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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 24

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


A Psalm of David.

By the general voice of commentators this psalm is assigned to David, on occasion of the removal of the ark to Zion. 2 Samuel 6:0. During the offering of the daily sacrifice the Levitical choristers chanted a psalm. 2 Chronicles 29:25-29. The Jewish doctors tell us that this psalm was sung on “the first day,” (afterwards the Christian Sabbath,) and the Septuagint and Vulgate add to the Hebrew title “on the first day of the week,” possibly on account of the reference to creation in Psalms 24:1-2. The first six verses bear resemblance to Psalms 15:0. Many consider it responsive. Thus Psalms 24:1-2, a general chorus of praise to God as creator; Psalms 24:3, single voice, or division of the choir, an inquiry, who shall approach the holy place of the sacred ark; Psalms 24:4-5, the response from the congregation; Psalms 24:6, general chorus; Psalms 24:7, a chorus from the triumphant procession as they approach the gates of the city, or the citadel of Zion, calling on the keepers to open the gates; Psalms 24:8, first line, a challenge from the keepers on the city wall, “Who is this king of glory?” The two last lines of Psalms 24:8, the response of the people; Psalms 24:9, a second call of the procession to “lift up the gates,” etc.; Psalms 24:10, the responsive question and answer as in Psalms 24:8. The scene is magnificently grand and solemn.

Verse 1

1. The earth As an orb or planet.

Fulness That which it contains, whether plants, animals, people, or its minerals and precious metals, but especially the inhabitants, as the next line specifies.

Verse 2

2. Founded it upon the seas In appearance, the dry land being surrounded by water, and having emerged from the water, as stated Genesis 1:9. Hence, the phrase “waters under the earth,” for ocean.

Exodus 20:4. See note on Psalms 104:5; Psalms 104:9. Elsewhere the true science of the subject is declared, (Job 26:7;) “He hangeth the earth upon nothing.” The argument is, God, who has founded and who owns the world, sways the destiny of nations.

Verse 3

3. Who shall ascend, etc. See on Psalms 15:1, which is parallel.

Verse 4

4. Clean hands An emblem of innocence from overt sin, as a pure heart, in the next sentence, is of purity of thought, purpose, and intention.

See Job 17:9; Matthew 27:24; 1 Timothy 2:8.

Lifted up his soul unto vanity Offered prayer and sacrifice to idols.

Sworn deceitfully As in Psalms 15:4, where see note. But the text has a broader sense here. The Hebrews were commanded to swear only by “the God of truth,” (Isaiah 65:16; Deuteronomy 6:13;) which implied that they served him, and that their ultimate hope was in him. Hence, to swear by the true God while they served idols, or lived in violation of Jehovah’s laws, was the essence of false swearing. Jeremiah 5:1-2; Jeremiah 7:9; Jeremiah 12:16. “Swearing deceitfully,” is parallel to “lifting up the soul unto vanity,” in previous hemistich.

Verse 5

5. Blessing Refers especially to 2 Samuel 6:11-12.

Righteousness “That moral perfection which is the restored and realized image of God.” Delitzsch. Matthew 5:6

Verse 6

6. This is the generation Such persons as have just been described; these constitute a peculiar race, generation, or kind, separated from the world.

That seek thy face, O Jacob “To seek the face” of any one is to seek his favour, to endeavour to secure those benefits which arise from an intimate relation to him, as 1 Kings 10:24: “And all the earth sought the face [margin] of Solomon, to hear his wisdom.” See Hosea 5:15. To “seek the face of Jacob” is to seek fellowship with the people called by his name the Israelites and, by implication, to seek God.

Verse 7

7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates Here is a sudden transition, a new scene introduced. We may suppose the procession to have now reached the foot of Mount Zion, and to have begun the ascent to that part of the hill where the ark was to be deposited. For the responsive parts of Psalms 24:7-10, see the introduction. The call upon the gates to open, is a call upon the guards to perform this service. See Psalms 118:19-20; Isaiah 26:2.

Everlasting doors Doors of eternity. “Gates of old,” is not an adequate rendering. The language transcends historic limit, and becomes typically prophetic. The historic day and occasion were eventful; not inferior to any in the history of the nation next to the passover and the exodus. The “King of glory” cannot mean King David, nor “everlasting doors” the city gates. The “King of glory” is “Jehovah strong and mighty, Jehovah mighty in battle,” “Jehovah of hosts;” and the “everlasting doors” can fitly apply to none other than those of the heavenly Zion, the “Jerusalem which is above.” Galatians 4:26. The passage is Messianic, and parallel to Psalms 68:18; Ephesians 4:8; and prophetically belongs to the events after the crucifixion, when Christ, having expiated sin, and by his resurrection conquered death and finished “love’s redeeming work,” triumphantly entered “not into the holy places made with hands, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Hebrews 9:24. The Church of England properly appoints this psalm as one to be read on Ascension Day. “This psalm is no doubt prophetic, or rather, typical in itscharacter, and most fitly in its application celebrates the return of Christ as the King of glory to his heavenly throne.” Perowne. According to a common rule of Messianic prophecy, what in the Old Testament is applied to Jehovah, in the New is applied to Christ. So the title, “King of glory.” here. Compare, on the principle, Jeremiah 17:10; Revelation 2:23

Verse 10

10. Lord of hosts “Hosts” designates angels, celestial beings, or armies, when used in this connexion, as in Psalms 103:21. See Psalms 68:17. Not the idea of multitude only, but of a marshalled army.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 24". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/psalms-24.html. 1874-1909.
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