Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.
INTRODUCTION TO Psalm 47
To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah. Thus psalm is thought by some to be written on occasion of the ark being brought from the house of Obededom to the city of David, to the place he had prepared for it; which was attended with singing and dancing, with shouting, and the sound of a trumpet, 2 Samuel 6:12; but it rather seems to be penned on account of the ascension of Christ to heaven, prophetically spoken of in this psalm; and of the spread of the Gospel, and the conquests it made in the Gentile world upon Christ's ascension; as the whole psalm shows: and even Aben Ezra and Kimchi apply it to the times of the Messiah; and so do some of their most ancient writers, who particularly interpret Psalm 47:5 of him, as may be seen in the note upon it.
shout unto God with the voice of triumph; as when triumphs are made on account of victories obtained, which was now the case; Christ having conquered sin, Satan, and the world, by his sufferings and death, and having spoiled principalities and powers, made a show of them, openly triumphing over them, when he ascended on high, and led captivity captive; and he having sent his apostles into the Gentile world with his Gospel, they were caused to triumph in him wherever they came. And now these external actions of clapping hands, and shouting with the voice, are expressive of inward spiritual joy; which those among the people who were conquered by the grace of God, and had a sight of their ascended Lord and Saviour, were filled with: and who are exhorted to express it in this manner, unto God: not to angels, nor to men, no, not to ministers, who brought the joyful tidings to them; but to God, either to God the Father, for all their temporal and spiritual blessings; especially for the unspeakable gift of his Son, to suffer and die for them: or to the Son of God, God manifest in the flesh; God that was gone up with a shout, Psalm 47:5; and was now at the right hand of God, crowned with glory and honour; who, by the sufferings of death, had obtained eternal redemption for them.
he is a great King over all the earth; as he must needs be, since he is the great God and our Saviour; and is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is now King of Zion, and head over all things to the church; and before long the kingdoms of this world will become his, and he will take to himself his great power and reign, and shall be King over all the earth openly and visibly; he shall be one, and his name One, Zechariah 14:9; which is another reason for joy and gladness among the people.
(b) "reverendus", Junius & Tremellius; "timendus est", Coccius; "venerandus", Michaelis.
"give thyself wholly to the will and disposal of the celestial ones; for they who are used to give good things easily can also choose the fittest.''
Or the heavenly inheritance, so called in allusion to the land of Canaan, subdued and possessed by the Israelites, in which Christ is greatly concerned; his people are predestinated to the adoption of children, that is, to the inheritance they are adopted to by him, in whom they obtain it; through his death they receive the promise of eternal inheritance, he being the testator of that will of their heavenly Father which bequeaths it to them; it is his righteousness which gives them a title to it, and through his grace they have a meetness for it, and he will at last introduce them into it; all which is a reason for joy and gladness in them. The Arabic version renders it, "he hath chosen us an inheritance for himself"; so the Lord's people are, Deuteronomy 32:9. Christ asked them of his father, and he gave them for his inheritance, he having chosen them as such, and greatly delighted he is with them, Psalm 2:8;
the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. The saints, who are, in his esteem, the excellent in the earth, and who will be in the latter day an eternal excellency, Psalm 16:3; even the whole church, consisting of Jews and Gentiles, the spiritual Jacob or Israel of God, whom Christ has loved with an everlasting love, and therefore has chosen them for his portion and peculiar treasure; as Jacob in person was loved when Esau was hated.
(c) Socrates apud Valer. Maxim. l. 7. c. 2. extern. 1.
the Lord with the sound of the trumpet; which circumstance, though not related in the account of Christ's ascension in the New Testament, yet inasmuch as the angels say he shall descend in like manner as he ascended, and that it is certain he will descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God; so that if his ascent was as his descent will be, it must be then with a shout, and the sound of a trumpet, Acts 1:10. This text is applied to the Messiah by the ancient Jewish writers (d).
(d) Bemidbar Rabba, s. 15. fol. 218. 1.
sing praises; sing praises unto our King, sing praises: who was then made Lord and Christ, declared King of saints, and crowned with glory and honour; the repetition of the phrase sing praises denotes frequency, constancy, fervency, and great devotion in the performance of this service; and that the ascension of Christ, the occasion of it, is of the greatest moment and importance, and requires it to be performed in such a manner.
sing ye praises with understanding; or, as De Dieu renders it, to him that understandeth, that is, to God the only wise, whose understanding is infinite; even to Christ, who, as God, knows all things; and, as man and Mediator, is of quick understanding, and has all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in him; so R. Obadiah, "sing of him who understands"; or, "sing ye praises, O everyone that understandeth" (f); that is, how to sing, as everyone does not; this is the sense of Aben Ezra and Kimchi; or "with understanding", as we render it; with understanding of what is sung. The Apostle Paul seems to refer to this passage in 1 Corinthians 14:15. The Targum renders it, "with a good understanding".
(e) So Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis. (f) "canite, intelligens", Montanus; i.e. "unusquisque", Vatablus.
God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness; or his holy throne, which is heaven; on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; on his Father's throne; having done his work on earth he is received up into heaven, and is set down on a throne at the right hand of God, an honour which none of the angels have: he has ceased from his work and entered into his rest, and sits and sees of the travail of his soul; all which is matter of joy to his people, and a reason why they should sing praises; and the rather, since they are set down with him in heavenly places: or this may be understood of his sitting on the throne of judgment to judge the world in righteousness at the last day, it following upon his reign over the Gentiles; though the other sense best agrees with his immediate ascension to heaven.