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This Psalm was composed by David upon occasion, or at the time, of the bringing of the ark of God into the tabernacle which David had prepared for it in Zion, as may be gathered by comparing it with 1 Chronicles 16:7,1 Chronicles 16:23,1 Chronicles 16:24, &c., where almost the whole Psalm is to be found, But as the ark was an evident type of the Messiah, which David very well knew, as hath been oft noted before; so David’s thoughts, or at least the design of God’s Spirit, which indited this Psalm, was extended beyond and above it, even to the times of the Messiah, and to his glorious and universal kingdom, in which not the Jews only, but the heathen nations also, should worship the true God, and kiss his Son the Messiah.
All the inhabitants of the earth and sea are called to praise the Lord for his great honour and majesty, Psalms 96:1-7; for his wise governing the world, Psalms 96:8-10. Heaven and earth are called to rejoice before him for his righteous judgment, Psalms 96:11-13.
A new song, upon this new and great occasion; not the removal of the ark, wherein there was nothing new but an inconsiderable circumstance of place, and that not yet fixed; but the coming of the Messiah, and the confirming of the new covenant by his blood, and the calling of the Gentiles.
All the earth; all the nations of the earth, who shall then partake of those great blessings and privileges which are now peculiar to Israel.
His salvation; that great work of the redemption and salvation of the world by the Messias.
You who shall be called out of all the heathen nations to the knowledge of God and Christ, publish this glorious and wonderful work amongst all the heathen nations to whom you belong or may come.
The gods of the nations, as the next verse expounds it.
Idols; or, nothings, as they are called, 1 Corinthians 8:4; 1 Corinthians 10:19; or, vain things, as the word signifies, and is translated by others. The sense is, Though they have usurped the name and place of the Divine Majesty, yet they have nothing of his nature or power in them.
Before him, i.e. in his presence, like beams shot out from his face, who is the Sun of righteousness. There is an unconceivable glory and majesty in his countenance, and in the place of his presence.
In his sanctuary; or, in his holy place; where he records his name and affords his presence. There are the manifestations of God’s power and grace, or goodness, and all his perfections.
O ye kindreds of the people; or, O ye families of the people of the world. And the word families may be understood either,
1. Strictly and properly; and so it may be intimated that this great blessing of salvation by Christ should not be imparted to whole nations, but only to some persons taken out of every people and nation, as it is expressed, Revelation 5:9. Or,
2. More largely for nations, as it is taken, Genesis 12:3; Jeremiah 25:9; Zechariah 14:18; and so it may be implied that not only some few of the heathen people should be brought to the acknowledgment and worship of the true God, as was usual in the times of the Old Testament, but that whole nations should come in to the church of God together.
Give unto the Lord; ascribe to him, or acknowledge to be in him.
Into the courts of his house. But under this one part of worship he comprehends the whole worship of God; and he speaks of the worship of the New Testament under the expressions of legal worship, as the prophets elsewhere do, as Matthew 1:11, and elsewhere.
In the beauty of holiness; either in the holy place which he shall appoint to that end; or clothed with all those holy ornaments, those gifts and graces, which are necessary and required in God’s worship.
Say among the heathen: you converted Gentiles, declare this to those who yet remain in the darkness of heathenism.
That the Lord reigneth; that God hath now set up his throne and kingdom in the world. And as that kingdom shall never be destroyed, but shall stand for ever, as is said, Daniel 2:44; so the nations of the world shall by the means of it enjoy an established and lasting peace; which is every where mentioned as one of the blessings which the Messiah shall give to the world, as Psalms 72:3,Psalms 72:7; Isaiah 9:6,Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 66:12; Micah 5:5; Zechariah 9:10.
He shall judge the people righteously; he shall not abuse his invincible power and established dominion to the oppression of his people, as other princes frequently do, but shall govern them by the rules of justice and equity, which is the only foundation of a true and solid peace. See Isaiah 32:17.
It is a figure called prosopopoeia, whereby he signifies the great felicity of those times, which shall be such that even those lifeless creatures would testify their joy and thankfulness for it, if they were in a capacity so to do.
Before the Lord; at the presence and approach of their Lord and Maker.
To judge the earth; to take to himself that power and authority which belongs to him, to set up his throne and dominion among all the nations of the earth.
With his truth; or, in his faithfulness, i.e. so as he hath promised to do. He will certainly and abundantly fulfil all God’s promises made to his people.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 96". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20