ADONAI Swore an Oath to David

Psalm 132: 1-18

DIG: What hardships has David endured (Second Samuel 7:1)? What does he promise God? Why does YHVH need an earthly dwelling? Where was the ark of God prior to David’s conquest of Jerusalem (Second Samuel 6:12)? Why does God want the Ark in His City? What did David swear to ADONAI? What did ADONAI swear to David? Was part of Ha’Shem’s promise conditional (Second Samuel 7:11-14)? Did God ever forsake His City? Why? When? Then how was the unconditional part of David’s promise fulfilled?

REFLECT: Do you give yourself deadlines? Is it good to put time limits on goals? What is the relationship between human and divine effort? What need does the LORD want you to fill in your messianic synagogue? Your church? At home? At work? In your neighborhood? Are you overcommitted by so many promises, you can’t fulfill them all? What do you make of the fact that there is no longer a king in Isra’el today? Is ADONAI unable to keep His promises? Explain.

When the ark of God covered the ten miles from the house of Obed-Edom to the newly captured Jerusalem, it was the climax of a journey of centuries that began in far-off Sinai. This is one of the songs of ascent (Psalms 120-134). The Oral Law (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Ei – The Oral Law) links these fifteen songs with the fifteen steps of the Temple where the Levites were said to have sung the songs of ascent (m. Mid. 2.5). They would take the first step, stop and sing Psalm 120, take a second step, stop and sing Psalm 121, take a third step and sing Psalm 122, and so on. In addition, the songs were in the three annual festival processions as the pilgrims “ascended” up to Yerushalayim – hence the designation of songs of ascent.

The procession from the house of Obed-Edom is the background to this poetic version of that grand moment in the history of redemption when Jerusalem was chosen as the capital of David’s kingdom and the center of worship. The Chronicler incorporated verses 8-10 in Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple in Second Chronicles 6:41-42.

These psalms of ascent were not composed originally for this purpose. Clearly some reflect other original uses, but they became significant as a unit when they were incorporated together with a small collection of fifteen hymns. The Oral Law teaches that in the period of the Second Temple (Herod’s Temple) from 516 BC to 70 AD, they were incorporated into the Temple liturgy.

A. Prayer for David: A song of ascents: The psalmist and a grateful congregation pray that YHVH would kindly remember all of the acts of David’s devotion. ADONAI, remember in David’s favor all the hardships he endured (Psalm 132:1 CJB). The prayer is for God’s continual remembrance of His covenant with David (see Ct – The LORD’s Covenant with David). While the content of these hardships could be David’s whole life, the reference here is probably intended to be his trials in conquering Jerusalem and bringing the ark of the Covenant there.288

B. David’s Devotion: How he swore to ADONAI, vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, will not enter the house where I live or get into my bed, I will not allow myself to sleep or even close my eyes, until I find a place for ADONAI, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob (Ps 132:2-5). Though the vow is not recorded in Samuel or Chronicles, David was determined to bring the Ark to Tziyon and to have a Temple built. The Mighty One of Jacob derives from Genesis 49:24 and signifies the marvelous manner in which the LORD had protected, guided and blessed Jacob. That title points to the great strength of our God as the divine Warrior, ADONAI-Tzva’ot, the Commander of the angelic army of the LORD (Joshua 5:14a). David vowed not to enter his house until the Temple was built.289 In other words, David would not rest until God rested.

C. David’s Concern for God’s Presence: The psalmist recounts that David and his men heard about the Ark when they were in Ephrathah, usually a name for Beit-Lehem (Genesis 35:19; Ruth 4:11; Micah 5:2).The location of Ephrathah is further defined as being in the fields of Ya’ar, which is a reference to Kiriath Jearim (Jearim being the plural of Ya’ar), where the Ark was located (First Samuel 6:21-7:2). When the Ark was found, the news was well received by the people. They were anxious to visit it and said: Let’s go into His dwelling and prostate ourselves at His footstool. They joined the festive procession as the Ark was led from the house of Obed-Edom in Kiriath Jearim to Tziyon (see Cr – The Ark Brought to Yerushalayim). Go up, ADONAI, to your resting place, You and the ark through which you give strength. With the choice of Jerusalem and the final transportation of the Ark there, the period of the desert wanderings came to an end. May your priests be clothed with righteousness; may those loyal to You shout for joy (Psalm 132:6-9 CJB). Their righteousness is symbolized by wearing white linen clothing.290 The curtains of the Tabernacle were made of white linen (see the commentary on Exodus Fk – The Linen Curtains of the Sanctuary: Christ, Our Righteousness), those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb are seen to be wearing the white clothing of righteousness (Revelation 19:6-10).

A. Prayer for David: For the sake of Your servant David, don’t turn away the face of Your anointed One (Psalm 132:10 CJB). May God ever be favorably inclined towards the anointed king who belonged to the Davidic dynasty. Verses 8-10 appear in 2 Chron 6:41-42 as the concluding part of Solomon’s prayer when he dedicated the Temple. The prayer also petitions God to deal kindly with David’s descendants and also with the people.

B. God’s Reward to David: The LORD responded to David’s oath with one of His own. Though the narrative of Samuel relating to the promises of David makes no mention of an oath, here it is a poetic expression for the certainty of God’s promise to David. ADONAI swore an oath to David, an oath He will not break, “One of the sons from your own body I will set on your throne. The promise of kings coming out of Abraham’s seed (Genesis 17:6) was being fulfilled in David’s dynasty. The near historical fulfillment of this prophecy would be realized with Solomon. But the promises are balanced with responsibility. If your sons keep My Torah and My instruction, which I will teach them, then their descendants too, forever, will sit on your throne (Psalm 132:11-12 CJB). We know from history that the Covenant was broken and that the monarchy was destroyed after Solomon’s death (First Kings 12). The unconditional promise given to David, however, was later fulfilled in the far eschatological future by Yeshua Messiah who now reigns at the right hand of God the Father as the exalted messianic King forever (Ephesians 1:20).291

C. God’s Presence in Yerushalayim: The final section of this psalm is largely a prophetic word from God concerning Yerushalayim. For ADONAI has chosen Tziyon, He has wanted it as His home. Thus, He says to Isra’el, “This is My resting-place forever, I will live here because I so much want to. I will bless her with abundant provisions, I will give her poor their fill of food (Ps 132:13-15). I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her righteous people will shout for joy (Psalm 132:16). God will provide for the proper worship of Himself there. I will make a horn grow (symbolizing power) for David and prepare a lamp for My anointed One (Psalm 132:17). God has established His dynasty like a lamp that is kept burning and gradually lightens everything from darkness to light.

As Donald Williams relates in his commentary on the Psalms, when we first read verses 13-18 it is easy to think the Ruach is talking about historical Jerusalem. If so, however, Isra’el would be led to assume that God would never forsake His City and that He would dwell there forever and the Davidic dynasty would always grow and prosper. But this was the very attitude that the prophets attacked, especially Jeremiah (see the commentary on Jeremiah Cc – False Religion is Worthless). In fact, YHVH did remove His presence from Jerusalem (Ezeki’el 10) and destroy the monarchy. Hence, these verses must be viewed in their far eschatological context.

When God promises that He will dwell in Yerushalayim forever, He is talking about the New Jerusalem. As Yochanan recounts: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and YHVH Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3). John says of the New Jerusalem, “I did not see a Temple in the City, for ADONAI, the God of heaven’s angelic armies, is its Temple, as is the Lamb (Revelation 21:22 CJB). The promise of abundant provision and the feeding of the poor in verse 15 is also a messianic theme. In Psalm 72, where the ideal King is portrayed, the poor receive justice and the Land prospers (Psalm 72:4 and 16). Yochanan also sees the heavenly Jerusalem receiving the tribute of the nations and the bounty of the tree of life (see the commentary on Revelation Fw – Then the Angel showed Me the River of the Water of Life, Clear as Crystal). Furthermore, as in Psalm 132:16, the Holy City is filled with joyous worship of those who fall down before God’s throne (Revelation 7:9-17). Since, Jesus, the Son of God and the son of David, reigns as the Lamb of God, David’s horn (power) grows and His crown (authority) flourishes (Psalm 132:17-18; Isaiah 9:7; Revelation 21:22-23).

We can now see clearly what ADONAI did in establishing His rule by bringing the Ark to Jerusalem and enthroning David there as His king was to prepare Isra’el for the day that He would consummate that rule in His Son. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on Him there will be a shining crown (Psalm 132:18 CJB).292

 

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