Psalms 97:2 MEANING

Psalm 97:2
(2) Clouds and darkness.--Comp. Psalm 18:10-12. The imagery in the first instance is borrowed from the Theophany at Sinai. (Exodus 19:9; Exodus 19:16; Exodus 20:21; Deuteronomy 4:11; Deuteronomy 5:22-23.)

Are the habitation.--Better, are the foundation, or pillars. (See margin.) This reappears from Psalm 89:14, but the connection with "clouds and darkness" is peculiar to this poet, and is striking. The immediate effect on the Hebrew mind, of the awful manifestation of the Divine power in nature, is not fear, but a sublime sense of safety in the established right and truth of God. They knew that it is one and the same power

"Which makes the darkness and the light,

And dwells not in the light alone,

But in the darkness and the cloud,

As over Sinai's peaks of old,

While Israel made them gods of gold,

Although the trumpet blew so loud."

TENNYSON: In Memoriam.

Verse 2. - Clouds and darkness are round about him (comp. Exodus 19:16, 18; Deuteronomy 4:11; Deuteronomy 5:22:1 Kings 8:12). The "darkness" does not belong to the nature of God, who "is Light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5), but to the interrelationship between God and man, in which are involved problems that man cannot solve. Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne; rather, the foundation of his throne - the firm basis on which it is immovably fixed.

97:1-7 Though many have been made happy in Christ, still there is room. And all have reason to rejoice in Christ's government. There is a depth in his counsels, which we must not pretend to fathom; but still righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. Christ's government, though it might be matter of joy to all, will yet be matter of terror to some; but it is their own fault that it is so. The most resolute and daring opposition will be baffled at the presence of the Lord. And the Lord Jesus will ere long come, and put an end to idol worship of every kind.Clouds and darkness are round about him,.... Either as a garment; so Apollinarius paraphrases it,

"near is the King clothed with a cloud and tempest;''

and it is usual with the Heathens to represent their deities as surrounded or clothed with a cloud (s): here the allusion is to the tabernacle and temple, when reared up and dedicated, Exodus 40:34 1 Kings 8:10 and to other appearances of God, or Christ, in a cloud, Exodus 19:9, it may denote the obscurity of his divine nature at his first coming; he appearing in the form of a servant, and in the likeness of sinful flesh, so that few discerned his glory as the glory of the only begotten of the Father; as also the darkness and blindness of the Jews concerning him, who could not perceive him to be the Messiah; notwithstanding all the characters of him; clouds and darkness were about him to them; as they were, in a literal sense, when he hung on the cross; the sun withdrew and hid itself, and darkness was upon the face of the earth for three hours; Christ was enveloped in it; and a greater darkness surrounded his soul when his divine Father hid his face from him: dark providences attended the first setting up of his kingdom, and the ministration of his Gospel in the world; the apostles, the first preachers of it, were persecuted by their own countrymen the Jews; the whole Gentile world was against them; the Roman empire, emperors, and governors of provinces, opposed them; wherever there was an open door, there were many adversaries, so that things looked very unpromising: nevertheless these clouds were dissipated, and the difficulties got over; though this has sometimes been the case since, and will be again, ere the kingdom of Christ is in all its glory; he now sits enthroned in heaven, surrounded with clouds and darkness, and unseen to us; whose being and perfections are inscrutable to us, his providences unsearchable, and his ways past finding out; and when he comes a second time, it will be at midnight, and in the clouds of heaven:

righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne; the seat, basis, and support of it; he sits on a throne doing right, and by it his throne is established; See Gill on Psalm 89:14.

(s) "Et Venus aethereos inter dea candida nimbos", Virgil. Aeneid. 8. "Venus circumdata nimbo", ib. Aeneid. 12. "Nube candentes humeros amictus augur Apollo", Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode 2. so Homer. Il. 5. v. 186.

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