Psalms 132 Commentary

Psalms 132-134 A house of prayer for Israel

A visit to the temple is a fitting occasion to recall the origins of the temple. David, with much difficulty, brought the ark (or covenant box) to Jerusalem with the aim of building God a house (132:1-5; cf. 2 Sam 6:3-13; 7:1-3; see also introductory notes to Psalm 24). Previously the ark had been at Kiriath- jearim, also known as Baale-judah and here called ‘the fields of Jaar’. David therefore went from Bethlehem (Ephrathah) to Kiriath-jearim to collect the ark and bring it to Jerusalem (6-9; see 2 Sam 6:2,14-19; 1 Chron 13:5).

Although David wanted to build God a house in Jerusalem, God wanted to do something far greater for David. God wanted to build David a house in Jerusalem; not a house of stone, but a line of royal descendants to rule from Zion where the living God dwelt (10-14; cf. 2 Sam 7:4-16). God would give his people all they needed for healthy lives, physically and spiritually (15-16). He would give the Davidic king power, prosperity, victory and glory (17-18).

The psalmist rejoices to see Israelites from all parts of the country worshipping together in unity in Jerusalem. He considers it a precious sight, having a pleasantness that he likens to the perfume of the sweet-smelling oils used to anoint Israel’s high priest. It has a freshness like the dew that falls on Mount Hermon (133:1-3).

At the end of the day’s festival activities, the worshippers wish the priests and Levites good-night on a note of praise to God (134:1-2). The priests and Levites respond by wishing the worshippers God’s blessing (3). This concludes the fifteen Songs of Ascents.

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