude of the
people, to have God present with them...So the Scripture saith in another place:
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of
the Lord." Likewise Paul saith: "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his
might." For this power is eternal, and deceives not. All other powers are not
only deceitful, but they are transitory, and continue but for a moment.
Verse 3. Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house,
etc. To avoid the absurdity of thinking that David should make such a rash
and unwarrantable vow as this might seem to be, that till he had his desire
satisfied in that which is afterwards expressed he would abide in the open air,
and never go within his doors, nor ever take any rest, either by day or by
night, some say that David spake this with reference to his purpose of taking
the fort of Zion from the Jebusites (2Sa 5:6), where by revelation he knew that
God meant to have the ark settled, and which he might probably think would be
accomplished within some short time. And then others again say, that he meant it
only of that stately cedar house, which he had lately built for himself at
Jerusalem (2Sa 7:1-2), to wit, that he would not go into that house; and so also
that he would not go up unto his bed, nor (Ps 132:4) give any sleep to his eyes,
nor slumber to his eyelids, to wit, in that house. But neither of these
expositions gives me any satisfaction. I rather take these to be hyperbolical
expressions of the continual, exceeding great care wherewith he was perplexed
about providing a settled place for the ark to rest in, like that in Pr 6:4-5:
"Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids; deliver thyself as
a roe from the hand of the hunter", etc. Neither is it any more in effect than
if he had said, I will never lay by this care to mind myself in anything
whatsoever: I shall never with any content abide in mine own house, nor with any
quiet rest in my bed, until, etc. --Arthur Jackson, 1593-1666.
Verse 3. Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house,
etc. When lie had built himself a palace (1Ch 15:1), it appears by the
context, that he did not bless it (1Ch 16:43), nor consequently live in
it (for that he might not do till it were blest) until he had first prepared a
place, and brought up the ark to it. --Henry Hammond.
Verse 3. Surely I will not come, etc. Our translation of the
verse is justified by Aben Ezra, who remarks that oa is here to be translated not in its usual sense of "if", --"if I
shall come" --but as introducing a vow, "I will not come." This idiom, it may be
observed, is more or less missed by our existing translation of Heb 4:5: "And in
this place again, If they shall enter into my rest" --a translation which is the
more curious from the fact that the idiom in the present Psalm is hit off
exactly in the preceding chapter, Heb 3:11: "So I sware in my wrath, They shall
not enter into my rest." --H. T. Armfield.
Verse 3. I will not come into the tent which is my house.
What does this singular form of expression denote? Is it "an instance of the way
in which the associations of the old patriarchal tent life fixed themselves in
the language of the people", as Perowne suggests? or does David deliberately
select it to imply that even his palace is but a tent as compared with the Huse
that he will rear for God? --Samuel Cox.
Verse 3. Nor go up into my bed. From the expression of the
Psalmist it would seem that a lofty bed was not only a necessary luxury, but a
sign of superior rank. This idea was very prevalent in the period of the revival
of the arts on the Continent, whole the state bed, often six feet high, always
stood on a dais in an alcove, richly curtained off from tile saloon. In the East
the same custom still continues, and a verse in the Koran declares it to be one
of the delights of the faithful in paradise that "they shall repose themselves
on lofty beds" (Cap. 56, "The Inevitable"). Frequently these state beds were
composed of the most costly and magnificent materials. The prophet Amos speaks
of ivory beds (Am 6:4); Nero had a golden one; that of the Mogul Aurungzeebe was
jewelled; and, lastly, in the privy purse expenses of our own profligate Charles
II., we read of a "silver bedstead for Mrs. Gwynn." And to this day the state
bedsteads in the viceregal palace at Cairo are executed in the same metal, and
are supposed to have cost upwards of 3,000 pounds sterling each. --From "The
Biblical Museum," 1879.
Verses 3-5. Surely I will not Come, etc. These were all types
and figures of Christ, the true David, who, in his desire of raising a living
temple, and an everlasting tabernacle to God, spent whole nights in prayer, and
truly, neither entered his house, nor went up into his bed, nor gave slumber to
his eyelids, nor rest to his temples, and presented to himself "a glorious
church, not having spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing", nor built "with
corruptible gold or silver", but with his own precious sweat and more precious
blood; it was with them he built that city in heaven that was seen by St. John
in the Apocalypse, and "was ornamented with all manner of precious stones."
Hecen, we can all understand the amount of care, cost and labour we need to
erect a becoming temple in our hearts to God. --Robert Bellarmine
(1542-1621), in "A Commentary on the Book of Psalms."
Verses 3-5. This admirable zeal of this pious king condemns
the indifference of those who leave the sacred places which are dependent upon
their care in a condition of shameful, neglect, while they lavish all their care
to make for themselves sumptuous houses. --Pasquier Quesnel (1634-1719),
dans "Les Pseaumes, avec des Reflexions, "1700.
Verse 5. An habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. Jacob
"vowed a vow", when he declared, "this...shall be God's house": Ge 28:20-22.
David accordingly preserved a reminiscence of the fact, when he vowed a vow in
connection with a similar object. --H. T. Armfield.
Verse 6. We heard of it at Ephratah. This is commonly
understood of Bethlehem, as that place had this name. But the ark never was at
Bethlehem, at least we read of no such thing. There was a district called by
this name, or one closely resembling it, where Elkanah, Samuel's father, lived,
and whence Jeroboam came, both of whom are called Ephrathites. 1Sa 1:1 1Ki
11:26. This was in the tribe of Ephraim, and is probably the place meant by the
Psalmist. Now the ark had been for a long series of years at Shiloh, which is in
Ephraim, when it was taken to be present at the battle with the Philistines, in
which Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were slain, and when thirty thousand
of the Israelites lost their lives, together with the capture of the ark. The
frightful report of this calamity was brought to Eli, and occasioned his instant
death. This appears to be the event referred to in the words, "We heard of it at
Ephratah"; and a grievous report it was, not likely to be soon forgotten. We found it in the fields of Jaar. After the ark had been
for some time in the land of the Philistines, they sent it away, and it came to
Bethshemesh, in the tribe of Judah. 1Sa 6:12. In the immediate vicinity of this
place was also Kirjathjearim, i.e. the city of Jaar, to which the ark was
removed; for the Bethshemites were afraid to retain it, as many thousands of
them had lost their lives, for the violation of the sanctity of the ark, by
looking into it. As this slaughter took place close by, if not in the fields of
Jaar, the Psalmist, with reference to it, says, "We found it in the fields
of Jaar." Having glanced at these two afflictive and memorable
events, he goes on with his direct design, of encouraging the people to perform
due honour to the ark, and to the temple, by contrasting with the sad
occurrences to which he had adverted their present joy and prosperity.
--William Walford, in "The Book of Psalms. A New Translation, with Notes." 1837.
Verse 6. We heard of it at Ephratah, etc. Either of the ark
which David and others had heard of, that it formerly was at Shiloh (Jos 18:1),
here called Ephratah, as some think; so the Ephraimites are called Ephrathites
(Jud 12:5); and Elkanah of Ramathaimzophim, of Mount Ephraim, is said to be an
Ephrathite (1Sa 1:1); but this tribe the Lord chose not, but the tribe of Judah,
for his habitation; and rejected the tabernacle of Shiloh, and removed it from
thence (Ps 78:60,67-68). "We found it in the fields of the wood;
"at Kirjathjearim, which signifies the city of woods;being
built among woods, and surrounded with them: here the ark was twenty years, and
here David found it; and from hence he brought it to the house of Obededom, and
from thence to Zion. Christ has been found in the fields of the wood;in a
low, mean, abject state, as this phrase signifies: Eze 16:5. The shepherds found
him rejected from being in the inn, there being no room for him, anti lying in a
manger (Lu 2:7,16); the angels found him in the wilderness, among tile wild
beasts of the field (Mk 1:13); nor had he the convenience even of foxes and
birds of the air; he had no habitation or place where to lay his head: Mt 8:20.
And he is to be found in the field of the Scriptures, where tiffs rich treasure
and pearl of great price lies hid: Mt 8:44. --John Gill.
Verse 6. We heard of it at Ephratah. The only explanation,
equally agreeable to usage and the context, is that which makes Ephratah the
ancient name of Bethlehem (Ge 48:7), here mentioned as the place where David
spent his youth, and where he used to hear of the ark, although he never saw it
till long afterwards, when he found it in the fields of the wood, in the
neighbourhood of Kirjathjearim, which name means Forest town, or City of the
Woods. Compare 1Sa 7:1 with 2Sa 6:3-4. --Joseph Addison Alexander.
Verse 6. We heard of it at Ephratah, etc. Having prepared a
sumptuous tabernacle, or tent, for the ark on Mount Zion, in the "City of
David", a great national assembly was summoned, at which all the tribes were
invited to attend its removal to this new sanctuary. The excitement spread over
all Israel. "We heard men say at Ephratah Bethlehem, in the south of the
land, and we found them repeat it in the woody Lebanon", sings the writer of the
132nd Psalm, according to Ewald's rendering. "Let us go into his tabernacle; let
us worship at his footstool." The very words of the summons were fitted to rouse
the deepest feelings of the nation, for they were to gather at Baalah, of Judah,
another name for Kirjathjearim, to "bring up thence" to the mountain capital
"the Ark of God, called by the name, the name of Jehovah of Hosts that dwelleth
between the cherubim": 2Sa 6:2. It "had not been enquired at in the days of
Saul": but, when restored, the nation would have their great palladium once more
in their midst, and could "appear before God in Zion." and be instructed and
taught in the way they should go. --Cunningham Geikie, in "Hours with the
Verse 6. Ephratah. The Psalmist says, that David himself,
even when a youth in Bethlehem Ephratah, heard of the sojourn of the ark in
Kirjathjearim, and that it was a fond dream of David's boyhood to be permitted
to bring up the ark to some settled habitation, which he desired to find
(Ps 132:5). --Christopher Wordsworth.
Verse 6. We found it. The Church can never long be hid. The
sun reappears after a short eclipse. --Henry Law.
Verse 6. It is not always where we first seek God that he is
to be found. "We heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the
fields of the wood." We must not be governed by hearsay in seeking for God in
Christ; but seek for ourselves until we find. It is not in every house of prayer
that God in Christ can be found: after seeking him in gorgeous temples we may
find him "in the fields of the wood." "If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here
is Christ, or lo, there; believe it not" upon his own testimony, but seek him
for yourselves. --George Rogers, 1883.
Verse 7. We will go...we will worship. Note their agreement
and joint consent, which is visible in the pronoun "we": "We will
go." "We" taketh in a whole nation, a whole people, the whole world, and
maketh them one. "We" maketh a commonwealth; and "we" maketh a
church. We go up to the house of the Lord together, and we hope to go to heaven
together. Note their alacrity and cheerfulness in going. Their long absence
rendered the object more glorious. For, what we love and want, we love the more
and desire the more earnestly. When Hezekiah, having been "sick unto death", had
a longer lease of life granted him, he asketh the question, "What is the sign"
(not, that I shall live, but) "that I shall go up to the house of the
Lord?" Isa 38:1-22. Love is on the wing, cheerful to meet its object; yea, it
reacheth it at a distance, arid is united to it while it is afar off..."We
will go." We long to be there. We will hasten our pace. We will break
through all difficulties in the way. --Condensed from Anthony Farinclen.
Verse 7. (first clause.) Tabernacles are
spoken of in the plural number, and this it may be (though we may doubt whether
the Psalmist had such minute distinctions in his eye) because there was in the
Temple an inner sanctuary, a middle apartment, and then the court. It is of more
importance to attend to the epithet which follows, where the Psalmist calls the
Ark of the Covenant God's footstool, to intimate that the sanctuary could
never contain the immensity of God's essence, as men were apt absurdly to
imagine. The mere outward Temple with all its majesty being no more than his
footstool, his people were called upon to look upwards to the heavens, and fix
their contemplations with due reverence upon God himself. --John Calvin.
Verse 7. The Lord's "footstool" here mentioned was
either the Ark of the Testimony itself, or the place at least where it
stood, called Debir, or the Holy of Holies, towards which the Jews
in their temple used to worship. The very next words argue so much: "Arise, O
LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength"; and it is
plain out of 1Ch 28:2, where David saith concerning his purpose to have built
God an house, "I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the
covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God", where the
conjunction and is exegetical, and the same with that is.
According to this expression the prophet Jeremy also, in the beginning of the
second of his Lamentations, bewaileth that "the Lord had cast down the beauty of
Israel" (that is, his glorious Temple), "and remembered not his
footstool"(that is, the Ark of the Covenant), "in the day of his wrath";
as Isa 60:7 64:11 Ps 96:6.
That this is the true and genuine meaning of this phrase of
worshipping the Lord towards his footstool, besides the confessed custom
of the time, is evidently confirmed by a parallel expression of this worshipping
posture (Ps 28:2): "Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry unto thee,
when I lift up mine hands Kvdq
rybd-la towards thy holy
oracle":that is, towards the Most Holy place where the ark stood, and from
whence God gave his answers. For that rybd Debir, which is here translated "oracle" was the
Sanctum Sanctorum or Most Holy place, is clear out of the sixth and
eighth chapters of the First Book of Kings; where in the former we read (Ps
132:19) that "Solomon prepared the oracle or Debir, to set the ark
of the covenant of the Lord there": in the latter (Ps 132:6), that "the priests
brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle
of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims."
Wherefore the authors of the translation used in our Liturgy rendered this
passage of the Psalm, "When I hold up my hands toward the mercy seat of thy holy
temple"; namely, having respect to the meaning thereof. Thus you see that one of
the two must needs be this scabellum pedum, or "footstool" of God,
either the ark or mercy seat itself, or the adytum Templi,
the Most Holy place, where it stood. For that it is not the whole Temple at
large (though it might be so called), but some thing or part of those that are
within it the first Words of my text ("We will go into his
tabernacles") do argue. If, then, it be the ark (whose cover was that
which we call the mercy seat), it seems to have been so called in respect
of God's sitting upon the cherubims, under which the ark lay, as it were his
footstool: whence sometimes it is described, "The ark of the covenant of the
Lord of Hosts, which sitteth upon the cherubims": 1Sa 4:4. If the ark,
with the cover thereof (the mercyseat), be considered as God's
throne, then the place thereof, the Debir, may not unfitly be
termed his "footstool." Or, lastly, if we consider heaven to be the
throne of God, as indeed it is, then whatsoever place or monument of presence he
hath here on earth is in true esteem no more than his "footstool."
--Joseph Mede, 1586-1638.
Verse 8. In these three verses we see the finders of the ark
removing it to its appointed place, using a formula somewhat like to that used
by Moses when he said, "Rise up, Lord", and again, "Return, O Lord, unto the
many thousands of Israel." The ark had been long upon the move, and no fit place
had been found for it in Canaan, but now devout men have prepared a temple, and
they sing, Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy
strength. They hoped that now the covenant symbol had found a permanent
abode--a rest, and they trusted that Jehovah would now abide with it for ever.
Vain would it be for the ark to be settled if the Lord did not continue with it,
and perpetually shine forth from between the cherubim. Unless the Lord shall
rest with us there is no rest for us; unless the ark of his strength abide with
us we are ourselves without strength. The ark of the covenant is here mentioned
by a name which it well deserved; for in its captivity it smote its captors, and
broke their gods, and when it was brought back it guarded its own honour by the
death of those who dared to treat it with disrespect. The power of God was thus
connected with the sacred chest. Reverently, therefore, did Solomon pray
concerning it as he besought the living God to consecrate the temple by his
presence. It is the Lord and the covenant, or rather say the covenant Jehovah
whose presence we desire in our assemblies, and this presence is the strength of
his people. Oh that the Lord would indeed abide in all the churches, and cause
his power to be revealed in Zion.
Verse 8. Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of
thy strength. Whenever the camp was about to move, Moses used the
language found in the first part of this verse. "Arise (or rise up), O
Jehovah." --William Swan Plumer.
Verse 8. Thou, and the ark of thy strength. "Both he that
sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one" Heb 2:11. Now Christ,
our Great High Priest, is gone up into the holy resting place. Of him it is
said, "Arise": for he arose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. And to his
"ark", the church, it is said, "Arise": because he lives, all in him shall live
also. --Edward Simms, in "A Spiritual Commentary on the Book of Psalms,"
Verse 8. The ark of thy strength. The historical records of
the ark are numerous, and deeply interesting. Miracles were often wrought at its
presence. At the passage of the Jordan, no sooner were the feet of the priests
which bare this holy vessel dipped in the brim of the river, than the waters
rose up upon an heap, and the people of God passed over on dry ground--"clean
over Jordan": Jos 3:14-17. At the siege of Jericho, the ark occupied a most
prominent position in the daily procession of the tribes around the doomed
city...It was, however, captured by the Philistines, and Hophni and Phineas,
Eli's wicked sons, in whose care it was placed, slain. Thus the Lord "delivered
his strength into captivity and his glory into the enemy's hand": Ps 78:61.
--Frank H. White, in "Christ in the Tabernacle," 1877.
Verse 9. Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness. No
garment is so resplendent as that of a holy character. In this glorious robe our
great High priest is evermore strayed, and he would have all his people adorned
in the same manner. Then only are priests fit to appear before the Lord, and to
minister for the profit of the people, when their lives are dignified with
goodness. They must ever remember that they are God's priests, and should
therefore wear the livery of their Lord, which is holiness: they are not only to
have righteousness, but to bc clothed with it, so that upon every part of them
righteousness shall be conspicuous. Whoever looks upon God's servants should see
holiness if they see nothing else. Now, this righteousness of the ministers of
the temple is prayed for in connection with the presence of the Lord; and this
instructs us that holiness is only to be found among those who commune with God,
and only comes to them through his visitation of their spirits. God will dwell
among a holy people; and on the other hand, where God is the people become holy.
And let thy saints shout for joy. Holiness and happiness go
together; where the one is found, the other ought never to be far away. Holy
persons have a right to great and demonstrative joy: they may shout because of
it. Since they are saints, and thy saints, and thou hast come to dwell with
them, O Lord, thou hast made it their duty to rejoice, and to let others know of
their joy. The sentence, while it may read as a permit, is also a precept:
saints are commanded to rejoice in the Lord. Happy religion which makes it a
duty to be glad! Where righteousness is the clothing, joy may well be the
Verse 9. (first clause). The chief badge and
cognizance of the Lord's minister is the true doctrine of justification and
obedience of faith in a holy conversation: Let thy priests be clothed
with righteousness. --David Dickson.
Verse 9. Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness.
Holiness on the head,
Light and perfections on the breast,
Harmonious bells below, raising the dead
To lead them unto life and rest.
Thus are true Aarons drear, etc.
--George Herbert, 1593-1633.
Verse 9. Saints. If the very names given by God's prophets
to his people are such as saints, gracious ones, merciful ones, surely
his professed people ought to see to it that they are not cruel, not tender, or
unholy. --William Swan Plumer.
Verses 9, 16. Let us notice the prayer, Ps 132:9, with the
answer, Ps 132:16. The prayer asks in behalf of the priests
righteousness: the answer is, "I will clothe her priests with
salvation", i.e., with what shows forth God's gracious
character. Caring for the interest of God, the worshipper finds his own
interest fully cared for. And now, after spreading the Lord's pledged word (Ps
132:11-12) before him, the worshipper hears the Lord himself utter the reply,
q.d., "I will do all that has been sought." --A. A. Bonar.
Verse 10. For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face
of thine anointed. King Solomon was praying, and here the people pray
for him that his face may not be turned away, or that he may not be refused an
audience. It is a dreadful thing to have our face turned away from God, or to
have his face turned away from us. If we are anointed of the Spirit the Lord
will look upon us with favour. Specially is this true of Him who represents us,
and is on our behalf the Christ --the truly anointed of the Lord. Jesus is
both our David and God's anointed; in him is found in fulness that which David
received in measure. For his sake all those who are anointed in him are
accepted. God blessed Solomon and succeeding kings, for David's sake; and he
will bless us for Jesus' sake. How condescending was the Son of the Highest to
take upon himself the form of a servant, to be anointed for us, and to go
in before the mercyseat to plead on our behalf! The Psalm sings of the ark, and
it may well remind us of the going in of the anointed priest within the veil:
all depended upon his acceptance, and therefore well do the people pray, "Turn
not away the face of thine anointed." Thus, in these three verses, we have a prayer for the temple,
the ark, the priests, the Levites, the people, and the king: in each petition
there is a fulness of meaning well worthy of careful thought. We cannot plead
too much in detail; the fault of most prayers is their indefiniteness. In God's
house and worship everything needs a blessing, and every person connected
therewith needs it continually. As David vowed and prayed when he was minded to
house the ark, so now the prayer is continued when the temple is consecrated,
and the Lord deigns to fill it with his glory. We shall never have done praying
till we have done needing.
Verse 10. For thy servant David's sake. Solomon's plea for
the divine blessing to rest upon him as king, "For thy servant David's
sake", was justified in its use by God: Isa 37:35. It gives no
countenance to the idea of intercession on the part of deceased saints; for it
is not a prayer to David, but a pleading with God for the sake of David. Nor
does it support the idea of works of supererogation on the part of David; it
only implies a special divine delight in David, on account of which God was
pleased to honour David's name during succeeding generations; and if the delight
itself is pure grace, the expression of it, in any way, must be grace. Nor does
it even give countenance to the idea that God's converting and saving grace may
be expected by any man because his parents or ancestors were delighted in by
God; for a plea of this character is in Scripture strictly confined to two
instances, Abraham and David, with both of whom a special covenant was made,
including their descendants, and it was just this covenant that authorised the
use of the plea by those who by promise were specially interested, and by none
others, and for the ends contemplated by the covenant. But it did prefigure the
great Christian plea, "For Christ Jesus' sake"; just as God's selection of
individual men and making them centres of revelation and religion, in the old
time; prefigured "The man Christ Jesus" as the centre and basis of religion for
all time. Hence in the plea, "For Christ's sake", the old pleas referred to are
abolished, as the Jewish ritual is abolished. Christ bids us use His name: Joh
16:13-14,20, etc. To believe the false notions mentioned above, or to trust in
any other name for divine, gracious favour, is to dishonour the name of Christ.
"For Christ's sake" is effective on account of the great covenant, the merits of
Christ, and his session in heaven. --John Field (of Sevenoaks), 1883.
Verse 10. For thy servant David's sake. The frequency with
which God is urged to hear and answer prayer for David's sake (1Ki
11:12-13 15:4 2Ki 8:19, etc.), is not to be explained by making David
mean the promise to David, nor from the personal favour of which he was the
object, but for his historical position as the great theocratic model, in whom
it pleased God that the old economy should reach its culminating point, and who
is always held up as the type and representative of the Messiah, so that all the
intervening kings are mere connecting links, and their reigns mere repetitions
and continuations of the reign of David, with more or less resemblance as they
happened to be good or bad. Hence the frequency with which his name appears in
the later Scriptures, compared with even the last of his successors, and the
otherwise inexplicable transfer of that name to the Messiah himself. --Joseph
Verse 10. For thy servant David's sake. When Sennacherib's
army lay around Jerusalem besieging it, God brought deliverance for Israel
partly out of regard to the prayer of the devout Hezekiah, but partly also out
of respect for the pious memory of David, the hero king, the man after God's own
heart. The message sent through Isaiah to the king concluded thus: "Therefore
thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, he shall not come into this
city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank
against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not
come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it,
for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake": 2Ki 19:32-34. What a
respect is shown to David's name by its being thus put on a level with God!
Mine own sake, and David's sake. --Alexander Balmain Bruce, in "The
Galilean Gospel," 1882.
Verse 10. Turn not away the face, etc. As if in displeasure,
or in forgetfulness. --Albert Barnes.
Verse 10. Thine anointed. What is meant by "thine
anointed"? Is it David himself; or some definite king among his merely human
descendants; or does it apply to each or any of them as they come into office to
bear the responsibilities of this line of anointed kings? I incline to the
latter construction, under which the petition is applicable to any one or to all
the anointed successors of David. For David's sake let every one of them be
admitted to free audience before thee, and his prayer be evermore availing. The
context contemplates a long line of kings descended from David. It was pertinent
to make them all the subjects of this prayer. --Henry Cowles.
Verse 11. The LORD hath sworn. The most potent weapon with
God is his own word. They remind him, therefore, as did Ethan in Ps 89:20, etc.,
of the solemn words which he had spoken by Nathan, and which must at that time
have been still fresh in the memory of all. Solomon, too, made mention of those
glorious words of comfort in his prayer at the dedication of the temple.
--Augustus F. Theluck.
Verses 11-12. This Psalm is one of those fifteen which are
called Psalms of Degrees; of which title whatsoever reason can be given fitting
the rest, surely if we consider the argument of this, it may well import the
excellency thereof, and why? It is nothing else but a sacred emulation, wherein
God and a king contend; the king in piety, God in bounty. The king declares
himself to be a most eminent pattern of zeal, and God himself to be a most
magnificent rewarder of his servants. The king debars himself of all worldly
content, while he is busily providing to entertain God; and God, who fills
heaven and earth, vouchsafes to lodge in that place which was provided by the
king. The king presents his supplication not only for himself, but also for his
charge, the priests, the people; and God restrains not his blessing to the king,
but also at his suit enlargeth it to church and commonweal. Finally, the king
bindeth himself to make good his duty with a votive oath, and God stipulates
again with an oath that which he promised both to king and kingdom: to the
kingdom in the words that follow; but to the king in those that I have now read
to you. This speech, then, is directed unto the king, unto David; but
it containeth a blessing which redounds unto his issue, "the fruit of
his body." This blessing is no less than a royal succession in the throne
of David: David's sons shall inherit it, but it is God that states them in it.
They shall sit, but I will set them, yea, so set them that they shall
never fall; they shall sit for ever; the succession shall be perpetual. And
hitherto the promise runs absolute: it is qualified in that which followeth. The king was busy to build God's house; and see how God answers
him, promising the building of the king's house! God requites a building with a
building. There is a very apt illusion in the word, upon which the son of Syrach
also plays, when he saith, that children and the building of a city make a
perpetual name; how much more if they be a royal offspring, that are destined to
sit upon a throne? And God promises David sons for this honourable end--"to
sit upon his throne." --Arthur Lake, --1626.
Verse 12. If thy children will keep my covenant, etc. Lest
David's sons, if they be left without law, should live without care, they must
know that the succession shall be perpetual; but the promise is conditional; if
David's sons conform themselves to God, "if they keep my
covenant", whereof they cannot pretend ignorance. And they have an authentic
record: the record, "my testimonies"; authentic, "I myself will teach
them." You see the king's blessing, it is rely great; but lest the promise
thereof be thought too good to be true, God secures the king with a most
unchangeable warrant. The warrant is his oath, "The Lord sware"; and this
warrant is, 1. Unchangeable, because sincere; he swore in truth. 2. Stable,
he will not turn from it. And what could king David desire more for his
own house than a promise of such a blessing, and such a warrant of that promise?
Yes he might, and no doubt he did desire more; and God also intended to
him more than the letter of this promise doth express, even the accomplishment
of the truth whereof this was but a type. And what is that? The establishment of
the kingdom of Jesus Christ. --Arthur Lake.
Verse 12. That I shall teach them. Here is to be noted that
he addeth, "which I will teach them"; for he will be the teacher and will
be heard. He wills not that church councils should be heard, or such as teach
that which he hath not taught...God giveth no authority unto man above the word.
So should he set man, that is to say, dust and dung, above himself; for what is
the word, but God himself? This word they that honour, obey, and keep, are the
true church indeed, be they never so contemptible in the world; but they which
do not, are the church of Satan, and accursed of God. And this is the cause why
it is expressly set down in the text, "The testimonies which I will
teach them." For so will God use the ministry of teachers and pastors in the
church, that he notwithstanding will be their chief Pastor, and all other
ministers and pastors whatsoever, yea, the church itself, shall be ruled and
governed by the word. --Martin Luther.
Verse 12. Their children shall also sit upon thy throne for
evermore. As if he had said, this promise as touching Christ will I
accomplish, and will undoubtedly establish the throne unto my servant David; but
do not ye, which in the meantime sit on this throne, and govern this kingdom,
presume upon the promise, and think that you cannot err, or that I will wink at
your errors, and not rather condemn and severely punish them. Therefore either
govern your kingdom according to my word, or else I will root you out and
destroy you for ever. This promise he now amplifies, and setteth forth more at
large. --Martin Luther.
Verse 13. For the LORD hath chosen Zion, etc. The Lord's
pitching upon any place to dwell there cometh not of the worthiness of the
place, or persons, but from God's good pleasure alone. The Lord having chosen
his church, resteth in his love to her: he smelleth a sweet savour of Christ,
and this maketh his seat among his people steadfast. --David Dickson.
Verse 13. For the LORD hath chosen Zion. Here, of a singular
purpose, he useth the same word which Moses used (De 16:6): "As the place which
the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name in." For at the beginning
there was no certain place appointed wherein the tabernacle should remain; but
it wandered, not only from place to place, but also from tribe to tribe, as
Ephraim, Manasseh, Dan, etc. Moreover, by the word, "hath chosen", he overthroweth
all kinds of worship and religion of men's own devising and choosing, whereof
there was an infinite number among the Jews. Election or choice belongeth not
unto us; but we must yield obedience to the voice of the Lord. Else shall that
happen unto us which Jeremiah threatens: "That they have chosen will I reject."
These things destroy and confound the inventions, the devices and devotions, the
false and counterfeit religions, which we have seen in the papacy... God is not
served but when that is done which he hath commanded. Wherefore election or
choice pertaineth not to us, so that what God hath commanded, that we must do.
Verse 14. This is my rest for ever. Of the Christian church
we may affirm with undoubted certainty, that it is God's rest for ever:
after this dispensation of his will, there will never succeed another;
Christianity closes and completes the Divine communication from God to man;
nothing greater, nothing better can or will be imparted to him on this side
eternity; and even in heaven itself we shall, through an everlasting duration,
be employed in contemplating and adoring the riches of that grace, the brightest
glories of which have been realized in the consummations of Calvary, the
ascension of the Messiah, the breaking down of all national peculiarity, and the
gift and mission of the Divine Spirit. Let the argument of the apostle to the
Hebrews be fully weighed, and the conclusion of every mind must be, that God has
"removed those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those
things which cannot be shaken may remain:" Heb 12:27. --John Morison, in "An
Exposition of the Book of Psalms," 1829.
Verse 14. This is my rest for ever. The heart of the saints
is the dwelling place of God. He rests in those who rest in him. He rests when
he causes us to rest. --Pasquier Quesnel.
Verse 14. Dwell. The word translated "dwell" means
originally to sit, and especially to sit enthroned, so that this idea
would be necessarily suggested with the other to a Hebrew reader. --Joseph
Verses 14-18. Now that he might apparently see how near the
Lord is to all them that call upon him in faithfulness and truth, he waiteth not
long for an answer, but carries it away with him before he departs. For to
David's petition, "Return, O LORD, unto thy resting place, thou, and
the ark of thy strength"; God's answer is this, --"This shall be my resting
place, here will I dwell, for I have a delight therein. I will bless her
victuals with increase, and will satisfy her poor with bread." To David's
petition, "Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness, and let thy
saints sing with joyfulness", God's answer is this: "I will clothe
her priests with salvation: and her saints shall rejoice and sing." Lastly, to
David's petition, "For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face
of thine anointed", God's answer is this: "There will I make the horn of
David to flourish: I have ordained a light for mine anointed. As for his
enemies, I will clothe them with shame; but upon himself shall his crown
flourish." As if he should have said, --Turn away the face of mine anointed Nay,
that will I never do; I will indeed turn away the face of the enemies of mine
anointed; their face shall be covered with confusion, and clothed with shame.
But contrariwise, I have ordained a light for mine anointed. He shall even have
a light in his face and a crown upon his head. "As for his enemies, I will
clothe them with shame; but upon himself shall his crown flourish." --Thomas
Verse 15. I will abundantly bless her provision, etc. The
provision of Zion, the church of God, the word and ordinances, of which Christ
is the sum and substance; the gospel is milk for babes, and meat for strong men;
the ordinances are a feast of fat things; Christ's flesh is meat indeed, and his
blood drink indeed; the whole provision is spiritual, savoury, salutary,
strengthening, satisfying, and nourishing, when the Lord blesses it; as he does
to those who hunger and thirst after it, and feed upon it by faith; so that
their souls grow thereby, and they become fat and flourishing; grace increases
in them, and they are fruitful in every good work; and this the Lord promises to
do abundantly, in a very large way and manner; or certainly, for
it is, in the original text, "in blessing I will bless", that is, will surely
bless, as this phrase is sometimes rendered. I will satisfy her poor with bread. Zion has her poor;
persons may be poor and yet belong to Zion, belong to Zion and yet be poor;
there are poor in all the churches of Christ: our Lord told his disciples that
they had the poor, and might expect to have them, always with them; and
particular directions are given to take care of Zion's poor under the gospel
dispensation, that they may not want bread in a literal sense: though by the
poor are chiefly designed the Lord's afflicted and distressed ones; or those who
in a spiritual sense are poor, sensible of their spiritual poverty, and seeking
after the true riches; or are poor in spirit, to whom the kingdom of heaven
belongs; these the Lord promises to satisfy, to fill them to the full with the
bread of the gospel, made of the finest of the wheat, of which there is enough
and to spare in his house; and with Christ the bread of life, of which those
that eat shall never die, but live for ever. --John Gill.
Verse 15. Her provision; I will bless, I will bless. The
repetition of the verb may express either certainty or fulness. I will
surely bless, or I will bless abundantly. --Joseph Addison
Verse 15. I will abundantly bless her provision. Believe it,
a saint hath rare fare, gallant cheer, and rich diet, and all at free cost. He
is feasted all the day long; he is brought oft into the banqueting house, and
hath the rarest, the costliest, the most wholesome diet, that which is most
hearty and strengthening, which is most dainty and pleasant, and the greatest
variety, and nothing is wanting that may make his state happy, except a full
enjoyment of glory itself. The Lord gives him all the experiences of his power
and goodness to his Church in former ages to feed his hopes upon; nay, many
choice providences, many of prayer, many foretastes of glory, many ordinances,
especially that great one the Lord's Supper, at which Christ and all his
benefits are served up in a royal dish to refresh and feast the faith, hope, and
love of the saints. And that which sweetens all this--he knows that all this is
but a little to what he shall shortly live upon when he comes to the marriage
supper; then he shall always be feasted and never surfeited. And beside all
this, he hath the sweet and refreshing incomes of the Spirit, filling him with
such true pleasure, that he can easily spare the most sumptuous banquet, the
noblest feast, and highest worldly delights, as infinitely short of one hour's
treatment in his Friend's chamber. And, if this be his entertainment in the inn,
what shall he have at the court? If this heavenly manna be his food in the
wilderness, at what rate is he like to live when he comes into Canaan? If this
be the provision of the way, what is that of the country? --John Janeway,
Verse 15. I will satisfy her poor with bread. Christ is a
satisfying good. A wooden loaf, a silver loaf, a golden loaf will not satisfy a
hungry man; the man must have bread. The dainties and dignities of the world,
the grandeur and glory of the world, the plenty and prosperity of the world, the
puff and popularity of the world, will not satisfy a soul sailing by the gates
of hell, and crying out of the depths; it must be a Christ. "Children, or I
die", was the cry of the woman; a Christ, or I die--a Christ, or I am damned, is
the doleful ditty and doleful dialect of a despairing or desponding soul. "He
that loveth silver shall not be satisfied therewith; nor he that loveth
abundance with increase:" Ec 5:10. It is a good observation, that the world is
round, but the heart of man is triangular. Now, all the globe of the world will
not fill the triangular heart of man. What of the world and in the world can
give quietness, when Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, goes down upon the soul?
The heart is a three square, and nothing but a trinity in unity and a unity in
trinity will satisfy this. Not riches, nor relations, nor barns, nor bags, will
satisfy a convinced and deserted soul. This person can say concerning his bags
as a great person upon a sick, if not a dying, bed, did concerning his bags,
--Away, and away for ever. Though there be bag upon bag, yet they are altogether
insignificant in a dying hour; these bags, they are but as so many ciphers
before a figure. This is the cry of despairing and desponding souls: "O satisfy
us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days:" Ps
90:14. --Richard Mayhew, 1679.
Verse 15. I will satisfy her poor with bread. Dainties I
will not promise them; a sufficiency, but not, a superfluity:poor
they may be, but not destitute; bread they shall have, and of that God's plenty,
as they say; enough to bring them to their Father's house, "where there is bread
enough." Let not, therefore, the poor Israelite fear to bring his offerings, or
to disfurnish himself for God's worship, etc. --John Trapp.
Verse 16. I will clothe her priests with salvation. Their
salvation shall be evident and conspicuous, just as a garment is. --Aben
Verse 16. God's presence is an earnest of all good; for all
this follows upon "here will I dwell." By it he giveth meat to the hungry, and
comfort to the poor, even the Bread of Life to the believing and repenting soul;
by it he himself is the sanctification of his priests, and his righteousness and
salvation is their most glorious vesture; and by his presence he maketh his
elect ever glad, filling their hearts with joy and their mouths with songs.
--J. W. Burgon.
Verse 16. Her saints shall shout aloud for joy. It would
astonish and amuse a European stranger to hear these natives sing. They have not
the least idea either of harmony or melody; noise is what they best understand,
and he that sings the loudest is considered to sing the best. I have
occasionally remonstrated with them on the subject; but the reply I once
received silenced me for ever after. "Sing softly, brother", I said to one of
the principal members. "Sing softly!" he replied, "is it you, our father, who
tells us to sing softly? Did you ever hear us sing the praises of our Hindu
gods? how we threw our heads backward, and with all our might shouted out the
praises of those who are no gods I and now do you tell us to whisper the
praises of Jesus? No, sir, we cannot--we must express in loud tones our gratitude
to him who loved us, and died for us!" And so they continued to sing with all
their might, and without further remonstrance. --G. Gogerly, in "The Pioneers:
a Narrative of the Bengal Mission," 1870.
Verse 17. There will I make the horn of David to bud, etc. A
metaphor taken from those goodly creatures, as stags, and such like; whose
chiefest beauty and strength consisteth in their horns, especially when they bud
and branch abroad. --Thomas Playfere.
Verse 17. The horn of David. This image of a horn is
frequent in the Old Testament...The explanation must be found neither in the
horns of the altar on which criminals sought to lay hold, nor in the horns with
which they ornamented their helmets; the figure is taken from the horns of the
bull, in which the power of this animal resides. It is a natural image among an
agricultural people...Just as the strength of the animal is concentrated in its
horn, so all the delivering power granted to the family of David for the
advantage of the people will be concentrated in the Messiah. --F. Godet, in "A
Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke," 1875.
Verse 17. Make the horn to bud. In the beginning of the
month of March the common stag, or red deer, is lurking in the sequestered spots
of his forest home, harmless as his mate, and as timorous. Soon a pair of
prominences make their appearance on his forehead, covered with a velvety skin.
In a few days these little prominences have attained some length, and give the
first indication of their true form. Grasp one of these in the hand and it will
be found burning hot to the touch, for the blood runs fiercely through the
velvety skin, depositing at every touch a minute portion of bony matter. More
and more rapidly grow the horns, the carotid arteries enlarging in order to
supply a sufficiency of nourishment, and in the short period of ten weeks the
enormous mass of bony matter has been completed. Such a process is almost, if
not entirely, without parallel in the history of the animal kingdom. --J. G.
Wood, in "The Illustrated Natural History," 1861.
Verse 17. The horn. My friend, Mr. Graham, of Damascus,
says, concerning the horns worn by eastern women, "This head dress is of dough,
tin, silver, or gold, according to the wealth of the different classes. The rank
is also indicated by the length of it. The nobler the lady, the longer the horn.
Some of them are more than an English yard." I procured at Damascus an ancient
gem, representing a man wearing the horn. In the present day, its use is
confined to the women. --John Wilson, in "The Lands of the Bible," 1847.
Verse 17. I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. This
clause contains an allusion to the law, which cannot be preserved in any
version. The word translated "lamp" is used to designate the several burners of
the golden candlestick (Ex 25:37 35:14 37:23 39:87), and the verb here joined
with it is the one applied to the ordering or tending of the sacred lights by
the priests (Ex 27:21 Le 27:3). The meaning of the whole verse is, that the
promise of old made to David and to Zion should be yet fulfilled, however dark
and inauspicious present appearances. --Joseph Addison Alexander.
Verse 17. I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. We
1. The designation given unto Christ by God his Father; he is
"mine anointed." Though he be despised and rejected of men; though
an unbelieving world see no form or comeliness in him, why he should be desired,
yet I own him, and challenge him as mine Anointed, the Prophet, Priest, and King
of my church. "I have found David my servant: with my holy oil have I anointed
him: with whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen
him": Ps 89:20-21.
2. The great means of God's appointment for manifesting the
glory of Christ to a lost world; he has provided "a lamp" for his
Anointed. The use of a lamp is to give light to people in the darkness of the
night; so the word of God, particularly the gospel, is a light shining in a dark
place, until the day of glory dawn, when the Lord God and the Lamb will be the
light of the ransomed for endless evermore.
3. The authority by which this lamp is lighted and carried
through this dark world; it is "ordained" of God; and by his commandment
it is that we preach and spread the light of the gospel (Mr 16:15,20).
--Ebenezer Erskine, 1680--.
Verse 17. I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. That is,
I have ordained prosperity and blessings for him; blessings upon his person, and
especially the blessing of posterity. Children are as a lamp or
candle in their father's house, making the name of their ancestors
conspicuous; hence in Scripture a Child given to succeed his father is called a
lamp. When God by Ahijah the prophet told Jeroboam that God would take
the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon's son, and give it unto him, even ten
tribes; he yet adds (1Ki 11:86), "And unto his son will I give one tribe, that
David my servant may have a light (lamp or candle) alway before me
in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there." And again
(1Ki 15:4), when Abijam the son of Rehoboam proved wicked, the text saith,
"Nevertheless for David's sake did the Lord his God give him a lamp (or
candle) in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him." --Joseph Caryl.
Verses 17-18. God having chosen David's family, he here
promises to bless that also with suitable blessings.
1. Growing power: "There (in Zion) will I make the horn
of David to bud." The royal dignity should increase more and more,
and constant additions be made to the lustre of it. Christ is the "horn of
salvation", noting a plentiful and powerful salvation, which God hath raised up
and made to bud "in the house of his servant David." David had promised to use
his power for God's glory, to cut off the horns of the wicked, and to exalt the
horns of the righteous (Ps 75:10); and in recompense for it, God here promises
to make his horn to bud; for to them that have power and use it well, more shall
2. Lasting honour: "I have ordained a lamp for mine
anointed." Thou wilt "light my candle" (Ps 18:28): that lamp is likely to
burn brightly which God ordains. A lamp is a successor; for when a lamp is
almost out, another may be lighted by it: it is a succession; for by this means
David shall not want a man to stand before God. Christ is the lamp and the light
of the world.
3. Complete victory. "His enemies", that have formed
designs against him, "will I clothe with shame", when they shall see
their designs baffled. Let the enemies of all good governors expect to be
clothed with shame, and especially the enemies of the Lord Jesus and his
government, who shall rise in the last great day "to everlasting shame and
4. Universal prosperity: "Upon himself shall his crown
flourish", i.e., his government shall be more and more his honour. This
was to have its full accomplishment in Christ Jesus, whose crown of honour and
power shall never fade, nor the flowers of it wither. The crowns of earthly
princes "endure not to all generations" (Pr 27:24); but Christ's crown shall
endure to all eternity, and the crowns reserved for his faithful subjects are
such as "fade not away." --Matthew Henry.
Verse 18. His enemies will I clothe with shame. That is,
shame shall so inseparably cover them, that as wheresoever a man goeth, he
carrieth his clothes with him; so wheresoever they go they shall carry their
shame with them. And that which is strangest of all, they which are
ashamed use to clothe or cover their shame, and then think themselves well
enough; but David's enemies shall be so ashamed, that even the very covering of
their shame shall be a discovering of it; and the clothing or cloaking of their
ignominy shall be nothing else but a girding of it more closely and more
inseparably unto them. --Thomas Playfere.
Verse 18. Upon himself shall the crown flourish. This idea
seems to be taken from the nature of the ancient crowns bestowed upon
conquerors. From the earliest periods of history, the laurel, olive, ivy, etc.,
furnished crowns to adorn the heads of heroes, who had conquered in the field of
battle, gained the prize in the race, or performed some other important service
to the public. These were the dear bought rewards of the most heroic exploits of
antiquity. This sets the propriety of the phrase in full view. The idea of a
crown of gold and jewels flourishing, is at least unnatural; whereas,
flourishing is natural to laurels, oaks, etc. These were put upon the heads of
the victors ill full verdure, and their merit seemed to make them flourish on
their heads, in fresher green. The literal crown which Jesus wore was also of
the vegetable kind, and the thorn of sorrow never flourished in such rigour as
on his head. Now he has got the crown of life, which shall not fade away, like
the perishing verdure of the crowns of other heroes. It shall flourish for ever,
with all the rigour of immortality, and bring forth all the olive fruits of
peace for his people. Its branches shall spread, and furnish crowns for all the
victors in the spiritual warfare. --Alexander Pirie, --1804.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER
1. The Lord remembers Jesus, our David: he loves him, he
delights in him, he is with him.
2. In that memory his griefs have a prominent place--"all his
3. Yet the Lord would be put in remembrance by his people.
Verses 1-2. Concerning his people,
1. The Lord remembers,
a) Their persons.
b) Their afflictions.
c) Their vows.
2. The Lord remembers them,
a) To accept them.
b) To sympathize with them.
c) To assist them.
1. God remembers his people, each one: "Remember David." The
Spirit maketh intercession within us according to the will of God.
2. He remembers their afflictions: "David and all his
afflictions." "I know thy works and thy tribulation."
3. He remembers their vows, especially,
a) Those which relate to his service.
b) Those which are solemnly made.
c) Those which are faithfully performed. --G. R.
Verses 1-5. Notice,
1. How painfully David felt what he conceived to be a
dishonouring of God, which he thought he might be able to remedy. Consider "his
afflictions", --because the ark dwelt within curtains, while he himself dwelt in
a house of cedar: 2Sa 7:2.
a) Its singularity. Most find affliction in personal losses;
very few suffer from a cause like this.
b) The little sympathy such a feeling meets with from the most
of men. "If God means to convert the heathen, he can do it without you, young
man", was said to Dr., then Mr. Carey, when heathenism was an affliction to him.
c) Its fittingness to a really God fearing man.
d) Its pleasingness to God: 1Sa 2:30.
2. How earnestly he set himself to remedy the evil he deplored:
"He sware", etc. There cannot be the least doubt that he would have foregone the
enjoyment of temporal luxuries until he had accomplished the work dear to his
heart, if he had been permitted of God. Remark,
a) There is little zeal for God's honour when self denial is
not exercised for the sake of his cause.
b) Were a like zeal generally shown by God's people, there
would be more givers and more liberal gifts; more workers, and the work more
heartily and better done.
c) It would be well to astonish the world, and deserve the
commendations of the righteous by becoming enthusiasts for the honour of God.
1. We should desire a habitation for God more than for
ourselves. God should have the best of everything. "See, now, I dwell in a house
of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains."
2. We should be guided by the house of God in seeking a house
for ourselves: "Surely I will not come", etc.
3. We should labour for the prosperity of God's house even more
than of our own. Nothing should make sleep more sweet to us than when the church
of God prospers; nothing keep us more awake than when it declines: "I will not
give sleep", etc. (Ps 132:4); "Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled
houses, and this house lie waste?" --G. R.
Verse 5. Something to live for--to find fresh habitations for
1. The Condescension implied: God with us.
2. The Districts explored: hearts, homes, "dark places of the
3. The Royalty of the Work. It makes King David busy, and is
labour worthy of a king. --W. B. H.
Verse 5. "A place for the LORD." In the heart, the
home, the assembly, the life. Everywhere we must find or make a place for the
Verse 5. "The mighty God of Jacob."
1. Mighty, and therefore he joined heaven and earth at Bethel.
2. Mighty, and therefore brought Jacob back from Mesopotamia.
3. Mighty, and yet wrestled with him at Jabbok.
4. Mighty, and yet allowed him to be afflicted.
5. Mighty, and therefore gave him full deliverance.
Verses 6-7. We shall use this for practical purposes. A soul
longing to meet with God. God has appointed a meeting place.
1. We know what it is. A mercy seat, a throne of grace,
a place of revealed glory. Within it the law preserved. Heavenly food--pot of
manna. Holy rule--Aaron's rod.
2. We desire to find it. Intensely. Immediately.
Reverently. Longing to receive it.
3. We heard of it. In our young days. We almost forget
where. From ministers, from holy men, from those who loved us.
4. We found it. Where we least expected it. In a
despised place. In a lonely place. Where we lost ourselves. Very near us--where
we hid like Adam among the trees.
5. We will go. To God in Christ. For all he gives. To
dwell with him. To learn of him.
6. We will worship. Humbly. Solemnly. Gratefully.
Preparing for heaven.
1. The Place: "His tabernacles."
a) Built for God.
b) Accepted by God: present everywhere, he is especially
2. The Attendance: "We will go", etc. There God is present to
meet us, and there we should be present to meet him.
3. The Design:
a) For adoration.
b) For self consecration: "We will worship at his footstool."
1. The Presence of God desired--
a) That it may be signally manifested: "Arise" and enter.
b) That it may be gracious: "Thou and the ark" --that he may be
present on the mercyseat.
c) That it may be felt: accompanied with power: "The ark of thy
d) That it may be abiding: "Arise into thy rest."
2. The reasons for this desire.
a) With respect to the priests or ministers: "Let thy priests",
etc.: not their own righteousness, but as a clothing: let them speak of
"garments of salvation" and "robes of righteousness."
b) With respect to the worshippers: "And let thy saints", etc.
Let ministers preach the gift of righteousness; not that which grows out of
man's nature, but that which is "unto all and upon all them that believe", and
saints will shout for joy. --G. R.
Verse 9. Consider,
1. The importance of a righteous ministry in the church.
2. The connection between such a ministry and a joyous people.
3. The dependence of both on the gracious working of God.
Verse 9. (second clause).
3. Explaining--"for joy."
4. Encouraging--"Let thy saints shout."
Verse 9. (second clause). --The connection between
holiness and joy.
Verses 9, 16. The Spiritual Vestry.
1. The Vestments:
a) Righteousness; for which the costliest stole is a poor
b) Salvation: learning, oratory, etc., of small account in
2. The Procuring of the vestments:
a) Must be from God.
b) Earnest prayer should constantly arise from all saints.
3. The Robing:
a) By God's own hand!
b) Their beauty and power who are so invested.
c) The persons are "thy priests." --W. B. H.
Verses 9, 16.
1. Priests and Saints.
3. "Hymns Ancient and Modern."
4. The Real Presence: God giving the garments and the joy.
1. An evil to be deprecated: "Turn not away the face" --so that
he cannot see thee, or be seen of thee, or accepted, or allowed to hope.
2. A plea to be employed, "for thy servant David's sake" -- thy
covenant with him, his zeal, his consecration, his afflictions, his service.
Good gospel pleading, such as may be used on many occasions.
1. The divine oath.
2. Its eternal stability.
3. The everlasting Kingship.
Verse 11. (middle clause). --Our confidence: "He will
not turn from it." He is not a changing God. He foreknew everything. He is able
to carry out his purpose. His honour is bound up in it. His oath can never be
Verse 12. Family favour may be perpetual, but the conditions
must be observed.
1. Sovereign choice.
2. Condescending indwelling.
3. Eternal rest.
4. Gracious reason--"I have desired it."
1. God finding rest in his church.
a) The three persons honoured.
b) The divine nature exercised.
c) Eternal purposes fulfilled.
d) Almighty energies rewarded.
e) Tremendous sacrifices remembered.
f) Glorious attributes extolled.
g) Dearest relationships indulged.
2. This rest enduring for ever.
a) There will always be a church.
b) That church will always be such as God can rest in.
c) That church will therefore be secure on earth.
d) That church will be glorified eternally in heaven.
1. Blessed provision.
2. Satisfied people--"satisfy her poor."
3. Glorified God--"I will."
4. Happy place--Zion.
Verse 16, 18. Two forms of clothing: salvation and shame,
prepared for his priests and Iris enemies. Which will you wear?
Verse 17. A Lamp ordained for God's Anointed. Being the
Substance of Two Sermons, by Ebenezer Erskine. Works, Vol. 3, pp. 3-41.
1. The budding horn of growing power.
2. The perpetual lamp of constant brightness.
3. The sordid array of defeated foes.
4. The unfading wreath of glorious sovereignty.
1. His enemies clothed.
a) Who are they? The openly profane. The moral but irreligious.
The self righteous. The hypocritical.
b) How clothed with shame? In repentance, in disappointment, in
remorse, in destruction. Sin detected. Self defeated. Hopes scattered.
c) Who clothes them The Lord. He will shame them thoroughly.
2. Himself crowned.
a) His crown: his dominion and glory.
b) Its flourishing. Glory extending. Subjects increasing.
Wealth growing. Foes fearing, etc.
Verse 18. (last clause). The Lord Jesus himself the
source, sustenance, and centre of the prosperity of his kingdom.
WORK UPON THE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SECOND PSALM
In "The Works of John Boys," 1626, folio, pp. 821-5, there is
an Exposition of Psalm 132. This is a poor and lean performance.