Psalm 132 – Habitation of Jehovah in Zion & Historians in the Ancient World

A Song of degrees.

1 LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions:

2 How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;

3 Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;

4 I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,

5 Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.

6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.

7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.

8 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.

9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.

10 For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.

11 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.

12 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.

13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.

14 This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.

15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.

16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.

17 There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.

18 His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.

The happiness of brotherly love and concord.  Living a life to experience Christ specifically for the church as God’s chosen and desired dwelling place.

Historians in the Ancient World 

The poet of Psalm 132 looked back to the covenant with David and to the history of the ark of the covenant as the basis for his prayer – a reflection that the Bible is rooted in history, not theology divorced from human events and cultures.

The works of ancient historians, because they provide context, are of great value in Biblical studies.  Important historians include:

Herodotus of Halicarnassus (c 484-425 B.C.):
His great work is called the Historia (“investigation”).

An account of the wars between the Greeks and Persians, his work includes other stories as well, including an interesting, if not fully credible, account of ancient Egyptian culture.

 

Thucydides (c 460-400 B.C.):
Perhaps the greatest ancient historian, this Greek general wrote a lucid and gripping account of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) between the Athenians and the Spartan alliance.

His work, which models scrupulous research and careful writing, has survived intact but ends abruptly.

Manetho:
Manetho, an Egyptian priest who lived during the reign of Ptolemy (305-282 B.C.), compiled a history of Egypt.  Unfortunately, his work has survived only in fragments, as quoted by other ancient writers (e.g., Josephus and Eusebius).  His division of Egyptian into 30 dynasties is still followed.

 

Berosus: The first true historian of the Mesopotamian region was this Babylonian priest.  In about 290 B.C. he authored three books in Greek on Babylonian history.

Berosus’s history also survives only in pieces, as cited by Josephus and Eusebius.  His original work covered the history of the region from the mythological past to the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians.

 

Demetrius the Chronographer (3rd century B.C.):
Demetrius, a Jewish historian, recorded the history of his people, focusing on Biblical Israel background and to resolve exegetical difficulties.  His work too survives only in fragments.

 

 

 

 

Flavius Josephus (c A.D. 37-100):
Josephus was the most famous Jewish historian (this is the same one mentioned above).  His History of the Jewish War, describing the A.D. 66-70 war between Judea and Rome, ranks with Thucydides’ history works.

Josephus, of a priestly background (a Pharisee), began the war as a combatant for the losing side.  He also wrote chronology of the Jewish people from earliest times to nearly A.D. 100 (Antiquities of the Jews). 

Josephus used the Septuagint as his primary source for the Biblical period but was also influenced by Hellenistic culture.  He is our chief source of information regarding Herod the Great, and he referred to John the Baptist, Jesus, and James, the brother of Jesus.

Polybius (c 200-118 B.C.):
Although a Greek, Polybius was the greatest historian of early Rome.  His history is a major source for the study of the Punic Wars (Rome vs. Carthage).

 

 

Publius Cornelius Tacitus (c A.D. 56-120):
Tacitus was the primary historian of the Roman Empire.  His Histories and Annals focus on the imperial history of the 1st century A.D.

 

 

Dio Cassius (died c A.D. 229):
His work described the history of Rome from it’s founding to the time of Alexander Severus (A.D. 222-235).  Unfortunately, much of it has been lost.

 

Suetonius (c A.D. 69-112):
Suetonius (The Lives of the Caesars) wrote a biography of the early Roman emperors.

 

 

 

Plutarch (c A.D. 46-119):
Another biographer, he authored the Parallel Lives of Famous Greeks and Romans, a valuable resource for Greek and Roman history.