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Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 132

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-7


Now that the foundation of fellowship with the LORD has been laid on the basis of the Day of atonement (Psalm 131), the remnant has the proper mind to come near to the LORD (Psalm 132). As a result, attention is drawn to the place the LORD has chosen to establish His Name there (Deuteronomy 12:5).

The faithful remnant of the twelve tribes also now has the right mind to ask the LORD to fulfill the desires of David. The temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt (Ezekiel 40-43). The shechina, the cloud of God’s presence, the visible symbol of His presence, returns to Jerusalem (Ezekiel 43:1-Deuteronomy :). Then what Haggaï prophesied about is fulfilled: “’The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:9).

After Psalm 131, the pilgrim is no longer concerned with himself, but only with the house of God (Psalm 132), fellowship with his fellow pilgrims (Psalm 133), and the worship of God in His house (Psalm 134). He thinks in Psalm 132 of the origin of the house, where he wants to be because the LORD dwells there.

Psalm 132 shows Christ, the Son of David, as the King Who will build the house of God. Psalm 133 shows Christ as the Priest Who allows the Holy Spirit to work in the remnant, with the result that the enmity between the two tribes realm and the ten tribes realm is over forever.

The building of the house of God is connected to two kings who jointly point to Christ: David, a picture of the suffering Christ, and Solomon, a picture of the glorified Christ. David had the desire to build the house for the LORD; Solomon was commissioned and empowered to do so.

Division of the psalm

The division of Psalm 132 is remarkable. Namely, the second half of the psalm is exactly the counterpart of its first part:

A David swore to the LORD (Psalms 132:2)
--B What David swore (Psalms 132:3-Deuteronomy :)
----C Place for the ark sought (Psalms 132:6-Judges :)
------D Prayer for a resting place (Psalms 132:8)
--------E Prayer for priests and godly ones (Psalms 132:9)
----------F Prayer for the anointed (Psalms 132:10)
A The LORD swore to David (Psalms 132:11)
--B What the LORD has sworn (Psalms 132:11-2 Kings :)
----C Place for the ark chosen (Psalms 132:13)
------D Resting place established (Psalms 132:14-Ezra :)
--------E Promise to priests and godly ones (Psalms 132:16)
----------F Promises to the anointed (Psalms 132:17-Job :)

Psalms 132:2-2 Samuel : speak of what David wanted to do for the LORD; Psalms 132:11-Job : speak of what the LORD will do for David. Everything that is prayed for in the first half based on David’s oath is answered in the second half based on the LORD’s oath.

It brings to mind the LORD’s promise to David concerning the building of the temple. David wanted to build a house for the LORD, but the LORD answered that He will build a house for David. This promise is so important that the LORD confirmed it with the swearing of an oath (Psalms 132:11; Psalms 89:3-Numbers :; 2 Samuel 7:11).

The psalm is most likely of Solomon. Indeed, Psalms 132:8-2 Samuel : correspond to some verses from the prayer Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 6:41-Luke :). Solomon, the son of David, is a foreshadowing of the great Son of David, Who said, “Behold, more than Solomon is here!” (Matthew 12:42). He is the Son of David Who will be King in the realm of peace.

We hear here the voice of the Spirit of prophecy Who is at work in the believing remnant in the end times. They are looking forward to the fulfillment of the promises of God to David. Those promises especially include the eternal reign of the lineage of David, which is Christ, and the worship of God in righteousness in Zion. In this psalm, the kingship and the priesthood of the Lord Jesus are thus linked in a special way. In the Messiah everything of this psalm will be fulfilled.

We see the remnant of the twelve tribes heading for the house of God. In doing so, they take to their lips the words of this psalm. These are the days that herald the restoration of the people as God’s people. In doing so, they expect a speedy fulfillment of the promise that God in the Messiah will take His place among them in the place He has chosen to establish His Name there.

A Dwelling Place for God

This “Song of Ascents”, the thirteenth, begins with the prayer to the LORD to “remember … on David’s behalf, all his affliction” (Psalms 132:1). The Hebrew word for “remember” is not merely ‘remember something’, but “act because of thinking of something”. Remembering is an activity of the whole person.

The one who prays is not thinking of the difficult ways David went, but of all his efforts to build a dwelling place for God (1 Chronicles 22:14). This is evident in the following verses. In all his wanderings and all his struggles, he always had this goal in mind. As a man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14), he always sought to please the LORD. Therefore, he also had the strong desire to build a house for Him. The same desire that King David had, all the returned tribes, that is the remnant of Israel, have.

This is perfectly true of the great Son of David, the Lord Jesus, Who through His suffering brought about the church in which He and God now dwell. The suffering of the Lord Jesus may also be the occasion for us to beseech God for what is now His house: the church of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15). Our prayer may be that He will find a place of rest with those who gather as His house.

David, with a view to a dwelling place for God, “swore to the LORD” and made a “vow” to “the Mighty One of Jacob” (Psalms 132:2). Jacob speaks of “the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob” in the blessing he pronounces on Joseph (Genesis 49:24; cf. Isaiah 49:26; Isaiah 60:16). It is one of the three titles of the LORD in connection with the patriarchs: He is the shield of Abraham (Genesis 15:1), the fear of Isaac (Genesis 31:42; Genesis 31:53) – that is, Isaac feared God or was in awe of Him (Genesis 27:33) – and here the Mighty One of Jacob.

By this name, the mighty God connects Himself with the weakness of Jacob, in whom here the whole people, all twelve tribes, are represented in their weakness. This name is also mentioned again in Psalms 132:5. It emphasizes that all this striving to find a place for God to dwell is done in weakness, but through His power brings results. It also points out that His power eliminates any opposition that would seek to hinder this intention.

At what point in his life David swore his oath is not recorded in Scripture. It is possible that he did so during the period when he became king. He then built a magnificent palace for himself, while the ark of the LORD stood in a simple tent (2 Samuel 7:2). David in his commitment to seek a dwelling place for God is a picture of the Lord Jesus, Who says of Himself, that zeal for God’s house has consumed Him (John 2:17; Psalms 69:9).

The strength of his desire is evident in what he says: “Surely I will not enter my house, Nor lie on my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids, until …” (Psalms 132:3-Deuteronomy :). That is, David does not allow himself the luxury of rest and comfort until the ark of the LORD has been given its place of rest.

He will not be satisfied to lay his head to rest anywhere until he has accomplished this desire. This corresponds to the desire of God Himself to have a place where He establishes His Name and of which He wants His people to ask and seek that place (Deuteronomy 12:5; Deuteronomy 12:11Deuteronomy 12:14; Deuteronomy 12:18Deuteronomy 12:21; Deuteronomy 12:26). God designates David that place (2 Samuel 24:18-Lamentations :; 1 Chronicles 22:1). The expression “place” in Psalms 132:5 is parallel to “dwelling place” in Psalms 132:5, that is, it is a place to dwell there.

In the days of Saul, the ark was not asked for (1 Chronicles 13:3). Twenty years the ark is in Kiriath-jearim, in the house of Abinadab (1 Samuel 7:1-Exodus :). David begins to ask for it. When he and his men, “we”, are in Ephrathah, “in the field of Jaar”, they hear about “it” (Psalms 132:6). The ark is not mentioned by name. The psalmist speaks of “it” on the assumption that everyone will know what he is talking about. The return of the ark of the covenant after the “Ikabod” period (cf. 1 Samuel 4:21-Song of Solomon :) is a reference to the return of the shechinah, which is the cloud of God’s presence, the visible symbol of His presence, to Jerusalem (Ezekiel 43:1-Judges :).

When David is king, he goes to pick up the ark from the house of Abinadab (2 Samuel 6:2-Leviticus :). At first he doesn’t do this the right way. Then the ark comes into the house of Obed-edom. After three months, he picks up the ark there and brings it to Zion in the way God has prescribed (2 Samuel 6:4-Esther :).

At the place where David brought the ark, which is in “His dwelling place” (Psalms 74:7; Psalms 76:2Psalms 84:1; Psalms 132:5Psalms 132:13), the dwelling place of God, the people want to enter to worship God (Psalms 132:7). Historically, this happens when David and the people bring the ark to the tent he has pitched for it (2 Samuel 6:17). The ark as “His footstool” indicates that God has His rest on the ark. The footstool is a part of the throne on which the feet of the king rest. It is a sign of His great power (Psalms 110:1). It is also the place to come close to the king and bow down to Him. Getting closer to a king is not possible.

When we remember that the ark is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus, we see that God’s people seek and find a place of rest for the Lord Jesus. That place of rest in our day is there, where the church meets as the house of God. This happens wherever believers gathers, even if only two or three, to the Name of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 18:20; 1 Timothy 3:15). At the same time, the Lord Jesus is also the “place” of rest for God (Colossians 2:9). Nowhere else can God find rest on earth but in the Lord Jesus alone. All rest on earth is united in Him and passed on by Him to those who trust in Him.

Verses 8-10

Prayer of God’s Anointed

Psalms 132:8 is the only mention of “the ark” in Psalms. This is done in connection with the future restoration of the temple in Jerusalem, the place the LORD has chosen to establish His Name there. As a result, the new name of Jerusalem will henceforth be Yahweh Shammah, which means “the LORD is there” (Ezekiel 48:35). The ark represents the presence of the LORD. The LORD Himself will dwell in Zion, and therefore the ark will no longer be needed (Jeremiah 3:16).

Now that the home for the ark has been found (Psalms 132:6), David wants to bring the ark there and make it the center of service to the LORD again. He does this prayerfully. His prayer involves three requests. The first request is in Psalms 132:8 and concerns the resting place for the LORD and His ark. This is answered in Psalms 132:14. The second request is in Psalms 132:9 and concerns the priests. Finally, the third request is in Psalms 132:10 and concerns the Son of David. This is answered in Psalms 132:17-Job :.

David uses words spoken by Moses in his prayer (Numbers 10:35). Moses did so in view of the rising up of the ark, for when the LORD goes with them, all obstacles are removed and all enemies are defeated (cf. Psalms 68:1). The God-fearing here asks the LORD to arise and go to His resting place.

The words of this prayer are also spoken by Solomon at the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 6:41-Luke :). The LORD “and the ark of Your strength” are mentioned in the same breath. The ark symbolizes both the LORD Himself and His strength.

The priests who serve at the ark are to be “clothed with righteousness” (Psalms 132:9). They shall not act wickedly as the sons of Eli did, who thereby brought upon themselves the judgment of God (1 Samuel 2:11-Esther :; 1 Samuel 2:30-Nahum :). The clothing of righteousness symbolizes the dignity and truthfulness of the priests to serve the Lord in His presence -according to His pleasure.

The sacrifice will not be despised, but honored and brought with joy and gratitude by God’s “godly ones”. The “godly ones” are the chasidim, the faithful, those who are faithful to the covenant. The word chasidim is derived from chesed, which is lovingkindness or the faithfulness of God to His covenant.

“Be clothed with righteousness” means, fundamentally, that the priests reflect the features and glory of the LORD. This involves not only His holiness, but also His grace and mercy. That is the meaning of the priests’ clothing described in Exodus 28. Likewise, the bride of Christ is clothed “in fine linen, bright [and] clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8). Here “righteous acts” means the righteous deeds that the bride has done out of love for the Bridegroom.

The first part of this song concludes by asking that the LORD will not reject the prayer of the previous two verses (Psalms 132:10). The prayer of Psalms 132:1-Exodus : is temporarily interrupted in Psalms 132:3-1 Samuel : where the background of the prayer is given. Then the thread is resumed here in Psalms 132:10. The psalmist, anointed by God, makes intercession on the basis of the LORD’s oath to David. The oath of the LORD is the response to David’s oath in Psalms 132:3-Deuteronomy : and to what David did as a servant of the LORD to seek a resting place for Him.

It is the prayer “of Your anointed”. It makes all the difference to God who prays. His anointed here is the anointed son of David; prophetically it is Christ, the great Son of David. It is a prayer “for the sake of David Your servant”. David is the man after God’s heart, to whom He has made the promise of His great Son, Who will sit eternally on David’s throne. A prayer with those references – to His Son and to His promises – God can never reject.

The Lord Jesus is the Anointed in three ways: 1. when He was on earth, 2. now that He is in heaven, and 3. soon when He comes to earth again, then to reign.
1. He was anointed with the Holy Spirit at the beginning of His public ministry in Israel (Matthew 3:16).
2. He is the Christ, which means Anointed. After His death on the cross and His resurrection, He ascended into heaven and seated Himself at God’s right hand. There God “made Him both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
3. In Psalm 45, He is anointed upon accepting His kingship when He sits on the Messianic throne (Psalms 45:7; Hebrews 1:9).

The latter is what we are talking about here in Psalm 132. We find here the Son of David, anointed and thus declared as the King-Messiah. He prays here as the Son of David to God on the basis of what the LORD swore to David.

Verses 11-18

God’s Response

In this section, the LORD answers the prayer of the previous verses. He begins with an answer to David’s oath in Psalms 132:2. The answer to David’s oath is an oath of the LORD Himself, followed by a denial ever to turn back from this oath, further reinforcing the oath: He “swore to David a truth” and “from which He will not turn back” (Psalms 132:11; cf. Hebrews 6:16-Job :).

And what did He swear to David, to which He will not be unfaithful? “Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne” (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-1 Chronicles :). Peter quotes this verse during his preaching on the day of Pentecost and applies its fulfillment to the Lord Jesus (Acts 2:30-Obadiah :; cf. Luke 1:31-Micah :).

The LORD does attach conditions to the succession to the throne by the son of David and the sons of his son (Psalms 132:12; 2 Samuel 7:14-Ezra :). They must listen to the teaching of God. He will teach them to observe His covenant and His testimonies. If they do, they will sit on His throne. However, they have not done that. As a result, the house of David has fallen to ruin. God will raise up that house again because there is one Son of David, Who did observe His covenant and His testimonies.

That Son has not only observed His covenant and His testimonies, but He renews the covenant by taking away, as Mediator, the curse of the old covenant. For this He shed the blood of the new covenant and on that basis secured the blessing of the new covenant. One of its blessings is the restoration of the house of David.

Inseparable from the promise of David’s eternal kingship is the election of Zion by the LORD (Psalms 132:13). In the historical narrative in 2 Samuel 6-7 we find only the point of view of David. Here in the prayer of Psalm 132 we also find the LORD’s point of view. The LORD did it because He chose Zion and because He desired a dwelling place. Zion is the place the LORD has chosen “to establish His Name there” (Deuteronomy 12:5). Prayer gives us a deepening of our spiritual life; for we come to know the heart of God.

The place that David searched for and found has long since been chosen by God. That place He has “desired it for His habitation”. There is with God not only election of that place, but also a desire to dwell there. The dwelling place of the king is also the dwelling place of God. The temple and kingship belong together.

Nor is it a temporary resting place for God, but His “resting place forever” (Psalms 132:14). The promise of entering into the rest of God is still there today (Psalms 95:11). Its meaning is explained in Hebrews 3-4. The reason it is forever is that by the power of the blood of the new covenant, the people and their princes will receive a renewed heart, through which they will remain faithful to the LORD (Hebrews 13:20).

‘Forever’ here means the period of the realm of peace. During that entire time, Zion is His permanent dwelling place (cf. Psalms 68:16). He will no longer have to travel with the people through the wilderness, for the people live in security and peace in the land. Nor will He have to forsake His people again, for they serve Him in faithfulness. These aspects make it clear that He has longed to dwell there.

As a result of God taking His place in the midst of His people, there will be an abundance of food, so that the poor will be satisfied with bread (Psalms 132:15). Where He dwells, there He richly blesses those who come to Him. The “needy” are especially in need of protection and care from the LORD (cf. Psalms 86:1). The Lord Jesus made Himself one with the afflicted and needy (Psalms 109:22).

More than bread for the body, He gives bread for the soul. The needy are not so much the poor in material terms as the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). They are not full of themselves, but empty; they have no high pretensions. This allows them to be satisfied inwardly with peace.

In Psalms 132:9 it is prayed that the LORD will cause His priests to be clothed with righteousness and that He will cause His godly ones to rejoice. In Psalms 132:16 we hear the LORD’s promise that He will do just that. He will do even more, for He will clothe the “priests … with salvation”. Salvation is salvation in the fullest sense of the word, including righteousness. It is the enjoyment of the full blessing of God’s presence. The godly ones of Zion respond, not with singing “for joy”, as has been requested, but with singing “aloud for joy”. When the LORD answers a prayer, He does so according to the riches of His grace and therefore abundantly.

In Psalms 132:17, which follows Psalms 132:12, the LORD speaks of “a horn” that He will cause to spring forth for David. Zechariah speaks of “a horn of salvation” in his song, referring to the Lord Jesus (Luke 1:68-Expanded Esther :). A horn is a symbol of victorious power (cf. Psalms 92:10; Revelation 13:1; Revelation 5:6). ‘Spring forth’ indicates the sprouting of the Sprout, the Messiah (Isaiah 4:2; Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12).

The LORD also speaks of “a lamp” that He will prepare for His anointed. David is spoken of as a lamp (2 Samuel 21:17). His son is also spoken of as a lamp (1 Kings 11:36). The preparing of a lamp has the meaning that the light of the house of David will never go out. Always there will be a descendant of David who will reign as king. This has become a reality in the Lord Jesus, the true Anointed.

The enemies of God’s King and God’s people are always out to prevent God from being honored and served (Psalms 132:18). The Messiah will “clothe them with shame”. In contrast, on the Anointed His crown will shine. The word for crown is literally “consecration” and is associated with the diadem on the head of the high priest as a sign of his consecration (Exodus 29:6; Exodus 39:30; Leviticus 8:9). The King, the Messiah, over Israel is consecrated to God and is at the same time Priest (Zechariah 6:12-1 Chronicles :). This latter aspect is the subject of the following psalm, which speaks of the Lord Jesus as the High Priest.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 132". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-132.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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