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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.

8. He hath obtained the kingdom over the heathen Literally it is, He hath reigned; but as the verb מלך, malach, is in the past tense, which in Hebrew denotes a continued act, we have translated it, He hath obtained the kingdom The prophet repeatedly informs us that God reigns over the Gentiles; and from this it is easy to gather that he here treats of a new and a previously unheard of manner of reigning. There is an implied contrast between the time of the Law, when God confined his empire, or kingdom, within the boundaries of Judea, and the coming of Christ, when he extended it far and wide, so as to occupy the whole world from one end to the other. The majesty of God sent forth some sparks of its brightness among the heathen nations, when David made them tributary; but the prophet could not, on that account, have properly said that God reigned among them, since they both contemned his worship and the true religion, and also wished to see the Church completely extinguished. To find the fulfillment of this prophecy, we must, therefore, necessarily come to Christ. What is added in the second clause of the verse, God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness, may be taken in a twofold sense. By this form of expression is often to be understood the tabernacle, or the temple; but it also sometimes signifies heaven. If any are inclined to explain it of the temple, the meaning will be, That while God reigned over the whole world, and comprehended all nations under his dominion, he had established his chief seat at Jerusalem; and it was from thence that the doctrine of the gospel, by which he has brought under his dominion all people, flowed. We may, however, very properly take this expression as spoken of heaven; and thus the sense will be, That God, in stretching forth his hand to subdue men, and bring them to submit to his authority, evidently shows that, from his heavenly throne, he reigns over men. Unless he show men his power and working by signs manifest and near at hand, he is not acknowledged as Governor of the world.

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