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Psalm 96:7-9

7. Give to Jehovah, O ye assemblies of peoples! give to Jehovah glory and strength. 8585     The original word for strength is עז, oz, which is derived from עזז, azaz, he was strong “The same word,” says Hammond, “signifies what the Greeks call ἐξουσία, power, dominion, empire In the notion of strength or valour it may probably be used in verse 6, where as beauty so strength is said to be in his sanctuary; beauty in respect of the glory of the divine presence, by the guard of angels that attend there, and strength in respect of the assistance that is by God provided and furnished there to all that seek it by prayer. But the other notion is fitter for this place, where the word is joined with glory and attributed to God; and so in 1 Peter 5:11, which seems to be taken from hence, it is αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος, ‘to him be glory and dominion;’ and hence God’s title of παντοκράτωρ is best rendered, not ‘almighty,’ or ‘he that hath all strength’ but ‘he that hath the עז or, κράτος, dominion or empire over all.’” 8. Give to Jehovah the glory of his name; bring an offering, 8686     Horsley reads, “Take an offering.” “A mincha,” says he, “an offering of bread and flour, not of flesh.” and come into his courts. 9. Worship before Jehovah in the beauty of the sanctuary; 8787     The words בהדרת-קדש, which Calvin renders, “in the beauty of the sanctuary,” are rendered in our English Bible “in the beauty of holiness.” The Septuagint reads, αὐλὢ ἁγια αὐτου, “in the court of his holiness;” from which it has been thought probable that the text originally stood בחצר-קוו. See this word at the end of the preceding verse. In Psalm 29:2, the same sentence occurs. The version of Calvin, and that of Jerome, which is precisely the same, in decore sanctuarii, partake both of the Hebrew and Septuagint reading. let the whole earth tremble before his face.

 

7 Give to Jehovah, etc. Since praise waited for God in Zion, (Psalm 65:1,) and that was the place devoted to the celebration of his worship, and the posterity of Abraham were alone invested with the privilege of priesthood, we cannot doubt that the Psalmist refers here to that great change which was to take place in the Church upon the advent of Christ. An opposition or distinction is intended between God’s ancient people and the Gentile tribes, which were to be afterwards adopted into the same fellowship. To declare his glory and strength, is the same with declaring the glory of his strength And to show that man can boast nothing of his own, and in refusing to celebrate God, impiously despoils him of his just honors, he subjoins, Give unto the Lord the glory of his name; an expression which denotes that God borrows nothing from without, but comprehends all that is worthy of praise in himself. He calls upon the Gentile nations in so many words to render unto God the same worship which the Jews did; not that we must worship God now according to the outward ritual which was prescribed under the Law, but he signifies that there would be one rule and form of religion in which all nations should accord. Now, unless the middle wall of partition had been broken down, the Gentiles could not have entered along with God’s children into the courts of the sanctuary. So that we have here a clear prediction of the calling of the Gentiles, who needed to have their uncleanness taken away before they could be brought into the holy assembly. The mincha, or oblation, was only one kind of sacrifice, but it is here taken to denote the whole worship of God, because it was a part of divine service more ordinarily practiced. We see from this, and other passages, that the inspired penmen describe the inward worship of God under symbols common in the age when they lived. God would not have meat-offerings presented to him after Christ had come; but the words which the Psalmist employs intimate that the doors of the temple, once shut, were now to be opened for the admission of the Gentiles. The Apostle, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, (Hebrews 13:15) tells us what are those sacrifices with which God will now be worshipped. Hence the absurdity of the Papists, who would adduce such passages in support of the mass and their other fooleries. We may very properly learn from the words, however, that we ought not to come empty-handed into the presence of God, enjoined as we are to present ourselves and all that we have as a reasonable service unto Him, (Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5.)

9 Worship before Jehovah The Psalmist prosecutes the same train of sentiment. In requiring oblations of his people, God was not to be considered as standing in need of the services of the creature, but as giving them an opportunity of professing their faith. The true reason, therefore, is here mentioned why the oblation was enjoined, That his people might prostrate themselves before him, and acknowledge that they and all belonging to them were his. Mention is made of the beauty of the temple, referring to the fact that the Gentiles should be raised to a new honor, in being associated into one body with God’s chosen people. 8888     “Pour monstrer que les Gentils devoyent estre receus a un honneur nouveau, qu’ils feront un mesme corps avec le peuple eleu.” — Fr. At the time when this psalm was written, it was generally deemed scarcely credible that the heathen nations would be admitted into the temple in company with the holy seed of Abraham. This should make us think all the more highly of our calling as Gentiles, which seemed then so incredible and impracticable a thing. We may be convinced that God only could have opened for us the door of salvation. The beauty of the temple is an expression intended to beget a reverential view of the temple, that men may approach it with humble fear, instead of rushing without consideration into God’s presence. The clause which follows in the verse is inserted for the same purpose — tremble before his face, intimating that we should prostrate ourselves as suppliants before him when we consider his awful majesty. Not that he would deter worshippers from drawing near to God. They should esteem it their greatest pleasure and enjoyment to seek his face. But he would have us humbled to the right and serious worship of God. I may add, that the beauty or glory of the sanctuary did not consist in silver and gold, in the preciousness of the material of which it was made, nor in polished stones, nor in any splendor and decoration of this kind, but in the representation of the heavenly pattern which was shown to Moses on the mount, (Exodus 25:9.)


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