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Bible Commentaries

The Pulpit Commentaries
Psalms 47

 

 


Verses 1-9

EXPOSITION

THIS is a song of praise to God, as the King of the whole earth. It has been called "one of the accession psalms," because it depicts God as assuming his kingdom, and taking his seat upon his throne (Psalms 47:5-8). There is nothing in the psalm that very definitely marks the time of the composition; but it may well be, as Dr. Kay suggests, a psalm in which "Israel collectively acknowledges what David had been allowed to accomplish." The title assigns it to "the sons of Korah," who were among David's chief musicians.

Psalms 47:1

O clap your hands, all ye people; rather, all ye peoples. The nations of the earth generally—not Israel only—are addressed. The events which have taken place—the great extension of God's kingdom, by David's conquests, are for the advantage of all, and all ought to be thankful for them. Shout unto God with the voice of triumph; or, with a voice of joy. Professor Cheyne renders, "in ringing tones."

Psalms 47:2

For the Lord Most High is terrible (comp. Deuteronomy 7:21; and see also Psalms 65:5; Psalms 68:35; Psalms 76:7-9). God is "terrible"—i.e. awful to contemplate-on account of his vast power and his absolute holiness. He is a great King over all the earth. Not only over Israel, or over the nations which David has conquered, but ever every nation on the face of the earth (comp. Psalms 95:3, Psalms 95:4; Psalms 96:10; Psalms 97:1, etc.).

Psalms 47:3

He shall subdue the people under us; rather, he subdues, or hath subdued, peoples under us. The reference is to recent victories (comp. Psalms 18:47). And the nations (rather, and nations) under our feet. David subdued all the nations between the river of Egypt and the Euphrates, and left the inheritance of this kingdom, or rather empire, to Solomon (1 Kings 4:21).

Psalms 47:4

He shall choose our inheritance for us; rather, he chooseth, or hath chosen, our inheritance for us. God originally chose Canaan as the inheritance of his people (Genesis 12:1-7), and gave it to Abraham. Later on, he enlarged the gift, making the boundaries such as they became under David and Solomon (Genesis 15:18). The excellency of Jacob whom he loved. The Holy Land is called "the excellency of Jacob," or "the pride of Jacob," on account of its beauty, and the excellence and variety of its productions (see Deuteronomy 8:7-9; 2 Kings 18:22).

Psalms 47:5

God is gone up with a shout; the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. As God "comes down" when he interposes for the relief or deliverance of his people (Psalms 144:5), so after the relief or deliverance is effected, he is viewed as "going up"—returning to his glorious abode, reoccupying his seat in the heaven of heavens, and there remaining until some fresh call is made upon him. If the interposition has been one of a striking and unusual character, if the relief has been great, the deliverance signal, the triumph accorded to his people extraordinary, then he "goes up with a shout"—amid the exulting cries and loud jubilations of rescued Israel. When the occasion is such as to call for a public manifestation of thanksgiving at the house of God (2 Chronicles 20:28), then he "goes up" also "with the sound of the trumpet," which was always sounded by the priests on great occasions of festal joy and gladness (see 2 Samuel 6:15; 2 Kings 11:14; 1 Chronicles 13:8; 1 Chronicles 16:42; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 2 Chronicles 7:6; 2 Chronicles 29:27; Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:35).

Psalms 47:6

Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises unto our King, sing praises Praise him, i.e; both as God and King—especially as "our King"—that is, as Israel's King.

Psalms 47:7

For God is the King of all the earth (comp. Psalms 47:2). Sing ye praises with understanding; literally, sing a psalm of instruction. As Hengstenberg remarks, "Every song in praise of God, on account of God, on account of his glorious deeds, contains a rich treasure of instruction and improvement." Here the special instruction is that God is King over the whole earth, that he reigns over the heathen, and that the heathen shall also some time or other own his sovereignty.

Psalms 47:8

God reigneth over the heathen. God had manifested his kingly power over the heathen by subduing great numbers of them, and making them subject to Israel. He would one day manifest it still more by bringing all nations into his Church. God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. The throne from which he exercises a just, a righteous, and a holy rule.

Psalms 47:9

The princes of the people (literally, princes of peoples) are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham; rather, to be the people of the God of Abraham (Revised Version)—i.e. to form, together with Israel, the one people, or Church, of God (comp. Isaiah 49:18-23). For the shields of the earth belong unto God. The "shields" are the "princes" of the first clause, those whose business it is to protect and defend their subjects (comp. Hosea 4:18). The princes of the earth belong especially to God, since "by him kings reign, and princes decree justice" (Proverbs 8:15). At the great ingathering of the Gentiles into the Church, they would belong to him still more, since they would voluntarily place themselves under his rule (Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 60:3, Isaiah 60:11, Isaiah 60:16). He is greatly exalted. The perfect submission to God of all his rational creatures is his highest exaltation and glory. When "all people bow down before him," and "all nations do him service," when rebellion and resistance to his will are at an end, then will he be established in his rightful position, and his exaltation will be complete.

HOMILETICS

Psalms 47:6, Psalms 47:7

The faculty and duty of praise.

"Sing praises." Every command of God implies power to obey. True, God often tells us to do what we have no power of ourselves to do; but then he gives power. When Jesus bade the lame Walk, the blind see, the paralytic to take up the bed he lay on, and the very dead to come out of the grave, power went with his word. On the other hand, every faculty or power with which God has endowed us implies some duty in which we are to glorify him. Thus the faculty of praising God in song, and the duty of singing praises with understanding, imply one another.

I. THE FACULTY OF PRAISING GOD IN SONG. God might have given speech without song; all the whole world of sound without music. Not a few persons whose sense of hearing is quick and perfect, have no ear for music; they perceive neither melody nor harmony. For them, therefore, it is neither a pleasure nor a duty to sing praises. What is the case with some might have been with all. Music would then have had no existence in our world or in our conceptions. Further, if God had given no more than the ordinary average musical faculty, the wonder and power of music would have remained comparatively unknown. Multitudes can enjoy music, and play or sing, who never could compose a tune. A chosen few must be endowed with that special gift which we call "genius," making them as it were God's prophets to unfold the secret treasure of music he has stored up in nature, above all, in the human voice. Manifestly it was God's purpose in this to give delight. Music furnishes one of the most exquisite, elevating, unwearying pleasures of which our nature is capable. But it does much more. Song and music are a language distinct from speech—the language of feeling. This language supplies the means by which multitudes may express their thoughts as well as their feelings as with one voice. Let a thousand people speak at once; all thought and feeling are drowned in hubbub. But let them sing together in perfect time and tune; both thought and feeling are raised to a pitch of energy else inconceivable.

II. THE DUTY. "Sing ye praises." This duty has an inner spirit as well as an outer embodiment. There is, after all, no melody like "melody in your heart" (Ephesians 5:19). In the service of God's Church, music without devotion, a lovely sound void of heartfelt meaning, is not praise, but profanation. Better omit singing from our service altogether, than have the finest music to the praise and glory, not of God, but of the performers. But when the spirit of praise, the heart and soul of worship, inspires our song, can we be too careful in perfecting its form? There is no spirituality in bad music; no piety in singing praises ignorantly, slovenly, untunefully. "Sing ye praises with understanding." If Timothy was "not to neglect the gift," but to "stir up the gift that was in him," the like exhortation applies to whatever gift God has given us for his service. If only the few can lead, most can follow. The attainment of the art of singing by note, and culture of the voice so as to take part in this delightful part of Christian worship with pleasure to ourselves and profit to others, should he regarded as a far more serious duty than commonly it is. Psalmody is capable of being a most powerful means of religious impression and edification (Colossians 3:16). Above all, let us cultivate the spirit of praise; the joyful, thankful, trustful, adoring piety, which finds its natural utterance in song. If prayer claims the principal place in our worship on earth, by reason of sin, weakness, need, sorrow,—praise brings us nearest to the worship of heaven (Revelation 5:9-13).

Psalms 47:7

Universal dominion.

"God is King of all the earth." We must beware of making too wide a chasm between our sabbath rest and our daily work; devotion and daily duty. The risk is double—of making our religion unreal, and our daily work irreligious. A devout Christian may be tempted to say, "Do not talk to me from the pulpit about earth; talk about heaven! I must launch out again into the rough sea of business and politics to-morrow; let not even the ground-swell disturb the peaceful haven." This is natural enough, but not always well. Our treasure is not on earth, but our work is. The tempter told our Saviour that the kingdoms of this world are delivered to him; but he was sternly rebuked. If he is called "the prince," even "the god of this world," it is a usurped dominion, which it is our business to protest and fight against. "The earth is the Lord's," etc. (Psalms 24:1); "The kingdom is the Lord's" (Psalms 22:28).

I. GOD IS THE ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGN OF MANKIND, AS OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE. Supreme authority and almighty power are his—his only. Sin cannot change this. The most absolute and mighty despot on earth would become a helpless captive if his troops and people were unanimous in deposing him. But God's power and authority would be exactly the same if every human being defied it. Disobedience could not last an hour if he saw fit to crush it. But he wills to rule, not by mere power, but by wisdom, righteousness, and love—his own eternal law of being and working.

II. GOD'S REGAL BOUNTY, HIS FATHERLY CARE AND GOODNESS, ARE EXERCISED TOWARDS ALL MEN. (Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17; Acts 17:25.) The Laplander in his snow hut, no less than the most cultured child of civilization. If he knows every wild bird and beast (Psalms 50:10-12), and not a sparrow falls unnoticed by him, how much less can one human being, even the guiltiest and most debased, be outside his care!

III. GOD'S IMPERIAL PROVIDENCE CONTROLS ALL HUMAN ACTION. Men rebel against his will, yet his purpose is accomplished (Psalms 30:10, Psalms 30:11; Acts 3:17, Acts 3:18; 2 Chronicles 10:15). Our inability to explain how this is possible does not affect the fact. Were it otherwise, God could not govern the world. Conscience and Scripture alike tell us that freedom and responsibility are not interfered with.

IV. GOD RULES AND CARES FOR NATIONS AS SUCH; NOT INDIVIDUALS MERELY. For human history is the history of nations. The nation of Israel, constructed (so to speak), educated, governed, blessed, and chastened, as no other has been, holds a unique place in the providence of God and in the religious history of mankind. The full prophetic testimony of this fact is one of the strongest evidences of Old Testament inspiration. In this psalm, e.g; full of national sentiment and triumph, the heathen are regarded, not as conquered foes, but fellow-subjects.

V. THIS REGAL, IMPERIAL RULE IS COMMITTED TO THE LORD JESUS. (Matthew 28:18.) The hands nailed to the cross hold the sceptre of the world (Revelation 2:26, Revelation 2:27). Not for worldly ends; but for the sake of that higher kingdom, specially called in the New Testament "the kingdom of God;" the rule, namely, of righteousness, truth, and love, for which we pray, "Thy kingdom come."

CONCLUSION. To which kingdom do you belong—does each one of us? only to that to which even the most ignorant belongs, without knowing it; the most wicked, against his will? or that which the Son of God and Son of man lived, died, and rose again to found and to make triumphant, and in whose triumph we may share?

HOMILIES BY C. CLEMANCE

Psalms 47:1-9

A song for all the peoples!

That it is possible this psalm may have been penned immediately after some specific victory, such as that of Jehoshaphat over the formidable combination of peoples that came up against him (2 Chronicles 20:1-37.), we may admit; but we can scarcely understand how the peoples should have been invited to clap their hands at their own humiliating defeat. And it seems to us altogether unworthy of the sublime elevation of this psalm to look at it solely, or even mainly, from a military point of view, as if all the nations were invited to a song of triumph over their utter powerlessness to prevail against the chosen people of God. Delitzsch remarks, "In the mirror of the present event, the poet reads the great fact of the conversion of all peoples to Jehovah, which closes the history of the world." £ Perowne writes, "This is a hymn of triumph, in which the singer calls upon all the nations to praise Jehovah as their King, and joyfully anticipates the time when they shall all become one body with the people of the God of Abraham." £ Canon Cook says, "While celebrating a transaction of immediate interest to God's people, the psalmist uses expressions throughout which have their adequate fulfilment in the Person and work of the Messiah.'' £ And Dr. Binnie wisely remarks that the invitation to the nations, in the first verse, plainly implies that the subjugation is not a carnal one, but "the yearning of men's minds and hearts for God." £ We are not called on to decide, nor even to ask the question—How much did the human penman of this psalm understand by it? Nor are we to perplex ourselves by asking—How could any human mind forecast all this? For it is not by any law of naturalistic psychology that such a psalm as this is to be tested. The Apostle Peter tells us that "no prophecy of the Scripture comes out of any private interpretation" of the will of God. Nay, further, that the will of man was not the origin of prophecy (2 Peter 1:21), but that holy men of God spake as they were borne on by the Holy Ghost. He tells us, too (1 Peter 1:10-12), that they did not comprehend the full significance of the words which came from their lips; that they diligently inquired into their meaning; that they uttered them, not for themselves, but for us; that their theme was "the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." So that, having this key to the interpretation of the prophetic songs of Scripture, we see that such remarks as those of Cheyne concerning prophecy and psychology£ are utterly wide of the mark, and that the sole question before us is—What do the words of this psalm declare, when dealt with according to the analogy of faith, concerning the prophetic forecast of the kingdom of the Messiah?

I. THE WORDS OF THIS PSALM DISCLOSE A GREAT THEME FOR SONG. A theme evidently much vaster and more far-reaching than the results of any material, local, or national triumph could possibly be; for it is one which is calculated to make all peoples £ clap their hands with joy, which could not possibly be true of any victory on an earthly battle-field. We feel increasingly that the terms of this psalm are intelligible only as referred immediately to the conflict and victory of the great Captain of salvation in undertaking to "save" his people from their sins. As Matthew Poole admirably remarks, "In Psalmo 45 actum est de Rege; in Psalmo 46 de eivitate Dei; hic, de Gentium adjunctione ad populum Dei, quam per Christum impletam videmus." £ And thus we see how far ahead the expansiveness of the Old Testament predictions was of the narrow exclusiveness of the average Jew. Here there is a celebration of God's work which brings out expressions of greatest delight. The delight is in a triumphant achievement that will link all nations in one; and the cause of the delight is not their work, but God's work for them. To nothing but the redemption which is in Christ Jesus could all this possibly apply. Here is a fourfold work of God.

1. The descent of the King to earth. In verse 5 we read, "God is gone up with a shout." So in Psalms 68:18, "Thou hast ascended up on high," etc. In quoting this last-named verse, the Apostle Paul argues (Ephesians 4:9), "brow that he ascended, what is it but that he descended first into the lower parts of the earth?" The ascension implies that he descended. How can it be otherwise here? That God has gone up from earth involves the truth that he was here; and that means that he came down from heaven (so John 3:13; John 16:28; John 17:5, John 17:24; Luke 19:10; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:6, Philippians 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:15). The coming of the Son Incarnate into the world is the fact announced in the New Testament, and many times predicted in the Old Testament (Isaiah 9:6; Genesis 49:10; Luke 24:44; Matthew 5:17; John 5:46). How far the psalmist understood the meaning of his own words, we are not called on to say; but the meaning of the Holy Ghost in inspiring them is perfectly clear, £

2. The ascent of the King is also foretold. (Psalms 68:5.) The descent, implicitly; the ascent, explicitly. And in this doctrine many of the Old Testament writers blend their words (Psalms 68:18; Psalms 110:1-7 :11). The King was to be exalted on high. He is (cf. Acts 1:9; Acts 2:33; Ephesians 4:10; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 9:24; Hebrews 10:12).

3. The exalted King is Sovereign over all the nations. (Psalms 68:8.) "The heathen" (Authorized Version) is equivalent to "the nations" (Revised Version). All the nations are under Immanuel's sceptre. Through his death Satan is dethroned, and the Christ enthroned, and every child of man is now under his mediatoriai sway. So we are taught in John 12:31, John 12:32; Acts 10:34, Acts 10:35. He is now enthroned at the right hand of God; and those hands that were pierced with nails now sway the sceptre of universal power. Yea, and he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet (Psalms 110:1-7.). The mediatorial throne is "the throne of his holiness" (Acts 10:8). In the life of Christ holiness was manifested; in his death, whereby he condemned sin, holiness was vindicated. From his seat above, holiness sways the sceptre; by the power of his Spirit, holiness is created in human spirits. And under the sway of this throne all nations are embraced. "Earth's poor distinctions vanish here." "In Christ there is neither Greek, nor Jew, barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free; but Christ is all, and in all." And in him all the peoples of the earth may find their home in Abraham's God (Acts 10:9). The shields, i.e. the princes, of the earth belong unto God.

4. The King governs the world for the sake of the Church. (Acts 10:3.) So the third verse indicates. The thought is expressed with gospel clearness in Ephesians 1:22 and Romans 8:28, that out of a sinful world God may call a living Church, to be presented to himself, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. This is the Divine subjugation of his foes, which the mediatorial sovereignty of Christ ensures.

II. HERE IS A CALL FOR SONG ON THIS GREAT THEME, FROM ALL PEOPLES. Man's sin makes us weep. God's mercy makes us sing; and no aspect thereof makes us gladder than that of the triumph of redeeming grace and dying love. And well may the psalmist, thus forecasting redemption's story through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, call for universal song. Well may we sing; for:

1. The great conflict is past. "The voice of triumph" may therefore be ours (cf. Colossians 2:15).

2. The sceptre of the world is in the hands of One, and of One only. There is no division of power (Romans 8:7).

3. The sceptre of the world is in the hands of the Supreme (Romans 8:2) £ And where else could we desire all power to be lodged (cf. Matthew 28:18; John 17:2; Revelation 1:18; Psalms 2:12)?

4. There is a rich inheritance in store for, the loyal ones. The Jew expected an earthly inheritance by virtue of his descent from Abraham; but all believers will have an infinitely greater inheritance by virtue of their union with Christ. God chooses it for us; and with his choice we may be well content. He will deal right royally with his own, and will act worthily of a God. For this inheritance we can wait (Romans 8:17, Romans 8:18).

5. In the advance of the Divine plans all barriers between race and race are destined to fall: All kindreds of the earth are to rally to the standard of Abraham's God! Nowhere is this breaking down of boundaries more strikingly set forth than in Ephesians 2:12-22, which is an exposition of the basis and structural plan of the Christian commonwealth. This the aged Jacob foretold when he said, "To him shall the gathering of the people be." To this psalmists and seers Point. For this the Saviour prayed: "That they all may be one." He died to "gather together in one the children of God which are scattered abroad" (John 11:52; John 10:16; Isaiah 42:4). At such a thought, "Clap your hands, all ye peoples!"—C.

HOMILIES BY W. FORSYTH

Psalms 47:1-9

The universal King.

The Lord is here set forth as "King over all the earth." His government commands—

I. THE HOMAGE OF THE INTELLECT. "The Most High" is the Maker of heaven and earth. He is infinitely wise and holy and powerful. Not dependent upon other beings, he rules singly and done, in supreme majesty. Reason, therefore, not only confesses his right, but his fitness. Here is the repose of the mind in a perfect King.

II. THE ACQUIESCENCE OF THE CONSCIENCE. The Lord Most High is "terrible." This does not mean that he is an object of terror, but of reverence. What God does in dealing with the nations is ever the expression of judgment and righteousness. Whether it be in the temple or in the world, in manifesting himself in love to his people or in ruling over the heathen, he is ever just. His government, in its laws and administration, is absolutely pure. The throne on which he is seated is the throne of his holiness. Conscience, where it is free, cries, "Amen."

III. THE ADORATION OF THE HEART. "Sing praises." Four times this call is given. This shows both its justice and its universality. To this call, all hearts, "honest and good," respond with joy. The more we study, the better we understand, the character and the rule of God, the more fervently shall we join in the anthem of praise. "Sing praises to God." This is no mere form, no senseless outburst, like that of the men of Ephesus, who for two whole hours cried out, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" (Acts 19:34). Looking to the past, contemplating the present, imaging the future, we see that, under God, all things are tending towards one great end, and therefore we can sing praises "with understanding." It has been said that "a people's voice is the proof and echo of all human fame." So as truth prevails, and men everywhere are brought under the benign and holy sway of Christ, shall they with glad enthusiasm proclaim the Name and glory of God. Learn, therefore, the evil and the folly of sin. It is rebellion against the Lord Most High! Learn also the real unity of believers. Whatever differences there may be amongst them as regards lesser things, when they utter their hearts in prayer and praise, we find that they are one. The hymns of the Church for ever witness to the unity of the Church. Learn also how all the prophets speak of Christ and his kingdom. Their words had higher meanings than they knew of. Consciously or unconsciously, but moved by the Holy Ghost, they spake of the glories of the latter day.

"Come then, and, added to thy many crowns,

Receive yet one, the crown of all the earth,

Thou who alone art worthy."

W.F.

Psalms 47:7

Christianity the faith of all nations.

Judaism was not fitted for universality. Its rites, its laws as to meats and drinks, its localization of worship, gave it the character of a national rather than a universal religion. Yet it was by Hebrew prophets that the idea of a universal religion was propounded. Taught of God, they were able to rise above what was local and exclusive, and to rejoice in foresight of the latter-day glory, when Jehovah should be "King of all the earth." The fulfilment is in Christ, whose coming was hailed, not only as "King of the Jews," but as the "Light of the Gentiles," and the Saviour of the world. Christianity, not the Christianity of the Creeds or of any particular Church, but the Christianity of Christ, is the faith for all nations. The fact that the Bible is so fitted for translation into all languages; that the rites of the gospel are so simple and so adapted to all countries; that the laws as to Church government are so few, and so capable of being worked out according to the needs of different peoples, might be urged as arguments for universality. But there are other and stronger reasons. Christianity is fitted to be the faith of all nations, because of—

I. ITS REPRESENTATION OF GOD. It has been truly said that "Christianity alone of religions gives a clear, self-consistent, adequate view of God. It alone discloses and promises to man a complete communion with God." The cry of Philip, "Show us the Father," finds in Christ a full response (John 14:9). "In creation God is a God above us; in the Law he is a God against us; but in the gospel, he is Immanuel, a God with us, a God like us, a God for us."

II. ITS DOCTRINE OF SALVATION. The evil that presses upon men everywhere is sin. How can it be taken away? The answer is," Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." Our character and life depend upon our beliefs. Belief in Christ not only secures pardon and reconciliation with God, but restoration of purity. In the Gospels we have not only the doctrine, but facts that authenticate the doctrine. The great conversions of St. Luke (Luke 7:48; Luke 19:9, Luke 19:10; Luke 23:43) are samples of what Christ has done and is doing (1 Timothy 1:15-17), and what he begins he will perfect.

III. ITS IDEAL OF HUMANITY. We have not only the Law, but the life (Matthew 5:1-11; 1 Peter 2:21). Christ not only gives us the ideal, but shows us how that ideal may be realized (Matthew 15:24-27; Titus 2:11-13). Thus in Christ God comes down to man, and man is raised up to God. The promise is unto all, without respect of persons.

IV. ITS BOND OF BROTHERHOOD. What force, and commerce, and ecclesiasticism, and all human devices failed to do, Christ has done. He treats men simply as men, and by his Spirit binds them together as brethren. The wall of partition is broken down. The divisions formed by pride and selfishness are abolished, and all the world over "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free," but all are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

V. ITS CONSOLATIONS AND HOPES. Here there is comfort for every troubled heart. Christ is our Hope. To use the words of Arthur Hallam, "I see that the Bible fits into every fold of the human heart. I am a man, and I believe it to be God's book, because it is man's book."

VI. ITS PROMISE OF IMMORTALITY. This is the climax. Godliness has the promise not only of the life that now is, but of that which is to come. The vision rises bright before every Christian. "Days without night; joys without sorrow; sanctity without sin; charity without stain; possession without fear; society without envying; communication of joys without lessening; and they shall dwell in a blessed country where an enemy never entered, and from which a friend never went away." Therefore we pray with increasing fervour, "Thy kingdom come."—W.F.

HOMILIES BY C. SHORT

Psalms 47:1-9

The universal sovereignty of God.

The occasion of the psalm was, according to Psalms 47:3, an overthrow of many heathen peoples by the visible interposition of God, who had leagued themselves against Israel, and who, according to Psalms 47:4, had set out with the purpose of expelling Israel from her land. Another interpretation is that the psalm was composed for the dedication of the temple on the return from captivity. The main thought is the universal sovereignty of God. "God is the King of all the earth." Three thoughts are suggested.

I. GOD CONSTRAINS HIS ENEMIES TO FULFIL HIS PURPOSE. (Psalms 47:3-8.)

1. The almighty wisdom and goodness of God bring good out of evil. "Maketh the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of wrath he restrains."

2. This should be aground of truth and joy to the whole world. (Psalms 47:6, Psalms 47:7.) Evil, therefore, is not absolute and eternal, and cannot be finally victorious over him to whom "the shields of the earth belong." This is the psalmist's thought.

II. GOD HAS CHOSEN AND SECURED THE INHERITANCE OF HIS PEOPLE, (Psalms 47:4.) The reference here is to the Holy Land. God would not allow the heathen to wrest it from them.

1. Generally, God has given us a grand destiny in Christ and heaven. Rest is our inheritance.

2. He wall secure this to all who accept his promises, and faithfully seek for it. He restored the Jews, who for a time had been disinherited, when they became penitent and forsook their idolatry. "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

III. THE GREATEST MEN, KINGS AND LEADERS, SHALL AT LENGTH YIELD THEMSELVES TO GOD. (Psalms 47:9.)

1. The kings of thought shall at length bow to Christ as the highest Wisdom.

2. The kings of action will acknowledge him as the inspiration of the grandest conduct. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, to whom every knee shall bow.—S.

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Psalms 47:4". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/psalms-47.html. 1897.

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