Psalm 47(46) : 1 - 9 ( NRSV )

Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with loud songs of joy.(1)
For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome,
a great king over all the earth.(2)
He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.(3)
He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves.1 Selah (4)
God has gone up with a shout,2
the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.(5)
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.(6)
For God is the king of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm.(7)
God is king over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.(8)
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.(9)

Comment

     The psalm breaks out beyond reasoned explanation into wonder, awe, amazement and gratitude. It is in the Christian community's worship, that the newness given by God, is voiced. That worship leads to joyful affirmation that the world is strangely open to God's new reigning.
     The speaker invites praising YHWH the ruler of all the earth, who now properly reigns. All are called to this praising because YHWH reigns over all peoples. "God goes up" (v.5) means God ascends the throne. The speaker summons, "all you peoples"(v.1) to celebrate the power, authority and sovereignty of YHWH as, "Most High" - a name that all people can recognise (vv.2-4). The language describes an act of enthronement.
     The speaker repeats the call to, "sing praises" four times in the light of the new world situation (vv.8-9). Around the throne sit all the obedient, glad peoples. Around the throne there is no conflict, dispute, or challenge, to the authority of YHWH. The ultimate vision of the holy city is for all peoples to become, "the People of God"(Is.2:2-4). In the Christian scriptures, this way of stating the new world reality, suggests that all people will be brought under the reigning of God - but not all by the way of Jesus for there are other valued sheep, which "are not of this fold" (Jn.10:16).
 
footnotes:
PSALM 47 A hymn calling on the nations to acknowledge the universal rule of Israel's God (vv.2-5) who is enthroned as king over Israel and the nations (vv.6-9).
1. [ v.4 ] our heritage . . . the pride: The land of Israel (cf Is.58:14), which God has given Israel in an act of sovereignty.
2. [ v.5 ] God has gone up: "Has gone up to the throne," according to the context (v.9). Christian liturgical tradition has applied the verse to the ascension of Christ.


 

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