Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.
Ps 97:1-12. The writer celebrates the Lord's dominion over nations and nature, describes its effect on foes and friends, and exhorts and encourages the latter.
1, 2. This dominion is a cause of joy, because, even though our minds are oppressed with terror before the throne of the King of kings (Ex 19:16; De 5:22), we know it is based on righteous principles and judgments which are according to truth.
Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.
3-5. The attending illustrations of God's awful justice on enemies (Ps 83:14) are seen in the disclosures of His almighty power on the elements of nature (compare Ps 46:2; 77:17; Hab 3:6, &c.).
His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.
The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.
6. heavens—or, their inhabitants (Ps 50:6), as opposed to "nations" in the latter clause (compare Isa 40:5; 66:18).
Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.
7. Idolaters are utterly put to shame, for if angels must worship Him, how much more those who worshipped them.
all ye gods—literally, "all ye angels" (Ps 8:5; 138:1; Heb 1:6; 2:7). Paul quotes, not as a prophecy, but as language used in regard to the Lord Jehovah, who in the Old Testament theophania is the second person of the Godhead.
Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD.
8, 9. The exaltation of Zion's king is joy to the righteous and sorrow to the wicked.
daughters of Judah—(Compare Ps 48:11).
For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.
9. above all gods—(Ps 95:3).
Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
10-12. Let gratitude for the blessings of providence and grace incite saints (Ps 4:3) to holy living. Spiritual blessings are in store, represented by light (Ps 27:1) and gladness.
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.
11. sown—to spring forth abundantly for such, who alone can and well may rejoice in the holy government of their sovereign Lord (compare Ps 30:4; 32:11).
Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.