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Psalm 47

God’s Rule over the Nations

To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.


Clap your hands, all you peoples;

shout to God with loud songs of joy.


For the L ord, the Most High, is awesome,

a great king over all the earth.


He subdued peoples under us,

and nations under our feet.


He chose our heritage for us,

the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah



God has gone up with a shout,

the L ord with the sound of a trumpet.


Sing praises to God, sing praises;

sing praises to our King, sing praises.


For God is the king of all the earth;

sing praises with a psalm.



God is king over the nations;

God sits on his holy throne.


The princes of the peoples gather

as the people of the God of Abraham.

For the shields of the earth belong to God;

he is highly exalted.

4. He hath chosen our inheritance for us. The inspired poet here celebrates more distinctly the special grace which God, in his goodness, had bestowed upon the chosen and holy seed of Abraham. As he passed by all the rest of the word, and adopted to himself a people who were few in number and contemptible; so it was proper that such a signal pledge of his fatherly love should be distinguished from his common beneficence, which is extended to all mankind without distinction. The word chosen is therefore peculiarly emphatic, implying that God had not dealt with the children of Abraham as he had been accustomed indiscriminately to deal with other nations; but that he had bestowed upon them, as it were by hereditary right, a peculiar dignity by which they excelled all others. The same thing is expressed immediately after by the word glory Thus then the prophet enjoins the duty of thanksgiving to God, for having exalted, in the person of Jacob, his chosen people to the highest degree of honor, so that they might boast that their condition was distinguished from that of all other nations. He shows, at the same time, that this was entirely owing to the free and unmerited favor of God. The relative pronoun whom is put instead of the causal particle for or because, as if the Psalmist had attributed the cause of this prerogative by which they were distinguished to God himself. Whenever the favor of God towards the Jews is commended, in consequence of his having loved their fathers, this principle should always be kept in mind, that hereby all merits in man are annihilated. If all the excellence or glory of the holy patriarch depended purely and simply upon the good pleasure of God, who can dare to arrogate any thing to himself as peculiarly his own? If God then has given us any thing above others, and as it were by special privilege, let us learn to ascribe the whole to the fatherly love which he bears towards seeing he has chosen us to be his flock. We also gather from this passage that the grace which God displays towards his chosen is not extended to all men in common, but is a privilege by which he distinguishes a few from the great mass of mankind.

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