Psalm 132 Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

(Read all of Psalm 132)
A Song of degrees. Some think this psalm was written by Solomon, since Psalm 132:8, are much the same with which he concluded his prayer at the dedication of the temple, 2 Chronicles 6:41; on account of which it is supposed to be written; though he might borrow these words from hence, as he sometimes did recite the words of his father, Proverbs 4:4. Others are of opinion that it was written by David, either when he brought the ark from Baale or Kirjathjearim to the house of Obededom, and from thence to Zion, 2 Samuel 6:1; or when he had that conversation with Nathan the prophet, in which he expressed such a strong desire to build a house for God, 2 Samuel 7:1; or, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi think, after he had numbered the people, which brought the pestilence on them; and when he and the elders of Israel were in distress on that account, and he was ordered to build an altar in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, 1 Chronicles 21:18; by which it appeared to him that this was the place for the house of the Lord God he had been so desirous of building, 1 Chronicles 22:1. It seems by Psalm 132:6, that more persons than one were concerned in this psalm, at least the psalmist represents more; and Theodoret takes it to be a prayer of the captives in Babylon, and a prophecy of the Saviour of the world; and this is favoured by the Syriac inscription, which is, "an anonymous psalm, when they would build the house of the Lord of hosts; and a prayer of David, and a revelation of Christ." And certain it is that Christ is spoken of in it, if not principally designed.

Verse 1. Lord, remember David, [and] all his afflictions. Which prayer might be put up by David on his own account, as Nehemiah does, Nehemiah 13:22; and be considered as a petition to the Lord that he would remember his mercy and lovingkindness to him, and him with the favour he bears to his own people, as he elsewhere prays; that he would remember his covenant with him, and his promise to him, on which he had caused him to hope; and sympathize with him, and support him under all his trials and exercises, in his kingdom and family. Or, if it is considered as Solomon's, it may be a request that the Lord would remember the promise he had made to David, that his son should build a house for him, which he desired he might be enabled to do; that he would remember the covenant of royalty he had made with him, that he should not lack a son to sit upon his throne; and particularly that he would remember the promise of the Messiah, that should be of his seed. Also "his afflictions," his toil and labour of mind, his great anxiety about building a house for God; the pains he took in finding out a place for it, in drawing the pattern of it, in making preparations for it, and in the charges he gave his son concerning it: the Septuagint and other versions render it "his humility" {q}; which agrees with the subject of the preceding psalm, and may particularly respect what he expressed to Nathan when this affair of building the temple was much upon his mind, 2 Samuel 7:2. Moreover, respect in all this may be had by the authors of this psalm, or those herein represented, to the Messiah, who is the antitype of David; in his name, which signifies "beloved"; in his birth, parentage, and circumstances of it; in the comeliness of his person, and in his characters and offices, and who is often called David, Psalm 89:3; see Jeremiah 30:9, Hosea 3:5; and so is a petition that God would remember the covenant of grace made with him; the promise of his coming into the world; his offering and sacrifice, as typified by the legal ones; and also remember them and their offerings for his sake; see Psalm 20:3. Likewise "all his afflictions" and sufferings he was to endure from men and devils, and from the Lord himself, both in soul and body; and so as to accept of them in the room and stead of his people, as a satisfaction to his justice. Or, "his humility" in the assumption of human nature, in his carriage and behaviour to all sorts of men, in his ministrations to his disciples, in seeking not his own glory, but his Father's, and in his sufferings and death, which was foretold of him, Zechariah 9:9.

{q} wtwne praothtov autou, Sept. "mansuetudinis ejus," V. L. so Syr. Arab. Ethiop.

Verse 2. How he sware unto the Lord, [and] vowed unto the mighty [God] of Jacob. Whom Jacob called so, Genesis 49:24; and to whom he vowed a vow, and is the first we read of that did make one, and it was concerning the house of God, Genesis 28:17; and who had an experience of the might and power of God in protecting and defending him from his brother Esau: of this oath and vow of David no mention is made elsewhere, but no doubt they were made; see Psalm 119:106; of the Messiah's swearing, though upon another account, to whom this may be applied, see Isaiah 45:23.

Verse 3. Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house,.... The new house and palace David built for himself after he came to the throne, made of cedar, 2 Samuel 5:11; not that he should never enter into it till he had found a dwelling for God, but that he should not go into it with pleasure till that was done; for this and what follows are hyperboles, as Kimchi observes, and signify that he should have no peace nor satisfaction of mind till this was accomplished. It may be applied to our Lord's ascension to heaven, which was not till after he had purchased the church with his blood, which is the temple and habitation of God;

nor go up into my bed; or "the bed that made for me" {r}; the royal bed, a bed of down, with soft pillows, fit for a person of such dignity to lie down on. Ainsworth renders it "the pallets of my bed"; the phrase of going up agrees with the custom of the eastern countries, who have galleries in their chambers where they are set; at one end of each chamber in their houses there is a little gallery raised three, four, or five feet above the floor, with a balustrade in the front of it, with a few steps likewise leading up to it; here they place their beds {s}; so that when they went to bed they might with great propriety be said to go up to it; but this David could not do with pleasure, so long as there was no place and habitation for God.

{r} yewuy vre "lectum strati mei, vel stratorum meorum," Gejerus, Michaelis. {s} Dr. Shaw's Travels, p. 209. Ed. 2.

Verse 4. I will not give sleep to mine eyes, [or] slumber to mine eyelids. Not that he never would or did take any sleep till this thing was brought about he had so much at heart; but that he could not and would not suffer himself to sleep comfortably and quietly because of it. Aben Ezra interprets it of sleep at noon; the phrases express his great desire and solicitude to have this affair accomplished, and his eager and diligent pursuit of it; see Proverbs 6:4; of the eager desire of Christ to suffer and die for his people, that they might be brought near to God, and be his dwelling place, see Luke 12:50.

Verse 5. Until I find a place for the Lord,.... To build a house on for the Lord; which it seems was unknown till the times of David; for though mention had been made of a place the Lord would choose to cause his name to dwell in, yet the particular place was not pointed out, Deuteronomy 12:11. David was very solicitous to find it out, and did, 1 Chronicles 22:1;

an habitation for the mighty [God] of Jacob; See Gill on "Ps 132:2"; or "habitations," or "tabernacles" {t}; the temple, which is meant, consisting of three parts, the court, the holy place, and the holy of holies; this was typical of the human nature of Christ, the temple of his body, the tabernacle of God's pitching, John 2:19; in which the fulness of the Godhead dwells, the glory of God is seen, and through whom he grants his presence to his people; and also of the church of God, the temple of the living God, where he dwells and is worshipped: and that this might be a fit habitation for God was the great desire of the Messiah, and not only the end and issue of his sufferings and death, but also the design of his preparations and intercession in heaven, John 14:2.

{t} twnkvm "habitacula," Pagninus, Montanus; "tabernacula," Musculus, Vatablus, Cocceius.

Verse 6. Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah,.... Either of the ark which David and others had heard of, that it formerly was at Shiloh, Joshua 18:1; here called Ephratah, as some think; so the Ephraimites are called Ephrathites, Judges 12:5; and Elkanah of Ramathaimzophim, of Mount Ephraim, is said to be an Ephrathite, 1 Samuel 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, Psalm 78:60;

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, 1 Samuel 7:1. Or else the place where the temple was to be built; which was not known till the times of David, who was of Ephratah or Bethlehem: here he was born and brought up; and here he was, as Arama supposes, when it was revealed to him where the temple should be built. According to R. Moses, the sense is, We have heard of it by the hand of David, who was of Ephratah: but Aben Ezra thinks the meaning is, that in former times men used to say, We have heard from the mouths of the prophets that the chosen place was near to Bethlehem Ephratah; only the precise place was not known, whether to the east or west, or north or south, of Bethlehem. Some think that not any particular city is intended, but a country, even all the neighbourhood of Bethlehem Ephratah; and took in Jerusalem, where the temple was built, it being but a few miles from the place; so Adrichomius {u} says, the country round about Ephratah had its name from thence; see 1 Kings 11:26. Now the place found for the building of the temple was "the fields of the wood," or the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite, and was on Mount Moriah; David found by the order he had to build an altar here, and by the acceptance of his sacrifices, that this was the place for the house of God, 1 Chronicles 22:1; and here Solomon built the temple, 2 Chronicles 3:1; and which was formerly a woody place, as mountains generally are; and this seems to have been when Abraham offered his son on it, who then spied a ram caught in the thickets, Genesis 22:2. The Targum is, "we found it in the field of the forest of Lebanon, the place where the ancient fathers prayed;"

the temple being built of the wood of Lebanon. But all this is to be understood of the Lord, the mighty God of Jacob, who was heard of at Ephratah; the Shechinah, of divine Majesty; so Kimchi, Arama, and Ben Melech. And indeed the Messiah is meant, the antitype of the ark and temple; of whom the saints or believers in him, a chorus of which is here introduced, had heard that he should be born at Ephratah, which is Bethlehem; see Genesis 35:19. And if this psalm was written by the captives in Babylon, they might have heard of this from the prophecy of Micah, Psalm 5:2; the shepherds heard from the mouths of the angels that Christ was born there; and we Christians have heard the same, and know and believe it, Luke 2:4. And he has been "found in the fields of the wood"; in a low, mean, abject state, as this phrase signifies; Ezekiel 16:5. The shepherds found him rejected from being in the inn, there being no room for him, and lying in a manger, Luke 2:7; the angels found him in the wilderness, among the wild beasts of the field, Mr 1:13; nor had he the convenience even of foxes, and birds of the air; had no habitation or place where to lay his head, Matthew 8:20; And he is to be found in the field of the Scriptures, where this rich treasure and pearl of great price lies hid, Matthew 13:44; and being preached among the Gentiles, after his incarnation, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension, who are compared to wildernesses, and desert places, was found by many of them, Isaiah 35:1; and which serves to set off with a foil his glory; being like the apple tree among the trees of the wood, Song of Solomon 2:3.

{u} Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 41.

Verse 7. We will go into his tabernacles,.... The tabernacles of him that was heard of at Ephratah; born in Bethlehem, and found in the ministry of the word among the Gentiles: enter into his churches, raised and formed there, which are the tabernacles or dwelling places of Christ; where he has his residence, takes his walks, and dwells; and which are very lovely, amiable, and pleasant, and so desirable by believers to go into; because of the presence of God in them, the provisions there made for them, the company there enjoyed; the work there done, prayer, praise, preaching, and hearing the word, and administration of all ordinances. Some render it as a mutual exhortation, "let us go into his tabernacles" {w}; see Isaiah 2:2;

we will worship at his footstool; any place of worship on earth may be called the footstool of God, with respect to heaven his throne, Isaiah 66:1; particularly the ark is so called, 1 Chronicles 28:2; in which the law was; over which was the mercy seat, and over that the cherubim of glory, and between them the Majesty of God dwelt; so that the ark was properly his footstool: and all this being typical of Christ may direct us to observe, that all religious, spiritual, and evangelic worship, is to be performed in his name, and in the faith of him, and by the assistance of his grace and Spirit; see Psalm 99:5.

{w} So Tigurine version, Vatablus, Musculus, Gejerus, Cocceius, Michaelis.

Verse 8. Arise, O Lord, into thy rest,.... Which words, and what follow, were used by Solomon at the dedication of the temple; and with which he concluded his prayer, 2 Chronicles 6:41; and so may be a request to the Lord, that he would take up his residence in the temple built for him, where he would have a firm and stable place of rest; who, from the time of Israel's coming out of Egypt, had not dwelt in a house; but had walked in a tent or tabernacle from place to place, 2 Samuel 6:6; and that he would take up his abode in his church, the antitype of the temple, and rest in his love there, and cause his people to rest also; see Psalm 132:13;

thou, and the ark of thy strength; the Targum is, "thou, and the ark in which is thy law." This is sometimes called the strength of the Lord; because by it he showed his great strength in destroying the enemies of his people, the Philistines and others; see Psalm 78:61. It was a type of Christ, who is the power of God, and the mighty God; and, as man, made strong by the Lord; and, as Mediator, has all strength in him for his people. And so the words may be considered as a request to him, either to arise and enter into his rest in heaven, having done his work of redemption and salvation here on earth, for which he became incarnate; or to grant his presence with his church, and take up his rest there, and give them spiritual peace and rest for their souls.

Verse 9. Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness,.... In 2 Chronicles 6:41; it is, "with salvation," as in Psalm 132:16. Either the ministers of the word; who may be said to be clothed with righteousness when they perform their work righteously, and faithfully dispense the word, keep back nothing that is profitable, and administer the ordinances according to the rules of Christ; and when their lives and conversations are agreeable to the Gospel they preach; see Job 29:14; or else all true believers; who are priests as well as kings unto God; and who are clothed with the robe of Christ's righteousness; and with the internal graces of the Spirit, the new man created in righteousness and true holiness; and with conversation garments, becoming the Gospel, and their profession of it;

and let thy saints shout for joy; the Levites; thy Holy Ones, as the Targum; so Kimchi, Arama, and others; the singers in the temple: but rather the Lord's sanctified ones, true believers under the Gospel dispensation, are meant; who shout for joy, and have reason so to do, at the incarnation of Christ, at his ascension to heaven, at the Gospel preached by his ministers, and at the robe of righteousness with which they are clothed. In 2 Chronicles 6:41 it is, "rejoice in goodness"; in the goodness of the Lord; in the good things bestowed on them, or promised to them.

Verse 10. For thy servant David's sake,.... Not for any virtues, or excellencies or merits, of David, literally understood; rather for the sake of the covenant and promises made with him: but for the sake of the antitypical David, the Messiah, the son of David according to the flesh, and the servant of the Lord as Mediator; for whose sake, and in whose name, prayers and supplications are made and presented;

turn not away the face of thine anointed; not David; rather Solomon, as the Targum expresses it; so Jarchi: but any of the Lord's anointed, every Christian, or believer in Christ, is an anointed one; and has received the unction from the Holy One, the oil of true grace. And the request is, that God would not turn such away from him, and cause them to depart from his throne of grace, ashamed and disappointed; but hear and answer their petitions, for his Son's sake. In 2 Chronicles 6:42; it is added, "remember the mercies of David thy servant"; the kind and good things promised to him, and perform them.

Verse 11. The Lord hath sworn [in] truth unto David,.... By Nathan the prophet; when he assured him that his house, kingdom, and throne, should be established for ever, 2 Samuel 7:5; and though there is no mention made of the oath of God, no doubt there was one; or however his word was his oath, as Kimchi observes: besides, the Apostle Peter is express for it that there was one, which was added to his word for the confirmation of it; who is said to swear by himself, because there is no greater; and sometimes by one or other of his perfections, as by his holiness elsewhere; so here in or by his truth, his faithfulness, being the God of truth that cannot lie. Or it may be rendered, "the Lord hath sworn truth unto David" {x}; that which is truth: and we may be assured he could not possibly assert or swear anything else; see Psalm 89:3;

he will not turn from it; change his mind, repent of his oath; make it void, or not fulfil it; for he is unchangeable in his perfections, purposes, and promises; whatever he says and swears to he will certainly perform;

of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne; a king upon thy throne, as the Targum: meaning not Solomon; though it is true that the Lord chose him, above all the sons of David, to be his successor in the kingdom, and did place him upon his throne before his death; but a greater than Solomon is here, even the Messiah; as is clear from the testimony of the Apostle Peter, Acts 2:30, by which it appears not only that this promise and oath relate to the Messiah; but that David knew they did, and so understood them; and which have been fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth: who, as he was notoriously the fruit of David's body according to the flesh, or his human nature; or was of his seed, being born of the Virgin Mary, who lineally descended from him; so he was set upon the throne of David, as it was foretold both by the prophet Isaiah, and by the angel to the virgin, he should, Isaiah 9:6 Luke 1:32; not in a literal sense; for though he was no doubt right heir to the throne of David so understood, yet his kingdom was not of this world; but he was set as King over God's holy hill of Zion, the church; and reigned over the house of Jacob, the whole Israel of God; the mystical and spiritual Israel, consisting of Jews and Gentiles: his throne, or the seat of his kingdom, is the church; his sceptre the Gospel; his crown the glory true believers in him give him; his laws, by which he rules, are its his word, and written in the hearts of his subjects; and his kingdom shall continue for ever.

{x} tma-ebvn "juravit veritatem," V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Gejerus, Michaelis.

Verse 12. If thy children will keep my covenant, and my testimony that I shall teach them,.... The former part of the promise and oath is absolute, respecting the Messiah; but this is conditional, and relates to the seed of David, both immediate, and in succeeding generations; proposing their observance of the law of God, as the condition of their enjoying the kingdom after him. By the "covenant" and "testimony" are meant the same thing; the law, which was given to the people of Israel in the form of a covenant, and was a testimony of the will of God to them: in this the kings of Israel were to read continually, and conduct according to it in their personal walk and conversation, and by it to rule the people they were set over; and which the Lord promises to teach them by his prophets, whose business it was not to promulgate new laws, but to explain what were given. Now in case this was attended to, and the instructions of prophets observed, then thus it would be,

their children also shall sit upon thy throne for evermore; but, the condition not being fulfilled, this did not take place: Solomon, his immediate successor, fell into idolatry in the latter part of his life; and Rehoboam, his son, slighted the advice of the old men, founded upon the laws of God, and ten tribes revolted from him: several succeeding kings of Judah, of the house of David, were very wicked princes; and the race of them ended in Zedekiah, who was carried captive into Babylon. Indeed all this is true of Christ and his spiritual offspring; he kept the covenant of grace made with his divine Father; and the law or testimony; and fulfilled it in the room and stead of his people; and did the whole will and work of his Father, and in all things pleased him: and his children also lay hold by faith on the covenant and the promises of it; and receive, observe, and retain the testimony of the Gospel; and shall reign with Christ, on the same throne with him, for ever and ever.

Verse 13. For the Lord hath chosen Zion,.... Not only to build upon it the temple in a literal sense, and for the place of his worship; but also for the seat of his majesty, and over which he has set his Son as King; and all this from the love he bears to Zion, which, in a figurative and spiritual sense, is his church; whom he has chosen to privileges, to grace and glory, and for his service and honour; see Psalm 78:67;

he hath desired [it] for his habitation; heaven is the habitation of his holiness and glory; Christ is his dwelling place, in whom all the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily: yet his desire is to his church and people; his heart is set upon them, and upon their salvation; his delight is in them, and he takes pleasure in walking with them, and dwelling among them; they being built up an habitation for God through the Spirit; see Psalm 68:16.

Verse 14. This [is] my rest for ever,.... The rest of my majesty, as the Targum; the place of his rest: and this being for ever shows that not Mount Zion literally, nor the temple, are meant; but the church and people of God, in whom he rests in his love, and rejoices over with joy; who are the objects of his delight, and with whom he abides for ever; for this phrase is expressive of pleasure and delight, and of permanency and perpetuity;

here will I dwell, for I have desired it; not merely by his omnipresence, in which sense he dwells everywhere, both in heaven and in earth; nor only by his omnipotence, by which he upholds all creatures in their being, and so is present with them all; and they all live and move, and have their being, in him: but by his Spirit and grace reviving and refreshing the hearts of his people with his gracious presence; which is enjoyed in his house and ordinances, and makes them lovely and delightful; and may be expected there, since he has promised it, and it is so desirable and agreeable to himself to dwell there.

Verse 15. I will abundantly bless her provision,.... 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 deed; 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, {y} "in blessing I will bless," that is, will surely bless, as this phrase is sometimes rendered. Arama observes that the second blessing is because of the greatness of it; and says, that their Rabbin's understand it of the fertility of the land of Israel in the time to come, when there will be no poor in it; but all is to be understood spiritually of the church in Gospel times;

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 who in a spiritual sense are poor, and sensible of their spiritual poverty, and seek 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.

{y} Krba Krb "benedicendo benedicam," V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus.

Verse 16. I will also clothe her priests with salvation,.... With the garments of salvation, as the Targum; in answer to the petition, Psalm 132:9; but more is promised than prayed for, "salvation" including "righteousness" and all other blessings; and may be interpreted, as there, either of the ministers of the Gospel clothed with the doctrine of salvation by Christ, coming forth full fraught with it, openly publishing and proclaiming it; salvation being made public and manifest by them as a garment, as Aben Ezra observes: moreover Gospel ministers are instruments of saving others; the Gospel preached by them being the power of God unto salvation, as well as they themselves are saved in the same way, 1 Timothy 4:16; besides, they are kept by the power of God, and in the hands of Christ, who protects them, and as it were covers them with the garment of salvation, while they are publishing it to the world, to whose reproaches and insults they are exposed: or else this may be interpreted of the people of God in common, who are all kings and priests to God, and are all clothed with the garments of salvation, Isaiah 61:10. Salvation by Christ is brought near to them, is applied to them, and put upon them as a garment; it is from Christ, and without them, though upon them; it is their clothing and their ornament, as well as their security from sin, law, death, and hell; see Psalm 149:4;

and her saints shall shout aloud for joy; not only "shout," as is entreated, Psalm 132:9; but "shout aloud"; it shall be a jubilee time with them on account of the Gospel of salvation, the joyful sound sounded in their ears by the ministers of it clothed with it; and on account of the salvation itself, so great, so suitable, so free, so complete and full, and in which the glory of God is so much displayed; and on account of the application of it to themselves, being clothed with it and possessed of the joys of it. These the Jewish writers generally understand of the Levites.

Verse 17. There will I make the horn of David to bud,.... Which the Targum interprets "a glorious" King; and both Kimchi and Ben Melech, and also Arama, understand it of the Messiah, and very rightly; called the horn of the Lord's Anointed, and the horn of salvation, 1 Samuel 2:10 Luke 1:69; expressive of his power and strength, in allusion to the horns of cattle, with which they push their enemies and defend themselves; so horns are interpreted kings, Daniel 7:24; and is fitly applied to Christ, raised up of the seed of David, the man of God's right hand, made strong for himself, who is a mighty King and an able Saviour; as appears by what he has done and suffered, by the deliverance and salvation of his people, and by the destruction of all their enemies: and it is here promised that God would make this horn to "bud" or branch out, in allusion to another name of the Messiah, the "branch"; and it is the same as raising up to David a righteous branch, or causing the Messiah to spring forth as a branch out of his roots, for which reason he is called the Lord's servant, the branch, and the man the branch; see Jeremiah 23:5; and it should be further observed that the Lord says, "there" will I do it; that is, either at Ephratah, which is Bethlehem, the place where the Messiah was to be born, and was born; or else at Zion or Jerusalem, where he appeared and showed himself, where he taught his doctrines and wrought many of his miracles, and near to which he suffered and died; and this shows that the Messiah must be come, that this horn of David must have budded, or the man the branch brought forth, since Bethlehem and Jerusalem are long ago demolished;

I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed; which Jerom understands of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, who was a burning and shining light, but was not "that light," that famous light, that was to come, but was sent to bear witness of it; he being but as a candle, as the word here used signifies, in comparison of the sun of righteousness; but rather it means a son and successor of David, the Lord's anointed; in which sense the phrase is often used, 1 Kings 11:36; and here the famous and illustrious Son and successor of his, the Messiah, the light which lightens every man with the light of reason; and who is the light of the world of his people, enlightening them with the light of grace, and will be the light of the New Jerusalem state, and of the ultimate glory; him God has "ordained" as such, even foreordained him before the foundation of the world; this lamp, or light, he prepared in eternity, and it dwelt with him, and therefore was desired to be sent out from him, Daniel 2:22; which places are to be understood of the Messiah; See Gill on "Da 2:22" and See Gill on "Ps 43:3."

Verse 18. His enemies will I clothe with shame, With the garments of shame, as the Targum; very different from the clothing of Zion's priests; all that are incensed against Christ as a King and Saviour shall sooner or later be ashamed; either here, when brought to a sense of their evil, to repentance for it, and faith in him; or hereafter, at the resurrection, when they will rise to shame and everlasting contempt, and when they shall see him come in the clouds of heaven, in power and great glory, to judge the world in righteousness, Isaiah 45:24;

but upon himself shall his crown flourish; being crowned with glory and honour, as he now is at the right hand of God, he reigns, and will reign, till all his enemies become his footstool; his throne is for ever and ever, and his kingdom an everlasting one; and will be very flourishing in the latter day, when his subjects shall be many, and when there shall be an abundance of peace and prosperity, and of that no end; the crown of the Messiah shall flourish on him as a king, shine out and be very conspicuous, as Aben Ezra and Jarchi interpret the word used; and so his crown as a priest; the same word is used of the holy crown of the priests put upon the mitre, on which Holiness to the Lord was inscribed; and the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, render it, "my holiness"; and, as his own crown is a never-fading one, such an one he will give to his ministers, and all that love him appearing, 1 Peter 5:4.