Psalm 47:1
O clap your hands, all you people; shout to God with the voice of triumph.
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(1) Of triumph.—Or, of exultation, as LXX. and Vulg. For the hand-clapping at a time of national rejoicing, such as the coronation of a king, see 2Kings 11:12 (comp. Psalm 98:8); and for the “shout,” comp. Numbers 23:21, “the shout of a king”; and 1Samuel 10:24. With the Hebrews, as with our own English forefathers, this sign of popular assent,

“In full acclaim,

A people’s voice,

The proof and echo of all human fame,”

played a large and important part.

Psalm 47:1-2. O clap your hands, all ye people — All ye tribes of Israel, or, rather, all nations, not only Jews but Gentiles; for all of them would, or might have benefit, if not by the removal of the ark to mount Zion, or to the temple, yet by that which was represented thereby, the ascension of the Messiah into heaven. Shout unto God — Unto the glory of the God of Israel. For the Lord most high — Above all gods and men; is terrible —

To all his enemies; a great King over all the earth — The universal monarch of the whole world, and not of Israel only. These lofty expressions of calling on all people to shout unto God with the voice of triumph, &c., whatever was the first occasion of them, seem to have been dictated and raised to this height of expression by a divine prophetic influence, to prefigure an event which should happen in the world, namely, a time when all the people of the earth, and not the Hebrews only, should call upon, and rejoice in, the true God, Jehovah.47:1-4 The God with whom we have to do, is a God of awful majesty. The universal and absolute sovereignty of a holy God would be too terrible for us even to think of, were it not exercised by his Son from a mercy-seat; but now it is only terrible to the workers of iniquity. While his people express confidence and joy, and animate each other in serving him, let sinners submit to his authority, and accept his salvation. Jesus Christ shall subdue the Gentiles; he shall bring them as sheep into the fold, not for slaughter, but for preservation. He shall subdue their affections, and make them a willing people in the day of his power. Also it speaks of his giving them rest and settlement. Apply this spiritually; the Lord himself has undertaken to be the inheritance of his people. It shows the faith and submission of the saints. This is the language of every gracious soul, The Lord shall choose my inheritance for me; he knows what is good for me better than I do.O clap your hands, all ye people - A common way of expressing joy, or indicating applause. Compare the notes at Isaiah 55:12. The "people" here referred to are probably the Jewish people, and the call on them is to rejoice, with the customary marks of joy, in view of the great victory which God had gained over their enemies.

Shout unto God - Make a joyful noise in praise of God; that is, in acknowledgment that this victory has been gained by his interposition.

With a voice of triumph - With such a shout as is usually raised when a victory is obtained; such a shout as occurs in a triumphal procession. Compare 2 Samuel 6:15; 1 Chronicles 15:28; Job 39:25; Zechariah 4:7; Exodus 32:18; Isaiah 12:6; Isaiah 42:11; Isaiah 44:23; Jeremiah 50:15. There are doubtless times when loud shouts, as expressive of joy, are proper.


Ps 47:1-9. Praise is given to God for victory, perhaps that recorded (2Ch 20:20-30); and His dominions over all people, Jews and Gentiles, is asserted.

1. clap … hands … people—literally, "peoples," or "nations" (compare De 32:43; Ps 18:49; 98:9).

1 Clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

"O clap your hands." The most natural and most enthusiastic tokens of exultation are to be used in view of the victories of the Lord, and his universal reign. Our joy in God may be demonstrative, and yet he will not censure it. "All ye people." The joy is to extend to all nations; Israel may lead the van, but all the Gentiles are to follow in the march of triumph, for they have an equal share in that Kingdom where there is neither Greek nor Jew, but Christ is all and in all. Even now if they did but know it, it is the best hope of all nations that Jehovah ruleth over them. If they cannot all speak the same tongue, the symbolic language of the hands they can all use. All people will be ruled by the Lord in the latter days, and will exult in that rule; were they wise they would submit to it now, and rejoice to do so; yea, they would clap their hands in rapture at the thought. "Shout," let your voices keep tune with your hands. "Unto God," let him have all the honours of the day, and let them be loud, joyous, universal, and undivided. "With the voice of triumph," with gladsome sounds, consonant with such splendid victories, so great a King, so excellent a rule, and such gladsome subjects. Many are human languages, and yet the nations may triumph as with one voice. Faith's view of God's government is full of transport. The prospect of the universal reign of the Prince of Peace is enough to make the tongue of the dumb sing; what will the reality be? Well might the poet of the seasons bid mountains and valleys raise their joyous hymn -

"For the Great Shepherd reigns,

And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come." THE ARGUMENT

This Psalm may seem to have been composed upon the occasion of that great solemnity of carrying the ark from the house of Obed-edom into the city of Zion; of which see 2Sa 6 1Ch 13 1 Chronicles 16. But as Zion was a type of the church, and the ark a type of Christ; so this hath a further reference, even to Christ’s ascension into heaven, and, as consequent thereunto, to the spreading of his kingdom in all the parts and nations of the world; which is the chief scope and design of the psalmist. or at least of the Holy Ghost, in this Psalm; as will plainly appear from the words and matter of it.

The church is exhorted to praise God, who subdueth her enemies, Psalm 47:1-3, and giveth her an excellent inheritance, Psalm 47:4-7. A promise of calling and gathering the Gentiles, Psalm 47:8,9.

All ye people; either,

1. All the tribes of Israel; for the several tribes are sometimes called several people. See Judges 5:14 Ezekiel 2:3 Acts 4:27. Or,

2. All nations, not only Jews, but Gentiles; for all of them either had or might have benefit by the ark, upon their addresses to God there, and especially by Christ and his ascension.

Shout unto God, in the worship and unto the glory of the God of Israel.

O clap your hands, all ye people, Meaning the Gentiles more especially; see Psalm 117:1 compared with Romans 15:9; who had reason to rejoice and be glad, since the ascended Lord and King here spoken of was given to be their Saviour, was the propitiation for their sins, and had given himself a ransom price for them; and now the Gospel was preached among them, by an order from him after his resurrection; and upon his ascension gifts were bestowed on his apostles, qualifying them for it; when many of them were converted by it, and were made partakers of the same grace and privileges with the Jews that believed in Christ, and were formed into Gospel churches. Wherefore they are called upon to declare their joy and gladness by "clapping their hands"; which is a gesture expressive of exultation and joy; see Psalm 98:8, Nahum 3:19. It was used at the unction and coronation of a king, 2 Kings 11:12; and so very proper to be used on occasion of the Messiah being made or declared Lord and Christ, as he was at his ascension, Acts 2:36;

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.

<> O {a} clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

(a) Here is figured Christ to whom all his should give willing obedience, and who would show himself terrible to the wicked.

1. all ye people] Render all ye peoples, here and in Psalm 47:3; Psalm 47:9 a. It is the nations of the world who are addressed. They are summoned to salute Jehovah, as a new king was saluted on his accession, with clapping of hands (2 Kings 11:12) and shouting (1 Samuel 10:24). Cp. Numbers 23:21, where “the shout of a king” means the shout with which Israel celebrates the Presence of Jehovah in its midst as a victorious king.

triumph] The cognate verb is used in Psalm 20:5 of the joyous shouting which welcomes the victorious king.

1–4. A summons to all nations to acknowledge Jehovah as their King. He has proved His sovereignty by subjecting the nations to His own people and assigning to it the choicest land for its inheritance.Verse 1. - O clap your hands, all ye people; rather, all ye peoples. The nations of the earth generally - not Israel only - are addressed. The events which have taken place - the great extension of God's kingdom, by David's conquests, are for the advantage of all, and all ought to be thankful for them. Shout unto God with the voice of triumph; or, with a voice of joy. Professor Cheyne renders, "in ringing tones." (Heb.: 46:5-8) Just as, according to Genesis 2:10, a stream issued from Eden, to water the whole garden, so a stream makes Jerusalem as it were into another paradise: a river - whose streams make glad the city of Elohim (Psalm 87:3; Psalm 48:9, cf. Psalm 101:8); פּלגיו (used of the windings and branches of the main-stream) is a second permutative subject (Psalm 44:3). What is intended is the river of grace, which is also likened to a river of paradise in Psalm 36:9. When the city of God is threatened and encompassed by foes, still she shall not hunger and thirst, nor fear and despair; for the river of grace and of her ordinances and promises flows with its rippling waves through the holy place, where the dwelling-place or tabernacle of the Most High is pitched. קדשׁ, Sanctum (cf. el-Ḳuds as a name of Jerusalem), as in Psalm 65:5, Isaiah 57:15; גּדל, Exodus 15:16. משׁכּני, dwellings, like משׁכּנות, Psalm 43:3; Psalm 84:2; Psalm 132:5, Psalm 132:7, equivalent to "a glorious dwelling." In Psalm 46:6 in the place of the river we find Him from whom the river issues forth. Elohim helps her לפנותבּקר - there is only a night of trouble, the return of the morning is also the sunrise of speedy help. The preterites in Psalm 46:7 are hypothetical: if peoples and kingdoms become enraged with enmity and totter, so that the church is in danger of being involved in this overthrow - all that God need to is to make a rumbling with His almighty voice of thunder (נתן בּקולו, as in Psalm 68:34; Jeremiah 12:8, cf. הרים בּמּטּה, to make a lifting with the rod, Exodus 7:20), and forthwith the earth melts (muwg, as in Amos 9:5, Niph. Isaiah 14:31, and frequently), i.e., their titanic defiance becomes cowardice, the bonds of their confederation slacken, and the strength they have put forth is destroyed - it is manifest that Jahve Tsebaoth is with His people. This name of God is, so to speak, indigenous to the Korahitic Psalms, for it is the proper name of God belonging to the time of the kings (vid., on Psalm 24:10; Psalm 59:6), on the very verge of which it occurs first of all in the mouth of Hannah (1 Samuel 1:11), and the Korahitic Psalms have a royal impress upon them. In the God, at whose summons all created powers are obliged to marshal themselves like the hosts of war, Israel has a steep stronghold, משׂגּב, which cannot be scaled by any foe - the army of the confederate peoples and kingdoms, ere it has reached Jerusalem, is become a field of the dead.
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