In the volume of the book - ספר במגלת bimegillath sepher, "in the roll of the book." Anciently, books were written on skins, and rolled up. Among the Romans, these were called volumina, from volvo, I roll; and the Pentateuch in the Jewish synagogues is still written in this way. There are two wooden rollers; on one they roll on, on the other they roll off, as they proceed in reading. One now lying before me, written on vellum, is two feet two inches in breadth and one hundred and two feet long. To roll and unroll such a MS. was no easy task, and to be managed must lie flat on a table. This contains the Pentateuch only, and is without points, or any other Masoretic distinction. The book mentioned here must be the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses; for, in David's time no other part of Divine revelation had been committed to writing. This whole book speaks about Christ, and his accomplishing the will of God, not only in "the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent," and "in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;" but in all the sacrifices and sacrificial rites mentioned in the law.
Then said I - In Hebrews 10:7, the apostle applies this to the Messiah. See the notes at that verse. This is the most simple and satisfactory interpretation of the passage. The word “then” in this verse means, “since this is the case;” or, “things being thus.” It does not refer to time, but to the condition of things. “Since it was certain that the work needful to be done could not be accomplished by bloody offerings - the sacrifice of animals - under these circumstances I said;” that is, I resolved or purposed to come.
Lo, I come - It is difficult to see how this could be applied to David; it is easy to see how it could be applied to the Messiah. When all bloody offerings under the law - all the sacrifices which men could make - did not avail to put away sin, it was true of the Messiah that he came into the world to perform a higher work that would meet the case - a lofty work of obedience, extending even unto death, Philemon 2:8. This is precisely the use which the apostle makes of the passage in Hebrews 10:7, and this is clearly the most obvious meaning. It is in no sense applicable to David; it is fully applicable to the Messiah.
In the volume of the book - literally, “in the roll of the book.” See the notes at Luke 4:17. The phrase would most naturally denote the “scroll of the law;” but it might include any volume or roll where a record or prophecy was made. In a large sense it would embrace all that had been written at the command of God at the time when this was supposed to be spoken. That is, as spoken by the Messiah, it would include all the books of the Old Testament. See the notes at Hebrews 10:7.
It is written of me - It is recorded; or, there is a record made of me; to wit, in this respect, that his great delight would be to do the will of God. The proper interpretation of this expression must he, that there must be some record to be found in the “book” or” volume” referred to, which was designed to describe him in this respect, or which had an original reference to him. The meaning is not that there was a general record on the point of obedience which might be applied to him as well as to others, but that the record was intended to be applied to him, and to describe his character. This is one of the passages in the Psalms which cannot with any propriety be applied to David himself. There was no such antecedent record in regard to him; no statement in any “book” or “volume” that this would be his character. There is no promise - no intimation - in any of the books of Scripture written before the time of David that he would come to do the will of God with a view to effect that which could not be done by the sacrifices and offerings under the law.
The reference of the language, therefore, must be to the Messiah - to some place where it is represented or affirmed that he would come to accomplish by his obedience what could not be done by the sacrifices and oblations made under the law. Thus understood, and regarded as the language of the Messiah himself, the reference might be to all the books of the Old Testament (for all were completed before he came), and not merely to those which had been written in the time of David. But still, it is true that no such declaration, in so many words, can now be found in any of those books; and the meaning must be that this was the language which was everywhere implied respecting the Messiah; that this was the substance of the description given of him; that this characterized his work as predicted there; to wit, that when all sacrifices and offerings under the law failed; when they had all shown that they were not efficacious to put away sin, One would come to perform some higher work that would be effectual in putting away transgression, and that this work might, in the highest sense, be described as “obedience,” or as “doing the will of God.” This was true. The language and the institutions of the Old Testament contemplated him as the One who only could put away sin. The entire spirit of the Mosaic economy supposed that a Saviour would come to do the will of God by making an atonement for the sin of the world. The meaning then is, “I come to do thy will in making an atonement, for no other offering would expiate sin; that I would do this, is the language of the Scriptures in predicting my coming, and of the whole spirit and design of the ancient dispensation.”
Nearly two thousand years ago, a voice of mysterious import was heard in heaven, from the throne of God, “Lo, I come.” “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me.... Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.” Hebrews 10:5-7. In these words is announced the fulfillment of the purpose that had been hidden from eternal ages. Christ was about to visit our world, and to become incarnate. He says, “A body hast Thou prepared Me.” Had He appeared with the glory that was His with the Father before the world was, we could not have endured the light of His presence. That we might behold it and not be destroyed, the manifestation of His glory was shrouded. His divinity was veiled with humanity,—the invisible glory in the visible human form. DA 23.1
This great purpose had been shadowed forth in types and symbols. The burning bush, in which Christ appeared to Moses, revealed God. The symbol chosen for the representation of the Deity was a lowly shrub, that seemingly had no attractions. This enshrined the Infinite. The all-merciful God shrouded His glory in a most humble type, that Moses could look upon it and live. So in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, God communicated with Israel, revealing to men His will, and imparting to them His grace. God's glory was subdued, and His majesty veiled, that the weak vision of finite men might behold it. So Christ was to come in “the body of our humiliation” (Philippians 3:21, R. V.), “in the likeness of men.” In the eyes of the world He possessed no beauty that they should desire Him; yet He was the incarnate God, the light of heaven and earth. His glory was veiled, His greatness and majesty were hidden, that He might draw near to sorrowful, tempted men. DA 23.2
God commanded Moses for Israel, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8), and He abode in the sanctuary, in the midst of His people. Through all their weary wandering in the desert, the symbol of His presence was with them. So Christ set up His tabernacle in the midst of our human encampment. He pitched His tent by the side of the tents of men, that He might dwell among us, and make us familiar with His divine character and life. “The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.” John 1:14, R. V., margin. DA 23.3Read in context »
The work of Christ on earth was hastening to a close. Before Him, in vivid outline, lay the scenes whither His feet were tending. Even before He took humanity upon Him, He saw the whole length of the path He must travel in order to save that which was lost. Every pang that rent His heart, every insult that was heaped upon His head, every privation that He was called to endure, was open to His view before He laid aside His crown and royal robe, and stepped down from the throne, to clothe His divinity with humanity. The path from the manger to Calvary was all before His eyes. He knew the anguish that would come upon Him. He knew it all, and yet He said, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the Book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:7, 8. DA 410.1Read in context »