Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 96

By Joseph Benson


Verses 1-3
Psalms 96:1-3. O sing unto the Lord a new song — Upon this new and great occasion, not the removal of the ark, wherein there was nothing new but an inconsiderable circumstance of place, but the coming of the Messiah, the confirming of the new covenant by his blood, and the calling of the Gentiles; bless and praise the name of the Lord, by singing a new, that is, an excellent song, the product of new affections, clothed with new expressions. Show forth his salvation from day to day — That great work of the redemption and salvation of the world by the Messiah. Declare his glory among the heathen — You who shall be appointed his messengers to the Gentile nations, and all you who shall be called out of those nations to the knowledge of God and of Christ, publish this glorious and wonderful work to all the heathen among whom you live, or to whom you may come.

Verses 4-6
Psalms 96:4-6. For the Lord — Hebrew, Jehovah, is great — Infinite in his nature and attributes; and greatly to be praised — All our most exalted praises fall infinitely short of his greatness. He is to be feared above all gods — The gods of the heathen, as the next words expound it. For all the gods of the nations are idols — Or, nothing, as they are called 1 Corinthians 8:4; 1 Corinthians 10:19; and, as אלילים, elilim, here rendered idols, signifies; or, vain things, as others translate the word. The sense is, Though they have usurped the name and place of the Divine Majesty, yet they have nothing of his nature or power in them. Honour and majesty are before him — That is, in his presence, like beams shot from his face, who is the Sun of righteousness. There is an inconceivable glory and majesty in his countenance, and in the place of his presence. Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary — Or, in his holy place; that is, where he records his name, and vouchsafes his presence, there are the manifestations of his power and grace, or goodness, and of all his perfections.

Verses 7-9
Psalms 96:7-9. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people — O ye people, from whatsoever family ye come, or, O ye nations of the world, Give unto the Lord glory and strength — Ascribe to Jehovah that incomparable majesty, and supreme dominion and authority, which you have been wont to give to your imaginary gods. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name — Renouncing all your idols, acknowledge Jehovah alone to be the omnipotent king of all the world, and do him honour suitable to the excellence of his majesty. Bring an offering, and come into his courts — The courts of his house. Bring him an oblation, in token of your subjection to him; and humbly worship him in his temple. He speaks of the worship of the New Testament under the expressions of the Jewish worship, as the prophets elsewhere do: see Malachi 1:11. O worship the Lord — O come and cast yourselves down before the Lord, in the beauty of holiness — In his sanctuary, where he hath fixed his glorious residence among us; or, rather, being clothed with all those holy ornaments, those gifts and graces, which are necessary and required in God’s worship. Fear before him, all the earth — Let all the people approach his presence with a holy fear and sacred reverence, standing in awe of, and dreading to offend, their sovereign Lord and King.

Verse 10
Psalms 96:10. Say among the heathen — You converted Gentiles, declare to those who yet remain in the darkness of heathenism; that the Lord reigneth — That God hath now fixed his throne, and set up his kingdom in the world. The world also shall be established, &c. — And, as that kingdom shall never be destroyed, but shall stand for ever, Daniel 2:44, so the nations of the world shall, by the means of it, enjoy an established and lasting peace: see Psalms 72:3; Psalms 72:7; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 66:12; Zechariah 9:10. He shall judge the people righteously — He shall not abuse his almighty power and established dominion to the oppression of his people, as other princes frequently do, but shall govern them by the rules of justice and equity, which is the only foundation of a true and solid peace: see Isaiah 32:17.

Verse 11-12
Psalms 96:11-12. Let the heavens rejoice, &c. — These verses are a poetical description of the great causes of joy which this kingdom of Christ would bring to the world. The heavens, and earth, and sea, and trees, and fields, are here put together according to the Scripture style, to denote the whole world, which is here represented as being in a state of the greatest felicity, and as testifying its joy and thankfulness in the most lively and striking manner possible. “Transported,” says Dr. Horne, “with a view of these grand events, and beholding in spirit the advent of King Messiah, the psalmist exults in most jubilant and triumphant strains, calling the whole creation to break forth into joy, and to celebrate the glories of redemption. The heavens, with the innumerable orbs fixed in them, which, while they roll and shine, declare the glory of beatified saints; the earth, which, made fertile by celestial influences, showeth the work of grace on the hearts of men here below; the field which, crowned with a produce of a hundred- fold, displays an emblem of the fruit yielded by the seed of the Word in the church; the trees of the wood, lofty, verdant, and diffusive, apt representatives of holy persons, those trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, Isaiah 61:3, whose examples are eminent, fair, and extensive; all these are, by the prophet, excited to join in a chorus of thanksgiving to the Maker and Redeemer of the world.”

Verse 13
Psalms 96:13. Before the Lord — At the presence and approach of their Lord and Maker. For he cometh to judge the earth — To take to himself that power and authority which belong to him, and to set up his throne and dominion above all the nations of the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness — He shall reform the earth, and govern mankind by righteous and merciful laws; and the people with his truth — Or, in his faithfulness; that is, so as he has promised to do. He will certainly and abundantly fulfil all his promises made to his people, and faithfully keep his word with all those that observe his commandments. “The coming of Christ,” says the last-mentioned author, “is two-fold; first, he came to sanctify the creature, and he will come again to glorify it. Either of his kingdoms, that of grace or that of glory, may be signified by his judging the world in righteousness and truth. If creation be represented as rejoicing at the establishment of the former, how much greater will be the joy at the approach of the latter, seeing that notwithstanding Christ be long since come in the flesh, though he be ascended into heaven, and have sent the Spirit from thence, yet the whole creation, as the apostle speaks, Romans 8:22, groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, expecting to be delivered from the bondage of corruption, &c., yea, we ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption of the body; when, at the renovation of all things, man, new made, shall return to the days of his youth, to begin an immortal spring, and be for ever young.”


Book Navigation Title Page Table of Contents Argument Introduction ► Chapter 1 ► Chapter 2 ► Chapter 3 ► Chapter 4 ► Chapter 5 ► Chapter 6 ► Chapter 7 ► Chapter 8 ► Chapter 9 ► Chapter 10 ► Chapter 11 ► Chapter 12 ► Chapter 13 ► Chapter 14 ► Chapter 15 ► Chapter 16 ► Chapter 17 ► Chapter 18 ► Chapter 19 ► Chapter 20 ► Chapter 21 ► Chapter 22 ► Chapter 23 ► Chapter 24 ► Chapter 25 ► Chapter 26 ► Chapter 27 ► Chapter 28 ► Chapter 29 ► Chapter 30 ► Chapter 31 ► Chapter 32 ► Chapter 33 ► Chapter 34 ► Chapter 35 ► Chapter 36 ► Chapter 37 ► Chapter 38 ► Chapter 39 ► Chapter 40 ► Chapter 41 ► Chapter 42 ► Chapter 43 ► Chapter 44 ► Chapter 45 ► Chapter 46 ► Chapter 47 ► Chapter 48 ► Chapter 49 ► Chapter 50 ► Chapter 51 ► Chapter 52 ► Chapter 53 ► Chapter 54 ► Chapter 55 ► Chapter 56 ► Chapter 57 ► Chapter 58 ► Chapter 59 ► Chapter 60 ► Chapter 61 ► Chapter 62 ► Chapter 63 ► Chapter 64 ► Chapter 65 ► Chapter 66 ► Chapter 67 ► Chapter 68 ► Chapter 69 ► Chapter 70 ► Chapter 71 ► Chapter 72 ► Chapter 73 ► Chapter 74 ► Chapter 75 ► Chapter 76 ► Chapter 77 ► Chapter 78 ► Chapter 79 ► Chapter 80 ► Chapter 81 ► Chapter 82 ► Chapter 83 ► Chapter 84 ► Chapter 85 ► Chapter 86 ► Chapter 87 ► Chapter 88 ► Chapter 89 ► Chapter 90 ► Chapter 91 ► Chapter 92 ► Chapter 93 ► Chapter 94 ► Chapter 95 ► Chapter 96 ► Chapter 97 ► Chapter 98 ► Chapter 99 ► Chapter 100 ► Chapter 101 ► Chapter 102 ► Chapter 103 ► Chapter 104 ► Chapter 105 ► Chapter 106 ► Chapter 107 ► Chapter 108 ► Chapter 109 ► Chapter 110 ► Chapter 111 ► Chapter 112 ► Chapter 113 ► Chapter 114 ► Chapter 115 ► Chapter 116 ► Chapter 117 ► Chapter 118 ► Chapter 119 ► Chapter 120 ► Chapter 121 ► Chapter 122 ► Chapter 123 ► Chapter 124 ► Chapter 125 ► Chapter 126 ► Chapter 127 ► Chapter 128 ► Chapter 129 ► Chapter 130 ► Chapter 131 ► Chapter 132 ► Chapter 133 ► Chapter 134 ► Chapter 135 ► Chapter 136 ► Chapter 137 ► Chapter 138 ► Chapter 139 ► Chapter 140 ► Chapter 141 ► Chapter 142 ► Chapter 143 ► Chapter 144 ► Chapter 145 ► Chapter 146 ► Chapter 147 ► Chapter 148 ► Chapter 149 ► Chapter 150