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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 47

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Psalms 47:1 « To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah. » O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

A Psalm for the sons of Korah ] Carmen triumphale, saith Mollerus; a panegyrical oration, saith Beza, written by David when topful of most ardent zeal, and sung by the Korites in that stately solemnity, whereat he brought at length the Lord’s holy ark into the city of David; which gallant history is lively set forth, 2 Samuel 6:1-23 1Ch 15:1-29 And the use that David doth here make of it, viz. concerning Christ’s kingdom, and the benefits thereby, concerneth us as much, or rather more than that ancient people. The Rabbis with one consent say, that this psalm is to be understood De diebus Christi, of the days of the Messiah, who was prefigured by the ark, and should be the joy of all nations.

Ver. 1. O clap your hands, all ye people ] As they used to do at their king’s coronation, 2 Kings 11:12 , show your joy for and interest in Christ your King, by manifesting your righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Other joys are mixed and dearly bought, but this is sincere and gratuitous, as the prophet Isaiah setteth forth elegantly, Psalms 9:3 ; Psalms 9:5-7 .

Shout unto God, with the voice of triumph ] Heb. of shrilling. God’s praises are to be celebrated with all manner of cheerfulness; and we are to be vexed at the vile dulness of our hearts, that are no more affected and enlarged hereunto; seeing all causes of joy are found eminently in God, and he is so well worthy to be praised, Psalms 18:3 . Jews and Gentiles are here jointly called upon joyfully to praise their Redeemer.

Verse 2

Psa 47:2 For the LORD most high [is] terrible; [he is] a great King over all the earth.

Ver. 2. For the Lord most high is terrible ] Amiable to his own, terrible to his rebels. This Son, if not kissed, will be angry, Psa 2:12 This Lamb, for a need, can show himself a lion; as he is the Father of mercies, so the God of recompenses, &c., and being most high, he can easily overtop and subdue the stoutest of his enemies.

He is a great King over all the earth ] As having taken possession, by his wonderful ascension, of the universal kingdom given him by his Father, and gathered himself a Church out of all mankind, which he wonderfully ruleth and defendeth against the rage of earth and of hell.

Verse 3

Psa 47:3 He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.

Ver. 3. He shall subdue the people under us ] This was typified in the government of the Israelites, then ascendant in David’s days, but fulfilled when Christ rode abroad on his white horse, the apostles, conquering and to conquer, Revelation 6:2 Quando Britannorum inaccessa Romanis loca Christo patuerint, as Tertullian hath it: Christ subdued the Britons and others, whom the victorious Romans could never come at. The Chaldee hath it, He shall kill the people under us, sc. with the sword of the Spirit, the word; "when the law came, sin revived, and I died," Romans 7:9 . The Hebrew is, He shall speak the people under us; that is, he shall, by the preaching of the gospel, powerfully persuade Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem, Genesis 9:27 . Tremellius rendereth it, Cogit in caulam populos, he gathereth the people into the fold, viz. that, there may be one sheepfold and one shepherd, as Joh 10:16 Ephesians 2:14 (Jun. ex Aben Ezra, and R. Judah).

And the nations under our feet ] Hence the Jews to this day dream (as did also the disciples, soured with their leaven) of an earthly kingdom, wherein the Messiah at his coming shall subdue the nations, and distribute their provinces and wealth among his Jews. But Christ’s kingdom is of another nature, and the nations are already subdued to the Church, which remaineth one and the same, although the Jews be as branches broken off, and others set in their place. Romans 11:24 . Besides, by the nations under the Jews’ feet is meant (say some) that the Gentiles should be scholars, and the Jews schoolmasters, as it were, unto them; for so sitting under the feet, or at the feet, signifieth in Scripture, Act 22:3 Luk 10:39 2 Kings 2:5 . The teacher was called Joshebh, or sitter; the scholar Mithabbek, or one that lieth along in the dust, in token of his humble subjection. And in this sense Seneca somewhere saith, that the basest of people (meaning the Jews) gave laws unto all the world.

Verse 4

Psa 47:4 He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.

Ver. 4. He shall choose our inheritance for us ] Or, He hath chosen. Of his free grace he espied out the land of Canaan for his people Israel, flowing with milk and honey, and such as was the glory of all lands, Ezekiel 30:6 ; and as much, yea, much more hath he done for the whole Israel of God, both of Jews and Gentiles, by electing them to an inheritance immortal, undefiled, reserved in heaven for them, 1 Peter 1:4 .

The excellency (or high glory) of Jacob whom he loved] i.e. All those high and honourable privileges wherein Jacob once, and now all the faithful, may well glory and rejoice, see Rom 9:4-5 having as great both abundance and assurance of God’s grace and goodness as Jacob ever had.

Verse 5

Psa 47:5 God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.

Ver. 5. God is gone up with a shout ] The ark is here called God, as also Psalms 132:5 , and the face of God, Psalms 105:4 ; because from the ark, in the midst of the cherubims, God spake to his people, and they by looking towards it had a sure symbol of the divine presence. The bringing of it up with pomp and solemnity into Mount Sion was a type of Christ’s wonderful ascension into heaven, triumphing over all his and our enemies, Col 2:15 Ephesians 4:8 , and joyfully entertained by saints and angels in heaven. The Jews, ever apt to work themselves (as one saith of them) into the fool’s paradise of a sublime dotage, understand this passage of the future reduction of the ark into the sanctuary, where it was once; and for the which they most earnestly pray still, as Buxtorf writeth (De Synag. Jud c. 13).

With the sound of a trumpet ] Concrepantibus tubis; and in like sort he shall return, Act 1:11 1 Thessalonians 4:16 .

Verse 6

Psa 47:6 Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.

Ver. 6. Sing praises to God, sing praises ] Do it with all alacrity, assiduity, being of that martyr’s mind who said, Should I do nothing else all the days of my life, yea, as long as the days of heaven shall last, but kneel upon my knees, and repeat over David’s psalms to the glory and praise of God, yet should I fall infinitely short of what is my duty to do.

Verse 7

Psa 47:7 For God [is] the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

Ver. 7. For God is King of all the earth ] q.d. Our King, said I? it is too little; he is King of all the earth. A title vainly taken by some proud princes, as Sesostris, king of Egypt, who would needs be called κοσμοκρατωρ , Lord of the whole world. So a decree went out from Augustus Caesar, that all the world should be taxed, Luke 2:1 . The Great Turk, Amurath III, styled himself, God of the earth, governor of the whole world, &c.; but these were but bubbles of words, as St Peter hath it, God is the sole monarch of the whole world, παμβασιλευς .

Sing ye praises with understanding ] Non bacchantium more, but prudently, and with a well composed mind, saith Vatablus; Psalmo Didasealico, saith Tremellius, with such a psalm or song as whereby ye may rightly inform one another concerning his kingdom and your own duty. Heb. Sing ye Maschil, that is, one of the psalms that bear that title, as some sense it; or, every one of you that hath skill in songs, as others, Quotquot sapientes intelligentes et periti estis psallendi.

Verse 8

Psa 47:8 God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.

Ver. 8. God reigneth over the heathen ] This is his universal kingdom, whereof before, Psalms 47:7 , and yet never can too much be said of it.

God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness ] He is in a special manner King of his Church, as Ahasuerus was of his Esther, called his throne, Exodus 17:16 (because the hand upon the throne of the Lord, that is, Amalek’s hand upon the Church, as some interpret it). His throne of glory, Jeremiah 14:21 ; and here the throne of his holiness, because Christ (who is called God so many times in this psalm) loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, and so present it to himself a glorious Church, Ephesians 5:25-27 .

Verse 9

Psa 47:9 The princes of the people are gathered together, [even] the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth [belong] unto God: he is greatly exalted.

Ver. 9. The princes of the people are gathered together ] Or, the voluntary of the people. The great ones disdain not to meet with the meanest at the public assemblies, for performance of holy duties; but thither they flee one with another, as the doves do to their windows, Isaiah 60:8 , glorying in this, that they are Christ’s vassals, as did Constantine, Valentinian, and Theodosius, those three great emperors, casting their crowns at his feet, and willing to come under the common yoke of his obedience, with the rest of the people of the God of Abraham, the common sort of Christians (Socrates).

For the shields of the earth belong unto God ] That is, those princes and magistrates also, Hos 4:18 Psalms 89:18 , belong to the covenant of election; though not many mighty, not many noble are called, 1 Corinthians 1:26 , and it was grown to a proverb, omnium bonorum Principum imagines in uno annulo sculpi posse. The Spanish friar was wont to say there were but few princes in hell; and why? because there were but few in all. If such shall show themselves shields to their people to protect them from wrong; and not sharks, rather, to peel them and pillage them God will own and honour such. Others thus: the shields of the earth belong to the Lord, that is, the militia of the world is his; he hath and can quickly raise the Posse comitatus of all countries.

He is greatly exalted ] How should he be otherwise who hath so great a command, and useth it for the defence of his people? Especially if the grandees of the earth become religious, and draw on others by their example and liberality? Magnates Magnetes.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 47". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/psalms-47.html. 1865-1868.
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