PSALM 132 OVERVIEW.
Title. A Song of Degrees. A joyful song indeed: let all pilgrims to the New Jerusalem sing it often. The degrees or ascents are very visible; the theme ascends step by step from, "afflictions" to a "crown", from "remember David", to, "I will make the horn of David to bud." The latter half is like the over arching sky bending above "the fields of the wood" which are found in the resolves and prayers of the former portion.
Division. Our translators have rightly divided this Psalm. It contains a statement of David's anxious care to build a house for the Lord ( Psalms 132:1-7 ); a prayer at the removal of the Ark ( Psalms 132:8-10 ); and a pleading of the divine covenant and its promises ( Psalms 132:11 - 18).
Verse 1. LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions. With David the covenant was made, and therefore his name is pleaded on behalf of his descendants, and the people who would be blessed by his dynasty. Jehovah, who changes not, will never forget one of his servants, or fail to keep his covenant; yet for this thing he is to be entreated. That which we are assured the Lord will do must, nevertheless, be made a matter of prayer. The request is that the Lord would remember, and this is a word full of meaning. We know that the Lord remembered Noah, and assuaged the flood; he remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of Sodom; he remembered Rachel, and Hannah, and gave them children; he remembered his mercy to the house of Israel, and delivered his people. That is a choice song wherein we sing, "He remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever"; and this is a notable prayer, "Lord remember me." The plea is urged with God that he would bless the family of David for the sake of their progenitor; how much stronger is our master argument in prayer that God would deal well with us for Jesus' sake! David had no personal merit; the plea is based upon the covenant graciously made With him: but Jesus has deserts which are his own, and of boundless merits these we may urge without hesitation. When the Lord was angry with the reigning prince, the people cried, "Lord remember David"; and when they needed any special blessing, again they sang, "Lord, remember David." This was good pleading, but it was not so good as ours, which runs on this wise, "Lord, remember Jesus, and all his afflictions."
The afflictions of David here meant were those which came upon him as a godly man his endeavours to maintain the worship of Jehovah, and to provide for its decent and suitable celebration. There was always an ungodly party in the nation, and these persons were never slow to slander, hinder, and molest the servant of the Lord. Whatever were David's faults, he kept true to the one, only, living, and true God; and for this he was a speckled bird among monarchs. Since he zealously delighted in the worship of Jehovah, his God, he was despised and ridiculed by those who could not understand his enthusiasm. God will never forget what his people suffer for his sake. No doubt innumerable blessings descend upon families and nations through the godly lives and patient sufferings of the saints. We cannot be saved by the merits of others, but beyond all question we are benefited by their virtues. Paul saith, "God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name." Under the New Testament dispensation, as well as under the Old, there is a full reward for the righteous. That reward frequently comes upon their descendants rather than upon themselves: they sow, and their successors reap. We may at this day pray -- Lord, remember the martyrs and confessors of our race, who suffered for thy name's sake, and bless our people and nation with gospel grace for our fathers' sakes.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. -- Lightfoot ascribes this Psalm to David, and supposes it to have been composed on the second removal of the ark from the house of Obededom: 1 Chronicles 15:4 , etc. But the mention of David's name in the tenth verse in the third person, and the terms there employed, militate against his being the author. Others ascribe it to Solomon, who, they think, wrote it about the time of the removing of the ark into the Temple which he had built for it: 2 Chronicles 5:2 , etc. Others are of opinion, that it was composed by Solomon for the solemn services that were celebrated at the dedication of the Temple. --James Anderson's note to Calvin in loc.
Whole Psalm. The Psalm is divided into four stanzas of ten lines, each of which contains the name of David. The first part begins with speaking of David's vow to the Lord, the third with the Lord's promise to David. --William Kay.
Whole Psalm. The parallelisms need to be traced with some care. Psalms 132:1-6 are answered by Psalms 132:12 , Psalms 132:7 by Psalms 132:13 ; Psalms 132:8 by Psalms 132:14 ; Psalms 132:9 by Ps 132:15-16; Psalms 132:10 by Psalms 132:17-18 .
An attention to these parallelisms is often necessary to bring out the meaning of Scripture. --Joseph Angus, in "The Bible Handbook", 1862.
Verse 1. LORD, remember. It is a gracious privilege to be permitted to be God's reminders. Faith is encouraged to remind him of his covenant, and of his precious promises. There is, indeed, no forgetfulness with him. The past, as also the future, is a present page before his eye. But by this exercise we impress on our own minds invaluable lessons. --Henry Law.
Verse 1. Remember David, and all his afflictions. Solomon was a wise man, yet pleads not any merit of his own; -- I am not worthy, for whom thou shouldest do this, but, "Lord, remember David", with whom thou madest the covenant; as Moses prayed ( Exodus 32:13 ), "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 weakness, so some read it; all that pious and devout affection with which he had made the following vow. --Matthew Henry.
Verse 1. Remember ... all his afflictions. The sufferings of believers for tim cause of truth are not meritorious, but neither are they in vain; they are not forgotten by God. Matthew 5:11 - 12. --Christopher Starke, 1740.
Verse 1. Afflictions. The Hebrew word for "afflictions" is akin to the word for "trouble" in 1 Chronicles 12:14 : "Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the Lord an hundred thousand talents of gold." --H. T. Armfeld.
Verse 1-2. If the Jew could rightly appeal to God to show mercy to his church and nation for the sake of that shepherd youth whom he had advanced to the kingdom, much more shall we justly plead our cause in the name of David's son (called David four times in the prophets), and of all his trouble, all the sorrows of his birth and infancy, his ministry and passion and death, which he bore as a consequence of his self dedication to his father's will, when his priesthood, foreordained from all eternity, was confirmed with an oath, "for these Levitical priests were made without swearing an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek": Heb 7:21 Psalms 100:4 . --Theodoret and C'assiodorus, in Neale and Littledale.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The Lord remembers Jesus, our David: he loves him, he delights in him, he is with him.
- In that memory his griefs have a prominent place -- "all his afflictions."
- Yet the Lord would be put in remembrance by his people.
Verse 1-2. Concerning his people,
- The Lord remembers,
- Their persons.
- Their afflictions.
- Their vows.
- The Lord remembers them,
- To accept them.
- To sympathize with them.
- To assist them.
- God remembers his people, each one: "Remember David." The Spirit maketh intercession within us according to the will of God.
- He remembers their afflictions: "David and all his afflictions." "I know thy works and thy tribulation."
- He remembers their vows, especially,
- Those which relate to his service.
- Those which are solemnly made.
- Those which are faithfully performed. --G. R.
Verse 1-5. Notice,
- How painfully David felt what he conceived to be a dishonouring of God, which he thought he might be able to remedy. Consider "his afflictions", -- because the ark dwelt within curtains, while he himself dwelt in a house of cedar: 2 Samuel 7:2 .
- Its singularity. Most find affliction in personal losses; very few suffer from a cause like this.
b) The little sympathy such a feeling meets with from the most of men. "If God means to convert the heathen, he can do it without you, young man", was said to Dr., then Mr. Carey, when heathenism was an affliction to him.
c) Its fittingness to a really God fearing man.
d) Its pleasingness to God: 1 Samuel 2:30 .
- How earnestly he set himself to remedy the evil he deplored: "He sware", etc. There cannot be the least doubt that he would have foregone the enjoyment of temporal luxuries until he had accomplished the work dear to his heart, if he had been permitted of God. Remark,
- There is little zeal for God's honour when self denial is not exercised for the sake of his cause.
b) Were a like zeal generally shown by God's people, there would be more givers and more liberal gifts; more workers, and the work more heartily and better done.
c) It would be well to astonish the world, and deserve the commendations of the righteous by becoming enthusiasts for the honour of God. --J. F.