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Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 24

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-2


Psalm 24 connects to Psalm 23. The LORD, Who is the Shepherd and guides His own and brings them home (Psalm 23), is also the One to Whom everything belongs (Psalm 24). Here He is the chief Shepherd of the sheep, Who will come to give His reward, the crown of glory, to His own. Psalm 22 is about Christ for His own, the good Shepherd; Psalm 23 is about Christ with His own, the great Shepherd; Psalm 24 is about Christ above His own, the chief Shepherd. The LORD will assert His right to all by helping His people as a Warrior against the enemy. To that end, He is coming to the city with the ancient doors, which is Jerusalem.

Just as Psalm 23 describes the way of the Lord Jesus – and of every God-fearing with Him – to God’s house, so in Psalm 24 we get the description of the way to the throne of His glory. However, the horizon here is not just Israel, but all the world (Psalms 24:1). After all, God’s intention is to bless all nations through Israel (Genesis 22:16-Job :). For us, it means the way to the Father’s house and the way to the throne of the kingdom.

Psalm 24 used to be read by the Jews on the first day after the sabbath. The first day of the week, that points to the beginning – Psalms 24:1 begins with creation – or to a new beginning, that is the realm of peace, the restored creation.

It is possible that David wrote this psalm on the occasion of bringing the ark to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:1-Psalms :). The ark is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus, Who is called “the King of glory” five times in this psalm (Psalms 24:7-2 Samuel :).

We can divide the psalm as follows:
1. The LORD is the Creator and therefore the Owner of the universe (Psalms 24:1-Exodus :; cf. Revelation 4:9-1 Kings :).
2. He is also the LORD, which is His Name as the faithful God of the covenant. As a result, He has a double right – as Creator and as Redeemer (cf. Revelation 4-5) – to His people:
a. He declares who among men may approach His holy habitation (Psalms 24:3-Joshua :) and
b. comes to take possession of His rightful property (Psalms 24:7-2 Samuel :).

The Earth Is the LORD’s

For “a Psalm of David” (Psalms 24:1) see at Psalm 3:1.

The psalm begins by presenting the sovereignty of God. He is the rightful Owner of creation because He is its Creator and Sustainer. He is the Possessor of “the earth … and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalms 24:1; Psalms 50:11; 1 Corinthians 10:26).

God has an absolute right to men, to their services, to their talents, to everything they can acquire through labor and skill. He has a right to everything that flies in the air, walks on the earth and swims in the sea. All the treasures of the soil and what the field yields also belong to Him. By “the world” is meant the inhabited world. He “formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18).

God has done everything. The earth is not a composition of all kinds of elements on which a multitude of gods worked. Nor did anyone help Him make the plans or carry them out. Everything was brought about by the one, true and living God. The earth became what it is by this simple fact that God founded and established the earth. Therefore, the earth and all that it produces is His.

In Psalms 24:2 it says why the earth is His: “For” He has “founded” the earth. In doing so, He has acted with wisdom (Proverbs 3:19). There is order in His actions. He caused the dry to emerge from the waters on the third day of creation, thus showing His control over it (Genesis 1:9-2 Samuel :; Psalms 136:5-Joshua :). That He has “established” it, given the tense form of this word, is not a one-time act, but He is constantly engaged in it. He created and maintains His creation. He makes sure that the earth remains in its place (Psalms 104:5; 1 Samuel 2:8).

Verses 3-6

Who May Be With the LORD

Psalms 24:1-Exodus : form the background for the two questions posed in Psalms 24:3. Who dares to “ascend into the hill” of that sovereign and almighty God to approach Him? By “the hill of the LORD” is meant Mount Zion (cf. Psalms 2:6; Psalms 15:1). And what is beyond that – for the hill of the LORD is a holy place – who is able to stand “in His holy place”, to stand in His presence and serve Him as a priest? These are questions about how a person can approach a holy and righteous God, about the possibility of having fellowship with that exalted and holy God.

Four conditions are mentioned (Psalms 24:4; cf. Psalms 15:2-Deuteronomy :). These do not involve sacrifices or good deeds, but sincerity in actions and motives. Two conditions are positive and two negative. “Clean hands” refers to the deeds; “a pure heart” refers to the motives behind the deeds. “Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood” means that he does not indulge in idolatry and does not worship anything or anyone other than God alone. He who does indulge in what is false exalts himself against God. One who “has not sworn deceitfully” is one who does not use God’s Name in vain by committing fraud in His Name. To swear deceitfully means to make God the protector of one’s falsehood. He who is ‘clean’ is not ‘false’, and he who is ‘pure’ is not a ‘deceiver’.

He who is sincere in his actions and motives receives blessing and righteousness from God (Psalms 24:5). The blessing is that he is in God’s favor, that God accepts him in pleasure. The righteousness is that God sees him as righteous and receives him into His presence. God can do that because He is “the God of his salvation”. That means that God has preserved Him from all that testified against Him. That is only possible because He imputes to him the work of the Lord Jesus, which He sees ahead. God always blesses and gives His righteousness on that basis alone.

The answer to the question of who can dwell with Him is the Lord Jesus. He answers all the conditions. But He also wants others to dwell with Him. They are mentioned in Psalms 24:6. Those who are blessed by Him and to whom He gives His righteousness, are those “who ask Him, who seek Your face”. They demonstrate a mind that is pleasing to Him, for they desire to be pleasing to Him and to live to His glory.

This is about the fact that it is possible to approach the Creator, and therefore the rightful Owner, of the universe. That this is possible is apparent from the change halfway through this verse from speaking of God, “who seek Him”, to speaking to God, “who seek Your face”.

Those who seek Him are the offspring of “Jacob”, of that Jacob of whom God said: “I am … the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6). The offspring of Jacob bear the characteristics of their ancestor. It is a generation that has always longed for the blessing of God, but has so often been unfaithful in the way they have sought to appropriate that blessing. God gives them the promised blessing in the realm of peace after a long way of forming, which He also went through with their forefather.

Verses 7-10

The King of Glory

After the conditions for dwelling with the LORD are given in Psalms 24:3-Joshua :, in Psalms 24:7 both the city and the people are called to receive the King of glory. His great majesty as the One Who possesses everything because He created it (Psalms 24:1-Exodus :), obviously also gives Him the right of entrance into Jerusalem. Every gate must be opened to Him with a dignity appropriate to that Majesty. In some cases it was necessary to make the lintel of the gate higher. Here the lifting up is done because of the greatness of the majesty of the King of glory.

The poetic language represents the gates and doors as persons. The gates and doors of the city have long let their heads drop because of the sad state the city had fallen into because of its sins. But when the King of glory appears, it can be said that they lift up their heads. With the coming of the King, the time for mourning is over and the time for celebration has arrived.

In Psalms 24:8 we hear the question: “Who is the King of glory?” The answer immediately follows: It is “the LORD”, the faithful God of the covenant. That He is the Messiah, that is, that He has become Man, is evident from the fact that He enters through the gate of Jerusalem. The expressions “strong and mighty” and “mighty in battle” describe the Messiah as the Divine Warrior Who fights on behalf of His people (cf. Micah 2:13; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:11-Nehemiah :). He is the strong God (Isaiah 10:21), Who uses His power in battle against His enemies and on behalf of His own.

He appears in a totally different way than when He first appeared on earth. The first time He came to earth in humility and went His way in humility. When He went to Jerusalem as King, He was addressed as follows: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout [in triumph], O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1-1 Kings :).

The call in Psalms 24:9 is a repetition of Psalms 24:7, with an even slightly stronger exhortation. The repetition emphasizes the importance of giving this high Majesty ample room and a dignified reception.

The question asked in Psalms 24:10 is also a repetition (cf. Psalms 24:8). That the question is asked twice emphasizes the Person of the King of glory. As in Psalms 24:8, the answer is “the LORD”, but now with the addition “of hosts”. He is Yahweh Zebaoth, this is the warrior name of the LORD. He is the Supreme Commander of all the heavenly and earthly hosts. He has authority over all angelic and earthly forces, both good and evil (cf. John 19:11). This means that they never act on their own initiative, but only at His command. He directs them in such a way that they cooperate in the execution of His plan, sometimes against their will. For the believer, this knowledge is a great comfort.

In the spiritual application, this psalm is fulfilled in us when we open our hearts to the Lord Jesus and give Him dominion over our lives. In the prophetic application, we see the fulfillment when the whole earth and all that it contains is subject to Him, giving Him the glory due to Him.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 24". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-24.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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