Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie to David.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.
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).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. 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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 89:26 is a world-wide dominion, not merely dominion within the compass promised in the primeval times (Genesis 15:18; 2 Chronicles 9:26), in which case it ought to have been said ובנהר (of the Euphrates). Nor does the promise, however, sound so definite and boundless here as in Psalm 72:8, but it is indefinite and universal, without any need for our asking what rivers are intended by נהרות. נתן יד בּ, like שׁלח (in Isaiah 11:14, of a giving and taking possession. With אף־אני (with retreated tone, as in Psalm 119:63, Psalm 119:125) God tells with what He will answer David's filial love. Him who is the latest-born among the sons of Jesse, God makes the first-born (בּכור from בּכר, to be early, opp. לקשׁ, to be late, vid., Job 2:1-13 :21), and therefore the most favoured of the "sons of the Most High," Psalm 82:6. And as, according to Deuteronomy 28:1, Israel is to be high (עליון) above all nations of the earth, so David, Israel's king, in whom Israel's national glory realizes itself, is made as the high one (עליון) with respect to the kings, i.e., above the kings, of the earth. In the person of David his seed is included; and it is that position of honour which, after having been only prelusively realized in David and Solomon, must go on being fulfilled in his seed exactly as the promise runs. The covenant with David is, according to Psalm 89:29, one that shall stand for ever. David is therefore, as Psalm 89:30 affirms, eternal in his seed; God will make David's seed and throne לעד, into eternal, i.e., into such as will abide for ever, like the days of heaven, everlasting. This description of eternal duration is, as also in Sir. 45:15, Bar. 1:11, Taken from Deuteronomy 11:21; the whole of Psalm 89:30 is a poetic reproduction of 2 Samuel 7:16.
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