Scriptures

Psalm 132

Introduction

This psalm appears to be speaking of a time in which the Davidic throne was still standing, and when the sacred ark of the covenant was not as yet irrecoverably lost.

The religious ceremonies of Israel were joined with the civil laws that governed the people. This psalm focuses on the faith and government of the people.

Although the author is unknown, many commentators attribute the plasm to David as the writer or Solomon as verses 8-10 are quoted in 2 Chronicles 6:41-42.

The coming of the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem is referred to in verses 6-9. Psalm 24 and Psalm 68 also refer to this event, which is described more fully in 1 Chronicles 15-16.

This plasm is quoted twice in the New Testament, Psalm 132:5 / Acts 7:46 / Psalm 132:11 / Acts 2:30.

Heading

‘A song of ascents.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading tells us this is a song of ascents. Psalms 120-134 all have the same heading.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Several theories of why this group of psalms is so named are available. The Jewish explanation is that there were fifteen steps from the Court of the Women to the Court of the Men in the Temple, and that each of these psalms was sung in succession on those steps. Another view is that these songs were sung in successive phases of the Jews’ return from captivity. Apparently the true explanation is that these psalms were written for the pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem for the great annual feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. ‘It seems most probable that these songs form a collection for the use of pilgrims who came up to Jerusalem at the great feasts.’

‘LORD, remember David and all his self-denial. He swore an oath to the LORD, he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: “I will not enter my house or go to my bed, I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.” We heard it in Ephrathah, we came upon it in the fields of Jaar: “Let us go to his dwelling place, let us worship at his footstool, saying.’ Psalm 132:1-7

The psalmist begins by asking the LORD to remember David and his self-denial, it was David who desired to build a temple for the Lord in Jerusalem, 1 Chronicles 28:1-6.

These self-denials were David’s struggles to escape the killing hand of Saul. These afflictions included his efforts to accomplish his desire to find a permanent place for the ark of the covenant, 1 Kings 5:3 / 1 Chronicles 22:8.

Although there is no evidence of an oath made by David to the LORD in 2 Samuel 7, the heart behind it was recorded. The reference to ‘the Mighty One of Jacob’, speaks of how God guided, protected and blessed Jacob, Genesis 49:24 / Isaiah 41:16.

David said in his oath and vow that he wouldn’t enter his house, go to bed or sleep, which are figures of speech, Proverbs 6:4, until he found a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob, Genesis 49:24 / 1 Chronicles 16:43 / Isaiah 41:16. In other words, David was absolutely determined to deny himself of many things until the work was done.

We must remember that God doesn’t need a place to live, the ark of the covenant came to symbolise the presence of God and so, David wanted to permanently locate the ark in a permanent structure in Jerusalem.

We must also remember that God originally intended that the ark be housed in the tabernacle, so it could be easily moved annually throughout the territories of Israel, 2 Samuel 6:1-19 / 2 Samuel 7:1-29.

When Israel heard about it, that is, they knew the ark was lost, but now under David’s guidance they found it again, 1 Chronicles 13:3. They heard about it in Ephratah, which is probably the region of Kirjath-Jearim where the ark was located for many years before it was moved to Jerusalem, 1 Samuel 7:1-2. They came upon it in the fields of Jaar, 1 Samuel 7:1 / 1 Chronicles 13:5.

After the ark was found, they couldn’t wait to go to God’s dwelling place, that is, the tabernacle, to worship the LORD, at his footstool. The high priest would go once a year into the holy of holies and bow before the ark and the presence of God was symbolised to be above the ark, Psalm 99:5.

‘Arise, LORD, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests be clothed with your righteousness; may your faithful people sing for joy.’” For the sake of your servant David, do not reject your anointed one. The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath he will not revoke: “One of your own descendants I will place on your throne. If your sons keep my covenant and the statutes I teach them, then their sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever.” Psalm 132:8-12

When they were on their way to worship, they asked the LORD to arise, Numbers 10:35, and come to His resting place. The ark was a sign of God’s might, 2 Chronicles 6:41-42.

The priests remembered their roles and were clothed with God’s righteousness, and as a result, God’s people would sing songs of joy, Psalm 35:26 / Psalm 65:13 / Psalm 93:1 / Psalm 104:1 / Isaiah 61:10 / 1 Peter 5:5.

The psalmist asks the LORD not to reject David, His servant and anointed one, this was something which God had already promised He wouldn’t do, 2 Samuel 7:14-16. The psalmist is asking God to fulfil His promises to David, and the fulfilment of this was Jesus, the Messiah, God’s anointed, Matthew 1:1 / Acts 2:30.

The oath which the LORD made concerning David is found in 2 Samuel 7:5-16, and so the psalmist was confident that God wouldn’t revoke His promise concerning one of David’s descendants being placed on the throne, Acts 2:30.

The terms and conditions of the covenant are seen in the word ‘if’, that is, if David’s sons keep God’s covenant and statues, then their sons will sit on David’s throne forever, 2 Samuel 7:12-16 / Psalm 89:3-4 / Psalm 89:30-37 / Luke 1:31-33.

‘For the LORD has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling, saying, “This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it. I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor I will satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful people will ever sing for joy. “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.” Psalm 132:13-18

The psalmist reminds Israel that it was God who chose Zion, that is, Jerusalem, for His dwelling place. We must remember that it was actually David who chose Jerusalem for the central government of Israel but God allowed David’s choice, and so, credit is given to God for making the choice.

When the ark finally arrived in Jerusalem, this was to be God’s resting place forever, it would be there where God would sit on His throne.

God says He would bless Jerusalem and Israel with abundant material provisions, Genesis 25:28 / Deuteronomy 7:13 / Deuteronomy 28:8-12 / Job 38:41. He also says that He will meet the needs of the poor who needed food.

Earlier the psalmist says that God’s priests would be clothed with righteousness and here they tell us that the priests will be clothed with salvation, 2 Chronicles 6:41, as a result, God’s faithful people will sing songs of joy, 2 Chronicles 6:41.

Jerusalem was going to be the place where God would make a horn grow for David, that is, when God anointed David, he was anointed with authority and so, God promised that David’s descendants would grow strong, Psalm 75:4 / Psalm 89:17 / Psalm 89:24 / Psalm 92:10 / Psalm 112:9 / Daniel 7:8 / Daniel 8:5.

Jerusalem was the place where God would set up a lamp for His anointed one, that is, a light which would continually shine in the linage of David, 1 Kings 11:36 / 1 Kings 15:4. This was completely fulfilled in Jesus, the Messiah, the Lord’s anointed one, Luke 1:69.

While the priests are clothed with righteousness and salvation, God’s enemies will be clothed with shame because they refused to acknowledge God’s ultimate anointed one, Jesus, who is adorned with a radiant crown, Psalms 29:10.

Conclusion

It has been said that there are more than 300 distinct prophecies in the Old Testament relating to the Messiah. The Jews in the time of Christ were earnestly looking for this deliverer.

When the apostles preached Christ to the Jews they proved by the prophecies that he was the Messiah or ‘anointed one.’

The Old Testament clearly foretells both the tribe and family from which the Messiah was to come. Of his tribe it is prophesied, ‘The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.’ Genesis 49:10.

The sceptre is the emblem of kingly authority and the fulfilment is found in Hebrews 7:14. The Christ was to come from the family of Jesse, the father of David and was to be a descendant of King David himself, Psalm 89:3-4 / Isaiah 11:1.

Paul shows that this is fulfilled in Christ when he says of David, ‘From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Saviour Jesus, as he promised.’ Acts 13:23.

What is the significance of the amazing correspondence between these prophecies and their fulfilment?

1. They prove the inspiration of the Bible.

2. They show that the New Testament cannot be completely understood without a knowledge of the Old Testament.

3. They prove that Jesus is the Christ and that as the Christ, His commands must be obeyed, and His promises may be relied upon.

Go To Psalm 133

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