New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

Psa 47:1 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by the sons of Korah- "By" can as well be "for", so the Psalm may still be Davidic, but is dedicated to the memory of the sons of Korah. Korah had died in rebellion against God, but his children had been preserved (Num. 26:9-11); they therefore became representative of all who had overcome bad background to worship Yahweh independently, regardless of the sins of their fathers. They were therefore inspirational to the righteous remnant amongst the exiles in Babylon. Or these "sons of Korah" may refer to a group of musicians who were to perform the Psalm, the Levitical singers mentioned in 1 Chron. 26:1,2; 2 Chron. 20:19. Or if we insist on reading "by", it could have been a Davidic Psalm edited and as it were released by a group called "the sons of Korah" during the captivity in Babylon.

Oh clap your hands, all you nations. Shout to God with the voice of triumph!-
This Psalm may follow on from Ps. 46, which gives glory to God for saving Zion at the time of the Assyrian invasion. The last part of that Psalm speaks of the prophetic intention that the victory over Assyria and her confederacy was to lead to Judah inviting those nations to come and "see" Yahweh's works (Ps. 46:8), and therefore to accept Him as their God. But Hezekiah failed miserably in this. The intention was that Israel's God would be exalted, or accepted as alone worthy of praise, in the entire eretz promised to Abraham. But Hezekiah let the ball drop. The surrounding nations came and were allowed by Hezekiah to influence Judah, rather than Hezekiah and Judah bringing these nations beneath Israel's God. He was not "exalted in the earth" as was intended (Ps. 46:10) and as was potentially possible.

But Ps. 47 emphasizes this potential. The language of shouting and clapping alludes to the salute given to a new  king on his accession  (2 Kings 11:12; 1 Sam. 10:24). In Num. 23:21, “the shout of a king” refers to the shout celebrating Yahweh as king. The nations were intended to accept Yahweh as their new king.

Psa 47:2 For Yahweh Most High is awesome. He is a great King over all the earth-
God is king over all the earth, and He was then specifically over the eretz promised to Abraham. But the peoples of the eretz still had to come to acknowledge Him as their king, and it was the prophetic intention that after the victory over Assyria, they would do so- in response to Judah's invitation to them.

Psa 47:3 He subdues nations under us, and peoples under our feet-
The reference is to the subduing of Assyria and the confederacy with her, after the miraculous Angelic destruction of their army. But Hezekiah never drove home the victory; Assyria continued as a nation for some time, and instead Judah submitted themselves under their gods, rather than the other way around.

Psa 47:4 He chooses our inheritance for us, the glory of Jacob whom He loved. Selah-
Jacob gloried in his future inheritance in the Kingdom in that he spoke of Shechem in about his last words (Gen. 48:22), and wanted to buried in Canaan rather than in the opulence of Egypt. We will each have an individual future within God's Kingdom, chosen by Him, and we are to glory in that above all secular things.

Psa 47:5 God has gone up with a shout, Yahweh with the sound of a trumpet-
"Gone up" suggest the ascension of the throne (as GNB). The language of shouting and trumpets  alludes to the salute given to a new  king on his accession  (2 Kings 11:12; 1 Sam. 10:24). In Num. 23:21, “the shout of a king” refers to the shout celebrating Yahweh as king. The nations were intended to accept Yahweh as their new king.

Psa 47:6 Sing praise to God, sing praises. Sing praises to our King, sing praises-
This is an appeal to the Gentile world to sing praises to "our king", Israel's King, Yahweh. It was this appeal which Hezekiah and Judah ought to have been making to the Gentiles after the rout of the Assyrians (see on :1).


Psa 47:7 For God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with understanding-
The Gentiles were asked to accept Yahweh as king of the entire eretz promised to Abraham; but they were not to give lip service praise to Him, as subjected peoples typically did to the gods of the victors. They were to sing praise "with understanding". And this would require Judah to teach them- which they did not, at that time. The scenario however is rescheduled and reapplied to the final establishment of God's Kingdom in Zion at the Lord's return.

Psa 47:8 God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne-
The throne of God is envisaged as being in Zion, and from there all the nations in the eretz (:7) were to be ruled over. This was what was intended to come about after the Assyrian defeat.

Psa 47:9 The princes of the peoples are gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham-
"The peoples" apparently refer to "the nations" (:8) of the entire eretz promised to Abraham (:7). But they are "the people of the God of Abraham". Abraham rather than Jacob is mentioned because the peoples dwelling in the eretz were mainly descended from Abraham.

For the shields of the earth belong to God. He is greatly exalted!- "Shields" is another way of referring to the "princes"; it is s.w. "ruler". The rulers of the peoples in the eretz each had their shields or banners, but they potentially all belonged to Israel's God; they were potentially His people, and the Psalm is appealing for them to actually exalt Him as their God in reality. This is what we are doing in our appeal to people today.