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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 47

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-9

Psalms 47:1-9.

V. 1- 3. This psalm is generally ascribed to David, though his name is not affixed to it : and it is thought to have been composed when very great multitudes were assembled, to attend on the removal of the ark to the tabernacle on mount Zion. (Notes, 2 Samuel 6:1-23 : 1 Chronicles 15:1-29:) And as the ark was a type of Christ, the psalm has generally been applied to his ascension, after his humiliation on earth, to the right hand of God in heaven. Thus the ancient fathers understood it, and on this account it is appointed in our church to be read on Ascension-day.

(Notes, Psalms 24:7-10; Psalms 68:1-3; Psalms 68:15-18. ) A large congregation having been assembled, as at a solemn festival, the Psalmist calls on them to express the overflowing joy of their hearts, by clapping their hands, and lifting up their voices in triumphant shouting : (Marg. Ref. a, b :) because the most high God, whom Israel worshipped, and who protected Israel, was terrible to his and to their enemies, and the great Sovereign of all the earth. In the days of Joshua, and afterwards by David, he had destroyed, or subdued, the nations of Canaan and the adjacent countries, and brought them under the dominion of Israel : but these victories were only shadows of the spiritual triumphs of the church under her king Messiah ; and at length all nations shall either be joined to her in subjection to Christ, or shall be destroyed." (Notes, Daniel 2:44-45. Revelation 11:15-18.) Terrible. (2) The same word is rendered reverend,Psalms 111:9.

V. 4. The goodly land of Canaan was selected for the inheritance of Jacob s posterity, who were especially favoured by God, and raised to a pre-eminence above other nations ; and comparatively they were the excellent of the earth. But they have long been excluded from that country ; which typified the present privileges and chosen inheritance of the true Israel, who are in reality what the Israelites were in external character. (Marg. Ref.)

V. 5. God is gone up, by the special token of his ’ presence, into the holy place, with shouts of joy and ’ praise.’ Bp. Patrick.

If, however, we consider this, as prefiguring the ascension of Him, in our nature, who is " God over all, blessed for evermore; " and the acclamations of the heavenly hosts on that grand occasion ; the whole appears far more interesting, and becomes in the highest degree animated and appropriate, as introductory to the repeated call to fervent praises.

(Notes,Psalms 68:1-20; Psalms 68:24-25. Luke 24:50-53. Acts 1:9-12. Ephesians 4:7-10. Philippians 2:9-11.)

V. 6, 7. Our King. (6) The Messiah is continually celebrated in the psalms as Israel’s King ; it is therefore most natural to interpret this expression of him in almost every part of them; which leads us to multiplied proofs that lie is JEHOVAH, and the Lord of all. (Notes,Psalms 2:4-6; Psalms 45:1-5. Zephaniah 3:14-17. Zechariah 9:9-10; Zechariah 14:6-9. Matthew 25:34-40.)

With understanding. (7) Maschil. (Marg. Note, 32: title.)

V. 8, 9. The manner in which the dominion over the nations of the earth as exercised by that God, who dwelt in the holy place, by the ark the symbol of his presence, above the mercy-seat, is here mentioned, seems a clear intimation of the calling of the gentiles into the church, in consequence of Christ’s ascension. (Romans 15:12.) All the principal persons, from the several tribes of Israel, " the people of the God of Abraham," assembled to remove the ark, leaving the protection of their houses and families unto God, who accordingly was the Shield of the land. Thus when princes and rulers join themselves to the Lord Jesus, and use their authority and influence for the benefit of the church ; God is greatly exalted, in becoming the Shield and Defender of their dominions. Some, however, interpret the last clause to mean the rulers themselves; who, belonging to God, having their authority from him, and using it according to his command, become the shields of their people ; and thus by their means God is greatly exalted and honoured among men. heathen. (8) or the nations ; " over all the nations of the earth, and not only over Israel. The princes of the people. (9) Or, " of the peoples " (plural). The rulers of other nations must be meant, as uniting with those of Israel : and this leads us to interpret the passage, of the conversion of the gentiles to the ascended Saviour, rather than of the typical transaction of the removal of the ark.


The universal and absolute sovereignty of our holy God would be most terrible to every sinner, were it not administered by his incarnate Son from a mercy-seat : but now, it is terrible to the obstinate workers of iniquity alone. While his peculiar people express their confidence, gratitude, and joy, by every token of external exultation, and animate each other in his service; let sinners submit to his authority, and accept of his salvation, that they may share in this holy triumph. If we are the chosen people of God, and his love and grace have made us more excellent than our unbelieving neighbours we may be sure that he has chosen for us a more honourable and excellent inheritance, than all the kingdoms of the world ; and that he will prepare our souls for that inheritance, by every dispensation here on earth. Let us then confide in his wisdom, submit to his will, and be thankful for his distinguishing mercy. As angels and glorified saints worshipped the ascending Saviour, and welcomed him with shouts of joy and the trump of God : surely we on earth should join our praises with holy affections; and with understanding of his excellency and our obligations, that we may glorify him and edify others also. Our backwardness to this reasonable service must be overcome by repeated exhortations; and when our hearts are attuned to this holy worship, we should call on all around to unite in it : for he is our King, " and the King of all the earth." " He reigneth upon the throne of his holiness," which yet well consists with his plenteous mercy : all the heathen are his inheritance and property : may he hasten the time, when all kings shall serve him, and use their delegated authority to his glory 1 Then will " all the families of the earth he blessed in " him," and he will be greatly exalted : while, as the God of Abraham, he becomes their " Shield, and exceeding great Reward."

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 47". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-47.html. 1804.
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