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Psalm 132

The Eternal Dwelling of God in Zion

A Song of Ascents.


O L ord, remember in David’s favor

all the hardships he endured;


how he swore to the L ord

and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,


“I will not enter my house

or get into my bed;


I will not give sleep to my eyes

or slumber to my eyelids,


until I find a place for the L ord,

a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”



We heard of it in Ephrathah;

we found it in the fields of Jaar.


“Let us go to his dwelling place;

let us worship at his footstool.”



Rise up, O L ord, and go to your resting place,

you and the ark of your might.


Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,

and let your faithful shout for joy.


For your servant David’s sake

do not turn away the face of your anointed one.



The L ord swore to David a sure oath

from which he will not turn back:

“One of the sons of your body

I will set on your throne.


If your sons keep my covenant

and my decrees that I shall teach them,

their sons also, forevermore,

shall sit on your throne.”



For the L ord has chosen Zion;

he has desired it for his habitation:


“This is my resting place forever;

here I will reside, for I have desired it.


I will abundantly bless its provisions;

I will satisfy its poor with bread.


Its priests I will clothe with salvation,

and its faithful will shout for joy.


There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David;

I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one.


His enemies I will clothe with disgrace,

but on him, his crown will gleam.”

13. Seeing that Jehovah has chosen Zion. By coupling the kingdom with the priesthood and sanctuary service, he declares it still more emphatically to have been of divine and not human appointment. The connection is not to be overlooked, on another account. The true strength and stability of that kingdom were in Christ, and Christ’s kingdom is inseparable from his priesthood. This may explain why mention is made of Zion being chosen. God decreed nothing in relation to the kingdom, but what had a certain connection with the sanctuary, the more perfectly to prefigure the Mediator who was to come, and who was both priest and king, after the order of Melchizedek. The kingdom and tabernacle were, therefore, closely allied. Notice is taken of the reason upon which the choice proceeded ­ that mount Zion was not chosen for any excellency belonging to it, as we have seen, (Psalm 68:16,) but because such was the will of God. His good pleasure is specified in contrast with any merit in the place itself. This is another proof of what we have already stated ­ that the covenant made by God with David proceeded from his mere goodness.

14. This is my rest for ever. The same truth is here put into the mouth of God, to give it additional weight; and it is declared not to have been in vain that the Temple had been erected, since God would show effectually and by practical testimonies the delight which he had in the worship of his own appointment. God’s resting, or talking up his habitation, are expressions which denote his being present with men in the manifestation of his power. Thus he dwelt in Zion, in the sense that there his people worshipped him according to the prescription of his law, and found besides the benefit of the service in his favorable answer to their requests. It was eventually seen, in a very striking manner, that this was the promise of an infallible God, whet, after the Temple had been overthrown, the altar cast down, and the whole frame of legal service interrupted, the glory of the Lord afterwards returned to it once more, and remained there up to the advent of Christ. We all know in what a wicked and shameful manner the Jews abused the divine promise which is here made, under the impression that it necessarily laid God under an obligation to favor them, taking occasion from if, in the pride of their hearts, to despise, and even cruelly persecute the Prophets. Luther on this account calls it “the bloody promise;” for, like all hypocrites who make God’s holy name a covert for iniquity, they did not hesitate, when charged with the, worst, crimes, to insist that it was beyond the power of the Prophets to take from them privileges which God had bestowed. With them to assert that the Temple could be stripped of its glory, was equivalent to charging God with falsehood, and impeaching his faithfulness. Under the influence of this spirit of vain confidence they proceeded such inconceivable lengths in shedding innocent blood. Were the Devil of Rome armed with pretensions as splendid, what bounds would be set to its audacity? As it is, we see how fiercely, and with what bloody pride it arrogates the name of the Church, while outraging all religion, in open contempt of God and flagrant violation of humanity. But what of that? the hierarchy would otherwise fall, and this must stand, if Christ would not desert his spouse the Church! The refutation of such a plea is not far to seek. The Church is limited to no one place: now that the glory of the Lord shines through all the earth, his rest is where Christ and his members are. It is necessary that we rightly understand what the Psalmist says of the everlasting continuance of the Temple. The advent of Christ was “the time of reformation,” and the figures of the former Testament, instead of being then proved or rendered vain, were substantiated, and received their fulfillment in him. If it be still objected that mount Zion is here spoken of as the everlasting residence of God, it is sufficient to answer that the whole world became an enlarged mount Zion upon the advent of Christ.

15. Blessing I will bless, etc. God’s dwelling in the midst of the people was what constituted the great source of their blessedness; and now some of the proofs are mentioned which he would give of his fatherly regard, such as preparing and administering their ordinary food, relieving their wants, clothing their priests with salvation, and filling all his people with joy and gladness. This it was necessary should be added, for unless we have ocular demonstration of the divine goodness, we are not spiritual enough to rise upwards to the apprehension of it. We have a twofold demonstration of it in the matter of our daily food; first in the earth’s being enriched so as to furnish us with corn, and wine, and oil; and again in the earth’s produce being multiplied, through a secret power, so as to provide us with sufficient nourishment. There is here a promise that God would exert a special care over his own people to supply them with food, and that though they might not have a great abundance, yet the poor would be satisfied. We must not omit mentioning the remarkable and ludicrous mistake which the Papists have made upon this passage, and which shows the judicial stupidity they lie under to be such, that there is nothing so absurd they will not swallow. By confounding two letters into one, for victus they read vidus, and then conjectured that this must be a mutilation for viduas ­ blessing I will bless her widows! Thus they made “widows” out of “food” ­ an extraordinary blunder, which we would scarcely credit, were it not a fact that they sing the word out in their temples to this present day. 139139     “צידה, her provision. The word ציד signifies food which is taken in hunting, and then it is used to express food of any kind — provision generally. The Septuagint has θήραν, which denotes provision that has been hunted, and so obtained; but another reading of the Greek version τὴν χήραν αὐτὢς, which has been followed by the Vulgate, Arabic, and Ethiopic; the rendering of the Vulgate being viduam ejus This corrupt reading is noticed by Jerome.” ­ Phillips. But God, who blesses the food of his own people, has infatuated their minds, and left them to confound everything in their absurd reveries and triflings. The inspired penman goes on to repeat what he had already said of other blessings, only the term salvation is used instead of righteousness, but in the same sense I already mentioned. Some understand it to have reference to purity of doctrine and holiness of life; but this seems a forced interpretation, and he means simply that they would be safe and happy under the divine protection.

17. There will I make, etc. He reverts to the state of the kingdom, which God had promised to take under his care and protection. It is necessary that we should attend to the peculiar force of the words employed ­ I will make the horn of David to bud Now there can be no doubt as to the meaning of the term horn, which in Hebrew is very commonly used to signify force or power; but we are to mark that by the horn budding there is an allusion to the humble original of the kingdom, and the singular restorations which it underwent. David was taken from the menial drudgery of the sheepfold, and from the lowly cottage where he dwelt, the youngest son of his father, who was no more than an ordinary shepherd, and was advanced to the throne, and rose by a series of unlooked for successes. Under Jeroboam the kingdom was at an early period so effectually cut down again, that it was only by budding forth from time to time that it maintained itself in a moderate degree of advancement. Afterwards it underwent various shocks, which must have issued in its destruction, had it not still budded anew. And when the people were dispersed in the captivity, what must have become of them, had not God made the broken and trampled horn of David, again to bud? Isaiah accordingly seems to have had this in his eye when he compared Christ to a rod which should spring not from tree in full growth, but from a trunk or stem. (Isaiah 11:1.) To the prophecy now before us Zechariah perhaps refers when he says, “Behold the man whose name is the Branch,” (Zechariah 6:12,) intimating that in this way only could the power and dignity of the kingdom be restored after the dismemberment and ravages to which it had been exposed. In 2 Samuel 23:5, David makes use of the word employed in the verse before us, but in somewhat a different sense, referring to the continual advancement of the kingdom unto further measures of prosperity. Here the inspired penman rather refers to the singular manner in which God would cause the horn of David to revive again, when at any time it might seem broken and withered. The figure of the lamp is much to the same effect, and occurs in many other places of Scripture, being a prophecy very generally in the mouths of the people. The meaning is, that the kingdom, though it underwent occasional obscurations, would never be wholly extinguished under the calamities which overtook it, being as the lamp of God constantly burning, and pointing out safety to the Lord’s people, though not shining to a great distance. At that time all the illumination enjoyed was but the feeble lamp which shone in Jerusalem; now Christ, the sun of righteousness, sheds a full radiance all over the world.

18. His enemies will I clothe with shame. The priests were said above “to be clothed with righteousness and salvation,” now the enemies of David are represented as “clothed with shame.” It is not enough that all go well within. God must keep us from the various harms and evils which come upon us from without, and hence we have this second promise added, which is one wherein we recognize often the goodness of God even more than in the blessings which he may shower upon us in the day of prosperity. The greater that fear which seizes upon us when exposed to aggression from enemies, the more are we sensibly awakened to take hold of divine help. The passage teaches us that the Church and people of God will never enjoy such peace on earth as altogether to escape being assaulted by the variety of enemies which Satan stirs up for their destruction. It is enough to have it declared, upon divine authority, that their attempts shall be unsuccessful, and that they will retire eventually with ignominy and disgrace. The, clause which follows has been variously interpreted. The verb which we have translated to flourish, in the Hiphil conjugation means sometimes to see, so that some have explained the words ­ In that place shall the crown of David be seen, when the horn shall have been made to bud. Some derive the word from ציף, tsits, a plate, as if it had been said that the crown of the king would be resplendent with plates of gold. But I consider that the crown is here said to flourish, just as formerly the allusion was to budding or germinating. Isaiah, on the other hand, speaks (Isaiah 28:5) of the crown of drunkenness of Ephraim as being a fading flower. Thus we have it here declared that however frail to appearance the crown of David might be in his posterity, it would be invigorated by some secret virtue, and flourish for ever.

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