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Psalm 99

Praise to God for His Holiness


The L ord is king; let the peoples tremble!

He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!


The L ord is great in Zion;

he is exalted over all the peoples.


Let them praise your great and awesome name.

Holy is he!


Mighty King, lover of justice,

you have established equity;

you have executed justice

and righteousness in Jacob.


Extol the L ord our God;

worship at his footstool.

Holy is he!



Moses and Aaron were among his priests,

Samuel also was among those who called on his name.

They cried to the L ord, and he answered them.


He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;

they kept his decrees,

and the statutes that he gave them.



O L ord our God, you answered them;

you were a forgiving God to them,

but an avenger of their wrongdoings.


Extol the L ord our God,

and worship at his holy mountain;

for the L ord our God is holy.

1 Jehovah reigns The people, who were formerly called upon to rejoice, are now commanded to tremble. For as the Jews were encompassed by enemies, it was of the utmost importance that God’s power should be magnified among them, that they might know that, while under his guardianship, they would be constantly and completely safe from the hatred and fury of every foe. The Hebrew word רגז, ragaz, as we have elsewhere seen, sometimes signifies to tremble, at other times, to be angry, and, in short, denotes any strong emotion arising either from anger or fear. 115115     רגז, ragaz, “denoting commotion either of the body or mind, imports in the latter acceptation particularly two things, fear and anger, those two principal emotions of the mind. In the sense of anger we have it in Genesis 45:24, where we render it falling out or quarrelling, and in 2 Kings 19:27, 28, where we render it rage So, Proverbs 29:9, and in Genesis 41:10, the Hebrew קצף, (affirmed of Pharaoh, viz., that) he was wroth, is by the Chaldee rendered רגז. And this is much the more frequent acceptation of the word in the Old Testament.” — Hammonds note on Psalm 4:4. On the text before us, after observing that Abu Walid explains this root as signifying in the Arabic trembling and commotion, arising sometimes from anger, sometimes from fear, and other causes, the same critic says, “Here the context may seem to direct the taking it in the notion of commotion simply, as that signifies ἀκαταστασία, sedition or tumult of rebels or other adversaries. And then the sense will be thus: ‘The Lord reigneth, let the people be moved,’ i e., Now God hath set up David in his throne, and peaceably settled the kingdom in him, in spite of all the commotions of the people. The LXX. render it to this sense, as Psalm 4:4, ὀργιζέσθωσαν, ‘let the people be angry or regret it as much as they will.’” The verb here, and the concluding verb of the verse, may be read in the future tense: “The people or nations shall tremble, and the earth shall be moved,” just as at the giving of the Law, “the people trembled,” and “the earth shook.” Thus the passage may be regarded as a prediction of the subjection of the heathen world to the dominion of Christ. Accordingly, the prophet here intends that God, in the emancipation of his chosen people, should give such a palpable display of his power, as would strike all the nations with dismay, and make them feel how madly they had rushed upon their own destruction. For it is with regard to men that God is said to reign, when he exalts himself by the magnificent displays which he gives of his power; because, while the aid which he gives to them remains invisible, unbelievers act a more presumptuous part, just as if there were no God.

2 Jehovah in Zion It is proper that we should not forget the antithesis I formerly mentioned, namely, that God is great in Zion to destroy and annihilate all the enemies of his Church; and that, when the Psalmist goes on to say, he is high above all nations, his meaning is, not that he presides over them to promote their welfare, but to disconcert their counsels, to baffle their designs, and to subvert all their power. That which immediately follows about the praising of God’s name, refers not to the nations at large, but in my opinion to the faithful, from whom alone the prophet demands a tribute of gratitude. For although God compels his vanquished enemies to acknowledge him, yet as they do not cease from speaking against his glory, and blaspheming his holy name, it cannot be to them that the exhortation is addressed, Praise the name of God, for it is holy; but to the faithful, who, from their knowledge of God’s holy name, very cordially engage in the celebration of its praises.

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