What does Psalm 63:2 mean?
ESV: So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
NIV: I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
NASB: So have I seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and glory.
CSB: So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.
NLT: I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory.
KJV: To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
NKJV: So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.
Verse Commentary:
At the beginning of Absalom's rebellion (2 Samuel 15:13–14), David and a group of loyal followers evacuated through the wilderness and across the Jordan river. This dry, hungry, fearful trip inspired the words of this psalm. While fleeing, David recalls his worship in the tabernacle. This was the resting place of the ark of the covenant and the center of Israel's worship before the building of the temple (Exodus 25:8–9). The various components of the tabernacle, including the ark (Exodus 25:10–22), symbolized the divine nature of God. The ark was the focal point of God's presence, and it evoked His power and glory.

Before he was a fugitive, David had returned the ark to its rightful place in the tabernacle at Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:1—7:1). When David fled, priests followed with the ark; but David told them to return it to Jerusalem. He trusted that "if I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place" (2 Samuel 15:25). Even so, David was separated from the tangible symbol of God's glory and love for Israel (Psalm 27:4). Years before, during the time of Israel's priest and judge Eli, Philistines captured the ark. Upon hearing the bad news, Eli fell over backward from his seat, broke his neck, and died (1 Samuel 4:17–18). Hearing news of this and her husband's death caused Eli's daughter-in-law to go into labor. She named the baby Ichabod, meaning the glory has departed (1 Samuel 4:19–22).
Verse Context:
Psalm 63:1–4 expresses David's intense desire to experience God's presence and fellowship. David wrote these words while fleeing from enemies through a parched, uninhabited area (2 Samuel 16:14; 17:27–29). He compares his yearning for fellowship with God to his intense hunger and thirst. David vows to praise God forever because of the Lord's loyal love.
Chapter Summary:
David longs to know God the same way a man wishes for water and rest when wandering in the desert. Praise to God is as satisfying as eating rich foods. David trusts entirely in the Lord and His protection. The enemies who seek David's throne will be defeated; in his confidence David plans to rejoice when this occurs. This psalm was inspired by David's hasty retreat from Absalom's rebellion, through the wilderness (2 Samuel 17:27–29).
Chapter Context:
This song was inspired by David's experiences during the rebellion of his son, Absalom (2 Samuel 15:13–14). Other writings associated with this event include Psalms 3, 4, 5, 8, 41, and 62. When David evacuated Jerusalem, his traveling group made a difficult journey through dry, uninhabited wilderness areas (2 Samuel 16:14; 17:2, 27–29). The song creates a parallel between David's physical needs and his desire to reconnect with the Lord.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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