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Saturday, July 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 132

Clarke's CommentaryClarke Commentary

Verse 1


The psalmist prays that God would remember his promises to

David, 1.

His purpose to bring the ark of the Lord into a place of rest,


Where it was found, and the prayer in removing it, 6-9.

The promises made to David and his posterity, 10-12.

God's choice of Zion for a habitation, and his promises to the

people, 13-17.

All their enemies shall be confounded, 18.


Some attribute this Psalm to David, but without sufficient ground; others, to Solomon, with more likelihood; and others, to some inspired author at the conclusion of the captivity, which is, perhaps, the most probable. It refers to the building of the second temple, and placing the ark of the covenant in it.

Verse Psalms 132:1. Lord, remember David — Consider the promises thou hast made to this thy eminent servant, that had respect, not only to him and to his family, but to all the Israelitish people.

Verse 2

Verse Psalms 132:2. How he sware unto the Lord — It is only in this place that we are informed of David's vow to the Lord, relative to the building of the temple; but we find he had fully purposed the thing.

Verse 3

Verse Psalms 132:3. Surely I will not come — This must refer to the situation of the temple; or, as we would express it, he would not pass another day till he had found out the ground on which to build the temple, and projected the plan, and devised ways and means to execute it. And we find that he would have acted in all things according to his oath and vow, had God permitted him. But even after the Lord told him that Solomon, not he, should build the house he still continued to show his good will by collecting treasure and materials for the building, all the rest of his life.

Verse 5

Verse Psalms 132:5. The mighty God of Jacob. — עביר יעקב abir yaacob, the Mighty One of Jacob. We have this epithet of God for the first time, Genesis 49:24. Hence, perhaps, the abirim of the heathen, the stout ones, the strong beings.

Verse 6

Verse Psalms 132:6. Lo, we have heard of it at Ephratah — This may be considered as a continuation of David's vow, as if he had said: As I had determined to build a temple for the ark, and heard that it was at Ephratah, I went and found it in the fields of Jaar, יער; - not the wood, but Kirjath Jaar or Jearim, where the ark was then lodged;-and having found it, he entered the tabernacle, Psalms 132:7; and then, adoring that God whose presence was in it, he invited him to arise and come to the place which he had prepared for him.

Verse 8

Verse Psalms 132:8. Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou and the ark of thy strength. — Using the same expressions which Solomon used when he dedicated the temple, 2 Chronicles 6:41-42. There are several difficulties in these passages. Ephratah may mean the tribe of Ephraim; and then we may understand the place thus: "I have learned that the ark had been in the tribe of Ephraim, and I have seen it at Kirjath-jearim, or Field of the woods; but this is not a proper place for it, for the Lord hath chosen Jerusalem." It is true that the ark did remain in that tribe from the days of Joshua to Samuel, during three hundred and twenty-eight years; and thence it was brought to Kirjath-jearim, where it continued seventy years, till the commencement of the reign of David over all Israel.

But if we take Psalms 132:6-8, not as the continuation of David's vow, but as the words of the captives in Babylon, the explanation will be more plain and easy: "We have heard, O Lord, from our fathers, that thy tabernacle was formerly a long time at Shiloh, in the tribe of Ephraim. And our history informs us that it has been also at Kirjath-jearim, the fields of the wood; and afterwards it was brought to Jerusalem, and there established: but Jerusalem is now ruined, the temple destroyed, and thy people in captivity. Arise, O Lord, and re-establish thy dwelling-place in thy holy city!" See Calmet and others on this place.

Verse 9

Verse Psalms 132:9. Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness — Let them be as remarkable for inward holiness as they are for the splendour of their holy vestments.

Verse 10

Verse Psalms 132:10. The face of thine anointed. — David. Remember thy promises to him, that he may be restored to thee and to thy worship.

Verse 11

Verse Psalms 132:11. The Lord hath sworn — As David sware to the Lord, so the Lord swears to David, that he will establish his throne, and place his posterity on it: and that he had respect to David's Antitype, we learn from St. Peter, Acts 2:30, where see the note. This verse with the following refers to the spiritual David, and the Christian Church.

Verse 12

Verse Psalms 132:12. If thy children will keep my covenant — This was conditional with respect to the posterity of David. They have been driven from the throne, because they did not keep the Lord's covenant, but the true David is on the throne, and his posterity forms the genuine Israelites.

Verse 13

Verse Psalms 132:13. The Lord hath chosen Zion — Therefore neither Shiloh nor Kirjath-jearim is the place of his rest.

Verse 14

Verse Psalms 132:14. This is my rest for ever — Here the Christian Church is most indubitably meant. This is God's place for ever. After this there never will be another dispensation; Christianity closes and completes all communications from heaven to earth. God has nothing greater to give to mankind on this side heaven; nor does man need any thing better; nor is his nature capable of any thing more excellent.

Verse 15

Verse Psalms 132:15. I will abundantly bless her provision — There shall be an abundant provision of salvation made for mankind in the Christian Church. Our Lord's multiplication of the loaves was a type and proof of it.

Verse 16

Verse Psalms 132:16. I will also clothe her priests — All Christian ministers, with salvation; this shall appear in all their conduct. Salvation - redemption from all sin through the blood of the Lamb, shall be their great and universal message.

Verse 17

Verse Psalms 132:17. There will I make the horn of David to budThere, in the Christian Church, the power and authority of the spiritual David shall appear.

I have ordained a lamp — I have taken care to secure a posterity, to which the promises shall be expressly fulfilled.

Verse 18

Verse Psalms 132:18. His enemies will I clothe with shame — Every opponent of the Christian cause shall be confounded.

But upon himself shall his crown flourish. — There shall be no end of the government of Christ's kingdom. From Psalms 132:11-18, the spiritual David and his posterity are the subjects of which the Psalm treats.


This Psalm is divided into three parts: -

I. A petition, before which is David's care and vow to settle the ark, and with what reverence they would settle it in the temple; and he sets down the solemn prayer then used, Psalms 132:1-10.

II. An explication of the promises made unto David for the continuance of his kingdom in his posterity, Psalms 132:11-12, and God's love to his Church, Psalms 132:13.

III. A prophecy, spoken in the person of God, for the stability of Christ's Church; and the blessings upon the people, the priests, and the house of David, Psalms 132:14-18.

I. In all prayer a man must reflect upon God's promise; otherwise he cannot pray in faith.

1. "Lord, remember David:" Thy promises made to him. First he prays for the king; then for the ecclesiastics, Psalms 132:8-9; then for the people, Psalms 132:8.

2. "And all his afflictions:" Many he had before he was king; and one of the greatest was the settling of the ark.

Now this his ardent and sincere desire appears by his oath. And now, -

1. "How he sware unto the Lord," c.

2. The substance of which was, "Surely I will not come," &c.

Now this is hyperbolical for we must not conceive that he went not into his house or bed till he found out a place to build God's house. But see the note.

1. "I will not come into - my house:" So as to forget to build God's house.

2. "Nor go up into my bed:" Or let any thing make me forget the work.

3. "I will not give sleep," c.: But make provision for building the temple.

And here the prophet inserts two verses by way of gratitude.

First, he exults for the news of the ark: "Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah," &c.

By Ephratah some understand the land of Ephraim, in which the ark remained at Shiloh. Being afterwards sent home, it was found in the field of Joshua thence conveyed to the house of Amminadab, who dwelt in Kirjath-jearim, that signifies a woody city. Hence, David might well say, "And found it in the fields of the wood," c.

And the place for the ark being found, he calls on Israel, saying,

1. "We will go into his tabernacles." Now the ark is rested in Mount Zion.

2. "And we will worship," &c. Not make rash approaches to the ark, but come with reverence, and bow in his presence.

The ark being brought into the temple, he uses this solemn form: -

1. "Arise, O Lord," &c. He prays and invites him to dwell in his temple.

2. "Into thy rest." To pass no more from place to place.

3. "Thou, and the ark of thy strength." Show thy power and strength, as thou didst at Jordan, &c.

Before the ark in the temple he prays, -

1. "Let thy priests be clothed," &c. Inwardly, in heart and soul.

2. "Let thy saints shout," &c. With a cheerful voice, for the ark rests.

3. "For thy servant David's sake," &c. 1. David is not here to be taken absolutely for his person only, as having the covenants and promises made to him, but for the promise' sake. 2. "Turn not away," &c. Suffer me not to depart from thy presence unheard.

II. The prophet now proceeds to count up the promises made to David, which God confirmed by oath, in which we are to observe, 1. The manner of the promise: "The Lord hath sworn in truth," &c. It was merciful to promise but more so to bind himself by oath. 2. The matter of his oath expressed Psalms 132:11-14.

1. For the seed of David, as respects Christ, is categorical and absolute: "Of the fruit of thy body," c. Which word St. Peter refers to Christ, Acts 2:30. According to the flesh he was David's seed for by the mother's side Christ was to be David's seed, not by the father's.

2. For the seed of David, as it relates to his posterity, the oath is hypothetical and conditional: "If thy children will keep," &c.

As the external kingdom was by this oath annexed to one family, so the external worship was assigned by it to one place.

1. "For the Lord hath chosen Zion," &c.

2. "This is my rest for ever." Zion was the seat of the sanctuary till the coming of the Messiah. But Zion was but a type of Christ's Church, which he hath chosen to be his rest for ever.

III. The prophet represents God as promising good things to his Church.

1. Such abundance of temporal things that the poor shall not want: "I will abundantly bless her provision," &c.

2. That her "priests shall be clothed with salvation," &c.

3. "There will I make the horn of David to flourish," &c. That is, the kingdom of the Messiah.

4. The fourth benefit God promises is the confusion of their enemies, and the eternal authority in this kingdom: "His enemies will I clothe with shame, but upon himself shall his crown flourish."

Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 132". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/acc/psalms-132.html. 1832.
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