Prayer for the LORD’S Blessing upon the Sanctuary. A Song of Ascents.
1 Remember, O LORD, on David’s behalf,
All (A)his affliction;
2 How he swore to the LORD
And vowed to (B)the Mighty One of Jacob,
3 “Surely I will not [a]enter (C)my house,
Nor [b]lie on my bed;
4 I will not (D)give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
5 Until I find a (E)place for the LORD,
[c]A dwelling place for (F)the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6 Behold, we heard of it in (G)Ephrathah,
We found it in the (H)field of [d]Jaar.
7 Let us go into His [e](I)dwelling place;
Let us (J)worship at His (K)footstool.
8 (L)Arise, O LORD, to Your (M)resting place,
You and the ark of Your (N)strength.
9 Let Your priests be (O)clothed with righteousness,
And let Your (P)godly ones sing for joy.
10 For the sake of David Your servant,
Do not turn away the face of Your (Q)anointed.
11 The LORD has (R)sworn to David
A truth from which He will not turn back:
“(S)Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.
12 “If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I will teach them,
Their sons also shall (T)sit upon your throne forever.”
13 For the LORD has (U)chosen Zion;
He has (V)desired it for His habitation.
14 “This is My (W)resting place forever;
Here I will (X)dwell, for I have desired it.
15 “I will abundantly (Y)bless her provision;
I will (Z)satisfy her needy with bread.
16 “Her (AA)priests also I will clothe with salvation,
And her (AB)godly ones will sing aloud for joy.
17 “There I will cause the (AC)horn of David to spring forth;
I have prepared a (AD)lamp for Mine anointed.
18 “His enemies I will (AE)clothe with shame,
But upon himself his (AF)crown shall shine.”
a. Psalm 132:3 Lit come into the tabernacle of
b. Psalm 132:3 Lit go up into the couch of
c. Psalm 132:5 Lit Dwelling places
d. Psalm 132:6 Or the wood
e. Psalm 132:7 Lit dwelling places
A. Psalm 132:1 : Gen 49:24; 2 Sam 16:12
B. Psalm 132:2 : Gen 49:24; Is 49:26; 60:16
C. Psalm 132:3 : Job 21:28
D. Psalm 132:4 : Prov 6:4
E. Psalm 132:5 : 1 Kin 8:17; 1 Chr 22:7; Ps 26:8; Acts 7:46
F. Psalm 132:5 : Ps 132:2
G. Psalm 132:6 : Gen 35:19; 1 Sam 17:12
H. Psalm 132:6 : 1 Sam 7:1
I. Psalm 132:7 : Ps 43:3
J. Psalm 132:7 : Ps 5:7; 99:5
K. Psalm 132:7 : 1 Chr 28:2
L. Psalm 132:8 : Num 10:35; 2 Chr 6:41; Ps 68:1
M. Psalm 132:8 : Ps 132:14
N. Psalm 132:8 : Ps 78:61
O. Psalm 132:9 : Job 29:14
P. Psalm 132:9 : Ps 30:4; 132:16; 149:5
Q. Psalm 132:10 : Ps 2:2; 132:17
R. Psalm 132:11 : Ps 89:3, 35
S. Psalm 132:11 : 2 Sam 7:12-16; 1 Chr 17:11-14; 2 Chr 6:16; Ps 89:4; Acts 2:30
T. Psalm 132:12 : Luke 1:32; Acts 2:30
U. Psalm 132:13 : Ps 48:1, 2; 78:68
V. Psalm 132:13 : Ps 68:16
W. Psalm 132:14 : Ps 132:8
X. Psalm 132:14 : Ps 68:16; Matt 23:21
Y. Psalm 132:15 : Ps 147:14
Z. Psalm 132:15 : Ps 107:9
AA. Psalm 132:16 : 2 Chr 6:41; Ps 132:9
BB. Psalm 132:16 : 2 Chr 6:41; Ps 132:9
CC. Psalm 132:17 : Ezek 29:21; Luke 1:69
DD. Psalm 132:17 : 1 Kin 11:36; 15:4; 2 Kin 8:19; 2 Chr 21:7; Ps 18:28
EE. Psalm 132:18 : Job 8:22; Ps 35:26; 109:29
FF. Psalm 132:18 : Ps 21:3
- Is recited following Mincha between Sukkot and Shabbat Hagadol.
- Verses 8-10 are among those recited as the Torah scroll is placed in the ark.
- Verse 13 is the fourteenth verse of Yehi Kivod on Pesukei Dezimra.
- Adaptions of the psalm have also appeared in various hymnals, including The Sabbath Hymn Book:
“Arise, Oh Lord, into thy rest;
Thou, and the ark -- of thy strength.
Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness;
And let thy saints shout -- for -- joy.
For thy servant David’s sake,
Turn not away the face of thine anointed.
For the Lord hath chosen Zion;
He hath desired it for his habitation.
This is my rest for-ever:
Here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless her provision:
I will satisfy her poor -- with -- bread.
I will also clothe her priests with salvation:
And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.”
This Psalm is symmetrical in structure. The first ten verses deal with David’s promise to God to build Him a house in Jerusalem; the remaining verses deal with God’s promise to David to build a house (dynasty) for him.
GOD’S COVENANT WITH DAVID
I. DAVID’S OATH RECORDED BY THE LORD (132:1-10)
A. A Reminder of David’s Sincerity (132:1-6)
1. David’s Afflictions (132:1)
2. David’s Affirmations (132:2-6)
a. Wording of the Pledge (132:2-5)
David promised he would be:
1. Truthful in His Promise (132:2)
2. Tireless in His Purpose (132:3-4)
3. Triumphant in His Performance (132:5)
b. Witnesses to the Pledge (132:6-7)
B. A Request for David’s Sake (132:8-10)
The matter of:
1. A Finished Work (132:8)
2. A Faltering Worship (132:9)
3. A Fervent Wish (132:10)
II. DAVID’S OATH RECIPROCATED BY THE LORD (132:11-18)
A. The Promise Regarding the Scepter (132:11-12)
1. The Lord’s Integrity (132:11a)
2. The Lord’s Intention (132:11b-12)
B. The Promise Regarding the Sanctuary (132:13-15)
1. A Selected Place (132:13)
2. A Sacred Place (132:14)
3. A Satisfying Place (132:15)
C. The Promise Regarding the Saints (132:16)
D. The Promise Regarding the Site (132:17-18)
A central point for:
1. Vitality (132:17)
2. Victory (132:18)
This psalm is neither a prayer of supplication nor a hymn, although it includes some requests to the Lord and quotes verbatim oracles from the same Lord. Like some hymns, it is composed of three strophes Strophe: Strophe I, Strophe II, and Strophe III. The poem ends with four bicola that stress the significance of the Lord’s revelation of his intent. Each strophe is divided in two substrophes. One tricolon Tricolon appears to stress the oracular declaration of the Lord’s oath to David. The meter is generally regular (3+3), with one emphatic tricolon (the oath to David) and the promise to cause a horn, symbol of success, to flourish upon David and his dynasty (4+3). The placing of this psalm among the Songs of Ascents Song of Ascents may well indicate that pilgrims marching to Jerusalem were eager to connect the two themes: Zion and David’s dynasty.
Strophe I: David’s Oath to the Lord
The initial part of Strophe I is a liturgical appeal for the Lord to “remember” David and his painful afflictions. “Remember,” when applied to God, is a sort of euphemism for “Pay attention” (Neh 5:19; Pss 25:6 ff.; 74:2, 18, 22; 89:47, 50). Psalm 132, sung by different voices, may have been composed for some cultic ceremonial not mentioned elsewhere in the literature of Israel or Judah. Such a ceremony perhaps implied by the Deuteronomic stories of 2 Samuel 6 and 7, may have been a covenant festival, a Zion festival, or an enthronement festival, any one of which perhaps was celebrated annually on the first day of Sukkoth (Tabernacles). Any one of these hypotheses is possible, but no demonstration has so far been convincing.
The “hardships” endured by David may have been the long struggle with King Saul’s forces, or the difficulties David encountered in bringing the ark to Jerusalem (2 Sam 6:6-15; 1 Chr 15:5-14). According to legendary traditions, which contain elements of historical truth, the king made a vow to the Lord that he would select a place of “rest” for “the Mighty One of Jacob.” This designation of Yahweh, literally “the Bull,” seems to reflect, with other words, a northern origin of the psalm (cf. v. 5; also Pss 24:6; 44:4; 46:7, 11; 49:13; Isa 49:26; 50:16).
David’s vow to select a place of rest for the Lord was most probably related to the belief that Zion was the navel of the world. Claims to that effect had been made previously for the sanctuaries of Dan and Shechem, but Zion’s Rock was probably endowed with this significance by the Jebusites long before David finally conquered the fortress (2 Sam 4:5-9). Zion was David’s choice because he may have agreed with the Canaanite myth. Although this is not explicitly mentioned anywhere, the history of the temple in the book of Kings and the Prophets, for better or for worse, amply supports the hypothesis of the omphalos myth in Zion.
Strophe II: Zion and the Davidic Dynasty
The tenacity with which the kings of Judah and later the Jews, from the postexilic restoration to our day, have held the sacrality of Zion is affirmed by the poet of Psalm 132 with unusual eloquence. Choristers now sing corporately, as if they were the fathers who had discovered the uniqueness of the site. “Ephrathah” is most probably “Ephraim” (cf. Judg 12:5) rather than a designation of Bethlehem, where the ark was never kept, and “Jaar” seems to have been another name for Kiriath-jearim, where the ark was preserved for many years (1 Chr 13:5). As worshipers prostrate themselves before the ark – Yahweh’s footstool – priests are assembled.
In this psalm the ceremonial reflects a critical situation: the “Anointed,” namely, a king of the Davidic line and the semantic model in later years for the “Messiah” to come, is threatened with foreign or domestic opposition. The psalmist now moves forward from the time of David to a period within the centuries of the monarchy. He thus expresses his devotion to the king as the servant of the Lord.
At the same time Yahweh’s presence in the temple belongs to the deepest convictions of the singers. The Lord’s residence is real, in a mode that is never clearly formulated. God, the Lord of heaven and earth, “rests” or allows his “name” to be invoked in the sanctuary, but he remains untouchable and invisible. The ark brings sacramentally his power and his majesty.
Strophe III: Will David’s Sons Observe the Covenant?
During the centuries of the Davidic monarchy (960-587 B.C.E.), cultic prophets interpreted the demands of the Lord. Some of them asked for royal integrity and ethical rectitude for the government in tenure. This psalm holds that the Davidic Covenant is as conditional as the Sinai Covenant. It is not mythicized as eternal. It rests on a national standard of ethics to be applied in history.
Yet the utmost desire of the Lord is to dwell through some mode in Zion. The mode of this dwelling is not defined, but the motif of Presence is intermingled with the site of Zion and the behavior of both king and nation. The affinities of Psalm 132 to Nathan’s prophecy (2 Sam 7:4-16) and Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple (1 Kgs 8:23-33) have been noted.
Envoi: A Lamp and a Horn for the Anointed
The oracle announces the prosperity that will prevail in covenant, kingship, and Zion and cooperate amicably in a dynamic way. The covenant precepts remain unformulated. For an age when the Torah became more cultic law than an ethical guide, it would appear that the psalmist, the disciple of the great prophets, favors a self-offering in totality rather than the minutiae of food prohibitions and other practices, which were chiefly legal reactions against Canaanite rites.
The metaphor of a lamp as light, just as a symbol of successful maturity (1 Kgs 11:36 and 2 Kgs 8:19), coalesces with the virtues of royal government and mingles them as the secret of the covenant way, so that Israel may truly be a priestly kingdom for all the nations of the earth (Exod 19:5).
Date and Theology
Psalm 132 was apparently composed in preexilic times, during the reigns of the Davidic dynasty, but its use, by pilgrims marching toward Zion, confers upon it a theological firmness often absent in other royal psalms. God elects Israel to serve him; the king as well as the priests must be respectful of the link that unites the site of Zion to the Davidic dynasty.
The psalm is silent on the corrupting influence played by the myth of the omphalos. It required drastic action during the reform of Josiah (2 Kgs 23:4-15) and vitiated the alliance between the theological strictness of the great prophets and the monarchy during the long years of Judah’s agony before its final submission to the Babylonian army (587 B.C.E.).
Nevertheless, hope in ultimate salvation, not based on ritual legalism, became the raison de vivre advocated by this psalmist. The fervent attachment to the geographical sacrality of Zion prevented Judaism from following its vocation toward a worldwide spirituality.
- New American Standard Bible.
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 530
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 148
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 66
- Park, Phelps, Mason, Edwards Amasa, Austin, Lowell (1858). The Sabbath hymn book: for the service of song in the House of the Lord. Mason brothers.
- Phillips, John (2002). Exploring Psalms, Volume Two: An Expository Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.
- Terrien, Samuel (2003). The Psalms, Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. pp. 847–849.