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Monday, December 4th, 2023
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 47

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-4


This psalm connects to the previous one in which the remnant was calmed by the thought of the Messiah’s presence in the city of God. It has been suggested that in it the supremacy of God is sung because of His intervention in the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib, in which He killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night (Isaiah 37:36-Haggai :). The victories of King Jehoshaphat have also been suggested.

In any case, this event foreshadows the defeating of the enemies of God’s people by the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, in the end times. The expelled and oppressed remnant sees in faith the things that await their fulfillment and full completion as if the moment were already here. The result, as described in this psalm, is that the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, is exalted and magnified as “a great King over all the earth” (Psalms 47:2), Who will be worshiped by all nations (Psalms 47:9; cf. Isaiah 52:13; Revelation 15:4).

Psalm 46 and Psalm 48 speak of Zion, the city of God, the city of the great King (Psalms 46:4; Psalms 48:1; Matthew 5:35), in Psalm 47 we find the great King Himself (Malachi 1:14). Great King means that there is no king who can be compared to Him, not even Sennacherib, though he lets himself to be called so (2 Kings 18:19). He is the King of kings. Psalm 46 and Psalm 48 are thanksgivings about the city of the great King, Psalm 47 is a thanksgiving about the great King Himself. Psalm 46 is about the coming of the King to judge, Psalm 47 is about the acknowledgment by the whole world that He is the great King, the King of kings.

The psalm can be divided by selah after Psalms 47:4 into two stanzas that complement each other. The first stanza is about God’s love for His people to whom He subdued nations (Psalms 47:4). The second stanza is about God’s holiness: He sits as King on His holy throne and reigns over all nations (Psalms 47:8).

We can also divide the psalm into two stanzas, each beginning with a call to praise God (Psalms 47:1 and Psalms 47:6) followed by the reason. Both stanzas consist of ten lines (Psalms 47:1-Deuteronomy : and Psalms 47:6-1 Samuel :).

God Is King

For “for the choir director” (Psalms 47:1) see at Psalm 4:1.

For “of the sons of Korah” see at Psalm 42:1.

The psalm begins with a call for “all peoples” to clap their hands (Psalms 47:1). Clapping one’s hands here is an expression of delight and homage (2 Kings 11:12; Isaiah 55:12). Before the eyes of the spectators a scene has taken place about which they are so delighted that they cannot help but clap their hands.

The voice is also used to express the delight. Shouts of joy “to God with voices of joy” are heard. The fact that the subdued peoples applaud Him Who has subdued them with songs of joy means that this can only be fulfilled in the millennial realm of peace. Then it will be so.

These joyful displays take place because “the LORD Most High is to be feared” (Psalms 47:2). God is here called “LORD”, Yahweh, the God of the covenant with His people. He has acted for His people as the “Most High”, which is His Name in connection with the realm of peace (Psalms 9:2). In the realm of peace, He is to all and sundry “a great King over all the earth” (cf. Malachi 1:14). He governs all and has authority over all.

That omnipotent and omnipresent King is the King of His people. His people are then no longer a beaten and trampled people. They are no longer the tail, but the head of the nations (Deuteronomy 28:13; Deuteronomy 28:44). They do not owe this to themselves, but to God. This is how they confess it: “He subdues peoples under us, and nations under our feet” (Psalms 47:3).

And what is the reason? Not something in them, but in Himself, namely His love for them (Psalms 47:4). He has chosen for them their inheritance, which is the land to which He has led them. He did that in the past, after He delivered them from Egypt. He will do so in the future – and He is already busy in doing so now! – when He will bring them back to their land from the scattering that He had to bring upon them because of their unfaithfulness to Him (Ezekiel 36:22-Hosea :).

God has chosen that land for them to give it to them as inheritance (Ezekiel 20:6). This means that it is their inalienable property. The hostile nations dispute their right to it, but God has established their right to it. Therefore, any disputing it is rebellion against Him, leading to His judgment. He also calls it “the glory of Jacob”, for it is also “the glory of all the lands” (Ezekiel 20:6), a land that brings glory and splendor to them. They owe all this to God.

Verses 5-9

God Is Exalted

Psalms 47:5 is still part of Psalms 47:1-Numbers :. There is a selah at the end of Psalms 47:4 because Psalms 47:5 is no longer about what He has done to the nations (Psalms 47:3; Psalms 47:4), but about who He Himself is. In terms of content, Psalms 47:5 still belongs to the previous verses because God “ascended with a shout” and the LORD “with the sound of a trumpet”, meaning that after defeating the nations, He returns to Jerusalem. The going to Jerusalem is called: ascending. Jerusalem is higher than the surrounding places, both literally and figuratively. Therefore, going to Jerusalem is an ascension.

It is not clear to which occasion we should refer here. It is comparable to the bringing of the ark to Mount Zion by David. That was also done “with shouting and the sound of the trumpet” (2 Samuel 6:15). Shouting is common at an enthronement. It has to do with the proclamation of the kingship of God (cf. Numbers 23:21). We can connect trumpeting with the Day of atonement as the announcement of the year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:9; Leviticus 25:10) which prophetically refers to the realm of peace. Then the “period of restoration of all things” has come (Acts 3:20-Ecclesiastes :).

We can also think of the glorification of the Lord Jesus after He completed the work on the cross (Psalms 68:18; Ephesians 4:8-2 Samuel :). As a reward for this, He is immediately glorified by God at His right hand in heaven (John 13:32) and by Him “made both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

In Psalms 47:6-Judges :, “sing praises” is repeated five times. First, it is repeated twice to sing praises “to God” (Psalms 47:6). God is the Almighty and Supreme. He is the Only One, the Truthful One. He alone is worthy of worship (Matthew 4:10; Revelation 14:6-Judges :).

In the first stanza (Psalms 47:1-Deuteronomy :), it has already been noted that God is the great King. In the second stanza, which begins in Psalms 47:5, His Kingship is given additional emphasis. Twice He is called King (Psalms 47:6; Psalms 47:7) and there is mention of His government and His throne (Psalms 47:8). The call sounds to sing praises “to our King”, the great, sovereign God, the King, the Ruler of His people.

A king has a people. God is King and has a people. The people that God has as His King are an exceedingly blessed people. This people is Israel. God is their King and dwells in their midst. That gives special cause to sing joyfully and to praise Him, especially after He has put an end to the time of tribulation (Zephaniah 3:14-Ezra :).

It is also true for us that we have a special reason to praise God after a time of trial. In the tribulation we have sometimes felt that He had forgotten us. Then when He brightens it for us, a deep joy and peace come into our hearts, for which we honor Him with great gratitude.

God is King! At an ascension to the throne, a call is made in Israel: Such and such is king! (2 Samuel 15:10; 2 Kings 9:13). Here we are talking about the enthronement of God, which is the reason to sing praises. Since God is “King over all the earth”, the singing of praises for and about Him implies singing “a skillful psalm” literally “a maskil psalm” (Psalms 47:7). ‘Maskil’ means understanding, wisdom. It is the word we encounter in the heading of several psalms. It is singing with understanding and vision, as is done in the Christian church (1 Corinthians 14:15; cf. Colossians 3:15).

That this song is “a maskil” or “teaching” means that it is a song that brings insight and understanding. For example, in Psalm 32, the first maskil psalm, we are taught about and gain insight into the forgiveness of sin. In Psalm 45, we are taught about and gain insight into the Person of Christ. Here, in Psalm 47, we are taught about and given insight into the exaltedness of the great King.

That God is King over all the earth means that His reign knows no bounds. He is not a national God like the idols of the nations. If this gets through to us, we will allow ourselves to be ‘taught’ by it with regard to our whole life, in all areas of it.

The ‘teaching’ also extends into the future, when “God reigns over the nations” (Psalms 47:8). When He is King over all earth, it means that He governs everything publicly. We don’t see that now, but we see Him to whom all authority has been given in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 2:8-1 Samuel :). By this we know that He is in control of everything and directs it in such a way that it cooperates in the accomplishment of God’s plans. Although the dominion over the world was given away by man to Satan at the Fall, that does not mean that God no longer rules. We see this in the book of Job.

God “sits on His holy throne”. That He sits on His holy throne means that He is holy and reigns in holiness. This is already seen by faith today. Soon it will be seen by all. Then it will be said: “The kingdom of the world has become [the kingdom] of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

In the realm of peace, Israel is the means through which God has blessing for all the earth and all nations, through which the nations will also worship the one true God. Also in Psalms 47:1 is the call to the people to rejoice before the LORD. The call to sing praises may also be directed to the nations and not just the people of Israel. The nations will join God’s people by their “princes” to be blessed by them (Psalms 47:9).

God’s people are here called “the people of the God of Abraham”. It is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that He would make him a father of a multitude of nations (Genesis 17:5-Joshua :). And in him all nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:8).

By “the shields of the earth” is meant the “princes of the people” from the first line of this verse. “Shields” indicates that they are responsible for the protection of the people. These ‘protectors’ “belong to God” (cf. Proverbs 8:15). He is their Owner; they are accountable to Him. They are completely in His power and can do nothing without Him. They cannot be compared to Him. He alone “is highly exalted” (cf. Zechariah 14:9).

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 47". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-47.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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