Psalm 89:35
Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.
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Psalm 89:35. Once have I sworn by my holiness, &c. — Here he assigns some reasons why he would not break his covenant with David, though he should have just cause so to do, and though he had, upon such just cause, broken his covenant made with others; 1st, Because this covenant was confirmed by his oath, which added, not only more solemnity, but more stability and certainty to it, according to the apostle’s reasoning, Hebrews 6:13-18, whereby he shows that God added an oath to his promise made to Abraham, to make and prove it to be immutable; and Hebrews 7:20, &c., where he proves the priesthood of Melchisedek to be unchangeable, because it was confirmed by an oath. And although judgments, simply threatened, have not always been executed, but sometimes prevented; yet those comminations, which were confirmed by oath, were thereby rendered and declared to be irrevocable, as we see Numbers 14:28-30; Jeremiah 44:26. 2d, Because God sware by his holiness; in or by which he is but seldom said to speak or swear, and when he is, it constantly adds more weight and confirmation to what is declared, as Psalm 60:6; Psalm 108:7; Amos 4:2.

89:19-37 The Lord anointed David with the holy oil, not only as an emblem of the graces and gifts he received, but as a type of Christ, the King Priest, and Prophet, anointed with the Holy Ghost without measure. David after his anointing, was persecuted, but none could gain advantage against him. Yet all this was a faint shadow of the Redeemer's sufferings, deliverance, glory, and authority, in whom alone these predictions and promises are fully brought to pass. He is the mighty God. This is the Redeemer appointed for us, who alone is able to complete the work of our salvation. Let us seek an interest in these blessings, by the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. As the Lord corrected the posterity of David for their transgressions, so his people shall be corrected for their sins. Yet it is but a rod, not a sword; it is to correct, not to destroy. It is a rod in the hand of God, who is wise, and knows what he does; gracious, and will do what is best. It is a rod which they shall never feel, but when there is need. As the sun and moon remain in heaven, whatever changes there seem to be in them, and again appear in due season; so the covenant of grace made in Christ, whatever alteration seems to come to it, should not be questioned.Once have I sworn by my holiness - That is, once for all; - a single oath - an oath once taken by me - makes it certain. To swear by his "holiness" is to pledge his own holy nature; to make it as certain as that he is holy; to stake the whole question of his holiness on that. That is, If this should not be accomplished - if he should fail in this - it would prove that he was not a holy God.

That I will not lie unto David - Margin, as in Hebrew, "if I lie." The meaning is, He would be found faithful to the promise. See Psalm 89:3-4; compare 2 Samuel 7:8-16.

35. Once—one thing (Ps 27:4).

by my holiness—as a holy God.

that I will not lie—literally, "if I lie"—part of the form of swearing (1Sa 24:6; 2Sa 3:35).

Here he gives some reasons why he would not break his covenant with David, though he should have just cause to do so, and though he had upon such just cause broke his covenant made with others; first, Because this covenant was confirmed by his oath, which adds not only more solemnity, but more stability and certainty to it, as is evident from Hebrews 6:17, wherein he showeth that God addeth an oath to his promise or covenant to make and prove it to be immutable; and from Hebrews 7:20, &c., where he proveth the priesthood of Melchisedec to be unchangeable, because it was confirmed by an oath. And though judgments simply threatened have not always been executed, but sometimes were prevented, yet those comminations which were confirmed by oath were thereby rendered and declared to be irrevocable, as we see, Numbers 14:28-30 Jeremiah 44:26. Secondly, Because this is said to be sworn

once, which word and phrase sometimes implies the completeness, certainty, and irrevocableness of the thing said or done, as Proverbs 28:18, shall fall at once. Thus Christ is said to have died or suffered once, Romans 6:10 Hebrews 9:26,28. Thirdly, Because God sware by his

holiness; in or by which God is but seldom read to speak or swear, and when he is, it constantly adds more weight and confirmation to the speech, as Psalm 60:6 108:7 Amos 4:2.

Once have I sworn by my holiness,.... Swearing is ascribed to God after the manner of men, and is done in condescension to the weakness of his people, and to remove doubts and hesitations from them, relating to things spiritual and eternal; as to his everlasting love to them, his covenant with them in Christ, and their perseverance in his grace; and it is made by himself, or one or other of his perfections, as here by his "holiness"; see Amos 4:2, and indeed his holiness being his nature, is no other than he himself, the holy God; and because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, that as sure as he was, and was holy, just, and true, he would make good what he promises, Hebrews 6:13 and this is done but once, once for all, that being sufficient; it need not be repeated, nor is it ever revoked; when he swears, he never repents of it, nor changes his mind; and it is to show the immutability of his counsel that he swears at all, Psalm 110:4,

that I will not lie unto David; he will not lie to any, he cannot, it is impossible he should; it would be to deny himself, it is contrary to his being as God, he is not a man that he should lie; it is contrary to his character as the God of truth; he will not lie, neither in his counsel nor covenant, in his purposes nor promises; these are the two immutable things, in which it is impossible he should lie: and he has swore to it that he will not lie to David, to David's son the Messiah, with whom the covenant is made, and stands fast; all the prophecies concerning him he has fulfilled; and all the promises made to him of help and assistance, as man and Mediator, in his work, and of the reward of it, a glory with him, he has made good.

Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.
35. Once] Once for all (LXX ἅπαξ, Vulg. semel): or, one thing.

have I sworn] Cp. Psalm 89:3. by my holiness] See note on Psalm 60:6.

that I will not lie] R.V. omits that, and makes this clause parallel to, not dependent on, the preceding line.

35–37. The irreversible nature of a promise confirmed by God’s oath.

Verse 35. - Ones have I sworn by my holiness; rather, one thing have I sworn. (On God's oath to David, see vers. 3, 49, and Psalm 132:11.) The present passage shows that it was sworn "by his holiness" - i.e. by his absolute moral perfection. That I will not lie unto David; i.e. that I will keep all my promises to him. God, no doubt, always and in every case "keepeth his promise forever" (Psalm 146:6); but in his mercy and loving kindness he condescended to give David a special guarantee of his faithfulness in respect of the promises made to him. Psalm 89:35Now follows the paraphrase of 2 Samuel 7:14, that the faithlessness of David's line in relation to the covenant shall not interfere with (annul) the faithfulness of God - a thought with which one might very naturally console one's self in the reign of Rehoboam. Because God has placed the house of David in a filial relationship to Himself, He will chastise the apostate members as a father chastises his son; cf. Proverbs 23:13. In 1 Chronicles 17:13 the chronicler omits the words of 2 Samuel 7:14 which there provide against perverted action (העוות) on the part of the seed of David; our Psalm proves their originality. But even if, as history shows, this means of chastisement should be ineffectual in the case of individuals, the house of David as such will nevertheless remain ever in a state of favour with Him. In Psalm 89:34 חסדּי לא־אפיר מעמּו corresponds to וחסדּי־לא־יסוּר ממּנּוּ in 2 Samuel 7:15 (lxx, Targum): the fut. Hiph. of פרר is otherwise always אפר; the conjecture אסיר is therefore natural, yet even the lxx translators (ου ̓ μὴ διασκεδάσω) had אפיר before them. שׁקּר בּ as in Psalm 44:18. The covenant with David is sacred with God: He will not profane it (חלּל, to loose the bonds of sanctity). He will fulfil what has gone forth from His lips, i.e., His vow, according to Deuteronomy 23:24 [23], cf. Numbers 30:3 [2]. One thing hath He sworn to David; not: once equals once for all (lxx), for what is introduced by Psalm 89:36 (cf. Psalm 27:4) and follows in Psalm 89:37, Psalm 89:38, is in reality one thing (as in Psalm 62:12, two). He hath sworn it per sanctitatem suam. Thus, and not in sanctuario meo, בּקדשׁי in this passage and Amos 4:2 (cf. on Psalm 60:8) is to be rendered, for elsewhere the expression is בּי, Genesis 22:16; Isaiah 45:23, or בּנפשׁו, Amos 6:8; Jeremiah 51:14, or בּשׁמי, Jeremiah 44:26, or בּימינו, Isaiah 62:8. It is true we do not read any set form of oath in 2 Samuel 7, 1 Chronicles 17, but just as Isaiah, Isaiah 54:9, takes the divine promise in Genesis 8:21 as an oath, so the promise so earnestly and most solemnly pledged to David may be accounted by Psalm-poesy (here and in Psalm 132:11), which reproduces the historical matter of fact, as a promise attested with an oath. With אם in Psalm 89:36 God asserts that He will not disappoint David in reference to this one thing, viz., the perpetuity of his throne. This shall stand for ever as the sun and moon; for these, though they may one day undergo a change (Psalm 102:27), shall nevertheless never be destroyed. In the presence of 2 Samuel 7:16 it looks as if Psalm 89:38 ought to be rendered: and as the witness in the clouds shall it (David's throne) be faithful (perpetual). By the witness in the clouds one would then have to understand the rainbow as the celestial memorial and sign of an everlasting covenant. Thus Luther, Geier, Schmid, and others. But neither this rendering, nor the more natural one, "and as the perpetual, faithful witness in the clouds," is admissible in connection with the absence of the כּ of comparison. Accordingly Hengstenberg, following the example of Jewish expositors, renders: "and the witness in the clouds is perpetual," viz., the moon, so that the continuance of the Davidic line would be associated with the moon, just as the continuance of the condemned earth is with the rainbow. But in what sense would the moon have the name, without example elsewhere, of witness? Just as the Book of Job was the key to the conclusion of Psalm 88, so it is the key to this ambiguous verse of the Psalm before us. It has to be explained according to Job 16:19, where Job says: "Behold in heaven is my witness, and my surety in the heights." Jahve, the אל נאמן (Deuteronomy 7:9), seals His sworn promise with the words, "and the witness in the sky (ethereal heights) is faithful" (cf. concerning this Waw in connection with asseverations, Ew. 340, c). Hengstenberg's objection, that Jahve cannot be called His own witness, is disposed of by the fact that עד frequently signifies the person who testifies anything concerning himself; in this sense, in fact, the whole Tra is called עדוּת ה (the testimony of Jahve).
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