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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 87

 

 

Verse 1

His foundation is in the holy mountains.

Psalms 87:1-7.-Zion is the city loved and founded by God (Psalms 87:1-3); it is the spiritual birthplace of the nations (Psalms 87:4-7). Thrice in Psalms 87:4-6 it is stated that such and such a one "was born in her" (there); in Psalms 87:7 the chorus of converted nations joyfully sing that the springs of their spiritual life flow from her. The occasion was probably Jerusalem's triumph, under Hezekiah, over Sennacherib. "Babylon" and Egypt ("Rahab:" cf. Isaiah 30:7; Isaiah 51:9; Psalms 89:10) were in power. After Nebuchadnezzar's of Egypt at Carchemish Egypt was no longer so. This Korahite-Yahweh (Hebrew #3068) psalm is akin to the Korahite-'Elohiym (Hebrew #430) psalm, Psalms 46:1-11. Zion alone was granted the favour, above the other cities of Judah, that it alone escaped the Assyrian yoke (Psalms 87:2; Isaiah 37:38). The conversion of the nations was an anticipation suggested by 2 Chronicles 32:23 (cf. Psalms 76:11). The nations specified were those threatened by Assyria-Egypt, Ethiopia (which, under Tirhakah, made a diversion in favour of Jerusalem), Babylon, the rising rival of Assyria, which sent presents to Hezekiah (Isaiah 39:1-2), Philistia, and Tyre (Isaiah 14:29; Isaiah 20:1).

His foundation is in the holy mountains. "His foundation" - i:e., the city of God (Psalms 87:3), founded by HIM [ y


Verse 2

The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob - (Psalms 78:68). "The gates" are specified because it is against them that the enemy directs his first assault. When they are safe the city is safe. They symbolize a compact kingdom (Isaiah 60:18; Matthew 16:18).


Verse 3

Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.

Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God - by God, by man, among Israel, among the pagan (Hengstenberg). Psalms 46:1-11; Psalms 48:1-14 are samples. The ground of her "glory" is because she is 'the city of God.' Once that He departed, Ichabod was her state-`the glory was departed.'


Verse 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.

I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me - rather, as the sense requires, and as I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me - rather, as the sense requires, and as the Hebrew l


Verse 5

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

And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the Highest himself shall establish her. Again Zion's chief glory is set forth-namely, that it is chosen by God to be the spiritual birthplace of world. "This and that man" - i:e., each and every man that is spiritually born derives his birth from her (Galatians 3:26, "Jerusalem which is above ... is the mother of us all"). As the former (Psalms 87:4) refers to nations born anew, so this (Psalms 87:5) refers to individuals. Her greatness is not transitory like that of the world-cities. "The Highest Himself," and none else; not frail man (Psalms 47:2).


Verse 6

The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.

The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people - rather, as Hebrew, 'the peoples.'

That this (man) was born there - rather, 'that this people (taken from the previous peoples) was born there.' 'When He writeth up the peoples' means 'in the noting of them down' in the roll of citizens. When 'numbering' the spiritual citizens of the heavenly city, the Lord, the presiding Judge, in assigning the reason why He counts each nation as in the list, declares, This people was born there - i:e., in Jerusalem. The same image of a citizen-roll appears, Jeremiah 17:13; Ezekiel 13:9; Luke 10:20. Small and insignificant as the roll now is, the heavenly citizens shall at last be a "great multitude which no man can number" (Revelation 7:9).


Verse 7

As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.

As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there - `the players on pipes' or 'flutes' [chowleel, from chaalal (Hebrew #2490): So Gesenius] (1 Kings 1:40, the Piel conjugation); but Hengstenberg takes it 'dancers' [from chuwl (Hebrew #2342), as in Judges 21:21; Judges 21:23]. Singers and dancers headed every great procession. The redeemed pagan, like Israel under Moses and Miriam's leading after the deliverance at the Red Sea (Exodus 15:20-21), sing a joyous thanksgiving to the Lord, in praise of Him and His Zion (2 Samuel 6:16; Psalms 149:3; Psalms 150:4, "Praise Him with the timbrel and dance").

"All my springs are in thee." This clause is to be read with inverted commas, as forming the burden of the thansgiving song of "the singers" and "the players" They all alike, as newborn citizens of Zion, praise it as the site of the fountain of their salvation. There they drank the soul-quickening waters of life that flow from God (Psalms 36:8; Psalms 46:4; Psalms 84:6; Isaiah 12:3). So in Ezekiel 47:1; Ezekiel 47:8-9, the holy waters are seen to "issue out from under the threshold of the house (the renewed temple at Jerusalem), eastward ... and go down into the desert, and go into the sea," etc. The desert and the Dead Sea are here the emblems of the spiritually barren and dead pagan world; and the waters that flow into them, so as to give fertility and life, represent the Gospel, emanating on every side from Zion, its seat and center. "Are in THEE" - i:e., in Zion (Isaiah 45:14).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 87:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-87.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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