Psalms 132:0 ¶ A Song of degrees.
Three times each year the men of Israel were to come to the temple and present themselves before the Lord.
Deuteronomy 16:16 “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty….”
The fifteen Psalms that are called the songs of degrees (elevation, journey to a higher place, go up) were to be sung as they ascended the temple mount.
Psalms 132:1 ¶ LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions:
Psalms 132:2 How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;
Psalms 132:3 Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;
Psalms 132:4 I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,
Psalms 132:5 Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
The psalmist opens by asking the LORD to remember David’s desire to build a house, a temple, to honor the LORD and provide proper place for the ark of the covenant, representing God’s presence among the people, to reside. Though I could find no vow promising to do so in scripture, it’s quite possible that the composer (possibly Solomon) knew of such a vow. Scripture does record that he did everything possible to prepare for the building of the temple after God forbade him from doing so because he had so much blood on his hands.
1 Chronicles 22:7–10 “And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God: But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.”
1 Chronicles 29:1–3 “Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God. Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house….”
Good application from Guzik: “We should have a passionate drive to enjoy God’s presence in our own life, that our heart would truly be His home.”
The psalmist also asks God to remember the afflictions of David. Many commentators connect the afflictions to David’s frustrations at not being able to build the temple. I’m more inclined to think they refer to the afflictions he endured while awaiting to ascend to the throne.
Psalms 132:6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
Psalms 132:7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
Though the wording is confusing, the subject is the ark of the covenant. The psalmist indicates that they had heard in Ephratah (Bethlehem, David’s hometown) that the ark had been found in Jaar (as noted in several translations).
NIV: “We heard it in Ephrathah, we came upon it in the fields of Jaar….”
NASB: “Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah, We found it in the field of Jaar.”
ESV: “Behold, we heard of it in dEphrathah; we found it in ethe fields of Jaar.
NLT: “We heard that the Ark was in Ephrathah; then we found it in the distant countryside of Jaar.”
Eerdman’s Dictionary notes that Jaar may be a form of the name Kiriath-jearim, the place from which David brought the ark to Jerusalem. Easton’s Dictionary notes that Kiriath-jearim means “city of jaars; i.e., of woods or forests.”
Once they heard that the ark was in Jerusalem, they were eager to present themselves before the LORD to worship.
Psalms 132:8 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
Psalms 132:9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
These verses seem to be referencing the procession that accompanied the ark as it was taken to the tabernacle of David. The priests were responsible for moving the ark in accordance with God’s instructions, and we know that the people accompanied it with great rejoicing with King David leading the way.
Psalms 132:10 For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
Psalms 132:11 ¶ The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
In these verses, the psalmist is basically reminding the LORD of His commitment to David (as if He had forgotten). He had promised David that he would be the father of a royal dynasty that would rule Israel forever.
2 Samuel 7:5-16 “Go and tell my servant David….I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
The psalmist was confident in God’s faithfulness to keep His covenant as attested in scripture.
Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations….”
Psalms 132:12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
God’s promises, however, came with stipulations for his successors. They were required to keep covenant with the LORD according to His teaching.
Sadly, we note that many in the royal line broke covenant with the LORD and brought about severe consequences for the people of Israel. This, however, did not negate the covenant God made with David.
Spurgeon: “As believers, we are all in a measure under some such covenant as that of David: certain of us can look backward for four generations of saintly ancestors, and we are now glad to look forward and to see our children, and our children's children, walking in the truth. Yet we know that grace does not run in the blood, and we are filled with holy fear lest in any of our seed there should be an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.”
Psalms 132:13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
Psalms 132:14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
Psalms 132:15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
Psalms 132:16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
In these verses the psalmist records how the LORD had chosen Zion (used interchangeably with Jerusalem) as the place of His presence among the people of Israel. His purpose is to dwell there forever. The people would be blessed with His provision as they followed Him in obedience. The fact that the priests would be clothed with salvation makes reference to their serving Him rightly before the people. The saints would have great reason to rejoice in such an environment.
Psalms 132:17 There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
Psalms 132:18 His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.
The psalmist closes by making reference to the coming Messiah, the anointed King that will descend from David whose rule will bring forth God’s richest blessings upon the people of Israel in fulfillment of that covenant. His rule will flourish over a people living under a new covenant with a new heart, and the people will be God’s obedient servants forevermore. And we know that Jesus will fulfill that promise when He establishes His kingdom. No enemy will be able to stand against Him.
Isaiah 9:6–7 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Ezekiel 36:22–28 “Therefore say unto the house of Israel….Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
Luke 1:30–33 “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”