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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 99

 

 

Verse 1

The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.

Psalms 99:1-9.-Yahweh, whose coming in Psalms 98:1-9 was anticipated, appears here as reigning. The people tremble before Him, enthroned in a way antitypical to His enthronement between the cherubim (Psalms 99:1). Yahweh's manifested greatness in Zion calls forth her praises. so that she exhorts the nations to praise His name as holy (Psalms 99:2-5). Admonition to Israel, from past history, to appreciate her privileged nearness to Yahweh, and to flee the sins which incurred vengeance, and keep His word, as Moses, Aaron, and Samuel did, and so were heard in prayer: thus she will be ready for the holy Lord's coming (Psalms 99:6-9). The substance is 'The kingdom of God is at hand; be ready for it' (cf. Matthew 3:2; Isaiah 40:3-5). Psalms 99:1; Psalms 99:5 imply the temple was still standing, therefore it was before the Babylonian captivity.

The Lord reigneth - (Psalms 93:1; Psalms 96:10; Psalms 97:1.) let the people tremble - rather, 'the peoples tremble.' The Hebrew pictures are prophetic. If the sense were optative the abbreviated Hebrew future would have been used. Compare Psalms 96:9, end. The Church now trembles before the haughty and threatening world-powers; but she may take comfort. Her King is coming to reign: then it will be the world's turn to tremble.

He sitteth between the cherubim (Psalms 80:1.) He who, seated over the ark of the covenant, between the cherubim (2 Samuel 6:2) signifies thereby His special presence in Israel and in the Church the spiritual Israel, is now assuming His kingdom visibly over "the whole earth" (Psalms 97:5, end). This prospect consoles His people now in their times of fear (2 Kings 19:15). It is not God's constant dominion as the Omnipotent One, but His beginning to reign in manifested power which causes the 'peoples' (so the Hebrew) to "tremble." The Hebrew for "tremble" signifies also 'to be angry' [ raagaz (Hebrew #7264)] (note, Psalms 4:4 : cf. Ephesians 4:26; Revelation 11:17-18, "Thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged"). How puny and despicable is man's anger, standing side by side with the wrath of the Almighty! and how soon it is changed into trembling!

Let the earth be moved - rather, 'the earth is moved.'


Verse 2

The LORD is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.

The Lord is great in Zion - (Psalms 48:1.) It is not His greatness in general which is the theme of praise, but His greatness as Zion's King manifested in Jerusalem, as 'high above all the peoples' (so the Hebrew).


Verse 3

Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.

Let them (namely, 'all the peoples') praise thy great and terrible name - prophetic of what shall be; therefore put imperatively, because the Word of God effects by its inherent power, what it foretells. The lyric accompaniment of this is Psalms 100:1-5. The Lord's marvelous interposition for Israel shall be at last the theme of praise to all the nations, because these shall enjoy the blessedness resulting to them from God's restored favour to His ancient people (Romans 11:12; Romans 11:15; Psalms 98:3-4). On "thy great and terrible name" - thy manifestation of thyself in great and terrible deeds-cf. Deuteronomy 28:58; Deuteronomy 10:17,

(For) it (is) holy. Hengstenberg translates, 'for holy is He.' But all the ancient versions support the English version-literally, 'thy great and terrible name, (holy it!)' That which immediately precedes cannot but be the subject, where no other subject is expressed in the Hebrew; and the variation from "He is holy," Psalms 99:5, is no greater than that in Psalms 99:9, "the Lord our God is holy." In fact, "thy name" is equivalent, to 'thyself' in thy manifestation.


Verse 4

The king's strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob.

The king's strength also loveth judgment. The English version omits 'and,' which is in the Hebrew, and which requires rather the construction of this verse as dependent on Psalms 99:3 - `And (let them praise) the King's strength also (which) loveth justice.' Here what is included in Gods 'great name' is set forth in detail-namely, that His omnipotent strength (Psalms 29:1; Psalms 93:1) loves to exert itself for just judgment, and so to vindicate the cause of His oppressed people against their worldly oppressors (Psalms 33:5; Psalms 37:28; Psalms 75:2; Psalms 96:10).

Thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob. David was the type (2 Samuel 8:15).


Verse 5

Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.

Exalt ye the Lord our God - (Psalms 34:3.) and worship at his footstool - the ark of the covenant, which Yahweh, sitting upon the cherubim, as it were touched with His feet (1 Cor. 28:2; Psalms 132:7; Lamentations 2:1 ). Not as the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic versions, 'worship His footstool,' which, unless taken figuratively (as Isaiah 45:14, where Zion is said to worshipped), gives seeming countenance to that which God is the second commandment so sternly forbids-the bowing down to any image or creature. But translate either as the Chaldaic Targum explains the Hebrew l


Verses 6-9

Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.

-Admonition to Israel, literal and spiritual, to be instructed by past history, that if she would be ready for Yahweh's coming kingdom and for enjoying the near communion with God which Moses, Aaron, and Samuel enjoyed, she must, like them, keep God's testimonies, and avoid the sins and consequent punishment of those for whom Moses, Aaron, and Samuel interceded.

Verse 6. Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. The necessary condition of sharing in the coming kingdom of the Lord is now calling upon the Lord in faith; for, as in Moses', Aaron's, and Samuel's case, so always calling the way to obtain a hearing. Aaron alone was a priest in the Levitical sense; but the Hebrew, coheen, is sometimes used in a wider sense for chief rulers (2 Samuel 8:18, Hebrew). All three performed priestly duties (Moses and Samuel by special divine call), and all had the spiritual essence of the priestly office (the king-priesthood), inner communion with God, as manifested by their free access to the throne of grace, and

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 99:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-99.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 11th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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