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Psalms 47:1-5

Context
Psalm 47 1 

For the music director; by the Korahites; a psalm.

47:1 All you nations, clap your hands!

Shout out to God in celebration! 2 

47:2 For the sovereign Lord 3  is awe-inspiring; 4 

he is the great king who rules the whole earth! 5 

47:3 He subdued nations beneath us 6 

and countries 7  under our feet.

47:4 He picked out for us a special land 8 

to be a source of pride for 9  Jacob, 10  whom he loves. 11  (Selah)

47:5 God has ascended his throne 12  amid loud shouts; 13 

the Lord has ascended his throne amid the blaring of ram’s horns. 14 

1 sn Psalm 47. In this hymn the covenant community praises the Lord as the exalted king of the earth who has given them victory over the nations and a land in which to live.

2 tn Heb “Shout to God with [the] sound of a ringing cry!”

3 tn Heb “the Lord Most High.” The divine title “Most High” (עֶלְיוֹן, ’elyon) pictures the Lord as the exalted ruler of the universe who vindicates the innocent and judges the wicked.

4 tn Or “awesome.” The Niphal participle נוֹרָא (nora’), when used of God in the psalms, focuses on the effect that his royal splendor and powerful deeds have on those witnessing his acts (Pss 66:3, 5; 68:35; 76:7, 12; 89:7; 96:4; 99:3; 111:9). Here it refers to his capacity to fill his defeated foes with terror and his people with fearful respect.

5 tn Heb “a great king over all the earth.”

6 tn On the meaning of the verb דָּבַר (davar, “subdue”), a homonym of דָּבַר (“speak”), see HALOT 209-10 s.v. I דבר. See also Ps 18:47 and 2 Chr 22:10. The preterite form of the verb suggests this is an historical reference and the next verse, which mentions the gift of the land, indicates that the conquest under Joshua is in view.

7 tn Or “peoples” (see Pss 2:1; 7:7; 9:8; 44:2).

8 tn Heb “he chose for us our inheritance.” The prefixed verbal form is understood as a preterite (see “subdued” in v. 3).

9 tn Heb “the pride of.” The phrase is appositional to “our inheritance,” indicating that the land is here described as a source of pride to God’s people.

10 tn That is, Israel.

11 sn Jacob whom he loves. The Lord’s covenantal devotion to his people is in view.

12 sn God ascended his throne. In the context of vv. 3-4, which refer to the conquest of the land under Joshua, v. 5 is best understood as referring to an historical event. When the Lord conquered the land and placed his people in it, he assumed a position of kingship, as predicted by Moses (see Exod 15:17-18, as well as Ps 114:1-2). That event is here described metaphorically in terms of a typical coronation ceremony for an earthly king (see 2 Sam 15:10; 2 Kgs 9:13). Verses 1-2, 8-9 focus on God’s continuing kingship, which extends over all nations.

13 tn Heb “God ascended amid a shout.” The words “his throne” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The Lord’s coronation as king is described here (see v. 8). Here the perfect probably has a present perfect function, indicating a completed action with continuing effects.

14 tn Heb “the Lord amid the sound of the ram horn.” The verb “ascended” is understood by ellipsis; see the preceding line.



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