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Psalm 132

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Prayer for the Lord's Blessing Upon the Sanctuary
MT Intro
A Song of Ascents
The Eternal Dwelling of God in Zion Liturgy Commemorating God's Choice of Zion and the Davidic Dynasty In Praise of the Temple For the Anniversary of the Transfer of the Ark
132:1-5 132:1-5 132:1-5 132:1-5 132:1-5
132:6-9 132:6-9 132:6-7 132:6-7 132:6-7
    132:8-10 132:8-9 132:8-10
132:10-12 132:10   132:10-12  
  132:11-12 132:11-12   132:11-12
132:13-18 132:13-18 132:13-18 132:13-18 132:13-14
        132:15-16
        132:17-18

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. This is obviously a Psalm about

1. God's promises to David in 2 Sam. 7:12-16; 2 Chr. 6:16 (see brief discussion of "The Davidic Covenant" in NIDOTTE, vol. 4, pp. 507-508)

2. God's choice of Mt. Moriah as the place for His presence to dwell (cf. Deut. 12:5,11,14,18, 21,26; 14:23-25; 15:20; 16:2,6,11,15; 17:8,10; 18:6; 26:2; 31:11, see Special Topic: Moriah)

B. The results of God's presence and Israel's covenant obedience are

1. to abundantly bless her provision, Ps. 132:15

2. to satisfy her hunger, Ps. 132:15

3. wonderful worship, Ps. 132:16

4. God's king exalted, Ps. 132:17

5. the destruction of the Davidic king's enemies, Ps. 132:17

C. For a good brief discussion of the theology of Zion see NIDOTTE, vol. 2, pp. 959 and 512.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 132:1-5
 1Remember, O Lord, on David's behalf,
 All his affliction;
 2How he swore to the Lord
 And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
 3"Surely I will not enter my house,
 Nor lie on my bed;
 4I will not give sleep to my eyes
 Or slumber to my eyelids,
 5Until I find a place for the Lord,
 A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob."

132:1 "Remember" This is an imperative used as a prayer. Psalm 25:6-7 shows the way this was used.

1. God, remember Your unchanging character of grace and mercy, Ps. 25:6

2. God, forget our sin, Ps. 25:7

 

▣ "on David's behalf" Often the people of Israel and her leaders asked God to have mercy on them because of

1. His promises to the Fathers (i.e., Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob)

2. His promises to David (cf. 2 Samuel 7; 2 Chronicles 6:16)

 

▣ "All his afflictions" This seems to allude to David's statements in 2 Sam. 16:12, but it may refer to David's initial problems in bringing the ark into Jerusalem (cf. 2 Samuel 6). The JPSOA translates it as "his extreme self-denial," which would relate to its usage in Num. 30:13 and 1 Chr. 22:14.

The LXX revocalizes the MT (BDB 776 III, KB 853, Pual infinitive construct) to "his meekness" (a noun, BDB 776, cf. Ps. 45:4).

132:2-5 "he swore to the Lord" This oath is not recorded in the historical books. Basically David

1. made a vow about the tabernacle being brought to Jerusalem

2. would not enter his own dwelling place (lit. "the tent of my house") until the tabernacle (i.e., YHWH's tent of dwelling) was in Jerusalem

3. would not sleep (hyperbolic) until the ark came

4. Ps. 132:5 states his purpose (i.e., the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle in his capital, cf. Acts 7:46)

It is obvious that #2 and #3 are hyperbolic and used in a literary fashion to show intense intent!

132:2 "the Mighty One of Jacob" This title (BDB 7 construct BDB 784) for Israel's Deity is first used in Gen. 49:24, where Jacob blesses his children, the future tribes of Israel. It is also used in Isa. 49:26 (promise of universal redemption) and 60:16, where it is linked with other titles for YHWH.

1. Savior (cf. Isa. 19:2; 43:3,11; 45:15,21; 63:8)

2. Redeemer (cf. Isa. 59:20; 63:16)

The NIDOTTE, vol. 1, p. 232, has the interesting comment that the adjective "mighty" has two forms.

1. originally it referred to the strength of bulls or wild oxen

2. to designate YHWH's power

 

132:5 This is not referring to David's desire to build a permanent temple (cf. 1 Kgs. 8:17; 1 Chr. 22:7) but to bringing the ark, along with its portable tent (i.e., tabernacle of the exodus period) into his capital, Jerusalem (cf. 2 Samuel 6).

▣ "dwelling place" This is plural in the MT and may be a grammatical way to denote significance, like NET's "a fine dwelling place."

In other contexts this term in the plural denotes all the buildings in the temple enclosure (cf. Ps. 43:3; 46:4; 84:1).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 132:6-9
 6Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah,
 We found it in the field of Jaar.
 7Let us go into His dwelling place;
 Let us worship at His footstool.
 8Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place,
 You and the ark of Your strength.
 9Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
 And let Your godly ones sing for joy.

132:6 "Ephrathah" is an area in Judah which came to refer to the extended family of David (cf. Ruth 4:11). However, Bethlehem was not the location of the ark. They just heard about the King's oath (cf. Ps. 132:2) to bring the ark to Jerusalem.

▣ "Jaar" This is a reference to Kiriath-Jearim (cf. 1 Sam. 7:1; 1 Chr. 13:1-8), where the ark was housed in a private home for twenty years before David brought it to Jerusalem. "Jaar" is the singular form of "Jearim."

▣ "it" This is a feminine suffix, while "the ark" is masculine, so it may refer to David's oath (NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 736; AB, p. 244) mentioned in Ps. 132:2.

The NEB (p. 1000) mentions the fact that on at least two occasions "ark" is feminine (i.e., 1 Sam. 4:17; 2 Chr. 8:11). Since this Psalm has several archaic words and forms this may answer the gender problem.

132:7 Both verbs are cohortative plural and refer to a pilgrimage to YHWH's temple.

▣ "footstool" Both David (cf. 1 Chr. 28:2) and Solomon (1 Kgs. 8:27) recognized that the temple was not the true dwelling place of the God of creation. David began to call the place between the wings of the Cherubim above the mercy seat (lid of the ark) the place where heaven and earth, the invisible and visible, the eternal and temporal, met (cf. Exod. 25:22)! He called it YHWH's footstool" (cf. Isa. 66:1; see Special Topic: The Ark of the Covenant); also note Ps. 99:5.

The imagery of Deity as having feet is part of the limits of human vocabulary. See SPECIAL TOPIC: GOD DESCRIBED AS HUMAN (ANTHROPOMORPHISM) (anthropomorphism).

132:8 "Arise" This verb (BDB 877, KB 1086, Qal imperative) is used in Num. 10:35 and 2 Chr. 6:41 to denote YHWH rising from His throne to go before His people to fight on their behalf (cf. Ps. 3:7; 7:6; 9:19; 10:12; 44:26; 74:22; 82:8).

This verse and Ps. 132:9 seem to be an allusion to Solomon's dedication of the new temple in 2 Chr. 6:41.

▣ "Your resting place" YHWH is described in human terms because there is no other vocabulary available to Bible authors (see SPECIAL TOPIC: GOD DESCRIBED AS HUMAN (ANTHROPOMORPHISM). The ark of the covenant and, thereby YHWH Himself, needed/wanted a physical location for it/Him to reside/rest (cf. 1 Chr. 6:31; 28:2; 2 Chr. 6:41; Ps. 132:8,14; Isa. 11:10; 66:1). Remember, anthropomorphic imagery does not ascribe a limit on God but on human ability to comprehend the God of time and space (i.e., physical creation).

A new book by John Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One, uses the cosmologies of the ANE to show that Genesis 1 is the account of YHWH building a cosmic temple (i.e., the earth) as a place to rest (cf. Gen. 2:1-3).

Hebrews 3:7 through 4:13 (cf. Ps. 95:7-11) contains a play on the word "rest" referring to three different things.

1. seventh day of creation from Gen. 2:2 in Heb. 4:3,4,10

2. the promised land from Numbers 13-14 in Heb. 3:11,18; 4:8

3. eschatological heaven

"Rest" is both a sense of peace and a desired location of fellowship (cf. Ps. 62:1; Isa. 63:14; Jer. 31:2).

132:9 This verse has two imperfects used as jussives.

1. be clothed - BDB 527, KB 519, Qal

2. sing for joy - BDB 943, KB 1247, Piel

It is uncertain if there are two groups mentioned (i.e., priests and worshipers) or a literary parallel.

In Job 20:14 Job describes himself as clothed in righteousness. It is uncertain exactly what it means in connection with these priests. Possibly that they reflect YHWH's character and revelations in their leadership, lives, tasks, and duties.

This verse may reflect the festive and fearful march of the ark carried by specially dressed priests and singing Levites.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 132:10-12
 10For the sake of David Your servant,
 Do not turn away the face of Your anointed.
 11The Lord has sworn to David
 A truth from which He will not turn back:
 "Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.
 12If your sons will keep My covenant
 And My testimony which I will teach them,
 Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever."

132:10-12 This strophe surely alludes to 2 Samuel 7. Notice the conditional element of Ps. 132:12 related to each individual descendant but the larger purpose of God expressed in 2 Sam. 7:14-16.

Notice the sound play of so many of the verbs of Ps. 132:10-12 starting with שׁ.

1. do not turn away - BDB 996, KB 1427, Hiphil jussive

2. has sworn - BDB 989, KB 1396, Niphal perfect

3. He will not turn away - same root as #1 but Qal imperfect

4. I will set upon Your throne - BDB 1011, KB 1483, Qal imperfect

5. if your sons will keep My covenant - BDB 1036, KB 1581, Qal imperfect (notice the conditional aspect, cf. 1 Kgs. 9:4-9; Ps. 89:30-45)

 

132:10 "Your anointed" This is the term (BDB 603) from which the title "Messiah" comes. See SPECIAL TOPIC: MESSIAH.

132:12 "covenant" See Special Topic: Covenant.

▣ "testimony" See Special Topic: Terms for God's Revelation.

▣ "forever" See Special Topic: Forever ('olam).

132:11 "The Lord has sworn to David" As David swore in Ps. 132:2, now YHWH responds with His own oath. This oath is known as the Davidic covenant (cf. 2 Samuel 7; Ps. 89:3,35).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 132:13-18
 13For the Lord has chosen Zion;
 He has desired it for His habitation.
 14"This is My resting place forever;
 Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
 15I will abundantly bless her provision;
 I will satisfy her needy with bread.
 16Her priests also I will clothe with salvation,
 And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy.
 17There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth;
 I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed.
 18His enemies I will clothe with shame,
 But upon himself his crown shall shine."

132:13-18 This strophe describes the things YHWH has done (Ps. 132:13-14) and will do (Ps. 132:15-18).

1. He has chosen Zion (see Special Topic: Zion), Ps. 132:13-14

2. He will abundantly bless (emphatic infinitive absolute and imperfect verb of the same root, BDB 138, KB 159), Ps. 132:15a

3. He will provide food, Ps. 132:15b

4. the temple priests will be godly people, Ps. 132:16 (cf. 1 Chr. 6:41)

5. the temple worshipers (cf. Ps. 4:3 or Levites) will sing aloud for joy (emphatic infinitive absolute and imperfect verb of the same root, BDB 943, KB 1247), Ps. 132:16 (cf. 1 Chr. 6:41)

6. He will establish the dynasty of David in Jerusalem, Ps. 132:17

7. He will defeat Israel's enemies, Ps. 132:18

 

132:16 Because of the parallels of this strophe, probably "priests" (or Levites) are addressed in both lines of this verse.

132:17 "the horn of David" The horn is a Hebrew idiom of power and pre-immanence (cf. Luke 1:69).

▣ "to spring forth" This verb (BDB 855, KB 1033, Hiphil imperfect) may be related to the imagery of the special Davidic King called "The Branch." See:

1. SPECIAL TOPIC: JESUS THE NAZARENE

2. full note at Isa. 11:1 online

3. NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 75

The root for "crown" is נזר, which could denote

1. a crown (noun, BDB 634)

2. to consecrate (verb, BDB 634)

3. Branch (a title of the Messiah)

 

▣ "a lamp for Mine anointed" This is a specific usage of the light imagery that refers, not to revelation (i.e., Ps. 18:28; 119:105; Pro. 6:23) but to a Davidic descendant on the throne of Israel (cf. 1 Kgs. 11:36; 15:4; 2 Kgs. 8:19; 2 Chr. 21:7). In 2 Sam. 21:17 it refers to David himself.