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Psalm 122

Song of Praise and Prayer for Jerusalem

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1

I was glad when they said to me,

“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”


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1 I was glad when they said to me. God had often told Moses, that his Sanctuary would one day have a certain and fixed place of abode; yet from the time of Moses, for the space of more than a thousand years, the Ark of the Covenant had been carried about from place to place, as if it had been in a state of pilgrimage. At length it was revealed to David, that mount Zion was the spot where God would have his ark to be settled, and his temple built. Now, as David himself received this revelation with exceeding great joy, so he affirms that he was glad to find the whole people with one consent agreeing thereto. This circumstance has not been duly considered, and the consequence is, that interpreters have given the unhappy translation—I was glad with those that said to me. Such a rendering, however, only renders the sense a little obscure; but the translation of the Septuagint and the Vulgate, which puts upon the second verb of the verse a neuter signification, entirely vitiates the meaning, I was glad in the things which, were said to me. I indeed admit that literally the reading is—I was glad in those who said to me; but it is no uncommon thing for the letter ב, beth, which commonly signifies in, to be resolved into the adverb of time when; and here the scope of the text requires such a rendering. David testifies that he felt in his heart a double joy on observing that the whole people concurred in yielding obedience to the oracle which declared mount Zion to be the place which God had chosen for his solemn worship. By this example we are taught, that our joy, in like manner, should be doubled, when God by his Holy Spirit not only frames each of us to the obedience of his word, but also produces the same effect upon others, that we may be united together in the same faith. So stubborn and rebellious is human nature, that the great majority of mankind invariably murmur against God whenever he speaks. We have, therefore, no small ground for rejoicing when all harmoniously rank themselves with us on the side of God. Such as translate, with those who said to me, deduce this meaning: I take delight in the company of those who allure me to the service of God, and offer themselves to me as companions, that we may go to the sanctuary together. But from the second verse it will be still more obvious, that the joy of which David speaks proceeded from his seeing the people, with the ready obedience of faith, giving their consent to the utterance of the heavenly oracle, respecting the spot chosen to be the lawful and permanent scat of the ark of the covenant. For it immediately follows —

2. Our feet shall be standing within thy gates, O Jerusalem! In the Hebrew text the verb is indeed in the past tense, which it would not be unsuitable to retain; but as it makes little difference as to the meaning whether the one reading or the other is adopted, I have no difficulty in leaving my readers to their own choice. David rehearses the language in which all the godly in common expressed themselves — that they should at length stand with sure footing in Jerusalem, because it was the will of God there to establish his Sanctuary, which hitherto had often changed its lodgings, and had been carried from place to place. By such a pilgrimage state of the ark, God reminded the people that he had not without cause spoken by Moses what I have a little ago adverted to. Thus, whenever the ark of the covenant was conveyed from one place to another, God thereby stirred up the hearts of his servants to desire and pray that a certain settled place might be appointed to it. Moreover, this fixing of its seat was not a matter of small moment. As while it was frequently changing its abode, the faith of the people hung in suspense, so after God had chosen for it a permanent residence, he by this testified more unequivocally that he would be the ever, lasting and unchangeable protector of his people. It is, therefore, not surprising to find the faithful gratefully acknowledging that their feet, which had hitherto been wont to run from place to place, should henceforth stand steadfast within the gates of Jerusalem. The ark, it is true, dwelt a long time in Shiloh, (1 Samuel 1:3,) but God having made no promise concerning that place, it could not be the permanent abode of that symbol of the divine presence. On the contrary, since, as we shall see on Psalm 132:14, it was said of mount Zion — “This is my rest for ever,” the faithful, depending upon that promise, confidently boast that their feet shall hereafter be at rest and stand firm. Farther, as Christ,

“in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” (Colossians 2:9,)

and who is our true Immanuel, (Isaiah 7:14,) now resides amongst us, he has furnished us with matter of more abundant joy. We are, therefore, ungrateful and stupid, if that promise —

“Lo, I am wit you always, even unto the end of the world,”
(Matthew 28:20,)

does not ravish us with exceeding joy, and especially if we see it in any place received publicly and with common consent. What I have just now quoted concerning the rest or repose of the Lord, has been at length accomplished in the person of Christ, as is evident from Isaiah 11:10 — “His rest shall be glorious;” where the Prophet does not speak of the burial of Christ, as some interpreters erroneously suppose, but of the future distinction of the Church.




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