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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 98

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Psalms 98:0


A Call to Praise the Lord for His RighteousnessMT IntroA PsalmA Song of Praise to the Lord for His Salvation and JudgmentHymn Proclaiming the Future Establishment of God's Kingship on the EarthGod the Ruler of the WorldThe Judge of the World
Psalms 98:1-3Psalms 98:1-3Psalms 98:1-3Psalms 98:1-3Psalms 98:1
Psalms 98:2-3b
Psalms 98:3-4
Psalms 98:4-6Psalms 98:4-6Psalms 98:4-6Psalms 98:4-6
Psalms 98:5-6
Psalms 98:7-9Psalms 98:7-9Psalms 98:7-9Psalms 98:7-9Psalms 98:7-8
Psalms 98:9

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. The universal element, so prominent in Psalms 96:0 and 97, continues (i.e., Psalms 98:3b, Psalms 98:4a, Psalms 98:7, Psalms 98:9a,b).

1. “in the sight of the nations,” Psalms 98:2

2. “all the ends of the earth have seen,” Psalms 98:3

3. “all the earth,” Psalms 98:4

4. “the sea. . .all it contains,” Psalms 98:7

5. “the world and those who dwell in it,” Psalms 98:7

6. “to judge the earth,” Psalms 98:9

7. “judge the world,” Psalms 98:9

8. “the peoples,” Psalms 98:9

Please read the Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan. It is the integrating center of my theology!

B. YHWH is coming as King and Judge to the whole world and especially to Israel. He is coming as the One who made promises to the Patriarchs (cf. Psalms 98:3a).

C. The first strophe has six perfects (completed action) which detail what YHWH has done (or will do; the time element in Hebrew verbs is determined by context).

1. has done wonderful things, Psalms 98:1

2. has gained victory, Psalms 98:1

3. has made known His salvation, Psalms 98:2

4. has revealed His righteousness, Psalms 98:2

5. has remembered His lovingkindness and faithfulness, Psalms 98:3

6. all the earth has seen His salvation, Psalms 98:3

Verses 1-3

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 98:1-3 1O sing to the Lord a new song, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him. 2The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. 3He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Psalms 98:1 “O sing to the Lord a new song” This is a Qal imperative. One can see why Psalms 95:0; Psalms 96:0; and 98 were placed close together in the Psalter by the editor(s).

The “new song” was a response from the covenant people to their God's deliverance, forgiveness, and displays of power (cf. Psalms 98:1b, 33:3; Psalms 40:3; Psalms 96:1; Psalms 144:9; Psalms 149:1; Isaiah 42:10; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:3). YHWH acted on their behalf. He, and He alone, was responsible (Psalms 98:1c). However, Psalms 37:40 shows that YHWH's salvation/deliverance is linked to human faith and faithfulness. The covenant (see SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT) combines YHWH's sovereign initiation and mankind's expected obedient, continuing response (see Special Topic: Election/Predestination and the Need for a Theological Balance).

Notice the number of verbs used in this Psalm that refer to making sounds.

1. sing, Psalms 98:1 - BDB 1010, KB 1479

2. make known, Psalms 98:2 - BDB 393, KB 390

3. shout joyfully, Psalms 98:4 - BDB 929, KB 1206

4. break forth, Psalms 98:4 - BDB 822, KB 953

5. sing for joy, Psalms 98:4 - BDB 943, KB 1247

6. sing praises, Psalms 98:4 - BDB 274, KB 273

7. sing praises, Psalms 98:5 - same as #6

8. shout joyfully, Psalms 98:6 - same as #3

9. sea roar, Psalms 98:7 - BDB 947, KB 1266

10. rivers clap, Psalms 98:8 - BDB 561, KB 567

11. mountains sing, Psalms 98:8 - same as #5, but Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense

“wonderful things” See Special Topic: Wonderful Things.

“hand” Theologically this is parallel to Isaiah 52:10. The victory is His and His alone! See Special Topic: Hand.

“have gained victory” This verb (BDB 446, KB 448, Hiphil perfect) means “to save,” “to bring victory” (cf. Isaiah 59:16; Isaiah 63:5). The victory (depending on the contextual intended timeframe) could refer to

1. initial creation (i.e., victory over watery chaos, i.e., Psalms 65:7; Psalms 89:9-10; 93:34)

2. the exodus/conquest (cf. Isaiah 51:9-10, i.e., Red Sea and Jordan River)

3. vanquishing the gods (elohim) of the nations (cf. Psalms 2:1; Psalms 65:7-8)

4. return from exile (cf. Isaiah 40-45)

5. ultimate victory over evil (i.e., Genesis 3:15; Matthew 1:21; Mark 10:45; 2 Corinthians 5:21)


“salvation” See Special Topic: Salvation (OT).

“righteousness” See Special Topic: Righteousness.

“in the sight of the nations” See Psalms 46:10 and Isaiah 52:10. Not just so they can see, but that they might be changed and redeemed!

Psalms 98:3 “His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel” This refers to YHWH's promises to the Patriarchs, beginning with Abraham (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 15:1; Genesis 17:1-8; Psalms 105:8-15, Psalms 105:42; Psalms 106:45).


Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith and Faithfulness in the OT

“All the ends of the earth” See Contextual Insights, A.

The NIDOTTE, p. 521, has a list of how the phrase, “the ends of the earth,” is used.

1. YHWH's name and praise - Psalms 48:10; Isaiah 42:10

2. fear of God - Psalms 67:7

3. knowledge of God's rule - Psalms 59:13

4. the salvation of God - Psalms 98:3; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 52:10

5. His message of redemption - Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 62:11

6. Messianic King's reign - Psalms 2:7; Micah 5:4

For me, this international, multi-ethnic, universal emphasis is the focus and fruition of “monotheism” (see SPECIAL TOPIC: MONOTHEISM).

The AB (pp. 365-366) revocalizes the two perfect verbs to make them imperatives.

1. “remember” - BDB 269, KB 269 (this would refer to Israel)

2. “see” - BDB 906, KB 1157 (this would refer to “all the ends of the earth”)

Although this makes sense, it does not fit the string of perfects and the parallel between Psalms 98:2 and 3. The imperatives would fit better with the next strophe (Psalms 98:4-6).

Verses 4-6

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 98:4-6 4Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. 5Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, With the lyre and the sound of melody. 6With trumpets and the sound of the horn Shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.

Psalms 98:4-6 This strophe has six imperatives exhorting all humans to praise the God of Israel (cf. Psalms 98:3a). This may reflect a coronation celebration in Israel (cf. Psalms 47:5-9).

1. shout joyfully, Psalms 98:4 - BDB 929, KB 1206, Hiphil imperative

2. break forth, Psalms 98:4 - BDB 822, KB 953, Qal imperative

3. sing for joy, Psalms 98:4 - BDB 943, KB 1247, Piel imperative

4. sing praises, Psalms 98:4 - BDB 274, KB 273, Piel imperative

5. sing praises, Psalms 98:5 - same as #4

6. shout joyfully, Psalms 98:6 - same as #1

Israel and the whole earth rejoiced and proclaimed the faithfulness, fairness, holiness, power, and righteousness of the God of creation and redemption (see SPECIAL TOPIC: CHARACTERISTICS OF ISRAEL'S GOD).

This is not the world God created it to be! This is not the world it one day will be!

Psalms 98:6 “horn” This is the shofar (BDB 1051). See SPECIAL TOPIC: HORNS USED BY ISRAEL.

Verses 7-9

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 98:7-9 7Let the sea roar and all it contains, The world and those who dwell in it. 8Let the rivers clap their hands, Let the mountains sing together for joy 9Before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness And the peoples with equity.

Psalms 98:7-9 The last strophe has three jussives expressing the need for personified creation (cf. Psalms 104:19-22) and humans to praise the righteous Judge of creation.

1. let the seas roar - BDB 947, KB 1266, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense, cf. Psalms 96:11

2. let the world praise (implied in the parallelism but not stated)

3. let the rivers clap - BDB 561, KB 567, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense

4. let the mountains sing - BDB 943, KB 1247, Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense, cf. Psalms 98:4b, Psalms 89:12; Isaiah 55:12

Numbers 1:0 and 2 are parallel and denote humans. Numbers 3:0 and 4 are parallel and denote physical creation.

Psalms 98:8 “He is coming” This is a Qal active participle. When thinking of YHWH “coming,” several items must be emphasized.

1. He has never left. He is always here!

2. His special coming or presence can be for

a. blessings

b. judgment (as here, cf. Psalms 9:7-8; Psalms 96:13)

3. His coming brings the expectation of a new day (i.e., the restoration of the fellowship of Eden)

4. This theological concept has been supplemented by the two comings of the Messiah.

a. the first fulfilled most OT predictions

b. the second will consummate YHWH's reign


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What is the content of the “new song”?

2. What victory is Psalms 98:1 addressing?

3. How does Psalms 98:3 relate to Genesis 12:0?

4. What regular event in Israel's cultic calendar does Psalms 98:4-6 relate to?

5. Explain the different ways YHWH's coming can be understood.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Psalms 98". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/psalms-98.html. 2021.
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