Verse 9. "The princes of the people are gathered together " - µym[ ybydn nedibey ammim. The voluntary people-the princely, noble, or free-willed people; those who gladly receive the word of life; those who, like the Bereans, were of a noble or liberal disposition; and, when they heard the Gospel, searched the Scriptures to see whether these things were so. It is a similar word which is used Psa. cx. 3; and I believe both texts speak of the same people-the Gentiles who gladly come unto his light, and present themselves a free-will offering to the Lord.
"The people or the God of Abraham " - Who were Abraham's people? Not the Jews; the covenant was made with him while yet in urcircumcision.
Properly speaking, the Gentiles are those whom he represented; for the covenant was made with him while yet a Gentile; and in his seed all the nations-the Gentiles, of the earth were to be blessed. The people of the God of Abraham are the Gentiles who, receiving the Gospel, are made partakers of the faith of Abraham, and are his spiritual children. The God of Abraham has Abraham's spiritual posterity, the believing Gentiles, for his own people.
"The shields of the earth belong unto God. " - The Septuagint translate this oi krataioi, the strong ones of the earth. The Vulgate reads, Quoniam dii fortes terrae vehementer elevati sunt; "Because the strong gods of the earth are exceedingly exalted." These are supposed to mean kings and rulers of provinces which were present at the dedication of the temple; (for some suppose the Psalm to have been composed for this solemnity;) and that they are said here to be greatly exalted, because they exercised a very high degree of power over their respective districts. The words refer to something by which the inhabitants of the earth are defended; God's providence, guardian angels, &c., &c.
"He is greatly exalted. " - Great as secular rulers are, God is greater, and is above all; King of kings and Lord of lords; and the hearts of kings and governors are in his hand; and he turns them whithersoever he pleases.
ANALYSIS OF THE FORTY-SEVENTH PSALM
This Psalm, under the figure of the ark being brought into the temple, foretells the ascension of Christ to heaven; who was the true ark of the covenant, and the propitiatory or mercy-seat. It contains a prophecy of Christ's kingdom, and has two especial parts: - First, An invitation to sing praises to Christ.
Secondly, The reasons why we should do it.
1. The ascension of Christ is typified under the ark's ascension, ver. 1: "God is gone up with a shout; the Lord with the sound of a trumpet." 2. On which he invites the people to do now what was then done, "that we clap our hands, and sing praises." This should be done, 1.
Cheerfully: "Clap your hands;" for this is a sign of inward joy, Nahum iii. 19. 2. Universally: "O clap your hands, all ye people." 3.
Vocally: "Shout unto God with the voice of triumph." 4.
Frequently: "Sing praises-sing praises-sing praises-sing praises," ver. 6, and again "sing praises," ver. 7. It cannot be done too frequently. 5. Knowingly and discreetly: "Sing ye praises with understanding;" know the reason why ye are to praise him.
3. Now these reasons are drawn from his greatness and from his goodness.
1. He is GREAT. 1. He is the Lord Most High; 2. He is terrible; 3. He is a great King over all the earth. All power, at his ascension, was given unto him in heaven and earth.
2. He is GOOD. 1. In collecting his Church by subduing the nations, not by the sword, but by his word and Spirit, by which he would subdue their iniquities, the iniquity of the Jew first, and then of the Gentile; for the law was to come out of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. To the discipline of that religion both were to submit; and therefore both might well be said "to be subdued to us, and brought under our feet." 2. In honouring and rewarding his Church: "He shall choose out our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved." 1. His Church was his choice: "It is a chosen generation, a peculiar people." 2. His heritage; for he will dwell among them, and provide an inheritance for them; blessings on earth and glory in heaven.
3. This is "the excellency of Jacob;" of Jacob after the Spirit; the kingdom, priesthood, and all the promises made unto Jacob and the fathers being theirs.
4. The cause: "His love only-he chose-the excellency of Jacob whom he loved." 3. In the increase and amplification of his Church: "God is now the king of all the earth;" not of the Jews only, for he "reigns over the heathen" also. He "sits upon a throne of holiness;" rules by his holy word and Spirit. 1. Making them holy who were unholy. 2. They are "a willing people" also. For the princes-the volunteers, among the people, are gathered together; even the people of the God of Abraham-the Gentiles, converted and reconciled to God.
4. In protecting his Church; whether by himself, or by the princes he raises up; by his providence, or his angels, or all together. For the "shields of the earth belong unto God." Secular rulers, and ecclesiastical governors, are shields of the Church. But God is the Head of it, and the Chief: "He is greatly exalted."