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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Psalms 24

 

 

Verse 1

Psalms 24:1 « A Psalm of David. » The earth [is] the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

A Psalm of David] The Greek addeth, of the first day of the week (because wont to be sung in the temple on that day), which is now the Christian sabbath, in memory of Christ’s resurrection and rule over all, which is here celebrated.

Ver. 1. The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof] He alone is the true proprietary, Job 41:11, Deuteronomy 10:14, and the earth is Marsupium Domini, as one saith, the Lord’s great purse; the keeping whereof he hath committed to the sons of men, Psalms 115:16; like as also he hath given the heavenly bodies to all peoples, Deuteronomy 4:19, every star being God’s storehouse, which he openeth for our profit, Deuteronomy 28:12, and out of which he throweth down riches and plenty into the earth, such as the servants of God gather, and the rest scramble for. What use the apostle putteth this point to, see 1 Corinthians 10:26; 1 Corinthians 10:28, {See Trapp on "1 Corinthians 10:26"} {See Trapp on "1 Corinthians 10:28"} Other uses may well be made of it; as, that kings and princes bear not themselves as lords of all (the Turk and pope so style themselves; the great cham of Tartary every day as soon as he hath dined causeth, they say, his trumpets to be sounded; by that sign giving leave to other princes of the earth, his vassals, as he conceiteth, to go to dinner), but the Lord’s vicarii et villici, viceregents and stewards, to whom they must give an account of all. Again, that God’s dear children cannot want anything that is good for them; since they have so rich a Father, who seems to say unto them, as Genesis 45:20, Regard not your stuff, for all the good of the land is yours. To him that overcometh will I give to inherit all things; I have all things, Philippians 4:18, 2 Corinthians 6:10.

The world and they that dwell therein] This is God’s universal kingdom by right of creation, Psalms 24:2; besides which he hath a spiritual kingdom over his elect ( ut docet nos pulcherrimus hic psalmus, this this most beautiful psalm teaches us, saith Beza), who are here described, Psalms 24:4-6, and encouraged to enlarge their desires after their sovereign in the exercise of faith and use of means, and to give him the best entertainment, Psalms 24:7-10. For the Church is Christ’s temple; and every faithful soul is a gate thereof to let him in, as Revelation 3:20.


Verse 2

Psalms 24:2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

Ver. 2. For he hath founded it upon the seas] The solid earth he hath founded upon the liquid waters. This Aristotle acknowledgeth to be a miracle; as also that the waters, which are naturally above the earth, overflow it not, but are kept within their shores, as within doors and bars. This is the very finger of God, and a standing miracle, worthy to be predicated to his praise all the world over, Job 38:6-8, &c. {See Trapp on "Job 38:6"} {See Trapp on "Job 38:7"} {See Trapp on "Job 38:8"} See also Genesis 1:9, {See Trapp on "Genesis 1:9"}

And established it upon the floods] Upon the waves and surges of the sea; which, but for God’s decree, would soon surmount it. The dry land is that which is here called Tebel, οικουμενη, the habitable world. And this is God’s universal kingdom, which because less considerable, the prophet speaketh but little of it in comparison, as hastening to the spiritual.


Verse 3

Psalms 24:3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

Ver. 3. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord] Montem caelestem significat, saith Vatablus, he meaneth into heaven; for the prophet’s purpose is to show, that although God made all, yet he will not save all; but that there is a select number, culled and called out of the many, who shall be everlastingly happy; and these are here characterized, as they are also, Psalms 15:1-5, wherewith this psalm hath great affinity, and is thought to have been composed at the same time, that is, saith R. David, post negotium Ornani Iebusaei, after the business with Araunah the Jebusite, when God by fire from heaven had pointed out the place where the temple should be built, 1 Chronicles 21:26; 1 Chronicles 22:1.

And who shall stand in his holy place?] Stand with the Lamb upon Mount Zion? Tautologia haec est Hebraeis perquam familiaris. Who is a true member of the Church militant? and shall be no less of the Church triumphant?


Verse 4

Psalms 24:4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

Ver. 4. He that hath clean hands] The clean in hands, that is, of innocent and unblamable conversation; debet esse purus corde, ore, opere, saith Kimchi; he must not touch that unclean thing, 2 Corinthians 6:17. Non magna munera, sed immunis manus mensque sincera Deo placent. Men must lift up pure hands in prayer, 1 Timothy 2:8, or else their incense will stink of the hand that offereth it, Isaiah 1:13. Immunis aram si tetigit manus (Horat.). Those that draw near to God must not only have their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, but their bodies also washed with pure water, Hebrews 10:22.

And a pure heart] Which, while Pilate wanted, it nothing profited him to wash his hands in the presence of the people. Heaven is a holy place; and they that would go thither must cleanse themselves from "all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God," 2 Corinthians 7:1. The serpent could screw himself into Paradise; but no unclean creature ever came into God’s kingdom. The citizens of heaven must here affect purity of heart, aim at it, and in some measure attain to it too; the old frame of impure motions being dissolved, &c.

Who hath not lift up his soul unto vanity] i.e. Ad idols vel opes, saith one, that is, to idols or riches, Jeremiah 22:27, but hath lifted it up in the ways of the Lord, as Jehoshaphat did, 2 Chronicles 17:6, and David, Psalms 25:1, not heeding or hankering after the world’s delights or the devil’s delusions. Some write the word Shau, signifying vanity, with a little Vau, ad indicandum quod minima vanitas est vitanda, &c., to show that he who would dwell in God’s holy mountain must carefully avoid the least vanity, that is, keeping God’s commandment as the apple of his eye, that will bear no jests, Proverbs 7:2. Some, for his soul, read my soul; he hath not taken in vain my soul, that is, saith R. Obadiah, That soul inspired by God (which I also have received), he taketh not in vain, he misemployeth not to iniquity, but consecrateth to the service of God, whose image and superscription it beareth.

Nor hath sworn deceitfully] Or inured his tongue to any other kind of the language of hell, rotten communication, to the dishonouring of God, or deceiving of others. Perjury is here instanced for the rest, as one of the most heinous. But Geraldus reckoneth up four and twenty different sins of the tongue; all which every inhabitant of the new Jerusalem is careful to avoid, as the devil’s drevil, no way becoming his pure lip.


Verse 5

Psalms 24:5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Ver. 5. He shall receive the blessing of the Lord] i.e. Omnimodam felieitatem, all manner of mercies, saith Vatablus; he shall be as happy as heart can wish; for great is the gain of godliness. See my Righteous Man’s Recompense.

And righteousness, &c.] i.e. The fruit and reward of righteousness, which the righteous God will not fail to bestow upon all his; even the crown of righteousness, 2 Timothy 4:8. A grave interpreter hath here observed, that there is such a reciprocation between the description of this reward and the persons described, that the blessedness assured to the persons exciteth them to the care of piety; and this care of piety bringeth unto them a sure and firm expectation of blessedness (Ames).


Verse 6

Psalms 24:6 This [is] the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

Ver. 6. This is the generation of them that seek him] These are the true seekers, far different from those that so style themselves today; being no better indeed than the Jesuits’ by-blows {bastards}, as one wittily calleth them, though they are not yet so wise as to know their own father (Mr Baxter). These are a generation too, but an evil and adulterous one, in these last and loosest times of abounding and abetted errors.

That seek thy face] i.e. Thy favour, that desire nothing more than to be in communion with thee and conformity unto thee.

O Jacob] Or, O God of Jacob. As the Church is called Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:12; so God is here called Jacob, such a near union there is between him and his people. Or, this is Jacob. So the true seekers are fitly called, first, because Israelites indeed, John 1:47, Romans 9:6; secondly, because they see God face to face, as Jacob did at Penuel, Genesis 32:24; Genesis 32:26; Genesis 32:29-30; thirdly, because they also, as here, do bear away a blessing, Hosea 12:4, even righteousness from the God of their salvation, as in the verse foregoing. Adiecitur Selah ut ostendatur quantopere haec sententia sit consideranda (Vatab.).


Verse 7

Psalms 24:7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Ver. 7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, &c.] Here he calleth unto hell gates, say the Papists; to the heavens, say others, to give way to Christ’s ascension thereinto, as the firstfruits, and the opener of the way to all his members; and he doubleth the same speech, Psalms 24:9, for the joy that he had in the contemplation thereof; bidding them again and again lift up and be lifted up; a phrase or term taken from triumphal arches, or great porticoes, set up or beautified and adorned for the coming in of great victorious and triumphant captains. Justin. p. 55. Recipite Christum in portas novae Hierosol. (Cyril). There are at this day to be seen at Rome the ruins of Constantine’s triumphal arch erected at that time when he entered the city triumphing over the tyrant Maxentius, quem vicit signo crucis, who conquored by the sign of the cross, as Eusebius reporteth; making Christ to triumph at Rome, after those ten bloody persecutions; with which triumph this psalm may fitly be compared, saith a learned interpreter. Our late annotators tell us of a fashion in ancient times, that when they would solemnize the entrance of any prince, or others that had well deserved of the public, they would break down the walls, and pull off the gates of the city; partly for more flee entrance, and partly to show that their city needed no wall nor gates as long as they had such a guardian and protector within it. It is likely, say they, that David by these words doth allude to some such custom. Or, as Calvin and others will have it, to the temple to be set up by Solomon; which he wisheth were done, that so he might bring in the ark of the covenant, hitherto transportative, into the place of its rest, Psalms 132:14. Certain it is, that the saints, those living temples of the Lord, are here called upon to lift up their hearts in the use of holy ordinances; yea, therein to be abundantly lifted up through faith, with a joyful and assured welcome of the King of glory, who will thereupon come in to them, by the ravishing operation of his love, benefits, and graces.


Verse 8

Psalms 24:8 Who [is] this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

Ver. 8. Who is this King of glory?] The gates are brought in as asking this question, saith R. David. This is the angels’ admiration at the coming in of Christ’s humanity into heaven, saith Diodati. Rather, it is the question of the faithful concerning the person of their King, whom they hereby resist not: but for their further confirmation, desire to be better informed of him, and his never adored enough excellencies.

The Lord strong] Jehovah the essentiator, the eternal God; the most mighty and puissant warrior; who, if he do but arise only, his enemies are scattered, and all that hate him fly before him, Psalms 68:1.


Verse 9

Psalms 24:9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift [them] up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Ver. 9. Lift up your heads, &c.] See Psalms 24:7. And learn, that in matters of moment we must be more than ordinarily earnest and importunate with ourselves and others.


Verse 10

Psalms 24:10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he [is] the King of glory. Selah.

Ver. 10. Who is this King of glory?] The best are acute obtusi in the mystery of Christ crucified; and must therefore by study and inquiry grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 3:18, praying for that Spirit of wisdom and revelation, for the acknowledgment of him, Ephesians 1:17.

The Lord of hosts] He who hath all creatures at his beck and check, the Lord of Sabaoth, Romans 9:29, James 5:4, where the word signifying hosts or arms is used untranslated, because well understood both by Jews and Gentiles, as is also Hosanna, Hallelujah, Amen.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 24:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-24.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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