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Psalm 95:1-5

1. Come, let us rejoice before Jehovah; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation. 4343     Horsley reads the second clause, “Let us raise the loud peal of melody to the Rock of our salvation;” on which he has the following note: “The verb הריע signifies to make a loud sound of any sort, either with the voice or with instruments. In the Psalms it generally refers to the mingled din of voices and various instruments, in the temple-service. This wide sense of the word cannot be expressed otherwise in the English language than by a peripharasis.” Bishop Mant, acting on this notion, has ventured, conformably to it, to specify in his version some of the instruments commonly used in the temple-worship: —
   “Come, let us sing Jehovah’s praise!
To him the pealing chorus raise,
With trump, and harp, and cymbals ring;
The rock on which our hopes are placed!”
2. Let us come before his face with praise, In psalms let us shout for joy unto him. 3. For Jehovah is a great God, And a great King, above all gods. 4. For in his hand are the deep places of the earth, 4444     “The deep places of the earth,” which are opposed to the “heights of the mountains,” plainly mean the deepest and most retired parts of the terraqueous globe, which are explored by the eye of God, and by his only. Horsely reads the verse thus, —
   “The God in whose hand are the nethermost recesses of the earth,
Whose also are the inaccessible summits of the mountains.”

   “This, and the following verse,” says he, “are expositive of the greatness of the Godship of Jehovah, generally mentioned in the lst verse. ‘The God, in whose hand.’ Thus, I have endeavoured to preserve the full force of the Hebrew phrase אשר בידו.” Bythner’s version of the last member is, “And the strength of the mountains is his.” He derives the noun ותועפות, vethoaphoth, which he renders strength, from the verb יעף, yaaph, was wearied; and observes, that this is “a noun plural feminine, weariness, — by antiphrasis, strength: is read four times in Scripture, and is said of mountains, silver, and the unicorn, the weariness and difficulty in overcoming which, denote their great strength.” Pagninus gives a similar rendering. Montanus has cacumina, the tops, which the Septuagint seems to agree, reading τὰ ὕ ψη τῶν ὀρέων.
And the heights of the mountains are his. 5. For his is the sea, and he made it; And the dry land his hands formed.


1. Come, let us rejoice before Jehovah. This psalm is suited for the Sabbath, when we know that the religious assemblies were more particularly convened for the worship of God. It is not individuals among the godly whom he exhorts to celebrate the divine praises in private; he enjoins these to be offered up in the public meeting. By this he showed that the outward worship of God principally consisted in the sacrifice of praise, and not in dead ceremonies. He enjoins haste upon them; by which they might testify their alacrity in this service. For the Hebrew word קדם, kadam, in the second verse, which I have rendered, let us come before, etc., means to make haste. He calls upon them to speed into the presence of God; and such an admonition was needed, considering how naturally backward we are when called by God to the exercise of thanksgiving. This indirect charge of indolence in the exercise, the Psalmist saw it necessary to prefer against God’s ancient people; and we should be made aware that there is just as much need of a stimulus in our own case, filled as our hearts are with similar ingratitude. In calling them to come before God’s face, he uses language which was also well fitted to increase the ardor of the worshippers; nothing being more agreeable than to offer in God’s own presence such a sacrifice as he declares that he will accept. He virtually thus says, in order to prevent their supposing the service vain, that God was present to witness it. I have shown elsewhere in what sense God was present in the sanctuary.

3. For Jehovah is a great God. By these words the Psalmist reminds us what abundant grounds we have for praising God, and how far we are from needing to employ the lying panegyric with which rhetoricians flatter earthly princes. First, he extols the greatness of God, drawing a tacit contrast between him and such false gods as men have invented for themselves. We know that there has always been a host of gods in the world, as Paul says,

“There are many on the earth who are called gods,”
(1 Corinthians 8:5.)

We are to notice the opposition stated between the God of Israel and all others which man has formed in the exercise of an unlicensed imagination. Should any object, that “an idol is nothing in the world,” (1 Corinthians 8:4,) it is enough to reply, that the Psalmist aims at denouncing the vain delusions of men who have framed gods after their own foolish device. I admit, however, that under this term he may have comprehended the angels, asserting God to be possessed of such excellence as exalted him far above all heavenly glory, and whatever might be considered Divine, as well as above the feigned deities of earth. 4545     “Deum ita excellere, ut longe emineat supra omnem coelestem gloriam et quicquid divinum est, non minus quam supra omne terrenum figmentum.” — Lat. Angels are not indeed gods, but the name admits of an improper application to them on account of their being next to God, and still more, on account of their being accounted no less than gods by men who inordinately and superstitiously extol them. If the heavenly angels themselves must yield before the majesty of the one God, it were the height of indignity to compare him with gods who are the mere fictions of the brain. In proof of his greatness, he bids us look to his formation of the world, which he declares to be the work of God’s hands, and subject to his power. This is one general ground why God is to be praised, that he has clearly shown forth his glory in the creation of the world, and will have us daily recognize him in the government of it. When it is said, that the depths of the earth are in his hand, the meaning is, that it is ruled by his providence, and subject to his power. Some read, the bounds of the earth, but the word means abysses or depths, as opposed to the heights of the mountains. The Hebrew word properly signifies searching.

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