A Song of degrees. LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions:
Verses 1-5. - David's abasement and vow to God. The historical books give no account of this vow, which, however, may have been recorded in one or other of the lost compositions spoken of so frequently in Chronicles (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29; 2 Chronicles 16:11, etc.). Verse 1. - Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions; rather, remember to David all his affliction; i.e. reckon it to him, and reward him for it. The "affliction" intended is the distress that David felt at the thought that, while he dwelt in a house of cedar, the ark of God was only lodged within curtains (2 Samuel 7:2).
How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;
Verse 2. - How he sware unto the Lord (see the comment on vers. 1-5). And vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob; rather, the Mighty One of Jacob (see Genesis 49:24; Isaiah 60:16).
Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;
Verse 3. - Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house. I will not take up my abode quietly and comfortably in my own solid and substantial house (see 2 Samuel 5:11). Nor go up into my bed. Indulge, i.e., in luxurious repose. (Fur a contrary feeling on the part of some Israelites, see Haggai 1:4.)
I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,
Verse 4. - I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to my eyelids. Exegetical of the last clause of ver. 3.
Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
Verse 5. - Until I find out a place for the Lord. The "place" which David desired to "find" was a permanent resting-place for the ark of God, which he had already "brought up from the house of Obed-Edom into the city of David with gladness" (2 Samuel 6:12), but which he had only established in a temporary abode of the nature of a tent, or tabernacle (2 Samuel 6:17). God approved David's zeal, but did not allow him to accomplish his design (2 Samuel 7:5-16). An habitation for the mighty God of Jacob; rather, the Mighty One of Jacob (comp. ver. 2 and the comment ad loc.).
Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
Verses 6-10. - The realization of David's design. The resting-place is, after a time, discovered and prepared. The ark is brought up and placed in it (1 Kings 8:1-11). The "priests" are" clothed with righteousness," and the "saints shout for joy." God "turns not away the face of his anointed," but accepts the costly offering. God himself "arises into his rest," and makes his presence visible from the mercy-seat (1 Kings 8:10, 11; 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14). Verse 6. - Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah. "It" is probably "the ark" - not yet mentioned, but a main object of the writer's thoughts; and "Ephratah" is the district south and west of Jerusalem, in which both Bethlehem and Kirjath-jearim were situated. And found it in the fields of the wood; rather, in the fields of Jaar. "Jaar" is a contracted and poetic name for Kirjath-jearim, where the ark remained from its return out of the country of the Philistines till David transferred it to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 13:5-13).
We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
Verse 7. - We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. The transfer is regarded as accomplished, and the worship as re-established, which had been intermitted while the ark was at Kirjath-jearim.
Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
Verse 8. - Arise, O Lord, into thy rest. Another transfer, but into the place of final "rest." The words are a quotation from 2 Chronicles 8:41, and were uttered originally by Solomon at the close of his long dedication prayer. Thou, and the ark of thy strength. The quotation continues. God is regarded as entering the temple, and taking possession of it, in and with the ark.
Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
Verse 9. - Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness. In 2 Chronicles the expression used is "with salvation" - salvation being the effect, whereof "righteousness" is the cause. And let thy saints shout for joy. 2 Chronicles has, "rejoice in goodness," i.e. rejoice in God's goodness to them. There is no other sufficient reason for great joy.
For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
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."
The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
Verses 11-18. - God's oath of promise to David. This passage is based mainly on 2 Samuel 7:11-16, but contains likewise expressions which seem taken from other psalms, as Psalm 48:1, 2; Psalm 68:16; Psalm 89:3, 4; Psalm 147:14. The chief promise is that of a special "fruit of his body" to be "set upon his throne" (ver. 11) and to reign in Zion forever (vers. 13, 14). Verse 11. - The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David (comp. Psalm 89:3, 35). He will not turn from it. So it is said of another Divine oath, "The Lord sware, and will not repent" (Psalm 110:4). Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne (see 2 Samuel 7:12; Acts 2:30).
If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
Verse 12. - If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne forevermore (comp. 2 Samuel 7:14-16, where the conditional character of the promises made to David is also apparent).
For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
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).
This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
Verse 14. - This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it (comp. Psalm 68:16).
I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
Verse 15. - I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. Literally, this seems to point to the blessing of abundance of food. Spiritually, it may be a promise of ample spiritual sustenance.
I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
Verse 16. - I will also clothe her priests with salvation (comp. ver. 9). More is pro-raised than was asked for. And her saints shall shout aloud for joy. Here, too, the promise goes beyond the request in ver. 9.
There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
Verse 17. - There will I make the horn of David to bud. The "horn of David" budded most gloriously when "a rod came forth out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch grew out of his roots, and the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him" (Isaiah 11:1, 2) - in other words, when Messiah appeared, and re-established the Davidian kingdom, which thenceforth has endured, and will endure for ever. I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. The metaphor is changed; but the idea is the same. Christ's coming shed a glory on David's house, and on the temple, and on David himself, such as had never previously illumined them. David is often promised "a lamp" (1 Kings 11:36; 1 Kings 15:4; 2 Kings 8:19; 2 Chronicles 21:7). In Christ the lamp was given.
His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.
Verse 18. - His enemies will I clothe with shame. David's "enemies" are those who oppress his "Seed," and will not have him to reign over them. All such will be "confounded and put to shame" (Psalm 35:4), "clothed with shame and dishonor" (Psalm 35:26). But upon himself shall his crown flourish. The true and the final Davidic representative is Christ, who "remaineth a King forever" (Psalm 29:10). On him his crown will ever flourish.