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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 93

Coffman's Commentaries on the BibleCoffman's Commentaries



As McCaw said, “If Jerusalem had an annual festival in which the Lord was especially worshipped as Creator-King, how suitable this psalm would be for use in it. But suitability does not constitute proof, and the psalm rather bears witness to the richness of the doctrine of God the Creator, as revealed in the Old Testament.”(F1)

It seems to be fashionable among present day scholars to speak of such annual festivals held by the Jews, one in particular, being a ceremonious “Enthronement of God as King.” We do not believe the Jews ever had any such festival. If they had such a thing, how could the nation’s principal authority, the Sanhedrin, have shouted before Pilate at the trial of Jesus Christ, “We have no king but Caesar?”

Kyle Yates, one of the translators of the RSV Old Testament, also questioned the reality of such alleged festivals.

“This psalm, along with Psalms 47, and Psalms 96-99 are usually called Royal Psalms or Enthronement Psalms. Mowinckel and others have done extensive research in an attempt to reconstruct an actual enthronement ceremony in connection with the New Year’s celebration… The positive evidence of such a practice is indeed slight.”(F2)

Additionally, the Old Testament has nothing that even suggests such a thing.

Verses 1-2

“Jehovah reigneth; he is clothed with majesty; Jehovah is clothed with strength; he hath girded himself therewith: The world also is established, And it cannot be moved. Thy throne is established of old. Thou art from everlasting.”

These verses present three consecutive affirmations:

(1) There is the statement that God reigns majestically in the security of unlimited strength (Psalms 93:1 a).

(2) Then there is the unmovable stability of the planet earth; and although the conclusion is not stated here, it is surely implied that the established world with its security and stability derives such qualities from the Creator-God who rules over everything (Psalms 93:1 b).

(3) “Thy throne… thou art” These words thunder the message that Israel is acquainted with the Great God and are able to address him in intimate terminology such as “Thy” and “Thou.” God’s people love to meditate upon such great truths of God as are stated here and are thus encouraged in their worship and adoration of their true King.

“Thy throne is established of old… from everlasting” The author of Hebrews listed the credentials of the King of Kings, namely Jesus Christ; and, of course, those credentials are the same as those of the “ruling Jehovah” in this passage. These are: (1) King by right of eternal existence; (2) by right of creation; (3) by right of personal excellence, “majesty and strength;” (4) by divine right; (5) by right of maintenance, “upholding all things by the word of his power”; (6) by right of purchase (This establishes God’s right to rule over humanity in that he purchased, or redeemed us, through the blood of His Son); and (7) by right of his present position on the Eternal Throne (God is not a mere pretender; his rulership is a fait accompli). “Jehovah reigneth” (Psalms 93:1).

Verses 3-4

“The floods have lifted up, O Jehovah, The floods have lifted up their voice; The floods lift up their waves Above the voice of many waters, The mighty breakers of the sea, Jehovah on high is mighty.”

“The floods… their voice… their waves… the mighty breakers of the sea” God’s enemies among the pagan Gentile nations are often described in the Old Testament as “floods.” Isaiah 8:7-8 is an outstanding example. “The floods here seem to mean the world powers, God’s enemies.”(F3)

Delitzsch also agreed with this.

“The sea with its mighty mass of waters, with the constant unrest of its waves, with its ceaseless pressing against the land and foaming against the rocks, is an emblem of the Gentile world alienated from God and at enmity against Him. The rivers (floods) are emblems of worldly kingdoms; the Nile stands for Egypt, the Tigris for Assyria, and the Euphrates for Babylon.”(F4)

“The mighty breakers of the sea” This writer was stationed once on the USS Midway (CVB-41), a mighty aircraft carrier, and we encountered a storm in the Arctic Ocean. The waves of the ocean reached a height of something like a hundred feet, and the terrible power of such mighty waves strikes fear into the hearts of all who ever witnessed them. Through the courtesy of Gene Hazen of the Washington D.C. television pool of reporters, we procured moving pictures of those mighty waves breaking over the bow of the Midway. These may still be viewed in the A.C.U. Library, in the documentary film released by the U.S. Navy, entitled “Exercise Mainbrace” (1952).

Those mighty waves crashed in the hanger door of our great ship and destroyed a couple of aircraft.

The sea metaphor of the evil populations of mankind appears also in the New Testament in Revelation 13, which depicts the great Scarlet Beast with seven heads and ten horns coming up out of the restless populations of the earth.

Before leaving these verses, we should note the fashion among some schools of commentators to find all kinds of Babylonian mythology in a passage like this. Our conviction is that they are finding what is definitely not in it. We do not believe that the Israelites were overly conscious of the mythology of their Babylonian captors. “In its theology, Israel was not half as much influenced by Babylonian mythology as many commentators are inclined to believe.”(F5)

“Jehovah on high is mighty” The adverb `above’ which stands at the head of Psalms 93:4 applies to this clause. Jehovah is on high above the thundering breakers of the mighty ocean. This is a beautiful way of saying that Jehovah reigns supremely above the roaring passions of earth’s wicked nations foaming out their hatred of God and their opposition to his kingdom.

Verse 5

“Thy testimonies are very sure: Holiness becometh thy house, O Jehovah forevermore.”

Here the psalm moves from the turbulent and rebellious nations of mankind and the absolute control over them by the reigning Jehovah to the calm security of eternal truth. Two tremendous lessons appear in this verse.

(1) First, is the absolute trustworthiness and truth of the Word of God. No matter what considerations may seem to point in another direction, God’s Word is always right. As an apostle stated it, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”

The “testimonies” here mentioned are of many kinds. There are warnings, instructions, commandments, promises, ordinances, prohibitions, prophecies and axioms of eternal truth; and all of them are to be trusted implicitly.

(2) The second great lesson here is that “holiness” or sanctity is alone appropriate for the house of God. The sacred fellowship of the family of God must not be defiled by wanton, lustful behavior. No person whomsoever can remain within the periphery of the grace of God who does not strive continually “to walk worthily of the saints.” Holiness is that quality, “without which no man shall see God.” The “cheap grace” featured in modern pulpits today seems to contradict this, but God’s Word can be trusted.

Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 93". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/psalms-93.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
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