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Psalm 98:4-9

4. Exult before Jehovah all the earth; make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. 5. Sing to Jehovah upon the harp, upon the harp, and with the voice of a psalm. 111111     Horsley reads —
   “Chant unto Jehovah to the harp,
To the harp, and the sound of the zimrah.”

   “זמרה here,” he remarks, “as in Psalm 81:2, is certainly the name of some musical instrument. But what the particular instrument might be, which went by that name, is quite uncertain. I therefore retain the Hebrew word.”
6. With trumpets, and sound of the cornet, sing before Jehovah the King. 7. Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; the world, and those who dwell therein. 112112     Street is of opinion that the nominative cases of the concluding part of this verse do not belong to the verb of the preceding clause, but to the verb in the subsequent verse. “Roar let the globe,” says he, “‘and those that inhabit it,’ is not so proper an expression as ‘Let the globe and those that inhabit it clap the hand.’” 8. Let the floods clap their hands: 113113     “Let the floods clap their hands,” is a most beautiful prosopopoeia, a figure for which the Hebrew poets are remarkable, and which they manage with equal elegance and boldness. Horsley renders, “Let the floods sound applause;” observing, that it is literally “clap their hands.” “The verb רנן,” he adds, “expresses the vibratory motion, either of a dancer’s feet, or of a singer’s lip. Therefore, when applied figuratively to an inanimate thing that can neither dance nor sing, it is better to render its general sense than to confine it to either particular image. Our language has no word, which, like the Hebrew, may express dancing or singing indiscriminately.” The propriety of deviating from the literal rendering may, however, be questioned. This ode is highly animated; it is a burst of joy in God raised to the highest pitch; and it is the property of this emotion, when felt in a high degree, to express itself in the most daring and unusual figures. It may be added, that the whole of the seventh and eighth verses furnish a beautiful specimen of personification. With a sublimity of sentiment and an energy of language which cannot be surpassed, all nature, animate and inanimate, is summoned to unite in the song of joy, and to contend with eager rivalry in celebrating the praises of its Creator. let the hills be joyful together, 9. Before Jehovah: for he cometh to judge the earth; with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with uprightness.

 

4 Exult before Jehovah all the earth Here he repeats the exhortation with which he had begun, and by addressing it to the nations at large, he indicates that when God should break down the middle wall of partition all would be gathered to the common faith, and one Church formed throughout the whole world. When he speaks of musical instruments the allusion is evidently to the practice of the Church at that time, without any intention of binding down the Gentiles to the observance of the ceremonies of the law. The repetition made use of is emphatical, and implies that the most ardent attempts men might make to celebrate the great work of the world’s redemption would fall short of the riches of the grace of God. This is brought out still more forcibly in what follows, where feeling is ascribed to things inanimate. The whole passage has been elsewhere expounded, and it is unnecessary to insist further upon it.


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