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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Psalms 87

Verse 1

Psalms 87:1 « A Psalm [or] Song for the sons of Korah. » His foundation [is] in the holy mountains.

A Psalm or Song ] Made, likely, by David, after that he had settled the ark in Mount Sion, 2 Samuel 6:1-23 , and understood that the temple should be built in Mount Moriah; in which two mountains (or rather one mountain with two tops) the Rabbis say that this psalm was composed, and thereunto they draw the next words, "His foundation," or the argument of this psalm, is in and of those holy mountains. But this seemeth not to be the sense.

Ver. 1. His foundation is in the holy mountains ] Which cannot be removed, but abide for ever, Psalms 125:1 . Some read it, The foundation thereof, viz. of the temple, but especially of the Church universal, that spiritual temple (built of living stones by God, the best architect, Christ himself being the chief cornerstone), is in the holy mountains; for out of Zion went forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem; which is therefore called the mother Church, and των εκκλησιων ακροπολις , the chief Church, the reef of the Gentile Churches, Romans 11:1-36 , the conversion whereof is here foretold, Psalms 87:1 , and perpetual happiness promised (Damasc. l.

4. c. 13).

Verse 2

Psa 87:2 The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

Ver. 2. The Lord loveth the gates of Zion ] Nothing but his mere love moved him to make choice of it, above all other places, there to declare his power, presence, and goodness. He first chose it for his love, and then loved it for his choice; and so he doth his Church.

Verse 3

Psa 87:3 Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.

Ver. 3. Glorious things are spoken of thee ] Dicta et praedicta, told and foretold of thee, Heb. in thee, sc. by the holy prophets, especially concerning the Christian Church. See Isaiah 60:1-5 , to the end of that prophecy. Nihil honorificum non praedicatur de te; et nihil praedicatur de te quin sit honorificentissimum (Jun.).

Thou city of God ] The glory of God, Acts 7:1 , the great King, Matthew 5:35 , the only potentate, 1 Timothy 6:15 , who maketh his Church the place of his residence, &c.

Selah ] O rem dignam perpetua admiratione, Oh wonderful!

Verse 4

Psa 87:4 I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this [man] was born there.

Ver. 4. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon ] Rahab is Egypt, and so called for its strength and pride. Babel, the chief city of the Babylonians. These were deadly enemies to Jerusalem, which was ground between them as between a pair of millstones, but they shall be reckoned hereafter, saith God, among his domestics, among those that know me, or rather are known of me. See Isaiah 19:19 ; Isaiah 19:21 ; Isaiah 19:25 1 Peter 5:13 .

Behold Philistia ] The Philistines were ever bitter enemies to the Israelites, but shall be converted and become children of the Church. See Isaiah 56:1 ; Isaiah 44:5 .

And Tyre ] Which shall leave heaping and hoarding, and employ her merchandise to feed and clothe God’s saints, Isa 23:18 Acts 21:8 ; Acts 21:4 .

With Ethiopia ] Heb. Cush, of Cush, the son of Ham, their father and founder, Genesis 10:6 . Ethiopians they were called from their burnt faces. The eunuch received the gospel, and published it, Acts viii.; the Christian faith was professed among them, as it is thought, from the apostle’s time; though now, for over a hundred years, they have again forsaken it.

This man was born there ] Natus, id est, renatus in illa. The men of these several and other countries were born, that is, born anew, and so made free denizens of the new Jerusalem, fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God, Ephesians 2:19 .

Verse 5

Psa 87:5 And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.

Ver. 5. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her ] i.e. Converted; and so a daily accession made to the Church of Christ, as it was by Peter’s sermon, &c., and now so many nations: Behold, the world is gone after him, said these envious Pharisees, John 12:19 ; and the Papists grudge as much at the late glorious Reformation, begun by Luther, wherein so many rejoice, and shall do to all eternity. Bucholcerus blesseth God that he was born in the days and was bred under the discipline of holy Malancthon, Luther’s colleague:

Divisae his operae, sed mens fuit unica; pavit

Ore Lutherus oves, flore Melancthon apes.

Beatus Ludovicus would be called Ludovicus de Pissiaco rather than take greater titles, because there he became a Christian. He thought no birth equal to a new birth in Christ; no parentage to that of God to his Father, the Church to his mother, Christ to his elder brother, &c. Some apply this text to the places of holy men’s birth, and tell us, that he loves the very ground his servants tread on, the very air they first breathe in, their walls are continually before him, Isaiah 49:16 , he thinks the better of the houses where they dwell.

And the highest himself shall establish her ] So that the gates of hell shall not unsettle her. Other states and polities have their times and their turns, their rise and their ruin; not so the Church.

Verse 6

Psa 87:6 The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, [that] this [man] was born there. Selah.

Ver. 6. The Lord shall count when he writeth up the people ] When he maketh his cease book (called the writing of the house of Israel, Ezekiel 13:9 , the Lord’s book of remembrance, Malachi 3:16 , the register of the living in Jerusalem, Isa 4:3 ), he shall muster them in the roll of his soldiers, number them in the catalogue of his citizens, call them in the nomenclature of his disciples, &c. A glorious privilege surely.

Verse 7

Psa 87:7 As well the singers as the players on instruments [shall be there]: all my springs [are] in thee.

Ver. 7. As well the singers as the players, &c. ] There shall be an exuberancy of joy in the Holy Ghost, the only comfortable soul ravishing music, far beyond that of the material temple.

All my springs are in thee ] i.e. All my thoughts run upon thee, with greatest delight. My eyes are wholly fixed upon thee, so some read it; others, My bowels are in thee, making these to be the words of the psalmist (Calvin; R. Solomon); but methinks they do better that make them to be the words of God, promising plenty of grace and comfort to his people, as from everflowing, overflowing fountains.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 87". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.