Psalms 132

1O Lord, for David’s sake remember
all his strenuous effort,
Heb “all his affliction.” This may refer to David’s strenuous and tireless efforts to make provision for the building of the temple (see 1 Chr 22:14). Some prefer to revocalize the text as עַנַוָתוֹ (’anavato, “his humility”).

2 and how he made a vow to the Lord,
and swore an oath to the powerful ruler of Jacob.
Heb “the powerful [one] of Jacob.”

3 He said,
The words “he said” are supplied in the translation to clarify that what follows is David’s vow.
“I will not enter my own home,
Heb “the tent of my house.”

or get into my bed.
Heb “go up upon the bed of my couch.”

4 I will not allow my eyes to sleep,
or my eyelids to slumber,
5 until I find a place for the Lord,
a fine dwelling place
The plural form of the noun may indicate degree or quality; David envisions a special dwelling place (see Pss 43:3; 46:4; 84:1).
for the powerful ruler of Jacob.”
Heb “the powerful [one] of Jacob.”

6 Look, we heard about it
Rather than having an antecedent, the third feminine singular pronominal suffix here (and in the next line) appears to refer to the ark of the covenant, mentioned in v. 8. (The Hebrew term אָרוֹן [’aron, “ark”] is sometimes construed as grammatically feminine. See 1 Sam 4:17; 2 Chr 8:11.)
in Ephrathah,
Some understand Ephrathah as a reference to Kiriath-jearim because of the apparent allusion to this site in the next line (see the note on “Jaar”). The ark was kept in Kiriath-jearim after the Philistines released it (see 1 Sam 6:21–7:2). However, the switch in verbs from “heard about” to “found” suggests that Ephrathah not be equated with Jair. The group who is speaking heard about the ark while they were in Ephrath. They then went to retrieve it from Kiriath-jearim (“Jaar”). It is more likely that Ephrathah refers to a site near Bethel (Gen 35:16, 19; 48:7) or to Bethlehem (Ruth 4:11; Mic 5:2).

we found it in the territory of Jaar.
Heb “fields of the forest.” The Hebrew term יָעַר (yaad, “forest”) is apparently a shortened alternative name for קִרְיַת יְעָרִים (qiryat yearim, “Kiriath-jearim”), the place where the ark was kept after it was released by the Philistines and from which David and his men retrieved it (see 1 Chr 13:6).

7 Let us go to his dwelling place!
Let us worship
Or “bow down.”
before his footstool!
8 Ascend, O Lord, to your resting place,
you and the ark of your strength!
9 May your priests be clothed with integrity!
Or “righteousness.”

May your loyal followers shout for joy!
10 For the sake of David, your servant,
do not reject your chosen king!
Heb “do not turn away the face of your anointed one.”

11 The Lord made a reliable promise to David;
Heb “the Lord swore an oath to David [in] truth.”

he will not go back on his word.
Heb “he will not turn back from it.”

He said,
The words “he said” are supplied in the translation to clarify that what follows are the Lord’s words.
“I will place one of your descendants
Heb “the fruit of your body.”
on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
and the rules I teach them,
their sons will also sit on your throne forever.”
13 Certainly
Or “for.”
the Lord has chosen Zion;
he decided to make it his home.
Heb “he desired it for his dwelling place.”

14 He said,
The words “he said” are added in the translation to clarify that what follows are the Lord’s words.
“This will be my resting place forever;
I will live here, for I have chosen it.
Heb “for I desired it.”

15 I will abundantly supply what she needs;
Heb “I will greatly bless her provision.” The infinitive absolute is used to emphasize the verb.

I will give her poor all the food they need.
Heb “her poor I will satisfy [with] food.”

16 I will protect her priests,
Heb “and her priests I will clothe [with] deliverance.”

and her godly people will shout exuberantly.
Heb “[with] shouting they will shout.” The infinitive absolute is used to emphasize the verb.

17 There I will make David strong;
Heb “there I will cause a horn to sprout for David.” The horn of an ox underlies the metaphor (cf. Deut 33:17; 1 Kgs 22:11; Pss 18:2; 92:10). The horn of the wild ox is frequently a metaphor for military strength; the idiom “exalt the horn” signifies military victory (see 1 Sam 2:10; Pss 89:17, 24; 92:10; Lam 2:17). In the ancient Near East powerful warrior-kings would sometimes compare themselves to a goring bull that used its horns to kill its enemies. For examples, see P. Miller, “El the Warrior,” HTR 60 (1967): 422-25, and R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 135–36.

I have determined that my chosen king’s dynasty will continue.
Heb “I have arranged a lamp for my anointed one.” Here the “lamp” is a metaphor for the Davidic dynasty (see 1 Kgs 11:36).

I will humiliate his enemies,
Heb “his enemies I will clothe [with] shame.”

and his crown will shine.

Psalm 133

Psalm 133. The psalmist affirms the benefits of family unity.

A song of ascents, by David.

The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120–134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101–150 (WBC), 219-21.
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