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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 47

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Verse 1

Psalms 47:0.

The nations are exhorted cheerfully to entertain the kingdom of Christ.

To the chief musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.

Title. מזמר קרח לבני למנצח lamnatseach libnei korach mizmor. This psalm, says Bishop Patrick, is thought by some to have been composed by David, when he translated the ark to mount Sion: Others think that it was composed by some of the sons of Korah, when the ark was brought from mount Sion to Solomon's temple. The psalm, however, is supposed to have a higher sense; for, as the ark was a figure of Christ, and mount Sion of the heavens, the translation or carrying back of the ark thither may be looked upon as a figure of Christ's ascension into the high and holy place.

Verse 2

Psalms 47:2. The Lord most high is terrible Is to be feared—to be revered—to be held in awe. Fenwick, Mudge, &c.

Verse 3

Psalms 47:3. He shall subdue, &c.— The inspired author of the psalm takes occasion to praise God for calling the Gentiles in the time of the Messiah, which, by the Holy Spirit, was then revealed to him. As if he had said, "He, this great God, who is to be revered by all people, to whom all knees shall bow, who is constituted and appointed King over all the earth, he shall render all the nations of the world subject to the rules which shall be delivered under his authority by persons of our country; from whence his all-subduing law shall go forth."

Verse 4

Psalms 47:4. He shall choose our inheritance "He shall make us to dwell safely in this good land of Canaan, which he hath given us; and which is a type of that heavenly country, to which both Jews and Gentiles shall at length be translated."

Verse 5

Psalms 47:5. God is gone up with a shout That is, primarily, the ark, which is the precious token of God's presence, is joyfully carried into the holy place; and, secondarily, it is a song of praise for the exaltation of the King of Glory into heaven.

Verse 9

Psalms 47:9. The princes of the people are gathered The princes of the nations are incorporated with the God of Abraham; Mudge: with whom almost all the ancient versions and more modern translators agree. The version of the liturgy is, The princes of the people are joined to the people of the God of Abraham. The princes of the people, means the heads of the tribes: are gathered together, namely, at this solemn festival, without any fear of invasion from the neighbouring nations: since God hath undertaken their protection, while they have left their own houses unguarded, to attend his service. See Exodus 23:25. But in the prophetical sense, which seems the most proper, the princes of the people, means the heathen princes, who were to be converted to Christianity, and to join themselves to the people of the God of Abraham; that is, to the Jewish converts under the dominion of Christ. The shields means the sovereignty of the whole earth: for God takes to him the shields of the earth; all the princes of it, under his own immediate government. Psalms 89:19. King and shield are here, as in other places, synonimous. See Psalms 84:9.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The psalm opens with an address to all people to express their utmost exultation in God, the great fountain of salvation.

O clap your hands, all ye people, not only of the Jewish nation, but those who are saved by Jesus out of all lands: shout unto God with the voice of triumph, not merely for Israel's enemies subdued by David's sword, but for the more glorious victories which the Son of David hath obtained over all the powers of sin, death, and hell: for the Lord most High, the incarnate Saviour, whose name is above every name in heaven or earth; he is terrible in his judgments, when, turning upon his affrighted foes, confusion covers them, and ruin overtakes them: he is King over all the earth, his dominion sovereign and universal; his people, therefore, may well be joyful in their king. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet; by the powerful influences of his word and Spirit, either effectually converting the Gentiles to himself, and bringing them to the obedience of the faith, or casting down with his mighty arm the refractory and impenitent. He a shall choose our inheritance for us, not Canaan's fertile land, but a better and more enduring portion shall he provide for the faithful, even one that is eternal in the heavens, which his blood hath bought, his promise hath secured, and himself is gone up to prepare for them, the excellency of Jacob, the spiritual Israel of God. Note; (1.) They who believe the promises, cannot but rejoice in hope. (2.) Jesus is a terrible enemy, but a most desirable friend: happy they, who, fleeing from the wrath to come, find favour and reconciliation with him. (3.) Heaven is the inheritance of the faithful; where then should our affections be?

2nd, If this moment we begin the song, and ceaseless continue it through the days of eternity, we cannot shew forth all the Redeemer's praise; yet the attempt is gratitude, and the service our bounden duty. We have here several subjects of praise pointed out.
1. For the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God. It might be matter of national joy, when the ark, restored from obscurity, was carried in grand procession to the tabernacle of David; but this is an universal burst of praise; earth rings with the glory of the ascending Saviour, while angels catch the mighty joy, and, opening their shining ranks, receive with a shout of triumph the returning conqueror, who leads captivity captive.
2. For his universal sovereignty. High on his exalted throne the Redeemer sits, as God over all, blessed for ever; as king, ruling by his providence in all the earth, protecting his believing people, restraining the heathen, and making his holiness appear in all his administration; and therefore demanding praise, with understanding, such as becomes him, or from every intelligent being, who are all bound to set forth his glory.

3. For the conversion of the Gentiles. The princes of the people are gathered together, to tender their submission at the feet of Jesus, even the people of the God of Abraham, for such by faith they become; followers of the patriarch, and sharers in his blessing; or, to the people, &c. intimating their union in one body, under Jesus, their exalted head: for the shields of the earth, the rulers of the nations, belong unto God, are appointed by him, and their hearts are in his hand. He is greatly exalted; all power is given him in heaven and in earth, and his dominion eternal as universal: therefore sing praises unto our God, sing praises: sing praises to our King, sing praises!

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 47". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/psalms-47.html. 1801-1803.
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