Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Afflictions.—The word so rendered is the infinitive plural of a verb, which in its first sense means to declare or tell. It is better to keep this meaning here, “Lord, remember David and all his declarations”.Psalm 132:1-2. Lord, remember David — Thy covenant with David; or David’s eminent piety and zeal for thy service; and all his afflictions — All his sufferings for thy sake, all the solicitude of his mind, all his hard and wearisome labours for thy service and glory. How he sware and vowed — Made a solemn vow, and confirmed it with an oath. This he undoubtedly did, although no mention be made of it in the history of David. Unto the mighty God of Jacob — Of Israel; that is, the people so called, the posterity of Jacob.
And all his afflictions - The particular trial here referred to was his care and toil, that there might be a settled home for the ark. The word used would not refer merely to what is specified in the following verses (his bringing up the ark to Mount Zion), but to his purpose to build a house for God, and - since he was not permitted himself to build it because he was a man of war, and had been engaged in scenes of blood, 1 Kings 5:3; 1 Chronicles 22:8 - to his care and toil in collecting materials for the temple to be erected by his son and successor. It is not, therefore, his general afflictions which are here meant, but his anxiety, and his efforts to secure a lasting place for the worship of God.
Ps 132:1-18. The writer, perhaps Solomon (compare Ps 132:8, 9), after relating David's pious zeal for God's service, pleads for the fulfilment of the promise (2Sa 7:16), which, providing for a perpetuation of David's kingdom, involved that of God's right worship and the establishment of the greater and spiritual kingdom of David's greater Son. Of Him and His kingdom both the temple and its worship, and the kings and kingdom of Judah, were types. The congruity of such a topic with the tenor of this series of Psalms is obvious.
1-5. This vow is not elsewhere recorded. It expresses, in strong language, David's intense desire to see the establishment of God's worship as well as of His kingdom.
2 How he sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;
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 eyelids,
5 Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah; we found it in the fields of the wood.
7 We will go into his tabernacles; we will worship at his footstool.
"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 that 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 merit - 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 in 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.
"How he sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob." Moved by intense devotion, David expressed his resolve in the form of a solemn vow, which was sealed with an oath. The fewer of such vows the better under a dispensation whose great Representative has said, "swear not at all." Perhaps even in this case it had been wiser to have left the pious resolve in the hands of God in the form of a prayer; for the vow was not actually fulfilled as intended, since the Lord forbade David to build him a temple. We had better not swear to do anything before we know the Lord's mind about it, and then we shall not need to swear. The instance of David's vow shows that vows are allowable, but it does not prove that they are desirable. Probably David went too far in his words, and it is Well that the Lord did not hold him to the letter of his bond, but accepted the will for the deed, and the meaning of his promise instead of the literal sense of it. David imitated Jacob, that great maker of vows at Bethel, and upon him rested the blessing pronounced on Jacob by Isaac, "God Almighty bless thee" (Genesis 28:3), which was remembered by the patriarch on his death-bed, when he spoke of "the mighty God of Jacob." God is mighty to hear us, and to help us in performing our vow. We should be full of awe at the idea of making any promise to the Mighty God: to dare to trifle with him would be grievous indeed. It is observable that affliction led both David and Jacob into covenant dealings with the Lord, many vows are made in anguish of soul. We may also remark that if the votive obligations of David are to be remembered of the Lord, much more are the suretiship engagements of the Lord Jesus before the mind of the great Lord, to whom our soul turns in the hour of our distress.
Note, upon this verse, that Jehovah was the God of Jacob, the same God evermore; that he had this for his attribute, that he is mighty - mighty to succour his Jacobs who put their trust in him, though their afflictions be many. He is, moreover, specially the Mighty One of his people; he is the God of Jacob in a sense in which he is not the God of unbelievers. So here we have three points concerning our God: - name, Jehovah; attribute, mighty; special relationship, "mighty God of Jacob." He it is who is asked to remember David and his trials, and there is a plea for that blessing in each one of the three points.
(a) That is, with great difficulty he came to the kingdom, and with great zeal and care he went about to build your temple.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. Lord, remember David &c.] A possible rendering (cp. Psalm 136:23); but better, Jehovah, remember for David all the trouble he underwent: lit. all his being afflicted; all the pains and trouble and anxiety he underwent in his lifetime for the cause of God, and especially in establishing a sanctuary in Jerusalem, and in making preparation for the building of the Temple. Cp. 1 Chronicles 22:14, “Behold, in my affliction I have prepared for the house of Jehovah” &c. The Psalmist pleads David’s services in establishing the worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem as a reason why Jehovah should remember the promises made to him. For similar pleas cp. Exodus 32:13; Deuteronomy 9:27; Leviticus 26:42; Leviticus 26:45. “The Davidic covenant was to Ezra or Nehemiah what the Abrahamic was to Moses—the focus from which the rays of Divine comfort emanated. Cp. Micah 7:20” (Kay). This simple and natural reference to the services of great leaders was developed in later Jewish theology into an elaborate doctrine of the merits of the fathers. See Weber, System der altsynag. Theol. pp. 280 ff. The form of expression is a favourite one with Nehemiah (Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 13:14; Nehemiah 13:22; Nehemiah 13:31).
1–5. A prayer that Jehovah will remember David’s zeal in bringing the Ark to Jerusalem.Verses 1-5. - David's abasement and vow to God. The historical books give no account of this vow, which, however, may have been recorded in one or other of the lost compositions spoken of so frequently in Chronicles (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29; 2 Chronicles 16:11, etc.). Verse 1. - Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions; rather, remember to David all his affliction; i.e. reckon it to him, and reward him for it. The "affliction" intended is the distress that David felt at the thought that, while he dwelt in a house of cedar, the ark of God was only lodged within curtains (2 Samuel 7:2). Psalm 25:5, Psalm 25:21; Psalm 40:2), his soul hopes; hoping in and waiting upon God is the mood of his inmost and of his whole being. He waits upon God's word, the word of His salvation (Psalm 119:81), which, if it penetrates into the soul and cleaves there, calms all unrest, and by the appropriated consolation of forgiveness transforms and enlightens for it everything in it and outside of it. His soul is לאדני, i.e., stedfastly and continually directed towards Him; as Chr. A. Crusius when on his death-bed, with hands and eyes uplifted to heaven, joyfully exclaimed: "My soul is full of the mercy of Jesus Christ. My whole soul is towards God." The meaning of לאדני becomes at once clear in itself from Psalm 143:6, and is defined moreover, without supplying שׁמרת (Hitzig), according to the following לבּקר. Towards the Lord he is expectantly turned, like those who in the night-time wait for the morning. The repetition of the expression "those who watch for the morning" (cf. Isaiah 21:11) gives the impression of protracted, painful waiting. The wrath, in the sphere of which the poet now finds himself, is a nightly darkness, out of which he wishes to be removed into the sunny realm of love (Malachi 4:2); not he alone, however, but at the same time all Israel, whose need is the same, and for whom therefore believing waiting is likewise the way to salvation. With Jahve, and with Him exclusively, with Him, however, also in all its fulness, is החסד (contrary to Psalm 62:13, without any pausal change in accordance with the varying of the segolates), the mercy, which removes the guilt of sin and its consequences, and puts freedom, peace, and joy into the heart. And plenteous (הרבּה, an adverbial infin. absol., used here, as in Ezekiel 21:20, as an adjective) is with Him redemption; i.e., He possesses in the richest measure the willingness, the power, and the wisdom, which are needed to procure redemption, which rises up as a wall of partition (Exodus 8:19) between destruction and those imperilled. To Him, therefore, must the individual, if he will obtain mercy, to Him must His people, look up hopingly; and this hope directed to Him shall not be put to shame: He, in the fulness of the might of His free grace (Isaiah 43:25), will redeem Israel from all its iniquities, by forgiving them and removing their unhappy inward and outward consequences. With this promise (cf. Psalm 25:22) the poet comforts himself. He means complete and final redemption, above all, in the genuinely New Testament manner, spiritual redemption.
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