Matthew Henry Complete CommentaryPsalms 132
on the Whole Bible
It is probable that this psalm was penned by Solomon, to be sung at the
dedication of the temple which he built according to the charge his
father gave him,
1 Chronicles 28:2-21,
&c. Having fulfilled his trust, he begs of God to own what he had done.
I. He had built this house for the honour and service of God; and when
he brings the ark into it, the token of God's presence, he desires that
God himself would come and take possession of it,
With these words Solomon concluded his prayer,
2 Chronicles 6:41,42.
II. He had built it in pursuance of the orders he had received from his
father, and therefore his pleas to enforce these petitions refer to
1. He pleads David's piety towards God,
2. He pleads God's promise to David,
The former introduces his petition: the latter follows it as an answer
to it. In singing this psalm we must have a concern for the gospel
church as the temple of God, and a dependence upon Christ as David our
King, in whom the mercies of God are sure mercies.
|Solomon's Prayer for Divine Favour.
A song of degrees.
1 LORD, remember David, and all his
2 How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God
3 Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor
go up into my bed;
4 I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine
5 Until I find out a place for the LORD, a habitation for the
mighty God of Jacob.
6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of
7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his
8 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy
9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy
saints shout for joy.
10 For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine
In these verses we have Solomon's address to God for his favour to him
and to his government, and his acceptance of his building a house to
God's name. Observe,
I. What he pleads--two things:--
1. That what he had done was in pursuance of the pious vow which his
father David had made to build a house for God. Solomon was a wise man,
yet pleads not any merit of his own: "I am not worthy, for whom thou
shouldst do this; but, Lord, remember David, with whom thou
madest the covenant" (as Moses prayed,
Remember Abraham, the first trustee of the covenant); "remember
all his afflictions, all the troubles of his life, which his
being anointed was the occasion of," or his care and concern about the
ark, and what an uneasiness it was to him that the ark was in curtains,
2 Samuel 7:2.
Remember all his humility and meekness (so some read it), all
that pious and devout affection with which he had made the following
vow. Note, It is not amiss for us to put God in mind of our
predecessors in profession, of their afflictions, their services, and
their sufferings, of God's covenant with them, the experiences they
have had of his goodness, the care they took of, and the many prayers
they put up for, those that should come after them. We may apply it to
Christ, the Son of David, and to all his afflictions: "Lord, remember
the covenant made with him and the satisfaction made by him.
Remember all his offerings
that is, all his sufferings." He especially pleads the solemn vow that
David had made as soon as ever he was settled in his government, and
before he was well settled in a house of his own, that he would build a
house for God. Observe,
(1.) Whom he bound himself to, to the Lord, to the mighty God of
Jacob. Vows are to be made to God, who is a party as well as a
witness. The Lord is the Mighty One of Jacob, Jacob's God, and a mighty
one, whose power is engaged for Jacob's defence and deliverance. Jacob
is weak, but the God of Jacob is a mighty one.
(2.) What he bound himself to do, to find out a place for the
Lord, that is, for the ark, the token of his presence. He had
observed in the law frequent mention of the place that God would
choose to put his name there, to which all the tribes should
resort. When he came to the crown there was no such place; Shiloh was
deserted, and no other place was pitched upon, for want of which the
feasts of the Lord were not kept with due solemnity. "Well," says
David, "I will find out such a place for the general rendezvous of all
the tribes, a place of habitation for the Mighty One of
Jacob, a place for the ark, where there shall be room both for the
priests and people to attend upon it."
(3.) How intent he was upon it; he would not settle in his bed, till he
had brought this matter to some head,
The thing had been long talked of, and nothing done, till at last
David, when he went out one morning about public business, made a vow
that before night he would come to a resolution in this matter, and
would determine the place either where the tent should be pitched for
the reception of the ark, at the beginning of his reign, or rather
where Solomon should build the temple, which was not fixed till the
latter end of his reign, just after the pestilence with which he was
punished for numbering the people
(1 Chronicles 22:1,
Then David said, This is the house of the Lord); and perhaps it
was upon occasion of that judgment that he made this vow, being
apprehensive that one of God's controversies with him was for his
dilatoriness in this matter. Note, When needful work is to be done for
God it is good for us to task ourselves, and tie ourselves to a time,
because we are apt to put off. It is good in the morning to cut out
work for the day, binding ourselves that we will do it before we sleep,
only with submission to Providence; for we know not what a day may
bring forth. Especially in the great work of conversion to God we
must be thus solicitous, thus zealous; we have good reason to resolve
that we will not enjoy the comforts of this life till we have laid a
foundation for hopes of a better.
2. That it was in pursuance of the expectations of the people of
(1.) They were inquisitive after the ark; for they lamented its
1 Samuel 7:2.
They heard of it at Ephratah (that is, at Shiloh, in the tribe
of Ephraim); there they were told it had been, but it was gone. They
found it, at last, in the fields of the wood, that is, in
Kirjath-jearim, which signifies the city of woods. Thence all
Israel fetched it, with great solemnity, in the beginning of David's
(1 Chronicles 13:6),
so that in building his house for the ark Solomon had gratified all
Israel. They needed not to go about to seek the ark anymore; they now
knew where to find it.
(2.) They were resolved to attend it: "Let us but have a convenient
place, and we will go into his tabernacle, to pay our homage
there; we will worship at his footstool as subjects and
suppliants, which we neglected to do, for want of such a place, in
the days of Saul,"
1 Chronicles 13:3.
II. What he prays for,
1. That God would vouchsafe, not only to take possession of, but to
take up his residence in, this temple which he had built: Arise, O
Lord! into thy rest, and let this be it, thou, even the
ark of thy strength, the pledge of thy presence, thy mighty
2. That God would give grace to the ministers of the sanctuary to do
their duty: Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; let
them appear righteous both in their administrations and in their
conversations, and let both be according to the rule. Note,
Righteousness is the best ornament of a minister. Holiness towards
God, and goodness towards all men, are habits for ministers of the
necessity of which there is no dispute. "They are thy priests,
and will therefore discredit their relation to thee if they be not
clothed with righteousness."
3. That the people of God might have the comfort of the due
administration of holy ordinances among them: Let thy saints shout
for joy. They did so when the ark was brought into the city of
(2 Samuel 6:15);
they will do so when the priests are clothed with righteousness. A
faithful ministry is the joy of the saints; it is the matter of it; it
is a friend and a furtherance to it; we are helpers of your joy,
2 Corinthians 1:24.
4. That Solomon's own prayer, upon occasion of the dedicating of the
temple, might be accepted of God: "Turn not away the face of thy
anointed, that is, deny me not the things I have asked of thee,
send me not away ashamed." He pleads,
(1.) That he was the anointed of the Lord, and this he pleads as a type
of Christ, the great anointed, who, in his intercession, urges his
designation to his office. He is God's anointed, and therefore the
Father hears him always.
(2.) That he was the son of David: "For his sake do not deny me;" and
this is the Christian's plea: "For the sake of Christ" (our David),
"in whom thou art well pleased, accept me." He is David, whose
name signifies beloved; and we are made accepted in the beloved.
He is God's servant, whom he upholds,
"We have no merit of our own to plead, but for his sake, in whom there
is a fulness of merit, let us find favour." When we pray for the
prosperity of the church we may pray with great boldness, for Christ's
sake, who purchased the church with his own blood. "Let both ministers
and people do their duty."
|God's Choice of Zion; God's Promises to Zion.
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.
12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that
I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne
13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his
14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have
15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her
poor with bread.
16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her
saints shall shout aloud for joy.
17 There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained
a lamp for mine anointed.
18 His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall
his crown flourish.
These are precious promises, confirmed by an oath, that the
heirs of them might have strong consolation,
It is all one whether we take them as pleas urged in the prayer or as
answers returned to the prayer; believers know how to make use of the
promises both ways, with them to speak to God and in them to hear what
God the Lord will speak to us. These promises relate to the
establishment both in church and state, both to the throne of the house
of David and to the testimony of Israel fixed on Mount Zion. The
promises concerning Zion's hill are as applicable to the gospel-church
as these concerning David's seed are to Christ, and therefore both
pleadable by us and very comfortable to us. Here is,
I. The choice God made of David's house and Zion hill. Both were of
1. God chose David's family for the royal family and confirmed his
choice by an oath,
David, being a type of Christ, was made king with an oath: The Lord
hath sworn and will not repent, will not turn from it. Did David
swear to the Lord
that he would find him a house? The Lord swore to David that he would
build him a house; for God will be behind with none of his people in
affections or assurances. The promise made to David refers,
(1.) To a long succession of kings that should descend from his loins:
Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne, which was
fulfilled in Solomon; David himself lived to see it with great
1 Kings 1:48.
The crown was also entailed conditionally upon his heirs for ever:
If thy children, in following ages, will keep my covenant and
my testimony that I shall teach them. God himself engaged to teach
them, and he did his part; they had Moses and the prophets, and all he
expects is that they should keep what he taught them, and keep to it,
and then their children shall sit upon thy throne for evermore.
Kings are before God upon their good behaviour, and their commission
from him runs quamdiu se bene gesserint--during good behaviour.
The issue of this was that they did not keep God's covenant, and so the
entail was at length cut off, and the sceptre departed from
Judah by degrees.
(2.) To an everlasting successor, a king that should descend from his
loins of the increase of whose government and peace there shall be
no end. St. Peter applies this to Christ, nay, he tells us that
David himself so understood it.
He knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of
his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on
his throne; and in the fulness of time he did so, and gave him
the throne of his father David,
He did fulfill the condition of the promise; he kept God's covenant and
his testimony, did his Father's will, and in all things pleased him;
and therefore to him, and his spiritual seed, the promise shall be made
good. He, and the children God has given him, all believers, shall
sit upon the throne for evermore,
2. God chose Zion hill for the holy hill, and confirmed his choice by
the delight he took in it,
He chose the Mount Zion which he loved
he chose it for the habitation of his ark, and said of it, This is
my rest for ever, and not merely my residence for a time, as Shiloh
was. Zion was the city of David; he chose it for the royal city because
God chose it for the holy city. God said, Here will I dwell, and
therefore David said, Here will I dwell, for here he adhered to
his principle, It is good for me to be near to God. Zion must be
here looked upon as a type of the gospel-church, which is called
and in it what is here said of Zion has its full accomplishment. Zion
was long since ploughed as a field, but the church of Christ is the
house of the living God
(1 Timothy 3:15),
and it is his rest for ever, and shall be blessed with his
presence always, even to the end of the world. The delight God takes in
his church, and the continuance of his presence with his church, are
the comfort and joy of all its members.
II. The choice blessings God has in store for David's house and Zion
hill. Whom God chooses he will bless.
1. God, having chosen Zion hill, promises to bless that,
(1.) With the blessings of the life that now is; for godliness has the
promise of them,
The earth shall yield her increase; where religion is set up there
shall be provision, and in blessing God will bless it
he will surely and abundantly bless it. And a little provision, with an
abundant blessing upon it, will be more serviceable, as well as more
comfortable, than a great deal without that blessing. God's people have
a special blessing upon common enjoyments, and that blessing puts a
peculiar sweetness into them. Nay, the promise goes further: I will
satisfy her poor with bread. Zion has her own poor to keep; and it
is promised that God will take care even of them.
[1.] By his providence they shall be kept from wanting; they shall have
provision enough. If there be scarcity, the poor are the first that
feel it, so that it is a sure sign of plenty if they have sufficient.
Zion's poor shall not want, for God has obliged all the sons of Zion to
be charitable to the poor, according to their ability, and the church
must take care that they be not neglected,
[2.] By his grace they shall be kept from complaining; though they have
but dry bread, yet they shall be satisfied. Zion's poor have, of all
others, reason to be content with a little of this world, because they
have better things prepared for them. And this may be understood
spiritually of the provision that is made for the soul in the word and
ordinances; God will abundantly bless that for the nourishment of the
new man, and satisfy the poor in spirit with the bread of life. What
God sanctifies to us we shall and may be satisfied with.
(2.) With the blessings of the life that is to come, things pertaining
which is an answer to the prayer,
[1.] It was desired that the priests might be clothed with
righteousness; it is here promised that God will clothe them
with salvation, not only save them, but make them and their
administrations instrumental for the salvation of his people; they
shall both save themselves and those that hear them, and add
those to the church that shall be saved. Note, Whom God clothes
with righteousness he will clothe with salvation; we must pray for
righteousness and then with it God will give salvation.
[2.] It was desired that the saints might shout for joy; it is
promised that they shall shout aloud for joy. God gives more
than we ask, and when he gives salvation he will give an abundant
2. God, having chosen David's family, here promises to bless that also
with suitable blessings.
(1.) Growing power: There, in Zion, will I make the horn of
David to bud,
The royal dignity shall increase more and more, and constant additions
he made to the lustre of it. Christ is the horn of salvation
(denoting a plentiful and powerful salvation) which God has raised up,
and made to bud, in the house of his servant David. David had
promised to use his power for God's glory, to cut off the horns of the
wicked, and to exalt the horns of the righteous
in recompence for it God here promises to make his horn to bud, for to
those that have power, and use it well, more shall be given.
(2.) Lasting honour: I have ordained a lamp for my anointed.
Thou wilt light my candle,
That lamp is likely to burn brightly which God ordains. A lamp is a
successor, for, when a lamp is almost out, another may be lighted by
it; it is a succession, for by this means David shall not want a man to
stand before God. Christ is the lamp and the light of the world.
(3.) Complete victory: "His enemies, who have formed designs
against him, will I clothe with shame, when they shall see their
designs baffled." Let the enemies of all good governors expect to be
clothed with shame, and especially the enemies of the Lord Jesus and
his government, who shall rise, in the great day, to everlasting
shame and contempt.
(4.) Universal prosperity: Upon himself shall his crown
flourish, that is, his government shall be more and more his
honour. This was to have its full accomplishment in Jesus Christ, whose
crown of honour and power shall never fade, nor the flowers of it
wither. The crowns of earthly princes endure not to all
but Christ's crown shall endure to all eternity and the crowns reserved
for his faithful subjects are such as fade not away.