New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

Psa 24:1 A Psalm by David- This Psalm may have been used when David brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the sanctuary on Zion (2 Sam. 6:12). Perhaps the Levites who carried it sung this, or it was sung by a choir of Levites at this time.

The earth is Yahweh’s, with all its fullness; the world, and they who dwell in it-
The fact that "the earth is the Lord's" is used to highlight the wonder of the fact that therefore how much moreso do His people belong to Him, and are cared for by Him with such sensitivity (Ex. 19:5; Dt. 10:14; Ps. 50:12; 89:11). Just as the eretz / earth / land promised to Abraham is Yahweh's, so is in fact the entire planet, and His purpose was perceived by David as incorporating the entire planet and not just Israel.

Psa 24:2 For He has founded it on the seas, and established it on the floods-
The eretz in view in :1 was the territory promised to Abraham, greater Israel. It is presented as founded upon the seas and rivers ("floods") of Gentile nations; for as noted on :1, the eretz is paralleled with the entire world. David perceived God's intention was that the Gentiles should also come to Israel's God.   

Psa 24:3 Who may ascend to Yahweh’s hill? Who may stand in His holy place?-
This rhetorical question is given in the context of having implied that people well beyond Israel had a place in God's Kingdom. But that Kingdom was not just for any Israelite; it was for anyone who kept His ways as later defined in the Psalm. And it seems David is saying that the sanctuary on mount Zion, God's holy hill, was open to all regardless of ethnicity. And even entrance into the holy place was no longer just for Levites, but for whoever was spiritually qualified. David himself was not a Levite but at times acted as one.


Psa 24:4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully-
Throughout David’s Psalms in Ps. 1-72, he repeatedly asks for torture upon the sinners and blessing upon himself as the righteous. He speaks of how sinners should be “contemned” in the eyes of the righteous (Ps. 15:4), the gatherings of sinners should be “hated” and sinners should not be fellowshipped (Ps. 26:4-6; Ps. 31:6) and how God’s uprightness is shown to the upright and His judgment to the judgmental (Ps. 18:25,26; Ps. 33:22). He invites God’s judgment upon himself and others according to their and his works (Ps. 28:4).  Frequently he alludes to Saul as “the violent man”- even though David committed his share of violence- and asks judgment upon him (Ps. 18:48). Only those with clean hands and pure heart like himself could have fellowship with God (Ps. 24:3,4). Psalm 37 doesn’t indicate any desire to convert the sinners but rather an expectation of their judgment and destruction. God and David laugh at the wicked because their day is coming (Ps. 37:13). There’s no spirit of grace here at all- perhaps that’s why Zech. 12:10 specifically says that the spirit of grace will have to be poured out upon the house of David in the last days. This attitude changed after the sin with Bathsheba, but still something of the old self righteousness and judgmental attitudes are to be found in David in Psalms written after that.

In describing his feelings after the Bathsheba experience, David comments that he was "as a man that hears not [the taunts of others against him], and in whose mouth are no rebukes" (Ps. 38:14). The pre-Bathsheba Psalms present David as a man who was so easily hurt by the taunts of others, and whose mouth was indeed full of rebuke of others. Psalms 24, 25 and 26 are full of David explaining that fellowship with God was dependent upon a man's "integrity", walking in truth, hating sinners, personal innocence, "uprightness", clean hands and pure heart. And throughout these Psalms, David holds up himself as the great example.

Psa 24:5 He shall receive a blessing from Yahweh, namely righteousness from the God of his salvation-
This passage implies that our purity is not so much from forsaking sin, but rather from the imputation of God's righteousness to us. The letter to the Romans makes it clear that such imputation depends upon faith, not works (e.g. rectifying marriage problems). It is God's righteousness which is credited to us, not our own (2 Cor. 5:21). And as noted on :3, David is open to the idea that all people, regardless of ethnicity, could partake of this imputed righteousness by grace through faith.


Psa 24:6 This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face-
We are frequently reminded in the prophets that the spiritual way of life is one which is seeking God. We are to seek His face (Ps. 24:6; 27:8)- which it is impossible to behold (Ex. 33:20). Actually finding God in the ultimate sense is therefore unattainable in this life; but our whole mortal life must be lived in this spirit of seeking ultimate perfection. Seeking God is often defined in the prophets as forsaking our sins and desiring to be righteous (Amos 5:5,8,14,15). None of us are completely successful in our seeking of God, and therefore it follows that none of is completely forsakes all our sinfulness.


Even that of the God of Jacob. Selah- Every reference to "the God of Jacob / Israel" is effectively saying: 'I'm the God that stuck with mixed up, struggling Jacob. And I'll stick with you too, through spiritual thick and thin, and bring you through in the end'. This is the love of God for Jacob. So close is the association between God and Jacob that there are times when the name 'Jacob' becomes a synonym for 'the God of Jacob'. Ps. 24:6 is an example: "The generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob" (cp. other examples in Is. 44:5; Jer. 10:16; 51:19). The name of Israel therefore was paralleled with the name of God- Joshua feared that the name of Israel would be cut off, “and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?” (Josh. 2:9).   

Psa 24:7 Lift up your heads, you gatekeepers! Be lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the King of glory will come in-
As noted on :1, the immediate reference was to the ark entering Zion. The mercy seat over which the glory of the shekinah was seen was understood as enthroned there. In this sense God was king there. And yet His entry into the sanctuary is parallel with the entry of righteous people into it, of all ethnicities (see on :1-5). The gatekeepers are being exhorted to lift up their heads and open the gates- both to God in the ark, and to all righteous people.

Psa 24:8 Who is the King of glory? Yahweh strong and mighty, Yahweh mighty in battle-
"Who is...?" matches the same rhetorical question in :3. The entry of God and that of His people is paralleled.   

Psa 24:9 Lift up your heads, you gatekeepers; yes, lift them up, you everlasting doors, and the King of glory will come in-
This states that when the gatekeepers of Zion lift up their heads [to God in truth], then the King of glory will come in. And the Lord applies these words to His true people of the last days in Lk. 21:28- they are to likewise lift up their heads [so that] their redemption will draw nigh, or be hastened. Israelite repentance is a condition for the Lord’s return.

Psa 24:10 Who is this King of glory? Yahweh of Armies is the King of glory! Selah
- The entry of the ark into Zion looked forward to the final entry of God's glory into Zion in the person of the Lord Jesus in the last day. Christ's approach to Jerusalem is described in Ps. 24:10: "Who is this King of glory? The Lord of Hosts (Angels), he is the King of glory". Thus Christ, the Lord of glory, will be especially clearly associated with the Angels as He approaches Jerusalem. He comes with all the Holy Angels with Him, with “saints”, i.e. Angels, to relieve the invasion of the latter-day Sennacherib.