David having been delivered from great danger, not only renders thanks to God apart by himself, but at the same time invites and exhorts all the pious to perform the same duty. He then confesses that he had flattered himself too confidently in his prosperity, and that his security had justly been chastised. In the third place, having briefly expressed his sorrow, he returns again to thanksgiving.
A psalm sung at the dedication of David's house.
Interpreters doubt whether this psalm was composed by David, or by some of the prophets after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity; for house means, in their opinion, the temple. But as the title expressly mentions David's name, it is more probable that it is David's private house which is here spoken of. Moreover, the supposition entertained by some, that when he was about to dedicate his palace, he was seized with heavy sickness, is founded upon no solid reason. We may rather conjecture from what is stated in sacred history, that as soon as he had built his royal palace, he dwelt in it quietly and at his ease. He said to the prophet Nathan, that he felt ashamed comfortably "to dwell within an house of cedar," while "the ark of God dwelt under curtains," (2 Samuel 7:2.) Besides, to restrict that to sickness which is here spoken generally concerning some kind of danger, is altogether groundless. It is more probable, that Absalom being dead, and his faction extinguished, and the fatal commotion which they had raised put down, David celebrated the divine favor toward him, as one who had returned from exile to his former station in his kingdom. For he mentions that he was chastised by God's hand, because, exulting too much in his happy estate, and almost intoxicated with it, he falsely and foolishly promised himself entire freedom from adversity. Moreover, when he began to inherit the magnificent and royal palace, of which I have just spoken, his kingdom was yet scarcely restored to peace. It was not yet time, therefore, for forgetfulness of human frailty to creep upon him, which might provoke the wrath of God, and expose him to dangers which might bring him to the very verge of destruction. It is not unreasonable, therefore, to suppose, that in this psalm he celebrates God's favor to him in restoring him to his former state. It was necessary again to dedicate his house, which had been defiled by the incestuous whoredoms of Absalom, and other wickednesses; and under this word seems to be denoted a double blessing, both his restoration to life and to his kingdom:as if he had said, that after settling the public affairs of his kingdom, he sung this song, and solemnly dedicated his house to God that he might live in his own family. But it must be briefly observed concerning this ceremony of the law, that as we are very slow and cold in thinking of God's benefits, this exercise was enjoined upon his ancient people, that they might understand that there is no pure and lawful use of any thing without thanksgiving to God. As by offering the first-fruits to God, therefore, they acknowledged that they received the increase of the whole year from him, in like manner, by consecrating their houses to God, they declared that they were God's tenants, confessing that they were strangers, and that it was he who lodged and gave them a habitation there.1 If a levy for war, therefore, took place, this was a just cause of exemption, when any one alleged that he had not yet dedicated his house.2 Besides, they were at the same time admonished by this ceremony, that every one enjoyed his house aright and regularly, only when he so regulated it that it was as it were a sanctuary of God, and that true piety and the pure worship of God reigned in it. The types of the law have now ceased, but we must still keep to the doctrine of Paul, that whatever things God appoints for our use, are still "sanctified by the word of God and prayer," (1 Timothy 4:4, 5.)
1 "Se recognoissans estrangers, et que c'estoit luy qui les y logeoit et leur bailloit demeurance." -- Fr.
2 "Quand l'homme allegoit qu'il n'avoit encores dedid sa maison." -- Fr.