One [thing] have I desired of the Lord
Not to be returned to Saul's court; nor to his own house and family; nor to have an affluence of worldly riches and honours; but to have constant abode it, the house of the Lord; an opportunity of attending continually on the public worship of God; which is excused and neglected by many, and is a weariness to others, but was by the psalmist preferred to everything else; he being now deprived of it, as it seems;
that will I seek after;
by incessant prayer, until obtained; importunity and perseverance in prayer are the way to succeed, as appears from the parable of the widow and unjust judge;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life:
not in heaven, Christ's Father's house, where he dwells, and where the saints, will dwell to all eternity; though to be clothed upon with the house from heaven is very desirable; rather, in the church of the living God, which is the house of God, and pillar of truth, where true believers in Christ have a place and a name, and are pillars that will never go out; but here the place of divine worship seems to be meant, where the Lord granted his presence, and where to dwell the psalmist counted the greatest happiness on earth; he envied the very sparrows and swallows, that built their nests on the altars in it; and reckoned a day in it better than a thousand elsewhere; and to have the privilege of attending all opportunities in it, as long as he lived, is the singular request he here makes: the ends he had in view follow;
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
or "the delight [and] pleasantness of the Lord" F7; to see the priests in their robes, and doing their office, as typical of Christ the great High Priest; and the Levites and singers performing their work in melodious strains, prefiguring the churches in Gospel times, singing to the Lord with grace in their hearts, and the four and twenty elders, and one hundred and forty four thousand, with the Lamb on Mount Zion, singing the song of redeeming love; and all the tribes and people of Israel, assembled together to worship God, representing the church of Christ as a perfection of beauty, having the beauty of the Lord upon her, and made perfectly comely through his comeliness; as it is a most delightful sight to see a company of saints attending Gospel worship, meeting together to sing, and pray, and hear the word, and wait upon the Lord in all his appointments; to see them walking in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel, and according to the order of it; this is next to the desirable sight of the bride, the Lamb's wife, in the New Jerusalem state, having the glory of God upon her: moreover, it was a pleasant sight to a believer in those times to behold the sacrifices of slain beasts, which were figures of the better sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; to which may be added other things that were to be seen by priests; as the ark of the Lord, which had the two tables in it, typical of Christ, the fulfilling end of the law for righteousness; and the table of shewbread, which pointed out Christ the bread of life, and his perpetual intercession for his people; and the golden candlestick, a type of the church, holding forth the word of life to others; with many other things, which, with an eye of faith, the saints of those times could look upon with delight and pleasure: also the presence of the Lord may be intended by his beauty, than which nothing is more desirable to the people of God, even to behold his smiling countenance, to see his face, and enjoy his favour, and to have fellowship with him, and with one another; and particularly the beauty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ may be designed, represented by the Shechinah, or glory, which filled both the tabernacle and the temple; who being the brightness of his Father's glory, and fairer than the children of men, and altogether lovely and full of grace, is a very desirable object to be beheld by faith;
and to inquire in his temple;
to seek the face of the Lord, to consult him in matters of difficulty and moment; to search after the knowledge of divine things, and to ask for blessings of grace, for which he will be inquired of by his people, to bestow them on them.
F7 (hwhy Menb) "amaemotate, Jehovae", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus; so Ainsworth; "suavitatem Jehovae", Cocceius, Michaelis.