corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 132

 

 

Verses 1-18

Psalms 132:1-18

Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions.

The house of God

This psalm was probably composed on the occasion of the installation of the ark in the place provided for it in the temple. Solomon himself may possibly have been the author; but it is more likely that it came from the lips of one who had been a companion of David as well as of his son.

I. The idea of the house of God (Psalms 132:1-6). David’s was an agitated life; but he found time to think for the house of God. Many whose lives are very full do so still. Some of those who care most for Christ’s cause and spend on it unceasing energy are the most occupied of business men. Where there is a will there is a way; let only the passion for doing good be present and the time and the means will not be wanting. David was not allowed to carry out his pious intention; but, at great trouble and expense, he collected the materials of which Solomon subsequently made use. Thus one soweth and another reapeth. The good cause descends from generation to generation; and the godly are linked to one another by the sacred task which fills the ages.

II. The occupation of the house of God (Psalms 132:7-9). The temple is now supposed to be complete and ready for occupation. In verse 6 the worshippers express their desire to enter the sacred precincts, and expression is given to the sentiments of awe and humility with which this should be done. But something more than the presence of worshippers is needed to constitute God’s house: the presence of God Himself is requisite; and, in the next verse, He is requested to take possession of the habitation prepared for Him. Who does not know how empty the Sabbath may be, and how secular the church, when God’s presence is not felt? But, when He comes down and breathes His own influence through the soul, then worship is real, and the church truly a house of God.

III. The supports of the house of God (Psalms 132:10-18). In the remainder of the psalm the sacred poet recalls two oracles of the past in support of his prayer. The first is a promise, confirmed by an oath, which was given to David, that to the fruit of his body God would give the throne. And from this the inference is drawn that God will support the son of David in his great national undertaking, and the kings of the future, who will be the conservators of the sacred building. Here we perceive one of the secrets of the art of prayer: it lays hold of God’s promise and pleads it. The other oracle refers to God’s choice of Zion as His seat. Jehovah had announced that if a habitation for Him were built there, He would make it His rest for ever; and from this centre He would send out streams of blessing over the whole land. These glowing promises may by us be applied to the Church; and what is said about David may be applied to Christ. But these promises may also be applied to the temple of the individual soul. How blessed is the soul of which God has taken possession with the words, “This is My rest for ever,” etc. (J. Stalker, D. D.)

A prayer for the house of David

I. David’s anxiety to build a temple (Psalms 132:1-5; 1 Chronicles 22:14-16). We are to worship God with our best, and His house should always surpass the houses of His worshippers.

II. The removal of the ark to Zion (Psalms 132:6-10). The reference in verse 6 is to David’s experience in the days of his youth, when he used to hear of the ark in his native town, although he had never seen it. On its return from the Philistines the ark was for twenty years in the forest-city, Kirjath-jearim (1 Samuel 7:2), where it was out of sight, and, in a large measure, out of mind. Here David found it (2 Samuel 6:1-23.), and brought it up to “the city of David,” to Jerusalem. Having been installed in the capital, it was used for its appointed and appropriate purpose, and the psalm recites the feelings and words of the people in view of their privileges.

III. The covenant made with David (Psalms 132:11-13; 2 Samuel 7:1-29; Psalms 89:28-37).

IV. The promise based on the covenant (Psalms 132:14-18). This strophe, although it is not expressly so stated, rehearses the words of God Himself, resuming and enforcing the terms of the original engagement. Jehovah declares that Zion is His resting-place. Here Jehovah sat as upon a throne, and manifested His royal state by the blessings lie bestowed upon His people. These blessings are set forth with detail and emphasis. In the concluding verses the poet reverts to the main theme, the grace given to the house of David and the promise linked inseparably with that lineage. The horn is a common Biblical emblem for strength and prosperity (Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Samuel 2:10; Psalms 75:10; Ezekiel 29:21; Revelation 5:6), and to say that a horn should sprout or shoot forth for David is to convey the idea of some signal descendant who should fulfil all that David suggested. The psalm closes with a contrast between the scion of David’s house and his foes. They are to be clothed with shame and wear it as a garment, while on the contrary the crown upon his head sparkles with jewels, its lustre undimmed, its splendour unfading. (T. W. Chambers, D. D.)

The song of the builders

I. Preparatory work. The picture of my text may be a rebuke to the slothfulness of us all, to the feeble wavering purposes of Divine services which we languidly entertain and partially carry out, to the preference of our own comfort to God’s work, which leads us all to give but the superfluity of our time, or of our means, or of our sympathy, to the service of our brethren, or, what is the same thing, to doing the work of God. But it should come with a special message to men, and emphatically to women, of comparative leisure and freedom from corroding frets and consuming toils. Brace yourselves for continuous service, give yourselves in resolved self-dedication to it, and fling behind you your leisure and regard for your own selfish repose, that you may lay some stone in the Temple of God.

II. The prayer for God’s blessing on the work. The prayer rests upon the profound conviction of the incompleteness of all our organizations and works if taken by themselves. The Temple may be finished. But something more is needed. Not till the ark is in the Holiest of all, and the cloud of glory fills the house, could they say, “It is finished.” And the lesson is of everlasting importance. It is true for all ages of the Church. None, perhaps, ever needed it more than our own. We need to guard ourselves most jealously lest we come to pug the instrument in the place of the power, to “burn incense to our own net, and to sacrifice to our own drag.” If ever we do that, then we shall soon haw to say, “We have toiled all night and caught nothing.”

III. The Divine answer, which more than fulfils the psalmist’s desires. The prayer had pointed to David’s swearing to the Lord as a plea on which its petitions rested. The reply points to a mightier oath than David’s, as the ground on which God’s mercy is, sure. The king “sware to the Lord.” Yes, but “the Lord hath sworn to David.” That is grander and deeper. Another parallel of the same kind occurs between the former and the latter parts of the psalm. The one alleges David’s finding out a habitation for the Lord,” as a plea. The other replies, “The Lord hath chosen Zion,” etc. A mightier will than David’s had determined it long ago. State this in its widest form, and what does it come to but that great truth, that God’s own love is the cause, and God’s own promise, based upon His unchangeable nature, the guarantee for all His merciful dealings with us? He is His own all-sufficient reason. The day shall come when the weary work of the ages shall be accomplished, and the glory of the Lord shall fill that wondrous house. In that lofty and glorified state of His Church the prayers of earth shall be surpassed by the possessions of heaven. Here we ask that. God would dwell with us, and there “the tabernacle of God shall be with men,” etc. Here we ask for righteousness as our garment, and there it shall be granted us to be arrayed in “fine linen, clean and white,” etc. Here we ask for joy in the midst of sorrow, and there “they shall obtain joy and gladness,” etc. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)


Verses 1-18

Psalms 132:1-18

Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions.

The house of God

This psalm was probably composed on the occasion of the installation of the ark in the place provided for it in the temple. Solomon himself may possibly have been the author; but it is more likely that it came from the lips of one who had been a companion of David as well as of his son.

I. The idea of the house of God (Psalms 132:1-6). David’s was an agitated life; but he found time to think for the house of God. Many whose lives are very full do so still. Some of those who care most for Christ’s cause and spend on it unceasing energy are the most occupied of business men. Where there is a will there is a way; let only the passion for doing good be present and the time and the means will not be wanting. David was not allowed to carry out his pious intention; but, at great trouble and expense, he collected the materials of which Solomon subsequently made use. Thus one soweth and another reapeth. The good cause descends from generation to generation; and the godly are linked to one another by the sacred task which fills the ages.

II. The occupation of the house of God (Psalms 132:7-9). The temple is now supposed to be complete and ready for occupation. In verse 6 the worshippers express their desire to enter the sacred precincts, and expression is given to the sentiments of awe and humility with which this should be done. But something more than the presence of worshippers is needed to constitute God’s house: the presence of God Himself is requisite; and, in the next verse, He is requested to take possession of the habitation prepared for Him. Who does not know how empty the Sabbath may be, and how secular the church, when God’s presence is not felt? But, when He comes down and breathes His own influence through the soul, then worship is real, and the church truly a house of God.

III. The supports of the house of God (Psalms 132:10-18). In the remainder of the psalm the sacred poet recalls two oracles of the past in support of his prayer. The first is a promise, confirmed by an oath, which was given to David, that to the fruit of his body God would give the throne. And from this the inference is drawn that God will support the son of David in his great national undertaking, and the kings of the future, who will be the conservators of the sacred building. Here we perceive one of the secrets of the art of prayer: it lays hold of God’s promise and pleads it. The other oracle refers to God’s choice of Zion as His seat. Jehovah had announced that if a habitation for Him were built there, He would make it His rest for ever; and from this centre He would send out streams of blessing over the whole land. These glowing promises may by us be applied to the Church; and what is said about David may be applied to Christ. But these promises may also be applied to the temple of the individual soul. How blessed is the soul of which God has taken possession with the words, “This is My rest for ever,” etc. (J. Stalker, D. D.)

A prayer for the house of David

I. David’s anxiety to build a temple (Psalms 132:1-5; 1 Chronicles 22:14-16). We are to worship God with our best, and His house should always surpass the houses of His worshippers.

II. The removal of the ark to Zion (Psalms 132:6-10). The reference in verse 6 is to David’s experience in the days of his youth, when he used to hear of the ark in his native town, although he had never seen it. On its return from the Philistines the ark was for twenty years in the forest-city, Kirjath-jearim (1 Samuel 7:2), where it was out of sight, and, in a large measure, out of mind. Here David found it (2 Samuel 6:1-23.), and brought it up to “the city of David,” to Jerusalem. Having been installed in the capital, it was used for its appointed and appropriate purpose, and the psalm recites the feelings and words of the people in view of their privileges.

III. The covenant made with David (Psalms 132:11-13; 2 Samuel 7:1-29; Psalms 89:28-37).

IV. The promise based on the covenant (Psalms 132:14-18). This strophe, although it is not expressly so stated, rehearses the words of God Himself, resuming and enforcing the terms of the original engagement. Jehovah declares that Zion is His resting-place. Here Jehovah sat as upon a throne, and manifested His royal state by the blessings lie bestowed upon His people. These blessings are set forth with detail and emphasis. In the concluding verses the poet reverts to the main theme, the grace given to the house of David and the promise linked inseparably with that lineage. The horn is a common Biblical emblem for strength and prosperity (Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Samuel 2:10; Psalms 75:10; Ezekiel 29:21; Revelation 5:6), and to say that a horn should sprout or shoot forth for David is to convey the idea of some signal descendant who should fulfil all that David suggested. The psalm closes with a contrast between the scion of David’s house and his foes. They are to be clothed with shame and wear it as a garment, while on the contrary the crown upon his head sparkles with jewels, its lustre undimmed, its splendour unfading. (T. W. Chambers, D. D.)

The song of the builders

I. Preparatory work. The picture of my text may be a rebuke to the slothfulness of us all, to the feeble wavering purposes of Divine services which we languidly entertain and partially carry out, to the preference of our own comfort to God’s work, which leads us all to give but the superfluity of our time, or of our means, or of our sympathy, to the service of our brethren, or, what is the same thing, to doing the work of God. But it should come with a special message to men, and emphatically to women, of comparative leisure and freedom from corroding frets and consuming toils. Brace yourselves for continuous service, give yourselves in resolved self-dedication to it, and fling behind you your leisure and regard for your own selfish repose, that you may lay some stone in the Temple of God.

II. The prayer for God’s blessing on the work. The prayer rests upon the profound conviction of the incompleteness of all our organizations and works if taken by themselves. The Temple may be finished. But something more is needed. Not till the ark is in the Holiest of all, and the cloud of glory fills the house, could they say, “It is finished.” And the lesson is of everlasting importance. It is true for all ages of the Church. None, perhaps, ever needed it more than our own. We need to guard ourselves most jealously lest we come to pug the instrument in the place of the power, to “burn incense to our own net, and to sacrifice to our own drag.” If ever we do that, then we shall soon haw to say, “We have toiled all night and caught nothing.”

III. The Divine answer, which more than fulfils the psalmist’s desires. The prayer had pointed to David’s swearing to the Lord as a plea on which its petitions rested. The reply points to a mightier oath than David’s, as the ground on which God’s mercy is, sure. The king “sware to the Lord.” Yes, but “the Lord hath sworn to David.” That is grander and deeper. Another parallel of the same kind occurs between the former and the latter parts of the psalm. The one alleges David’s finding out a habitation for the Lord,” as a plea. The other replies, “The Lord hath chosen Zion,” etc. A mightier will than David’s had determined it long ago. State this in its widest form, and what does it come to but that great truth, that God’s own love is the cause, and God’s own promise, based upon His unchangeable nature, the guarantee for all His merciful dealings with us? He is His own all-sufficient reason. The day shall come when the weary work of the ages shall be accomplished, and the glory of the Lord shall fill that wondrous house. In that lofty and glorified state of His Church the prayers of earth shall be surpassed by the possessions of heaven. Here we ask that. God would dwell with us, and there “the tabernacle of God shall be with men,” etc. Here we ask for righteousness as our garment, and there it shall be granted us to be arrayed in “fine linen, clean and white,” etc. Here we ask for joy in the midst of sorrow, and there “they shall obtain joy and gladness,” etc. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)


Verse 6-7

Psalms 132:6-7

Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.

Hearing, seeking, finding

Long before David’s time, the ark of the Lord had been almost forgotten by the children of Israel. The first thing, therefore, for David to do was to find the ark; for it was a central portion of the Divinely-ordained ceremonial. But I am not going to talk so much about David finding the ark as to think of some who are in the condition in which I once was, when I desired to find God. I longed to meet with Him in the person of Christ, in His own appointed way, but I could not find Christ. My heart was dark, my eyes were holden, and I looked everywhere but in the right place.

I. My first remark will be that, like David, we wish to find the ark, that ark being Christ.

1. Now, concerning that ark, the first point to be noted is that it was covered with a golden mercy-seat, which was the place of forgiveness when it was sprinkled with the sacrificial blood. Those who came to it, through the high priest, knew that God had accepted them, and forgiven their sin. You and I know that we can never meet with God except at the mercy-seat, which is Christ Jesus the Lord. Christ made an atonement, a propitiation, for our sin; He “offered Himself without spot to God.” By the way of His pierced body, that rent veil, is the only means of access for a sinner to a holy God.

2. The ark was a throne of grace. God sat there, as it were, upon a throne of mercy; and to us, to-day, the Lord Jesus Christ is the throne of grace. God in Christ Jesus is our reigning God, stretching out the silver sceptre of His mercy, and accepting all who come unto Him.

3. The ark was the place of God’s manifestation. As much as could be seen of God’s glory was seen between the cherubim; and if thou wouldst see the glory of God, thou must look into the face of Jesus Christ.

4. There were within the ark three notable things,--first, the tables of stone, which God had ordered to be placed there for preservation; there was, next, the golden pot with manna, and then there was also Aaron’s rod that budded. Now, if you come to Christ, you will find in Him all that these things represented, and all that you want.

II. Knowing what we do about Christ the ark, we desire to find Him.

1. David thirsted to find this ark immediately, and so much in earnest was he that he said, “Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house,” etc. Oh, when it comes to this pass,--that you must have Christ, then you shall have Christ!

2. Next, David sought the ark most reverently, for he recognized it as being a token of the presence of “the mighty God of Jacob”; and you and I must seek Christ reverently.

3. But while David thus sought very reverently, yet observe that it was with intense desire that he might receive this ark when once he found it. And, oh! if you want to find Christ, let it be with this desire, “Oh, that He may come and live in my soul, and be my own personal Christ! I do not want merely to hear about Him, to be taught about Him; I want to have Him, and, if He is to be had, I will have Him. If there is grace beneath the sky for a poor sinner, then I, the chief of sinners, will not rest until I find rest in Him.”

III. Knowing what this ark is, and then desiring to find it, we have heard where it is: “Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah.” “We heard of it.” And is it not a blessed thing that we have heard about where Christ is? Some here present have long heard of Christ, and you are always hearing about Him; is it not time that you should get further than merely knowing and hearing, and should intensely seek until you find him?

IV. The next words are, “we found it.” You remember the learned Grecian who, when he had made a discovery while in the bath, leaped out of it, and ran down the streets crying, “Eureka! Eureka! I have found it! I have found it!” Oh, those are the best words in my text, “We found it.”

1. David said that he found it “in the fields of the wood”; that is, where he did not expect to find it. Have not many of us found Christ where we never thought we should find Him?

2. In the case of David finding the ark, it was not only where he could not have expected it, but it was in a place that was despised,--a rustic place,--“in the fields of the wood.” Perhaps the Lord may lead you to some very plain minister, without any polish, or talent, or ability. I knew one who found the Saviour down a saw-pit, and another who found Him in a hay-loft.

3. “We found it in the fields of the wood” may perhaps mean that you will find Christ where you lose yourselves.

V. “we will go”: “We will go into His tabernacles.”

1. Now that we have found where Christ is, and we can go to Him, we will have Him. We will go to God in Christ: “we will go into His tabernacles.” It is a blessed thing to see a soul on the go towards God when Christ becomes the Way.

2. “We will go into His tabernacles,” and we will dwell there. We will dwell with God; we will get back to the Father’s house where there is “bread enough and to spare,” and there will we stop. We will go to learn of God, we will be the disciples of Christ. We will go, and we will go at once.

VI. And then the last word is, “we will worship”: “We will worship at His footstool.”

1. In lowly reverence, we will bow ourselves down in the very dust, for we are but dust and ashes even when we are saved.

2. “We will worship at His footstool”; that is, with deepest solemnity, for even His ark, His temple, is but the footstool of the great King.

3. But let us worship there with great joy. His “saints shall shout aloud for joy”; and, as they bow at his footstool, it shall not be as slaves, but as His chosen and accepted ones.

4. Let us also bow there very gratefully, blessing God that He has brought us to His feet. (C. H. Spurgeon.)


Verses 7-9

Psalms 132:7-9

We will go into His tabernacles.

The devout worshipper’s resolution and ardent prayer

I. His resolution.

1. Attendance at the house of God. Not merely as a duty, but as a delight.

2. Devotion in the house of God. To worship in spirit and in truth; to meet with God in His holy temple.

II. His prayer.

1. For the manifested presence of the Saviour.

2. For the sanctification of God’s ministering servants.

3. For the abundant joy of God’s faithful people. (J. G. Breay, B. A.)

Public worship

I. Its reasonableness. It is true that God is a spirit, and they that worship Him should worship Him in spirit and in truth. It is true that private worship should be regularly observed; and it is true that, without the homage of the heart, no external ceremony can be of any avail. But still it is surely reasonable that our feelings should be expressed in words, and that these words should not be uttered in secret alone. Has God gifted us with the power of speech, and should not this faculty be employed in the worship of the Giver? Has He blessed us with social capacities, and should we not return His kindness by meeting in these capacities, for the purpose of promoting His glory? Is it not regarded as greater honour to even an earthly benefactor, and a stronger proof of our attachment to Him, to speak of His praise to others, than simply to confine this feeling to our own bosoms? In like manner do we testify our love and gratitude to God by public expressions of worship to Him, while we incur blame by neglecting the opportunities that offer for this purpose. Besides, there are certain blessings we receive of a public nature, and which, therefore, ought to receive a public confession. There are certain wants which we need supplied, of a public description, and the supply of which ought, therefore, to be petitioned for, in our public capacity.

II. Its advantages.

1. God regards with delight His humble worshippers.

2. This duty is full of the most rational delight to the soul of man. Worship is the noblest exercise under heaven.

3. Worship has a tendency to excite us to the more faithful discharge of duty in general, to improve the various graces of the Christian life.

4. How well calculated, too, is the house of God for begetting in the bosoms of men proper sentiments with regard to themselves! It humbles the pride of the great; it fills with contentment the poor. It levels for a time the difference which the distinction of ranks makes in society.

5. It is a means of our preparation for heaven. (R. Macnair.)

God’s house and worshippers

I. Men should approach God’s house in a holy frame of mind. They should put off the garments spotted by the flesh, and put on the clean linen of the saints; they should wash their hands in innocency, and their consciences in the blood of the Lamb before they enter this habitation of God, and draw near to His holy place.

II. Men should offer within it holy worship; and this worship should consist of an unblemished sacrifice and a pure oblation.

III. Men should carry away with them the spirit of their worship, in order to influence their lives. “True religion,” says an old and quaint divine, “is no way a gargleism, only to wash the tongue and mouth to speak good words; it must root in the heart, and then fructify in the life, else it will not cleanse the whole man.” (G. F. Fessey, M. A.)

On the sanctuary

If, with half the interest which their temporal concerns excite, men would reflect upon the nature of public worship, its reasonableness and advantages, they would, with one mind, perceive it to be a duty which they cannot excusably nor safely neglect.

I. Consider yourselves in your social capacity. Free men from the restraints of religion, and leave them to the passions of nature, and the world will soon be converted into a scene of wickedness, debasement, and misery. But how is a general sentiment of religion to be preserved? Doubtless, one of the best means is the consecration of a part of our time to the holy purpose of recognizing the sovereignty of the Deity, and learning His will. Besides, it is the natural tendency of this duty be civilize the manners and the affections. Ideas of subordination are cherished, when all feel that they are accountable to a superior power. Mutual regard and fidelity are promoted when all assemble together as brethren, before one common Parent, with sentiments of humility and hope.

II. Consider yourselves in your relation to God. It results from our moral capacity that the glory of this Being, who hath given us existence, and so highly endowed and exalted us, should be the supreme object of our live. Now, He is glorified by our virtuous demeanour in His world, and by our private bosom acknowledgments of Him as our Lord and benefactor; but He is more especially and suitably glorified by us when we unite together to offer Him, in the presence of each other and the universe, the devout homage of our hearts and lips. This is the greatest tribute we can bring Him; a tribute which nature dictates and reason recommends.

III. Consider the demands of the religion you profess. What was the conduct of our blessed Lord with respect to public worship? For our example, His custom was to go into the synagogue every Sabbath day. What was the practice of the primitive Church; the happy few who had been often with Him, and knew His will? (Acts 2:42). What are the express or implied precepts of the Gospel upon this subject? (Hebrews 10:25). Why, indeed, did our Lord ordain holy mysteries, which are social in their nature, very forms of public worship? Why did He appoint a ministry in His Church, and promise to be with this ministry, “even unto the end of the world”? Are not these expressions of His will that His disciples should assemble together, to preach, and hear His Word, and to worship the Father in spirit and in truth? (Bishop Dehon.)


Verse 8-9

Psalms 132:8-9

Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest, Thou and the ark of Thy strength.

Blessings on the sanctuary

I. The temple is here called the place of rest, or the abiding place of God.

II. The temple, gorgeous as it was, was incomplete and valueless without the ark. In all ages the ark in the Temple is its life. Still the quick heart within the man, and you will have the stately skeleton soon. Withdraw the magic vapour, and the wheels whirr no longer, and the most exquisite contrivances are mute and motionless machinery. Take the breath from the great organ’s heart, and in vain you bid it discourse its harmonies.

III. Look at the other blessings which are asked for, either obviously or by direct implication in the psalm.

1. The ark of God’s strength in the Temple implies that God’s power is in the Temple, and He waits to exert it in the Word, in the minister’s appeals, in the people’s prayers.

2. The prayer proceeds to ask that the priests may be “clothed with righteousness,” which is, in fact, a petition for universal purity. It is a prayer not only for us who minister, but for you who hearken, that we may, all of us, be robed always, robed already, in the new linen, clean and white, in which the saints were seen in heaven.

3. The third blessing that is asked for is holy joy in God, which has its foundation in oneness with God, both in favour and feeling, and which has its outlet in the appropriate expressions of praise. (W. M. Punshon, LL. D.)

The gracious presence of God in His own ordinances, an object of earnest desire to every acceptable worshipper

I. The glorious Object to whom the people of God present their supplication, in the view of a solemn appearance before God in the ordinances of His worship--Jehovah Himself.

1. He, to whom this great name belongs, is the independent, self-existent God, whose being is in and of Himself; and who gives being to all His words and works.

2. He is the eternal, and, consequently, the unchangeable God.

3. He is the fountain of all blessedness, as well as of all being. Indeed, if He is the one, he must needs be the other. If He is independent, He cannot but be all-sufficient.

4. He is Israel’s own God. In our applications to Him, therefore, on this and on every other occasion, we ought still to view Him as Jehovah, our God: our God by His own gracious grant and promise; our God by virtue of that everlasting covenant, which is sealed to every worthy communicant at the sacramental table. This will encourage us both to be fervent in our supplications for His presence, and confident in our expectations of it.

II. The place into which God is here invited, or where His presence is desired; called, in the text, His rest. The Church of Christ may be called God’s rest on a twofold account.

1. On account of His Divine pleasure and satisfaction in her, much beyond the pleasure that a weary or burdened person has in a place or state of rest.

2. On account of His constant and perpetual residence in her.

III. The invitation which they humbly, yet confidently, address to Him. “Arise.” The manner of expression here used, especially when applied to the Church, intimates the following things.

1. That, in taking possession of His rest, it is necessary that God should make signal displays of His power.

2. That there may be times when God seems, in human reckoning, inactive and negligent about the affairs of His Church.

3. That though Zion is God’s rest, there is, and always will be, much work for Him to accomplish in her.

IV. The manner in which He was desired and expected to accept the invitation. They did not ask Him to be present, unless in a manner adapted to the dispensation under which they lived, and under those symbols by which His presence among them was always exhibited and secured. They only wished Him to be present, along with the ark of His strength. This imports--

1. That the people of God had an earnest desire after the symbol itself, and expected not to enjoy the presence of God, in the same comfortable manner, without it.

2. That they could not be satisfied with the symbol, without the thing signified and represented by it.

3. But the principal thing to be attended to about this ark of God’s strength was its being the most lively type of Christ. This intimates--

V. Improvement of the subject. It affords us--

1. Matter of wonder, gratitude, and praise; in that we enjoy the symbols of God’s presence, and have access to worship Him according to His own appointment.

2. Matter of reproof to all who satisfy themselves with outward privileges, and matter of warning to all who enjoy them, against such a fatal mistake.

3. Matter of encouragement to all in this company who have business with God to-day.

4. Matter of consolation to all those who mourn for the low state of the Church in our day, and for the very low state of the work of God in her.

5. Matter of trial to all present; particularly to those who intend to eat the sacramental bread and drink the sacramental cup. (John Young, D. D.)


Verse 9

Psalms 132:9

Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness.

A righteous pulpit

We hear advocated, on platforms and elsewhere, different kinds of ministry. Some are urgent for a talented ministry. Some are urgent for an educated ministry. They insist on culture. Some are urgent for an evangelical ministry. The great want, however, is a righteous ministry.

I. A ministry that advocates the principles of rectitude. The Sermon on the Mount should be the text and the imperial inspiration of every teacher.

II. A ministry that advocates the principles of rectitude Is an honest way.

1. Conscientiously, believing in them.

2. Consistently, living them.

3. Independently, disregarding alike the frowns and smiles of men. A ministry, in fact, that “commends itself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

III. A ministry that advocates the principles of rectitude for a right purpose. Not for popularity, not for greed, not for sect, but for right. Such a ministry as this the people will believe in, trust, and follow. (David Thomas, D. D.)

And let Thy saints shout for joy.--

The connection between a pious ministry and a happy Church

True piety has ever a cheerful character; our religion has no sympathy with gloom (Proverbs 3:17). We dare not speak of uninterrupted enjoyment. Christians live too much beneath their privileges to admit of this; and, even though they should attain perfection, how could they escape suffering in a world where sin so much abounds? It would be preposterous to expect it. But, making all deductions, the believer has far more pleasure than the man who rejects the overtures of Divine compassion. Is it not so? Would you not like to know that your sins were pardoned, every one of them, no more to rise up in judgment against you? Would you not like to know that God was your friend, and that He would never leave you nor forsake you? Would you not like to know that the bondage of death is removed, for Jesus has disarmed the grisly monster of his sting? Now, these are some of the benefits of which genuine believers are partakers; and an interest in them is obtained by believing in the Son of God, who is the Strength and the Saviour of suffering man. Would you not be happier, as well as better, could you say, All these are mine? Make the experiment for yourself. Surely it is worth the trial. Linger no longer. Close at once with God’s own free terms. Permit Him to save you in His own way, and there shall be no disappointment. (N. McMichael.)

Joy in the Lord

Joy is both full of insight and medicinal. Our best poets delight to depict its power in each of these ministries. Wordsworth said it was “with an eye made quiet by the deep power of joy that he saw into the life of things.” Then he felt sensations sweet passing into his pure mind, with tranquil restoration. Then he came to know that blessed mood in which the burden of the mystery of this unintelligible world is lightened; and he became a living soul. If this be the ministry of the joy of nature, surely the “joy of the Lord” would lighten many dark problems in life, lift many a burden, change the home and the business of many a weary and tried child of God, and fill them with brightness and song.


Verses 13-16

Psalms 132:13-16

For the Lord hath chosen Zion.

God’s choice of Zion

He giveth a reason for the absolute promise of Christ’s coming to rule the spiritual kingdom of Israel, or the Church, because the Lord had chosen Zion in the type, and the universal Church under the figure, to be His chosen Temple and habitation, wherein He delighted. Whence learn--

1. Where God will settle His sanctuary, there tie will settle His kingdom also: Zion must not want a king; for the reason here, why the Lord will with an oath set up one who shall be the fruit of David’s body upon the throne, is “because He hath chosen Zion.”

2. The Lord’s pitching upon any place to dwell in, or persons to dwell among, cometh not of the worthiness of the place or persons, but from God’s good pleasure alone.

3. The Lord resteth in His love towards His Church, accepting the persons, prayers, and service of His chosen people; lie smelleth a sweet savour in Christ here, and His love maketh His seat among His people steadfast.

4. What is promised under typical figures is really everlasting, not in regard of the figure, but in regard of the signification: “For this is my rest for ever,” is true only in respect of the Church, represented by Zion.

5. No reason is to be craved for God’s everlasting good will to any person or incorporation; His pleasure may suffice for a cause. (D. Dickson.)

Zion and her provision

I. God’s choice of His Zion.

1. The sovereignty of God, which is exercised towards His creatures.

2. This choice is a choice of love (Ephesians 2:4-5; Jeremiah 31:3).

II. The purposes for which God has chosen Zion. God desires Zion--

1. For His habitation.

2. For His rest. Where He takes up His abode, it is for ever.

III. The blessings promised. In 1 John 2:12-13, you have the family of God set forth from infancy to manhood; from weakness itself, to perfect strength; from sin’s dominion and degradation, to salvation’s honours and glories; from the captivity of Satan, to a full victory over him; from the love, power, and guilt of sin, to the enjoyment of all the Gospel blessings, promises, and treasures in Christ. (C. Parvey.)


Verse 15

Psalms 132:15

I will abundantly bless her provision.

An abundant blessing promised to the Church upon her spiritual provision

I. The glorious speaker--God Himself.

1. The God for whom a habitation has been prepared in the Church. If you enjoy the blessing of God upon your provision, you will cheerfully contribute your mite for preparing Him a habitation.

2. The God who hath chosen Zion, and taken up His habitation in her. By this means He knows every circumstance relative to her and to every one of her members; lie is ready to hear all the requests of His people, and to grant them without loss of time.

3. The God from whom all her provision comes. As He knows what provision is suitable to every one’s taste, and to every one’s need, He knows what blessing is proper to make every one’s provision effectual for affording him the promised satisfaction.

II. The party spoken of--Zion. The Church is spoken of in the feminine gender, chiefly to put us in mind of two things.

1. Of her weakness and helplessness, considered in herself.

2. Of that happy relation that subsists between Christ and her. So close and intimate is that mysterious relation, that it can be compared to no other earthly relation--so fitly as to that between husband and wife. He has betrothed her to Himself for ever. He nourishes and cherishes her as a loving husband the wife of his youth.

III. The benefit promised--a blessing. As soon as any person is brought into a state of union with Christ, and is blessed in Him,--being justified freely by the grace of God; not only is that person adjudged to happiness, but that sentence has an effect upon all that he meets with in the course of Providence. All the common benefits of life have a commission from God to be means, not merely of rendering his present life happy, as far as happiness is attainable here,--but likewise of preparing him for eternal happiness, and of conducting him to it. Yea, the trials, afflictions, and miseries of this life, are all under an appointment of God, to be conducive to the same end (2 Corinthians 4:17).

IV. The more immediate subject of this blessing--her provision. The-spiritual Israel have nothing of their own to support the life of their souls: and the wilderness, through which they pass, affords nothing fit for that purpose. They behoved, therefore, to perish, if their Heavenly Father did not give them the true bread from heaven, which is no other than the flesh and blood of His own eternal Son, which He gave for the life of the world.

V. The degree in which this blessing is bestowed--abundantly. (John Young, D. D.)

I will satisfy her poor with bread.--

The poor-laws of the Bible

Those who are not familiar with the Bible, especially with the Old Testament, might be disposed to smile at the statement, that if we could get the poor-laws of the Bible fairly administered, there would be an end to the miseries and complaints of the poor. God has from the beginning made the poor man’s cause His own. His aim has been to stir men up to consideration and sympathy, by identifying the poor with Himself in His account with mankind. “He that hath pity on the poor lendeth to the Lord.” That is the principle; the claim of the poor on men is the claim of God. And throughout the Old Testament God announces and enforces His provision for the poor (Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Isaiah 58:6-8; Nehemiah 8:10). The principle runs through the whole Book. Whatever men felt that they owed to God they were to pay to the poor. Would it be possible to place their claim on a surer and firmer foundation? And there is a tenderness in the tone of the Bible about the poor and helpless, which is unmatched, as far as I know, in any ancient literature; and it is one of the most sacred traditions which the elder dispensation handed down to the Christian Church. But there is nothing in the way in which the Bible deals with the question which gives countenance even for a moment to the notion that bread is the great necessity of man. God’s cure of disease is always radical; therefore the method is slow, deep, and, on the surface, long invisible. And herein God’s method differs essentially from the various panaceas for social wrong and misery which have been promulgated in various ages by the philosophers. Bread is precious to those who use life nobly. But he who should assure bread on a sufficient scale to all men, and make no provision for their spiritual culture, for their concord, brotherly love, energy, industry, and perseverance, would miss the deepest elements of human misery, would, in the end, nourish it fearfully, and would hasten, instead of retarding, the overthrow of society. God, in His method of dealing with the problem, considers the “what then?” He takes things in their true order, the heavenly order, the order of their necessity. He does not flood the world with plenty, and leave man to wrangle and wrestle over the partition of it. He would first cure the radical selfishness and wickedness out of which in the long run all absolute poverty springs. It is a mistake to use the term Christian Socialism, under the idea of commending the Gospel to those who favour Communistic views. The Gospel aims at an ideal which, as a dream, has haunted the imagination of every great world reformer who has ever pored over the dark problems of society, but it aims at it by a path which is all its own. It begins from within, and works outwards; it puts love in the heart, and then sends plenty. All true abundance springs out of love. There was a movement in the early Church which had, no doubt, a communistic aspect, and which some may connect with the essential spirit of Christianity, and regard as the only true form of life in the Christian society (Acts 2:42-47). It seems to have been confined to the Church at Jerusalem, and there it was carried too far and lasted too long. We find from apostolic records that the Church at Jerusalem became rapidly the poorest and the most helpless of all the primitive Churches, and was compelled to throw herself on the charities of the Gentile Christian world (Romans 15:25-27), and this history is very important and instructive. It reveals the inevitable issue of a communistic administration of the temporal affairs of men. The rights of property were most carefully guarded in the early Churches, as we gather from all the apostolic epistles; while brotherly love and the most large and constant charity were enjoined on the most sacred grounds. There is nothing that God reiterates more earnestly than the poor man’s claim. There is nothing that God sustains more mightily than the poor man’s cause. There is nothing that God avenges more awfully than the poor man’s wrong. “Would God that I could see it,” many a poor man cries; “but, as far as I see, the masters that profess most are often the hardest; and those who say that they have most to do with God, and from whom we might hope to find what God can do to help us, are too frequently known as grinding the faces of the poor.” Well, there is truth in this, alas l no doubt; but be very chary of attaching value to the criticism of employers by the employed; their judgment will be constantly narrow, selfish, and unjust. But ye masters, remember the higher judgment. Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord; ye, who say that ye know My name. Beware how you drag it through the mire of selfish and sensual lives, and put it before all men, and especially before the poor, to an open shame. We may all take the warning home. But ye poor, be just. Do not charge on God the wrongs and evils which He is doing His best by His own patient but radical method to cure. He hates the grinding of the face of the poor more entirely, I believe, than He hates any evil thing that is done under the sun. Be just. See how God is fighting your battle in all ages, and maintaining your cause against the oppressor. There is one method by which God is always maintaining the cause of the poor, which they are very slow to recognize and to honour, and that is against themselves, against their own idleness, improvidence, and lust. Man’s folly and sin do not withhold, do not restrain, God’s mercy, or we had none of us been here. But while He pities, He educates and purifies. Side by side with the pity there is the hard, stern rule, that “if a man will not work, neither shall he eat.” Giving is the cheapest and easiest form of charity. To take poverty by the hand and lift it is harder work, and demands a resolution, the ultimate spring of which is on high. Self-help must be the message of our visitors and almoners. We must have done with the pampering method of the constant dole. Help the industrious and necessitous over a crisis that they may help themselves again. Stir up the energies of the indolent and dependent. (J. B. Brown, B. A.)


Verse 16

Psalms 132:16

I will also clothe her priests with salvation.

A consecration sermon

I. The Promiser “I”: that is, the Lord; the most true, the most constant, the most powerful God; most true and sincere in the declaration of His purpose, meet constant and immutable in the prosecution, most powerful and uncontrollable in the perfect execution thereof. These glorious attributes and perfections of His, so often celebrated in Holy Writ, do ground our reliance on all God’s promises, and do oblige us, notwithstanding the greatest improbabilities or difficulties objected, to believe the infallible performance of this.

II. The persons whom the promise mainly regards.

1. Priests; that is, persons peculiarly devoted to, and employed in, sacred matters; distinguished expressly from the poor (that is, other meek and humble persons); and from the saints (that is, all other good and religious men).

2. Her priests; that is, the priests of Zion: of that Zion which “the Lord hath chosen”; which “He hath desired for His permanent habitation”; which He hath resolved to “rest and reside in for ever.” Whence it plainly enough follows that the priests and pastors of the Christian Church are hereby, if not solely, yet principally designed.

III. The matter of the promise. “I will clothe,” etc. The least we can imagine here promised to the “priests of Zion,” will comprehend these three things.

1. A free and safe condition of life: that they be not exposed to continual dangers of ruin; of miserable sufferance or remediless injury: that the benefits of peace, and law, and public protection shall particularly appertain to them.

2. A provision of competent subsistence for them: that their condition of life be not wholly necessitous, or very penurious; but that they shall be furnished with such reasonable supplies as are requisite to encourage them in the cheerful performance of their duty.

3. A suitable degree of respect, and so high a station among men, as may commend them to general esteem, and vindicate them from contempt.

IV. The reasons.

1. God’s honour is concerned in the safe, comfortable, and honourable estate of His priests; and that on account of those manifold relations, whereby they stand allied, appropriated, and devoted to Himself. They are in a peculiar manner His servants, stewards, ambassadors, co-workers, etc.

2. The good of the Church requires that the priesthood be well protected, well provided for, and well regarded.

3. Common equity requires this. Is there any office more laborious, more vexatious than theirs; accompanied with more wearisome toil, more solicitous care, more tedious attendance? (Isaac Barrow, D. D.)


Verse 17

Psalms 132:17

I have ordained a lamp for Mine anointed.

A lamp ordained for God’s anointed

I. Christ as God’s anointed,

1. He is a Redeemer and Saviour of God’s choosing.

2. Called and sent of God.

3. Prophet, Priest, and King of His Church.

4. Thoroughly fitted and furnished for His work, by an unmeasurable effusion of the Holy Spirit.

II. The lamp that God has ordained.

1. This lamp was first set up in the purpose of God from eternity, or in the council of peace, when the whole plan of salvation through Christ was laid.

2. This lamp was first lighted in this louver world, immediately after the fall in paradise; when a dark and dismal night of woe and misery was spreading itself over our first parents, then a gleam of light began to break out in the first promise (Genesis 3:15): and afterwards unto Abraham (Genesis 22:18).

3. The lamp of the Gospel shone typically and prophetically during all the Old Testament period, before the coming of Christ in the flesh. It shone, as it were, under a veil, and only among the Jews.

4. After the coming of Christ in the flesh, and His resurrection and ascension into heaven, the lamp of Gospel light was brightened, and the light of it was made more general and extensive. The veil of types, ceremonies, and prophecies, was rent, and, by the commandment of the everlasting God, carried unto all nations for the obedience of faith, Christ being given of God for (Acts 13:47).

5. Ministers of the Gospel are, as it were, the lamp bearers. They are commissioned by Christ, to preach the Gospel, to teach all nations.

III. The ordination of this lamp.

1. God has ordained the places and parts of the world where it shall be set up and shine (Romans 11:33).

2. As He ordained the places where the lamp shall be set up, so He ordained how long it should shine, before it be lifted to another part of the earth. He ordained how long it should shine among the Jews, viz. until Christ came. He ordained how long it should shine in the Churches of Asia, before He came and removed His candlestick. He has ordained how long the Gospel and a faithful ministry shall stay in any parish or congregation also.

3. He has ordained what souls or persons shall be converted, edified, or built up, by the Gospel: when He sends it unto any nation or congregation of Zion (that is, the place where the Gospel-lamp is set up), “it shall be said this man and that man was born there,” etc.

4. He ordains by what instrument or minister the Gospel-lamp shall be brought unto a people or particular person. Paul is ordained for the Gentiles, Peter for the Jews, and every one of the apostles and other ministers, led by the ruling hand of the sovereign Lord, to labour in this, or that, or the other spot of His vineyard.

5. He ordains what fruit and success a minister with his lamp shall have, what number of souls shall be edified, and who shall be hardened and blinded by His light. (E. Erskine.)

A lamp for God’s anointed

I. God’s anointed (Psalms 45:7).

1. He was chosen to be God’s anointed (Isaiah 42:1).

2. He was called and sent by God (Isaiah 42:6).

3. His investiture in His offices (Isaiah 42:7).

4. Fulness of grace for His great work (Colossians 1:19).

II. The lamp ordained for God’s anointed.

1. Some of its discoveries.

2. Some of its properties.

III. The reasons why God has ordained it.

1. To the honour of His Son Jesus Christ (John 5:39).

2. To perpetuate His name to all ages (Romans 9:17).

3. For the gathering of His people (Isaiah 55:11). (T. B. Baker, M. A.)


Verse 18

Psalms 132:18

His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon Himself shall His crown flourish.

The Redeemer’s glory, and the confusion of His enemies

I. The confusion of His enemies. ’Tis an astonishing and melancholy fact that such a government should have enemies, but evidently it is so (Psalms 2:1-12.). The opposition of Jews and Gentiles only a specimen of the opposition of human nature in all ages. Describe the enemies. In individuals--pride, unbelief, self-righteousness, inconsistency. The same enmity in the world on an extended scale; carnal policy, etc., arising from inveterate hatred of religion is too humbling and too holy. Christ’s enemies are clothed with shame when their machinations are detected. Ariel, etc. (Milton), Gehazi. When their own plans defeat themselves. Haman, Esther, Mordecai. The cross as peopling heaven. The stone, watch, seal at Christ’s tomb established the fact of His resurrection. Persecution drove out the disciples to spread the Gospel.

II. The prosperity of His reign. This consists in--

1. The settled and undisturbed title to His crown.

2. When His counsels are wise, and the laws of legislation are pure, salutary, and securing to the subject his liberties and immunities.

3. When His laws are administered in prudence, firmness, and integrity. He died for the ungodly; therefore He is just and the justifier of the ungodly.

4. When His realm consists of extensive empire, when other rulers are His subjects and willingly receive His laws into their administration.

5. When His subjects are happy and united.

III. The certainty of both. (Homilist.)

A flourishing crown

Look at Melvile when standing before King James. Danger threatened the Church of Christ in that kingdom, and upon the prosperity of the Church depended the stability of James’ throne. Melvile and others obtained a private audience of the king, and, among other points, Melvile reminded James of his duty to his Saviour. There are two kings in Scotland, said the Covenanter, King James and King Jesus, but King Jesus reigned hero before King James, and His authority is supreme. That bold and uncompromising speech carries us back in thought to another scene equally momentous and interesting. Paul, that bold champion of his Master’s cause, standing in the midst of an infuriated crowd, fearlessly told them that while Caesar had his claims to sovereign power, there was another King, one Jesus, who had His claims also, but they were superior to Caesar’s claims. It is recorded of the first and the greatest of the Caesars that such were his capacious powers that he could at once keep six pens racing to his dictation on as many different subjects. That may be true; but Christ can attend to the affairs of the whole world at once! Crowns have always been highly valued. What schemes to obtain them! what bloodshed! what treachery! With what pomp and pride they have been and are still worn! No crown like this! (E. Digby.)
.

Psalms 133:1-3

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 132:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-132.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology