on Psalms 84 :10
A day in thy courts is better than a thousand - Not only better than one thousand in captivity, as the Chaldee states, but any where else. For in God's courts we meet with God the King, and are sure to have what petitions we offer unto him through his Christ.
I had rather be a doorkeeper - O what a strong desire does this express for the ordinances of God! Who now prefers the worship of God to genteel, gay, honorable, and noble company, to mirthful feasts, public entertainments, the stage, the oratorio, or the ball! Reader, wouldst thou rather be in thy closet, wrestling in prayer, or reading the Scriptures on thy knees, than be at any of the above places? How often hast thou sacrificed thy amusement, and carnal delight, and pleasures, for the benefit of a pious heart-searching sermon? Let conscience speak, and it will tell thee.
on Psalms 84 :10
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand - Better - happier - more profitable - more to be desired - than a thousand days spent elsewhere. That is, I should find more happiness - more true joy - in one day spent in the house of God, in his worship, in the exercises of true religion - more that will be satisfactory to the soul, and that will be dwelt on with pleasure in the memory when life is coming to a close - than I could in a thousand days spent in any other manner. This was much for a man like David - or a man who had been encompassed with all the splendor of royalty - to say; it is much for any man to say. And yet it could be said with truth by him; it can be said with equal truth by others; and when we come to the end of life - to the time when we shall review the past, and ask where we have found most true happiness, most that was satisfactory to the soul, most that we shall delight then to dwell on and to remember, most that we should be glad to have repeated and perpetuated, most that would be free from the remembrance of disappointment, chagrin, and care - it will not be the banqueting hall - the scenes of gaiety - the honors, the praises, the flatteries of people - or even the delights of literature and of the social circle - but it will be the happy times which we shall have spent in communion with God - the times when in the closet we poured out our hearts to Him - when we bowed before him at the family altar, when we approached him in the sanctuary. The sweetest remembrances of life will be the sabbath and the exercises of religion.
I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God - Margin," I would choose rather to sit at the threshold." The verb used here is derived from a noun signifying sill or threshold, and it would seem to mean here to stand on the threshold; to be at the door or the entrance, even without the privilege of entering the house: I would prefer that humble place to a residence within the abodes of the wicked. The verb here used occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures. The exact idea is not, as would seem from our translation, to keep the door, as in the capacity of a sexton or servant, but that of occupying the sill - the threshold - the privilege of standing there, and looking in, even if he was not permitted to enter. It would be an honor and a privilege to be anywhere about the place of public worship, rather than to be the occupant of a dwelling-place of sin.
Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness - The word "tents" here is equivalent to dwellings. It is used because it was so common in early periods to dwell in tents; and hence, the word was employed to denote a dwelling in general. The emphasis here is very much on the word "in:" - he would prefer standing at the door of the house of worship to dwelling within the abodes of the wicked - that is, to being admitted to intimacy with those who occupy such dwellings - however splendid, rich, and gorgeous, those abodes might be.
on Psalms 84 :10
84:10 Than dwell - In the greatest glory and plenty.