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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 93

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-5

Psalms 93:0

1          The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty;

The Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself:

The world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

2     Thy throne is established of old:

Thou art from everlasting.

3     The floods have lifted up, O Lord,

The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their waves.

4     The Lord on high is mightier

Than the noise of many waters,

Yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.

5     Thy testimonies are very sure:

Holiness becometh thine house,
O Lord, for ever.


Contents and Composition.—The superscription in the Septuagint: “For the day before the Sabbath, when the earth had been peopled; song of praise of David,” arises in the first portion from the tradition, according to which this Psalm was the Psalm for the sixth day of the week in the Temple-liturgy: “because God had finished His work on the sixth day, and had begun to rule over it,” (Rosh-ha-shana 31 a., cited by Delitzsch). But the truth is that it is the beginning of God’s ruling in history, and not in the kingdom of nature, that is referred to in the Psalm. For the lifting up of the waters is only an image of the raging of rebellious bodies of men. And it is Jehovah, the God of revelation, who is the subject, of the Psalm, who has manifested in history His kingly glory, surpassing all the powers of the world, in the defence of His people and the preservation of His temple from desecration. By this He at the same time has proved Himself to be the King of that people, according to His revealed testimony, and has strengthened the hopes founded upon that testimony. The interchange of perfects and imperfects corresponds to this view which the Psalmist held as to the workings of God, a view based upon special manifestations of His power. It is not expressed as a doxology (Hupfeld), still less is it refined away in general expressions and to abstract truths, but presents in the concrete the history of the kingdom of God, and contemplates it from the prophetical stand-point. It is of the highest importance for the understanding of many Psalms, to distinguish between the theocratic Psalms, which begin with the motto: מָלַך יְהוָֹה (after Psalms 47:9), and the Messianic Psalm, as two series of prophecies of the time of consummation running parallel to one another (Delitzsch). “The one class has as its central theme the Anointed of Jehovah, who rules out of Zion over all nations; the other, Jehovah sitting above the Cherubim, to whom the whole earth does homage. These two series converge, indeed, in the Old Testament, but do not meet. The history of their fulfilment alone makes clear what had only glimmered forth before from some lofty heights of prophecy and poetry, (see in Psalms 45:7), that the Parusia of the Anointed and that of Jehovah, are one and the same” (Del.). Accordingly this motto could express the feelings of God’s people at quite different periods, and find its application in quite distinct events, which had brought about a victory of the Theocracy, especially as the figure of the raging waters is based upon an allusion to the Red Sea, which, in the poetic recital of the famous events preceding the founding of the Theocracy, is described by the epithet: אדיר (Exodus 15:10), elsewhere applied to Jehovah (Isaiah 10:34; Psalms 93:4) and His people (Psalms 16:3). Since we cannot assign the composition of the Psalm to the period whose features are described in Deuteronomy 33:4, we have presented for our choice the age of David (the ancients), the Assyrian period (Hengst.), the times succeeding the exile (Del.), the Maccabæan period (Venema, Olsh., Hitzig). The position of the Psalm along with the related ones is especially favorable to the age following the Exile. [Hitzig remarks that the substance of the Psalm is contained in Psalms 94:8 of the preceding. Hence its position.—J. F. M.]

Psalms 94:1-2. Jehovah shows Himself King, [E.V., the Lord reigneth.] The emphasis does not lie restrictively upon Jehovah (Geier, and others), as the eternal King upon an everlasting throne, as contrasted with earthly rulers over ephemeral kingdoms, but just as strongly upon the manifestations of that relation, by which disturbances that have shaken the earth and threatened the kingdom of God have been quelled. The usual term for ascending the throne (2 Samuel 15:10; 1Ki 1:11; 1 Kings 1:13; 2 Kings 9:13) is chosen. It is also applied in Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 52:7, and finally Revelation 11:17; Revelation 19:6, as in Psalms 96:10; Psalms 97:1; Psalms 99:1, to the coming of the Lord in His kingdom, Obadiah 1:21, Zechariah 14:9. Then follow the declarations that Jehovah clothes Himself (Isaiah 51:9; Psalms 104:0.) with exaltation (Isaiah 12:5; Isaiah 26:10; Psalms 68:35), and girds Himself with strength like a warrior (Isaiah 8:9; Isaiah 59:17; Isaiah 63:1; Daniel 7:9), to assert His sovereign sway, and thereby to establish the earth shaken to its foundations and disturbed in its order (Psalms 75:4).

Psalms 94:3-5. The Nile (Jeremiah 46:7), the Euphrates (Isaiah 8:7), and the Tigris (Isaiah 27:1) are particularly employed, among streams, as emblems of the kingdoms of the world. The sea (Psalms 46:4; Psalms 89:10), and especially the Red Sea, subdued by Jehovah’s voice and might (Habakkuk 3:8; Habakkuk 3:10; Psalms 74:15; Psalms 77:17 f.; Psalms 114:3), are used as an emblem of the outbreak of the forces of nature and of hostile kingdoms,—.מִך in Psalms 94:4 is not causal (Geier) but comparative.—The testimonies (Psalms 94:5) are those of revelation, especially of the law (Psalms 19:8; Psalms 25:10; Psalms 111:7). [Perowne: “The transition is abrupt, from the majesty of God as seen in His dominion in the world of nature, to His revelation of Himself in His word. At the same time there is a connection between the two, as in Psalms 19:0.; God, who rules the world, whose are the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever, has given His testimonies to His people, a sure and faithful word, and has Himself come to dwell with them, making His house and His people holy.”—J. F. M.]


1. Jehovah can as little cease to be God, as His power over all things can come to an end. But two things are to be observed in this connection: First, there are times in which God veils His majesty and restrains the exercise of His power, followed by times in which He displays His kingly glory, eternal and exalted over all; Secondly, there is a radical difference between God’s government of the world which He has created, and of the Church which He has established upon the earth, and yet both kingdoms are not only kept, by their common King, in existence and order, but are fixed by Him in their mutual relations, and carried forward to their several destinies.
2. God, by His might, preserves, first of all, the world in its physical existence, so that the outbreak of the elements cannot destroy it, but proves them to be powerless before the throne of the Almighty, whose voice in the clouds drowns the thunder of their raging, and at whose nod all their proud waves are stilled. But God rules the whole world also by His might, and defends His people who are in it, by controlling the agitations in the life of its nations, and directing the current of history according to His will. These reflections should strengthen our trust, and, in serious crises, enliven our courage and confirm our patience. “All acknowledge with the mouth what the prophet here teaches, but how few there are who oppose this shield, as they ought, to the hostile might of the world, so that they fear nothing, be it ever so terrible!” (Calvin).
3. But, besides, Jehovah is not merely a God of might and of faithfulness, upon whom we can rely. He is the God who has revealed His salvation in the world, and for this reason He will not only preserve His people, in whom is His earthly dwelling, but distinguish them as His own inheritance. For this end He has made known to them His will, and given testimony that it is good and gracious, that it is the will of the Holy God, who has impressed this character of holiness, which is peculiar to His nature and His word, upon His house as becoming to it, and will make it clearly manifest in His people and kingdom. By keeping ever before them this claim of holiness, on which the continuance of the moral order of the world depends, God’s people are encouraged to the obedience of faith, and at the same time, by reflecting upon the credibility of these testimonies, are comforted by the infallible promises of His word.


The immovableness of God’s kingly throne in the midst of the commotions of the world: (1) as a token of the incomparable exaltation of this throne over all the royal seats of the world; (2) as security for the inviolable faithfulness of such a King, who from this throne preserves and rules the world and the Church; (3) as a reason why the citizens of earthly kingdoms must yield themselves up to the service of this King and His throne.—The firmness of God’s throne answers to the reliability of His word; does the same relation exist between our belief and our faithfulness?—When God’s glory is concealed from us, let us only be the more mindful of His holiness.—No one need or can rely upon the power of God, who is not willing to rely upon His testimonies, or to seek after the holiness of His house.—Three fundamental reasons for the preservation of the Church of God: (1) the immovableness of God’s throne; (2) the truth of His word; (3) the holiness of His house.

Starke: Christ is King over the whole world , O let us take delight in lying at His feet and worshipping Him! We are blessed, if we become subjects of His kingdom of power, and kingdom of grace.—Where Christ is, there the world rages; no one can endure His presence.—Our duty is not performed if we merely beautify the house of God with gold and silver and precious stones; we give it its true adorning, if we resort to it attired in the holy robe of faith.—Menzel: We must esteem God’s word as our greatest ornament and noblest treasure.—Frisch: Be not anxious, no matter how great cause of anxiety there be in the world. The world must bear the kingdom of the heavenly King, even if it should break beneath it.—Berlenburger Bible: The testimonies of God are well worthy of human belief, and yet men trust them not.—Tholuck: God has established in its whole extent that world, over whose several countries the kings of the earth rule. Behold in this a proof of His power. He who alone has given it existence has never received it, but holds it as an eternal possession. Behold in this a proof of His exaltation.

[Scott: We should carefully inquire whether Christ’s kingdom has indeed been set up in our hearts. This will best be decided by examining whether we so believe His testimonies and depend on Him for salvation, as to be led to love and follow after that holiness which His precepts command and His example displays, and which becomes all who profess the truth.

Barnes: Attendance in a place of public worship is calculated to make the heart pure, and to banish unholy thoughts and purposes from the soul. A man who feels that he is in the presence of a Holy God will not be likely to welcome into his soul polluted images and unholy desires.

Wordsworth: The walking of Christ on the waves of the sea was a prophetical foreshadowing of the ease and majesty, with which He shall one day tread the swelling waves of all human pride and earthly power, and make their tumultuous billows a pavement for His feet.—J. F. M.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 93". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/psalms-93.html. 1857-84.
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