For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand
"One day"; so the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions; and so the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, interpret it; one day in the house of God, in the world to come, so Arama: though rather reference is had to the seventh day sabbath, then in being; and which with the psalmist was a delight, holy and honourable; and though now abolished, as to the time of it, with the rest of the ceremonial law, there is yet a day of public worship, called the Lord's day, and the day of the Son of man; and one of these days spent in the courts of the Lord, in an attendance on the word and ordinances, in worshipping in the fear of God, in spirit and in truth; in divine service, assisted by the Spirit of God, doing everything in faith, from love, and with a view to the glory of God; a day thus spent in religious exercises "is better than a thousand"; that is, than a thousand days; not than a thousand days spent in like manner, but than a thousand other days, common day, of the week; or than a thousand in other places, especially in places of sin, and in the company of wicked men; one day in God's house employed in spiritual exercises, and enjoying communion with him, is better than a thousand days in any of the houses of Satan, of sinful pleasure, or in the houses of sinful men; better as to peace of mind, solid pleasure, real profit, and true honour:
I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God;
in the meanest post and place there; alluding to the Levites, who were some of them porters, and kept the doors of the Lord's house, ( 1 Chronicles 26:1 ) ( 2 Chronicles 34:9 ) or to the beggars that lay at the gates of the temple for alms; see ( Acts 3:1 Acts 3:2 ) or to be fixed to the door post of it, alluding to the servant that was desirous of continuing in his master's house, and serving him for ever; who was brought to the door post, and had his ears bored through with an awl, ( Exodus 21:5 Exodus 21:6 ) . Such a willing servant was the psalmist; and this sense the Targum seems to incline to, which renders it,
``I have chose to cleave to the house of the sanctuary of God;''or to be a waiter there, to watch daily at Wisdom's gates, and to wait at the posts of her doors; such lie in the way of conversion, and of finding Christ; in the way of spiritual healing, as the man at the pool; and of spiritual instruction, and of spiritual strength, and an increase of it: or to be, or sit, upon the threshold; or to be "thresholding" F9 of it; that is, to frequent the house of God, to be often going over the threshold of it; this the psalmist took delight to do, even to be the threshold F11 itself, for men to tread upon as they go into the house of God:
than to dwell in the tents of wickedness;
meaning not houses built by wicked men, or with money ill got; but where wicked men dwelt, and who were so bad as to be called wickedness itself; perhaps the psalmist might have in his mind the tents of Kedar, where he had sometimes been; see ( Psalms 120:5 ) , now to live in the meanest place in the house of God, to wait at the door as a porter, to lie there as a beggar, to sit upon the threshold, and much more to go often over it, or be that itself, was abundantly preferable than to dwell "an age" F12 in the house of princes and great men, being wicked; than to live in the most pompous manner, at ease and in plenty, enjoying all the good things of life that heart can wish for; one hour's communion with God in his house is better than all this, and that for the reason following.
F9 (Ppwtoh) "esse in limine", Pagninus, Montanus; "ad limen esse", Musculus; "desidere ad limen", Tigurine version, Vatablus, so Ainsworth; "frequentare limen", Junius & Tremellius; "commorari limen", Piscator; "ad limen stare", Gejerus, Michaelis.
F11 Gusset. Ebr. Comment. p. 565.
F12 (rwdm) "quam aetatem agere", Piscator; "vel aetatem omnem agere", Gejerus, Michaelis.