For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his habitation.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Zion.—The dynasty of David and the location of the sanctuary at Zion are intimately associated, as in Psalm 78:67-68. (Comp. Psalm 122:4-5.)Psalm 132:13-16. For the Lord hath chosen Zion — Taken either for the whole mountain, whereof Zion and Moriah were two parts, or for Jerusalem, which was, in a great part, built upon mount Zion, whence it is often called Zion, as has been frequently observed. This is my rest for ever — Not my residence only for a short time, as Shiloh was; here will I dwell — Here will I statedly manifest the tokens of my presence. Zion must be here considered as a type of the gospel church, which is called mount Zion, Hebrews 12:18. And in it, what is here said of Zion has its full accomplishment. Zion was long since ploughed as a field, but the church of Christ is still, and always will be, the house of the living God, 1 Timothy 3:15. It is his rest for ever and shall be blessed with his presence, even to the end of the world. I will abundantly bless her provision — I will plentifully provide for Jerusalem, and all that live in her, or resort to her for worship: nor shall they seek my face in vain. I will satisfy her poor with bread — I will make such liberal provision for her by fruitful years, that the poorest person there shall be satisfied with food: see note on 2 Chronicles 7:13-14. I will also, &c. — To the blessings of life I will add those pertaining to godliness; clothe her priests with salvation — With my saving graces and blessings, with righteousness, as requested Psalm 132:9; and, moreover, with that protection and benediction, which, by my promise, belongs to righteous persons. Her saints shall shout aloud for joy — The delight God takes in his church, the continuance of his presence with it, and with his ministers, and their being clothed with graces and virtues, wisdom and holiness, are the comfort and joy of all its members.Psalm 48:1-2.Zion; not strictly, but largely taken; either for the whole mountain, whereof Zion and Moriah were two parts or tops; or for Jerusalem, which was in a great part built upon Mount Zion, whence it is oft called Zion, as hath been noted again and again. For he speaks here of that place which he chose to be his rest for ever, as it follows, Psalm 132:14, which unquestionably was the temple; whence also it appears that this Psalm was not written by David, nor before the building of the temple. Psalm 78:67;
he hath desired it for his habitation; heaven is the habitation of his holiness and glory; Christ is his dwelling place, in whom all the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily: yet his desire is to his church and people; his heart is set upon them, and upon their salvation; his delight is in them, and he takes pleasure in walking with them, and dwelling among them; they being built up an habitation for God through the Spirit; see Psalm 68:16.For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. For the Lord hath chosen Zion] The permanence of the Davidic kingdom is based upon the Divine choice of Zion. Here, as in Psalm 78:67 ff., the choice of Zion is regarded as antecedent to the choice of David. To the community of the Restoration this thought must have been a comfort: they felt that Jehovah had returned to dwell in Zion, and this was a pledge to them that He would in some way fulfil His promises to the house of David. Cp. Zechariah 2:12.Verse 13. - For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. Here we are brought back again to the temple. Zion, the city of David, was also "the city of the great King" (Psalm 48:2) - the place where he had "set his Name" - which he was bound to protect and cherish. "As truly as God had chosen Zion, and made his habitation there, so certainly must he also raise up for David a branch, through which to his people concentrated there he will impart salvation" (Hengstenberg). 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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