Psalm 132:10
For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
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(10) The most obvious construction of this verse is that which makes it an intercession, on the ground of the Divine partiality for David, in behalf of another prince—one of his successors—by the people at large. In the original (2Chronicles 6:42) it is of course Solomon who prays for himself; here (see Introduction) we must naturally think of one of the Asmonean princes. The expression “to turn away the face,” of a suppliant, instead of “turning from him,” is borrowed from court etiquette. (Comp. 1Kings 2:16, margin.)

132:1-10 David bound himself to find a place for the Lord, for the ark, the token of God's presence. When work is to be done for the Lord, it is good to tie ourselves to a time. It is good in the morning to fix upon work for the day, with submission to Providence, for we know not what a day may bring forth. And we should first, and without delay, seek to have our own hearts made a habitation of God through the Spirit. He prays that God would take up his dwelling in the habitation he had built; that he would give grace to the ministers of the sanctuary to do their duty. David pleads that he was the anointed of the Lord, and this he pleads as a type of Christ, the great Anointed. We have no merit of our own to plead; but, for His sake, in whom there is a fulness of merit, let us find favour. And every true believer in Christ, is an anointed one, and has received from the Holy One the oil of true grace. The request is, that God would not turn away, but hear and answer their petitions for his Son's sake.For thy servant David's sake - Because of the promise made to him; because of the zeal which he has shown in securing a place for the ark. Let it not be in vain that he has shown such a regard to the honor of God; let not the promises made to him fail. Such a prayer is proper now. There is nothing wrong in our beseeching God to carry out and accomplish the purposes cherished by his church for promoting the honor of his name; or for a child to pray that the purposes of a pious parent in regard to himself may not fail. It is an expression of nature - a desire that the labor and sacrifices of those who have gone before us should not be lost. This is the language of the author of the psalm, and of those for whom the psalm was composed. See Psalm 132:1. In view of all that David has done, do thou now show favor and mercy.

Turn not away the face of thine anointed - As if in displeasure, or in forgetfulness. The word anointed would refer to one who was set apart as a king, a priest, or a prophet. See the notes at Matthew 1:1. The word would be applicable to David himself, as the anointed king; in a higher sense it is applicable to the Messiah, the Christ. The reference here is probably to David himself, as if a failure to carry out his purposes in regard to the sanctuary, or to fulfill the promises made to him, would be a turning away the face from him; would be a mark of the divine displeasure against him. The prayer is, that God would carry out those purposes as if his face was continually turned with benignity and favor toward David.

10-12. For thy servant David's sake—that is, On account of the promise made to him.

turn … anointed—Repulse not him who, as David's descendant, pleads the promise to perpetuate his royal line. After reciting the promise, substantially from 2Sa 7:12-16 (compare Ac 2:30, &c.), an additional plea,

For thy servant David’s sake; in regard of thy singular kindness and promises vouchsafed to David, as this is explained in the following verses. And this verse makes it more than probable that David was not the penman of this Psalm, who never used to beg mercies from God for his own sake, but constantly for his name’s sake, and for the sake of his truth, mercy, goodness, or righteousness, as will be evident to any one that reads this book.

Turn not away the face; cast me not out of thy presence, do not reject or deny my request, as this phrase is expounded, 1 Kings 2:16. Of thine anointed; of me, whom thou hast anointed to be king over thy people. He speaks of himself in the third person, as is usual.

For thy servant David's sake,.... Not for any virtues, or excellencies or merits, of David, literally understood; rather for the sake of the covenant and promises made with him: but for the sake of the antitypical David, the Messiah, the son of David according to the flesh, and the servant of the Lord as Mediator; for whose sake, and in whose name, prayers and supplications are made and presented;

turn not away the face of thine anointed; not David; rather Solomon, as the Targum expresses it; so Jarchi: but any of the Lord's anointed, every Christian, or believer in Christ, is an anointed one; and has received the unction from the Holy One, the oil of true grace. And the request is, that God would not turn such away from him, and cause them to depart from his throne of grace, ashamed and disappointed; but hear and answer their petitions, for his Son's sake. In 2 Chronicles 6:42; it is added, "remember the mercies of David thy servant"; the kind and good things promised to him, and perform them.

For thy {g} servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.

(g) As you first made promise to David, so continue it to his posterity that whatever they ask for their people, it may be granted.

10. This verse is still part of the people’s prayer, though its language is coloured by the feeling of the Psalmist’s own age, and expresses the perplexity of a time in which Jehovah seemed to have disowned His anointed. The people pray for a blessing on each successive king for David’s sake. Thine anointed is not David only, but David and his successors, Jehovah’s anointed king for the time being. For him the people pray that Jehovah will not ‘turn away his face,’ i.e. repulse his requests or banish him from His favour and presence. For the phrase cp. 1 Kings 2:16; 2 Kings 18:24; Psalm 84:9. The thought corresponds to the promise so prominent in 2 Samuel 7, that David’s house should be established ‘before Jehovah’ (2 Samuel 7:16, read ‘before me’ 2 Samuel 7:26; 2Sa 7:29). Cp. Psalm 61:7.

Verse 10. - For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed. Here the text diverges still more from that of Chronicles, which runs thus: "O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant" The meaning, however, is much the same in both passages: "For David's sake, to whom thou hast shown so many mercies, turn not away the face - i.e. reject not the petition, or the offering - of his representative." Psalm 132:10In Psalm 132:6 begins the language of the church, which in this Psalm reminds Jahve of His promises and comforts itself with them. Olshausen regards this Psalm 132:6 as altogether inexplicable. The interpretation nevertheless has some safe starting-points. (1) Since the subject spoken of is the founding of a fixed sanctuary, and one worthy of Jahve, the suffix of שׁמענוּה (with Chateph as in Hosea 8:2, Ew. ֗60, a) and מצאנוּה refers to the Ark of the covenant, which is fem. also in other instances (1 Samuel 4:17; 2 Chronicles 8:11). (2) The Ark of the covenant, fetched up out of Shiloh by the Israelites to the battle at Ebenezer, fell into the hands of the victors, and remained, having been again given up by them, for twenty years in Kirjath-Jearim (1 Samuel 7:1.), until David removed it out of this Judaean district to Zion (2 Samuel 6:2-4; cf. 2 Chronicles 1:4). What is then more natural than that שׂדי־יער is a poetical appellation of Kirjath-Jearim (cf. "the field of Zoan" in Psalm 78:12)? Kirjath-Jearim has, as a general thing, very varying names. It is also called Kirjath-ha-jearim in Jeremiah 26:20 (Kirjath-'arim in Ezra 2:25, cf. Joshua 18:28), Kirjath-ba'al in Joshua 16:1-10 :50, Ba'alah in Joshua 15:9; 1 Chronicles 13:6 (cf. Har-ha-ba'alah, Joshua 15:11, with Har-Jearim in Joshua 15:10), and, as it seems, even Ba'al Jehudah in 2 Samuel 6:2. Why should it not also have been called Ja'ar side by side with Kirjath-Jearim, and more especially if the mountainous district, to which the mention of a hill and mountain of Jearim points, was, as the name "city of the wood" implies, at the same time a wooded district? We therefore fall in with Khnl's (1799) rendering: we found it in the meadows of Jaar, and with his remark: "Jaar is a shortened name of the city of Kirjath-Jearim."

The question now further arises as to what Ephrathah is intended to mean. This is an ancient name of Bethlehem; but the Ark of the covenant never was in Bethlehem. Accordingly Hengstenberg interprets, "We knew of it in Bethlehem (where David had spent his youth) only by hearsay, no one had seen it; we found it in Kirjath-Jearim, yonder in the wooded environs of the city, where it was as it were buried in darkness and solitude." So even Anton Hulsius (1650): Ipse David loquitur, qui dicit illam ipsam arcam, de qua quum adhuc Bethlehemi versaretur inaudivisset, postea a se (vel majroibus suis ipso adhuc minorenni) inventam fuisse in campis Jaar. But (1) the supposition that David's words are continued here does not harmonize with the way in which they are introduced in Psalm 132:2, according to which they cannot possibly extend beyond the vow that follows. (2) If the church is speaking, one does not see why Bethlehem is mentioned in particular as the place of the hearsay. (3) We heard it in Ephrathah cannot well mean anything else than, per antiptosin (as in Genesis 1:4, but without כּי), we heard that it was in Ephrathah. But the Ark was before Kirjath-Jearim in Shiloh. The former lay in the tribe of Judah close to the western borders of Benjamin, the latter in the midst of the tribe of Ephraim. Now since אפרתי quite as often means an Ephraimite as it does a Bethlehemite, it may be asked whether Ephrathah is not intended of the Ephraimitish territory (Khnl, Gesenius, Maurer, Tholuck, and others). The meaning would then be: we had heard that the sacred Ark was in Shiloh, but we found it not there, but in Kirjath-Jearim. And we can easily understand why the poet has mentioned the two places just in this way. Ephrāth, according to its etymon, is fruitful fields, with which are contrasted the fields of the wood - the sacred Ark had fallen from its original, more worthy abode, as it were, into the wilderness. But is it probable, more especially in view of Micah 5:1, that in a connection in which the memory of David is the ruling idea, Ephrathah signifies the land of Ephraim? No, Ephrathah is the name of the district in which Kirjath-Jearim lay. Caleb had, for instance, by Ephrath, his third wife, a son named Hr (Chr), 1 Chronicles 2:19, This Hr, the first-born of Ephrathah, is the father of the population of Bethlehem (1 Chronicles 4:4), and Shobal, a son of this Hr, is father of the population of Kirjath-Jearim (1 Chronicles 2:50). Kirjath-Jearim is therefore, so to speak, the daughter of Bethlehem. This was called Ephrathah in ancient times, and this name of Bethlehem became the name of its district (Micah 5:1). Kirjath-Jearim belonged to Caleb-Ephrathah (1 Chronicles 2:24), as the northern part of this district seems to have been called in distinction from Negeb-Caleb (1 Samuel 30:14).

But משׁכּנותיו in Psalm 132:7 is now neither a designation of the house of Abinadab in Kirjath-Jearim, for the expression would be too grand, and in relation to Psalm 132:5 even confusing, nor a designation of the Salomonic Temple-building, for the expression standing thus by itself is not enough alone to designate it. What is meant will therefore be the tent-temple erected by David for the Ark when removed to Zion (2 Samuel 7:2, יריעה). The church arouses itself to enter this, and to prostrate itself in adoration towards (vid., Psalm 99:5) the footstool of Jahve, i.e., the Ark; and to what purpose? The ark of the covenant is now to have a place more worthy of it; the מנוּחה, i.e., the בּית מנוּחה, 1 Chronicles 28:2, in which David's endeavours have through Solomon reached their goal, is erected: let Jahve and the Ark of His sovereign power, that may not be touched (see the examples of its inviolable character in 1 Samuel 5:1-12, 1 Samuel 6, 2 Samuel 6:6.), now enter this fixed abode! Let His priests who are to serve Him there clothe themselves in "righteousness," i.e., in conduct that is according to His will and pleasure; let His saints, who shall there seek and find mercy, shout for joy! More especially, however, let Jahve for David's sake, His servant, to whose restless longing this place of rest owes its origin, not turn back the face of His anointed one, i.e., not reject his face which there turns towards Him in the attitude of prayer (cf. Psalm 84:10). The chronicler has understood Psalm 132:10 as an intercession on behalf of Solomon, and the situation into which we are introduced by Psalm 132:6-8 seems to require this. It is, however, possible that a more recent poet here, in Psalm 132:7-8, reproduces words taken from the heart of the church in Solomon's time, and blends petitions of the church of the present with them. The subject all through is the church, which is ever identical although changing in the persons of its members. The Israel that brought the sacred Ark out of Kirjath-Jearim to Zion and accompanied it thence to the Temple-hill, and now worships in the sanctuary raised by David's zeal for the glory of Jahve, is one and the same. The prayer for the priests, for all the saints, and more especially for the reigning king, that then resounded at the dedication of the Temple, is continued so long as the history of Israel lasts, even in a time when Israel has no king, but has all the stronger longing for the fulfilment of the Messianic promise.

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