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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 24

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

This psalm refers primarily to David's bringing the ark up to Zion (2 Samuel 6:1-15). This is the oldest of the Introit psalms (i:e., sung at the Temple entrance). God's absolute ownership of the world (as in Psalms 15:1-5), introduces the main subject. Zion's ancient doors typify heaven's everlasting doors (Psalms 24:1-10). God's ownership of the world, based on His creation of it (Psalms 24:1-2); who alone may ascend and dwell with so holy a God in His sanctuary?-The pure alone (Psalms 24:3-6); at the ark's entrance, the gates are called upon to exult at the entering in of the Lord of glory (Psalms 24:7-10). The earth is the Lord's. God makes a preliminary provision for the honour of His Divine Majesty, which might seem somewhat compromised by His manifesting His presence in a tabernacle made with hands. So in Isaiah 66:1, introductory to His manifestation in the millennial Zion. So at the dedication of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 8:27). The Lord's absolute ownership of the earth is utterly incompatible with the worship of any outward or inward idols (1 Corinthians 10:28).

The world, [ teebeel (H8398), the habitable world, oikoumenee; from yaabal (H2986), to bear fruit] is viewed in reference to its inhabitants, as "the earth" has with it "the fullness thereof" - i:e, all that it contains; all that fills it. Compare Isaiah 42:10; Amos 6:8 [ pleerooma (G4138)]. The Septuagint, prefix to the psalm 'On the first day of the week' [ tees (G3588) mias (G3391) toon (G3588) sabbatoon (G4521)]. It was sung usually on that day. So the rabbis say: thus, with unconscious propriety, the Jewish Church connected it with our Christian Sabbath. Christ, as the Instrumental Creator, is Proprietor of the earth. In spite of Satan's temporary usurpation, owing to Adam's forfeiture of man's inheritance, Christ is Lord of the earth, and, as the Second Adam, shall restore to man his rightful possession (Psalms 8:1-9; Colossians 1:16-19).

Verse 2

For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

Founded it upon the seas - rather, 'above the seas ... above the floods' (Genesis 1:9-10; Job 38:8; 2 Peter 3:6). Thereby He made it a dry and habitable world. Note, last clause, Psalms 24:1. It is the inhabited and replenished earth that Psalms 24:1-2 refer to. The sense is not, He, hath founded it on subterranean seas. "Founded" refers to its creation; "established," to its continuous preservation.

Verse 3

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

Who shall ascend? - i:e., Who shall really and spiritually ascend in worship into His earthly house now, and into His heavenly house hereafter? (cf. Psalms 15:1.) The question served to awaken the worshippers to penetrate more deeply than the outward pomp which attended the ascending of the ark, and to consider seriously and personally what are the inward requisites for true fellowship with such an Almighty Sovereign in His house, here and hereafter.

Who shall stand? - literally, 'arise' or 'rise up' ( quwm (H6965)). 'To, stand' as a minister attending at his sovereign's court is a different word, `aamad (H5975), (Psalms 134:1; Psalms 135:2; 1 Kings 17:1); to "ascend," and to "stand" or 'rise up' in the holy place of Yahweh, was the prerogative of Jesus first, who hath ascended once, "now to appear in the presence of God for us (Hebrews 9:24) By spiritual union with Him; we too shall ascend, and stand or rise up with Him. So Psalms 15:1. As ascend implies the first entrance, so stand implies permanent continuance in the presence God. The same Hebrew is used, Psalms 1:5, "The ungodly shall not stand in the continuance in the presence God. The same Hebrew is used, Psalms 1:5, "The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment."

Verse 4

He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

Clean hands, and a pure heart. As it is a kingdom of righteousness, the righteous alone shall inherit it (Isaiah 33:15-16). The pure in heart alone shall see Him who is purity itself (Matthew 5:8). Christ alone ascended by right of inherent purity; we ascend by virtue of His imputed righteousness. None are accounted righteous whose "hearts" are not "purified by faith" (Acts 15:9). Though no mere man hath the purity of perfection, every believer hath the purity that consists in singleness of eye - i:e., a sincere aim to purify himself as His Lord is pure (1 John 3:3). Outward cleanness of "hands" must be accompanied by inward purity of "heart."

Lifted up his soul to vanity. Since the Hebrew preposition(lª-) is different here from that ( 'el (H413)) in Deuteronomy 24:15; Hosea 4:8, margin, and the verb ( naasaa' (H5375)) is the same as ( yisaa' (H5375)) "receive," or take, in Psalms 24:5, translate, 'He who hath not taken away his soul unto vanity'-i,e., falsehood; and answering '(sworn) in deceit.' The idea is not that of lifting up the soul to an idol, but taking and setting the heart of some object (cf. Revelation 22:15).

Nor sworn. From the soul loving falsehood. he passes to the tongue swearing in deceit. There is a reference to Exodus 20:7, "Thou shalt not take (the same Hebrew as here) the name of the Lord thy God in vain" - i:e., in support of a lie (the same Hebrew, lashaaw' (H7723), as that translated "to vanity" here).

Verse 5

He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

He shall receive the blessing - `He shall take the blessing from the Lord,' even as 'he hath not taken his soul unto vanity' (note, Psalms 24:4). A tacit refutation of the idea of inherent efficacy in the benedictions, whether of the priest or the king (2 Samuel 6:18), independently of the religious state, of the persons.

Righteousness. "The blessing" is parallel to "righteousness." It is a blessed, gift of grace, not a debt due to the righteous. "The God of his salvation" having first freely justified him by Messiah's imputed righteousness, then imparts to him the inherent righteousness of sanctification, and finally shall bestow "the crown of righteousness" (2 Timothy 2:8), whereby righteousness shall be made its own reward (Revelation 22:11, end).

Verse 6

This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

The generation of them that seek - i:e., that seek to be among the true sons of Jacob, a seeker after God, and so a representative head of the Church. As to the "face" of Jacob, whom true Israelites look up to as a spiritual father, cf. Isaiah 29:22. But the parallelism of "seek Him" and "seek thy face, O Jacob," would hardly be theologically correct. For seeking Jacob, a man, though representing Church, cannot stand, on a similar footing with seeking God. Rather, 'This is the generation of them that reverence, Him; they that seek thy face, (O God, are) Jacob' - i:e., wrestling suppliants before Gods "face" (Genesis 32:30; Hosea 12:4). The Hebrew for the former "seek" is not the same as that for the latter. The first ( daarash (H1875)) means to diligently regard or reverence; the latter ( baaqash (H1245)) is to "seek." Others may be descendants of Jacob after the flesh; they alone are his true sons who, like him, are reverent seekers after God's face in the way of holiness (Romans 2:28). Margin, ellipsis is harsh, 'that seek thy face, (O God of) Jacob:' though 2 MSS. of Kennicott and the Syriac support it. The Arabic, Ethiopic, and the Septuagint read, 'that seek the face of the God of Jacob.' The English version may be retained with slight change-`This is the generation of them that reverently seek Him, that seek thy face (being the true) Jacob.' The sudden address to God, "that seek thy face," gives emphasis to the sentiment as declared before God Himself.

Verse 7

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

As the ark in the procession draws near the gates of Zion, David calls on them to open to receive the King of Glory.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates - i:e., Be elated with the high honour which you have, in the entrance through you of God's own ark. Not, as Grotius thinks, alluding to a kind of portcullis [katarraktai] which is opened by being lifted up; because the expression is, Lift up your heads, which is evidently a poetical personification. The ark was accompanied with the presence of Yahweh Himself. Its settlement marked a new era in God's relations to His people (1 Samuel 6:1; 1 Samuel 6:21; 2 Samuel 6:2). His presence, symbolized by the ark, ensures their safety (Numbers 10:35-36).

Verse 8

Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

Who is this King of glory? The question is put in order to lend the people seriously to ask it, and so to ponder upon the true answer.

The Lord strong and mighty - therefore, one who can and will save His people, and punish His and their enemies. So David experienced Him in the battle with Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45; 1 Samuel 17:47).

Verse 9

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Lift up your heads. The repetition of Psalms 24:7 is to bring out with greater emphasis the might of the Lord as "the Lord of hosts."

Verse 10

Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

The Lord of hosts - rather, as 'Yahweh' (Hebrew for "the Lord") is not usually made to govern the genitive in this way, 'Yahweh (the God) of hosts.' As an intensification of the idea in the corresponding Psalms 24:8, we must there take "the Lord mighty in battle" as referring to His Almighty power on earth; but here "The Lord of hosts," as referring to His Almighty Lordship over both the material starry hosts, and the spiritual hosts of angels in heaven. Sabeanism, or the worship of 'the hosts (sabaoth) of heaven'-the sun, moon, and stars-must give place to Yahweh, the Lord of Sabaoth.

The concluding verse confirms the opening verse. His being Lord of the earth is established by His most glorious attribute of power, His Lordship over the heavens.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-24.html. 1871-8.
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