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Songs of Ascent- Psalm 132 Let us bring in the Ark

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posted on Nov, 26 2021 @ 05:01 PM
Psalm 132 is a very important ceremonial psalm evidently celebrating the occasion (2 Samuel ch6) when David set out to bring the ark of the Lord back into Jerusalem. In fact, reading between the lines, it might even preserve remnants of the ceremonies of that day.

Or two days. As we read in 2 Samuel, the journey of the ark was interrupted by the accident which occasioned the death of Uzzah, and there was an interval of three months before the project was completed.

It is easy to guess that the psalm must have had a place in the celebrations of the anniversary of the dedication of the temple. I’m convinced that the sequence of “Songs of Ascent” was used in the ceremonial of the second temple, and I’m inclined to think that most of them originate from that period. However, this particular psalm is so firmly focussed on the role of the kings that it must have roots, at least, in the ceremonial of the first temple. Its history may go back to the very day when David danced before the Lord.

V1 “Remember, O Lord, in David’s favour, all the hardships he endured.”
As we discover in the following verses, this refers to the hardships he endured in bringing back the ark. He is claiming the merit earned by that operation.

David swore a solemn oath that he would not go to bed and sleep, that he would not even enter his house again, until he had found a proper dwelling-place for [the ark representing the presence of] the Lord, the Mighty One of Jacob.

I suggest that this oath was a public declaration made on the day when David led the procession to collect the ark from Kiriath-Jearim, where it had settled after being returned by the Philistines. He would have gathered the people at the starting-point close to Jerusalem, and the announcement of this oath would have been the official beginning of the day’s events. “Now follow me, everyone.” It would have seemed like a very easy oath to make, because he would have been aware, of course, that he had already made arrangements to complete the task in one day. However, the three-month interruption would mean that the oath was not quite fulfilled according to plan.

V6 “Lo, we heard of it in Ephratah, we found it in the fields of Jaar.”
Ephratah is known for its association with Bethlehem. Jaar is usually taken as an abbreviation of Kiriath-Jearim. At first glance, this appears to say that WE were in Ephratah when we heard a report that the ark was in Jaar, which is where we found it. In other words, though everybody knew where the ark was located, they were acting out a “search” for it.

However, these two lines ought to be equivalent, according to the usual conventions of Hebrew poetry. They should be different ways of saying the same thing. So the verse makes more sense if Ephratah is a region, approximately south and west of Jerusalem, including both Bethlehem and Kiriath-jearim. Then the first line means “We had heard that the ark was in Ephratah””, and the second line locates it more specifically.

V7 “Let us go to his dwelling-place; let us worship at his footstool.”
This verse could have several different settings, even independently of its place in this psalm. It might even go back to the days of the tabernacle at Shiloh. It could have been used in the journey to “find and bring back the ark” described in 2 Samuel ch6. It would have been appropriate subsequently whenever people were on their way to worship in Jerusalem, or in Jerusalem as they went to worship in the temple.

V8 “Arise, O Lord, and go to thy resting-place, thou and the ark of thy might.”
I can think of at least three occasions when the people may have given this invitation.

Firstly, it was surely part of the ritual when the procession had found the ark at Kirith-Jearim and the Levites were about to take it up and carry it towards Jerusalem. Perhaps again on the final leg of the journey, after the unplanned interval.

Secondly, it would undoubtedly have been used again when Solomon dedicated his newly-built temple and the ark was brought into it.

Thirdly, it is likely that the whole psalm was being used annually, on the anniversary of the dedication of the temple. The original event took place in the “harvest-celebration” seventh month, which is now the month of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, etc. I imagine that the second temple was deliberately dedicated on the same date, so that the question of “Which anniversary do we celebrate?” would not have arisen.

It is even possible that there was an annual procession (at least in the time of the first temple) in which the ark was carried around the environs of Jerusalem before being returned to the temple. This could combine a post-harvest visit to the adjacent fields with a celebration of the original incoming of the ark. If the present psalm was being sung during this procession, then this verse could introduce the return leg of the journey.

Some such procession is implied by Psalm 24, which includes the question “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?” and then lays down what looks like a ritual dialogue between the priests accompanying the ark and the priests at the temple gate (vv7-10);
Ark-priests; Lift up your heads, O gates… that the king of glory may come in.
Gate-priests; Who is the king of glory?
Ark-priests [or both parties together); The Lord strong and mighty… He is the king of glory!

The rest of this psalm claims the promises of the Lord relating to his presence with his people.
If the priests are clothed with righteousness, so that they will judge the people and be safe guides around God’s law, then this will be a reason for the people to shout for joy.

V10 “Do not turn away the face of thy anointed one.” (RSV)
The original “anointed one”, in the time of the kingdom, was the current king of the house of David.
If the anointed one’s face was “turned away”, that would mean that he was failing to help and support his people (which the king does by providing justice and defending them against their enemies). Other translations have “Do not reject your anointed one”, as if the original expression was “Do not turn away your own face FROM him”, but (as far as I can tell) the RSV rendering seems to be following the Hebrew better.

Either way, here is a prayer that the institution of kingship should not be taken away from them. This prayer is made “for thy servant David’s sake.” They are asking the Lord to honour the oath to David which is summarised in the following verses. In 2 Samuel ch7, this oath follows the chapter in which David brings back the ark, because he then raises the question of building a temple. It is presented as the Lord’s response to that suggestion. So the two themes (the ark and the line of David) are very closely connected.

Perhaps vv13-18 are a later addition in the development of the psalm, because they transfer attention to the concept of Zion. It is Zion that is chosen by the Lord as a resting-place. It will be amply provided with food, and that includes the poor. Finally Vv16-18 give the Lord’s response, point by point, to the prayers of vv9-10.

posted on Nov, 26 2021 @ 05:05 PM
The above are my own independent thoughts on the psalm. Having got that far, I will now open up Weiser’s commentary to gain a different perspective, as I’ve been doing in the previous threads in this particular series.

Of course he follows the same obvious clues that this psalm is part of a “temple-dedication” ceremony.
In his theory, this dedication anniversary and the festival of the enthronement of the king came together as part of what he calls the Covenant Festival of Yahweh, with first beginnings probably going back to the annual festival of the Lord at Shiloh.

He relates the “hardships” to the political difficulty of establishing the Jerusalem temple’s monopoly, over against the traditional altars in the northern kingdom and the ancient rural altars in Judah.

He relates Ephratah to Shiloh, the original home of the ark. So v6 means “It used to be in Shiloh, then it moved to Jaar, before coming here.”

He points out what I had not spotted, that vv8-10 are quoted in 2 Chronicles ch6 as the climax of Solomon’s temple-dedication prayer. He suggests that v8 is a solemn appeal for the Lord to come down (from heaven) to his resting-place above the cherubim. “In that solemn moment the members of the congregation throw themselves to the ground before God, who is invisibly is present above the ark, and worship him in awe and adoration.”

Then the priests receive God’s “salvation” (the word of v16) and pass it on to the congregation, and the joy of the multitude comes from this revelation.

The oath is repeated in vv11-12 because this is a renewal of the covenant. BUT the reference to the choice of Zion shows that the ultimate ground of this covenant is not the faithfulness and obedience of men, but the election which God has decreed. So the worship of God is not inevitably bound up with the familiar sanctuary. God alone decides where he wants to appear and reveal his salvation. There is no guarantee of salvation in cultic technique or sacral tradition.

posted on Nov, 26 2021 @ 05:05 PM
Hear also what Matthew Henry saith.

He treats the psalm as Solomon’s address to God, when establishing the temple in pursuance of his father David’s oath, assuming that oath to have been about building a house for God. The “Shiloh” interpretation of Ephratah is followed here. Since Solomon is speaking, v10 is a prayer for God’s favour upon himself.

Naturally he relates the “sons of David” promise to Christ, and God’s choice of Zion to the gospel-church. That is how the promises of the last six verses are to be applied.

God promises blessings, first, for the life that now is. The earth shall yield her increase; where religion is set up, there shall be provision. There will be enough plenty even for the poor. This may also be understood spiritually, of the provision that is made for the soul in the word and ordinances. The poor in spirit will be satisfied with the bread of life. So v16 is talking about the blessings of the life to come, things pertaining to godliness.

Christ is the horn of salvation whom God has raised up and made to bud.
“I have ordained a lamp”. A lamp is a successor, because one lamp can be lit from another. By this means, David shall not want a man to stand before God. Christ is the lamp and light of the world. His crown shall endure to all eternity, and the crowns reserved for his faithful subjects are such that “fade not away”.

posted on Nov, 27 2021 @ 12:18 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

The ark of the covenant was found, it’s on YouTube in the cave of Jericho, where Gods blood 🩸 and water 💦 seeped into the cracks and drenched the arc with Christ’s blood during the crucifixion, sealing the new on top of the old, a new and everlasting 3rd covenant, for all time and God has Judged, about 2 months or 3 months ago, this is his unofficial grace period to repent and change your ways, also my Guardian Angel, St. Uriel guards the entrance to my tomb and the Garden 🪴 of a Eden my home, Amen.

It is the weapon, a babies toy, that will obliterate the Dulce doors, so my Father can get in there. InShAlla. Merry Christmas 🎄 congratulations 🥳 Alla Akbar, you get to go to Heaven, amen.

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