The Divine Promises Made to David
1 A song of ascents.
Remember, O Lord, for David’s sake,
all the difficulties he endured.[b]
2 [c]He swore an oath to the Lord
and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3 “I will not enter the house I live in
or lie down on the bed where I sleep,
4 neither will I allow myself to fall asleep
or even to close my eyes,
5 until I find a home for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6 We heard of it in Ephrathah;
we came upon it[d] in the fields of Jaar.
7 [e]Let us enter his dwelling place,
let us worship at his footstool.
8 Arise, O Lord, and go up to your resting place,
you and the Ark of your might.
9 Let your priests clothe themselves with righteousness,[f]
and let your saints shout for joy.
10 For the sake of your servant David,
do not reject your anointed one.[g]
11 The Lord swore this oath[h] to David,
an oath that he will not renounce:
“One of your own descendants
I will place on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
and the statutes that I will teach them,
their sons will also rule
on your throne from age to age.”[i]
13 For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he has designated it for his home:
14 “This will be my resting place forever;
here I will reside, for such is my wish.
15 [j]“I will bless it with abundant provisions
and satisfy its poor with their fill of bread.
16 I will clothe its priests with salvation,
and its saints will shout for joy.
17 “There I will raise up a horn for David[k]
and prepare a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
but on his head there will be a resplendent crown.”[l]
- Psalm 132:1 By means of this psalm, the pilgrims, assembled for the procession, sing the glory of Zion, the dwelling place of God and the residence of his anointed, i.e., the king descended from David and like him, was consecrated with holy oil. Doubtless, this is a celebration of the anniversary of the bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem at the time of King David (see 2 Sam 6; 1 Chr 13–16). This hymn provides a splendid occasion to remind God of the commitment he made in favor of his people: David had sworn to build a dwelling in which to house the Ark, sign of the divine presence, and it was the Lord who promised him that he would ensure his lineage on the royal throne (see oracle of Nathan: 2 Sam 7; 1 Chr 17) at Jerusalem, where the king had projected to build God’s residence.
Each new reign gave birth to a new hope, for every one of David’s descendants is “anointed,” that is, “Messiah” in Hebrew and “Christ” in Greek. When the fallibility of the monarchy became flagrant, the hope subsisted with more intensity. All Israel awaits a last descendant of David, a true Messiah, who will permanently restore God’s reign and his worship forever. It will be the time of God’s glory and salvation; it will be the coming of Jesus Christ, Son of David, whom Luke (Lk 1:69) presents to us by citing verse 17 of this psalm. Verses 8-10, 16 are cited by the Chronicler at the end of the prayer of Solomon (see 2 Chr 6:41f).
Therefore, as we pray this psalm, we can remind God of the merits of David as well as those of Christ, asking him to fulfill the oaths made to David as supplementary motives for fulfilling those made to Christ. We can urge him to enthrone his Son fully in the heavenly Zion and establish therein his perfect kingship for the benefit of his faithful and the eternal confusion of his enemies.
- Psalm 132:1 All the difficulties he endured: in the conquest of Jerusalem (see 2 Sam 5:6-12) and in bringing the Ark to Jerusalem (2 Sam 6:1-23). Some translate: “and all his anxious care,” i.e., to build the temple (see 2 Sam 7:1-17; 1 Ki 8:17).
- Psalm 132:2 Although the oath and vow of David have not been recorded in the Bible, it is clear that when David heard that God had blessed Obed-edom, the guardian of the ark (see 2 Sam 6:12), he immediately made efforts to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. Mighty One of Jacob: a title used by Jacob in Gen 49:24 and by Isaiah (49:26; 60:16) that emphasizes God’s action in saving and redeeming his people. Jacob: a synonym for Israel (see Gen 32:28f).
- Psalm 132:6 It . . . it: often regarded as referring to the Ark, but more likely it refers to the call to worship that follows. Ephrathah: David’s hometown near Bethlehem (see Ru 4:11; Mic 5:1). Fields of Jaar: i.e., Kiriath-jearim, where the Ark remained for a few generations (see 1 Sam 7:1f; 2 Sam 6:2; 1 Chr 13:5f).
- Psalm 132:7 Together with David and his men, the people wished to worship the Lord in Jerusalem. The Ark had been transported by the priests until it was placed in the tabernacle at Shiloh (see 1 Sam 4:3). With the capture of the Ark by the Philistines, it was taken from city to city (see 1 Sam 4–6) until David brought it to Jerusalem and inaugurated a new era in God’s rule over Israel: the Davidic era. The Ark was the footstool of the Lord’s throne (see Ps 99:5) and symbolized God’s earthly rule (see Ps 99:1f; Num 10:35f; 2 Chr 6:41f). Arise, O Lord: the invocation whenever the Ark set out in the days of Moses (see Num 10:35).
- Psalm 132:9 Righteousness: here synonymous with salvation (see 2 Chr 6:41), signifying victory, blessing, and deliverance (see Pss 4:2; 22:32; 24:5). Saints: the People of God who should be faithful to him (see note on Ps 34:10)
- Psalm 132:10 The Messiah or Christ is the anointed one of the Lord (see Ps 2:2; 1 Sam 10:1), the descendant of David awaited by Israel.
- Psalm 132:11 Swore this oath: no oath is mentioned in 2 Sam 7. However, elsewhere God’s promise to David is called a covenant (see Pss 89:4, 29, 35, 40; 2 Sam 23:5; Isa 55:3), and covenants were made with an oath.
- Psalm 132:12 God’s sovereignty decrees that the dynasty of David will rule, but God’s holiness and justice stipulate that such will hold only if David and his descendants are loyal to his covenant statutes.
- Psalm 132:15 The Lord will bless his people abundantly in his royal presence (see Deut 15:4-6); the poor and the priests will share in this new age.
- Psalm 132:17 I will raise up a horn for David: a line close to Ezek 29:21; it has a Messianic sense (see Isa 11:1; Jer 33:15; Zec 3:8). The word “horn” here designates a powerful descendant (see Ps 75:6); God will strengthen the Davidic race from which the Messiah will arise (see Lk 1:69). Prepare a lamp for my anointed one: promise recorded in the Books of Kings (see 1 Ki 11:36; 15:4; 2 Ki 8:19). The house in which light no longer dawns is uninhabited (see Job 18:5; Jer 25:10). The Messiah will be the light of the Gentiles (see Isa 42:6; 49:6; Lk 2:32).
- Psalm 132:18 This word of promise contains the Christian hope in the majesty, rule, and dominion of the Lord Jesus, who will put down all God’s enemies (see 1 Cor 15:25-28; Rev 19:17-21).