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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 96

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

Verse 1

O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.

Psalms 96:1-13 -Call to the earth to sing a nmw song to Yahweh (Psalms 96:1-3): He is in majesty, strength and beauty, worthy of this (Psalms 96:4-6); triple call to give Him glory and worship (Psalms 96:7-9); all who have heard that Yahweh has assumed the kingdom are to tell it to the pagan; so shall the world be established in righteousness, and all nature shall rejoice before the coming Judge (Psalms 96:10-13); the thrice-repeated "give" (Psalms 96:7-8) answers to the thrice-repeated "sing" (Psalms 96:1-2); Messiah's coming to set up God's kingdom on earth was a theme calculated to comfort Judah when threatened by the Assyrian world-power. This psalm is a later expansion of David's psalm, delivered to Asaph, to thank the Lord on the setting up of the ark in the tabernacle in Zion (1 Chronicles 16:23-33: cf. with Psalms 96:10; Isaiah 52:7; with Psalms 96:1; Isaiah 42:10; with Psalms 96:3; Isaiah 60:6; Isaiah 66:18-19). The Septuagint, Vulgate, Ethiopic, Arabic, and Syriac, attribute the psalm to David.

O sing unto the Lord a new song - (Psalms 33:3) A new song, as being for a new benefit never received before.

Sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Isaiah 42:10 is an expansion of 1 Chronicles 16:23, from which also this Psalms 96:1-13 is taken. This psalm, and Psalms 98:1-9, which begins with the same words, like the second part of Isaiah (from Isaiah 40:1-31) points to the future glorious kingdom of Messiah, reigning in Jerusalem over the whole Gentile world, as well as over Israel. The germ of the same bright hope appears in David's psalm, in 1 Chronicles 16:1-43, but not so fully developed as in this series of psalms, and in the probably contemporary prophet Isaiah. The fullest development appears in Revelation 5:9-10, "They sung a new song," etc.: "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation," "and we shall reign, on the earth." Yarchi observes that wherever "a new song" is mentioned, it is to be understood of Messianic times (cf. Psalms 96:13).

Verse 2

Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.

Show forth his salvation from day to day - (cf. with this verse and Psalms 96:10; Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 52:10 end.) The Hebrew [ baasªruw (H1319)] is properly, 'publish the good tidings;' 'herald the Gospel of his salvation:' a word found also in the latter portion of Isaiah. "From day to day" expresses that it is an abiding salvation, and therefore continually to be praised.

Verse 3

Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people - Hebrew, peoples (Isaiah 2:3). The converted Jews and pagan are to declare His glorious and wonderful salvation among those that are unconverted (Isaiah 60:6; Isaiah 66:18-19; cf. Isaiah 40:5).

Verse 4

For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.

For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised - (Psalms 48:1.) The "For" justifies the attribution of "glory" and "wonders" to Him in Psalms 96:3.

He is to be feared above all gods - (Psalms 95:3.) At this time the might of the world-power was at its height, and threatened destruction to the small state of Judea. But faith assured the people of God that their Yahweh is superior to all the vain gods of the world; and prophecy comforted them With the prospect that the pagan themselves at last will recognize Yahweh alone.

Verse 5

For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.

For all the gods of the nations are idols - literally, 'are vanities' or 'nullities' [ 'ªliyliym (H457)], 'things of nought' (Job 13:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4; Isaiah 41:24). Isaiah carries on his controversy against pagandom, on the supposition that the idols have no existence, except the images. Still demons are in the background lying hidden behind the foreground of idols. The worship of idols is virtually a worship of devils (1 Corinthians 10:19-21). Idolatry as a system is under the influence of the rulers of the darkness of this world-course.

But the Lord made the heavens. So in Psalms 95:4 the Lord's exclusive deity is made to rest on His having created the earth.

Verse 6

Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Honour and majesty are before him - as His inseparable attendants "in, His presence."

Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. "Strength and gladness are in His place" (1 Chronicles 16:27). The gladness in the worshippers (cf. Acts 2:46) was the effect of the contemplation of His "beauty." The "strength" is the power obtained by prayer in His sanctuary. The "beauty" is the glory of God's presence. So Psalms 96:7, "glory and strength," are parallel to "strength and beauty" here. The "sanctuary" is wherever the Lord is: "His place" in 1 Chronicles 16:1-43. Originally the Old Testament temple of stone; then the temple of Christ's body "in whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9; John 2:21); then the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Church (1 Corinthians 6:19); then hereafter the restored temple in millennial Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40:1-49; Ezekiel 41:1-26; Ezekiel 42:1-20; Ezekiel 43:1-27; Ezekiel 44:1-31; Ezekiel 45:1-25; Ezekiel 46:1-24; Ezekiel 47:1-23); then the "Lord God Almighty and the Lamb, the temple" in the final and perfect state (Revelation 21:22).

Verses 7-9

Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.

-Triple call to give unto the Lord glory, strength and worship. So in David's psalm, Psalms 29:1-2.

Verse 7. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people. In Psalms 29:1-11 it is, "O ye sons of the mighty" - i:e., angels. He whom all the angels praise as their Lord is in the fullness of time to be praised by all the inhabitants of the earth: then shall the petition be fulfilled, "Thy will be done (by all men) on earth as it is (by all angels) in heaven." 'The difference between heaven and earth can only be temporary. The manifestation of the Lord's holy arm must remove that difference in His own time' (Hengstenberg).

Verse 8. Bring an offering - as earthly subjects "bring gifts" to a sovereign in token of allegiance (2 Samuel 8:2; Psalms 68:29; Psalms 72:10; Psalms 76:11).

And come into his court - (Psalms 92:13.)

Verse 9. (O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness-or, 'in the glorious sanctuary.' See Psalms 29:2, note; Psalms 96:6 above, 'beauty (is) in His sanctuary.'

Fear before him all the earth. Reverential awe is the effect produced instinctively on even those who have no cause for slavish fear, in contemplating the approaching glory of God (Daniel 8:27; Daniel 10:8; Isaiah 6:5).

Verses 10-12

Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.

-The announcement that the Lord reigneth, to be proclaimed by those who have heard it, to those pagan who have not.

Verse 10. Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved - (Psalms 93:1, note.) The open assuming of the kingdom by the Lord shall establish unmovably the earth, which has been shaken to its foundation by man's sin (Psalms 75:3; Isaiah 24:5). Peace shall universally supersede the present state of disorder (Isaiah 2:4).

He shall judge the people righteously. In Psalms 93:1-5 the establishment of the earth is the consequence of the majestic strength of the Lord. Here it is the consequence of His judging righteously. The two need to be combined. 'It is only the righteous omnipotence, and the omnipotent righteousness of God that can produce such effects' (Hengstenberg). As to the Lord's coming kingdom, cf. Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 52:7, end; also Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1-16; Psalms 72:1. This verse expands 1 Chronicles 16:30-31.

Verse 11,12. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad let the sea roar ... Let the field be joyful ... all the trees of the wood rejoice. The earth stands in contrast to the heavens on one hand, and the sea on the other. The field is opposed to the wood. The physical world shall unconsciously express joyous sympathy with the moral world, both alike being "delivered from the bondage of corruption" (Romans 8:21; Romans 8:23; 2 Peter 3:13; Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 55:12-13).

Verse 13

Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

Before the Lord; for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth. The repetition, "for He cometh," expresses the certainty of His coming, and His people's joyful anticipation of it. This is the expansion of the single "He cometh," 1 Chronicles 16:33.

He shall judge ... the people with his truth. The truth of the coming Judge stands in contrast to the falsity which has heretofore prevailed on earth. He comes to "judge" - i:e., to vindicate His people's cause, and the cause of "righteousness." Therefore His people look forward to His coming with joy (Luke 18:1-8).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 96". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-96.html. 1871-8.
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