This psalm, at first sight, seems from comparison with 2 Chronicles 6 to be a hymn of Solomon’s, or of his age, in commemoration of the completion and dedication of the Temple. What, however, makes such an obvious conjecture at once suspicious is that David, and not Solomon himself, should figure as the founder and builder of the Temple. Beyond question the psalm is ideal in its treatment of the history, and it is just conceivable that Solomon, who in 2 Chronicles 6 is so careful to draw a contrast between his father’s project and his own accomplishment of that project, might in a poem have been entirely silent as to his share in the work. A poet of his court would hardly have been so reticent. It is, however hardly credible that Solomon would have blended incidents belonging only to the history of the ark with those relating to the building of his own Temple. Altogether Psalm 132:6 clears up only as we take a more and more distant standpoint from the incidents it notes. A very late poet might easily refer the Temple altogether to David, and see in the removal of the ark a step in a prepared design. Other indications, pointing to the Asmonean dynasty as that in whose honour the poem was composed, are alluded to in the notes. The parallelism is very marked, and well sustained.
(3) Tabernacle.—We have in the mention of tent either a reminiscence of the old nomadic times of the race, or an allusion to David’s own wandering and warlike habits.
Tabernacles.—Better, habitation, as in Psalm 132:5, where the same word is used. The plural occurs also in Psalm 84:1. These words do not, as the last verse, recall an incident of the past, but express the determination of the present. The result of David’s project is that the present generation have a place of worship. It does not detract from this explanation to refer the psalm to post-exile times, and to the second Temple, since the fact of the existence of a temple at any time could be poetically ascribed to David.
His footstool.—See on Psalm 99:5.
(8) Ark of thy strength.—See the reference in Chronicles. The expression occurs nowhere else but in Psalm 78:61, where the word strength by itself denotes the ark. The technical word ark nowhere else occurs in the psalms. For strength the LXX. and Vulg. have “sanctification.”
Possibly the priestly garments are mentioned, not only as symbolic of righteousness, but also as investing whoever possessed them, with supremacy political as well as religious. This is rendered more probable by the express mention of the diadem below (Psalm 132:18, see Note). “Whoever had these, the priestly paraphernalia, in his possession, had virtually the appointment to the office (high priest)” (Stanley, J. C. iii. 353). But if so, the Vulgate of the verse, in the form it has passed from the Breviary into Anglican worship, has amply recovered for the verse its larger and deeper spiritual intention: “Endue Thy ministers with righteousness, and make Thy chosen people joyful.”
Saints—chasîdîm. Here very possibly technical of the party so called in the Maccabæan period. (See Note, Psalm 16:10.)
I have ordained a lamp.—Or, I have trimmed a lamp; the word used in connection with the sacred lights, under the express charge of Aaron and his sons (Exodus 27:21; Leviticus 24:2-3). But with this distinctly sacerdotal allusion we must also combine the special allusion to the Davidic dynasty, according to the promise (1 Kings 11:36): “That David my servant may have a light (or, lamp, as here) always before me in Jerusalem.”