Psalm 47:2
For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
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(2) Most high.—Or, possibly, a predicate, is exalted.

Terrible.—Literally, feared. (Comp. 2Chronicles 20:29).

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.For the Lord most high - Yahweh, the Most High God; that is, who is exalted above all other beings. Compare Exodus 18:11; 1 Chronicles 16:25 Psalm 96:4; 2 Chronicles 2:5; Psalm 95:3.

Is terrible - literally, is to be feared; that is, reverenced and adored. There is an idea in the words "terrible" and "terror" which is not contained in the original, as if there were something harsh, severe, stern, in his character. The word in the original does not go beyond the notion of inspiring reverence or awe, and is the common word by which the worship of God is designated in the Scriptures. The meaning is, that he is worthy of profound reverence or adoration.

He is a great king over all the earth - He rules the world. He is a universal Sovereign. The immediate "occasion" of saying this, when the psalm was composed, was evidently some victory (which had been achieved over the enemies of the people of God) so decided, and so immediately by the divine power, as to prove that he has absolute control over all nations.

2, 3. His universal sovereignty now exists, and will be made known.2 For the Lord most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.

"For the Lord," or Jehovah, the self-existent and only God; "Most high," most great in power, lofty in dominion, eminent in wisdom, elevated in glory. "Is terrible," none can resist his power or stand before his vengeance; yet as these terrors are wielded on the behalf of his subjects, they are fit reasons for rejoicing. Omnipotence, which is terrible to crush, is almighty to protect. At a grand review of the troops of a great prince, all his loyal subjects are filled with triumph, because their liege lord is so able to defend his own, and so much dreaded by his foes. "He is a great King over all the earth." Not over Judea only, but even to the utmost isles his reign extends. Our God is no local deity, no petty ruler of a tribe; in infinite majesty he rules the mightiest realms as absolute arbiter of destiny, sole monarch of all lands, King of kings and Lord of lords. Not a hamlet or an islet is excluded from his dominion. How glorious will that era be when this is seen and known of all; when in the person of Jesus all flesh shall behold the glory of the Lord!

Most high is terrible; or, is most high (in himself, above all gods) and (which conjunction is off understood) terrible, to all his enemies.

A great King over all the earth; the universal Monarch of the whole world, and not of Israel only. For the Lord most high is terrible,.... Christ is not only the Son of the Highest, but he himself is the most high God, God over all, blessed for ever. He is higher than the highest, than the angels in heaven, or any of the sons of men on earth. He is the high and lofty One, that dwells in the high and lofty place. And even this character agrees with him as the ascended Lord and King in his human nature; he is ascended on high, is set down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. He is highly exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour; he is made higher than the heavens, and than the kings of the earth are; angels, authorities, and powers, are subject to him. And this is a reason exciting all the people to joy and gladness. And he is "terrible" to his enemies, being the Lion of the tribe of Judah; who will rule the nations with a rod of iron, and break them in pieces as a potter's vessel: and so he will be when he shall come in the clouds of heaven, land descend from thence, in flaming fire, to take vengeance on those who have despised and rejected him; and at the same time will be glorious to and admired by them that believe in him. His appearance, which will be terrible to others, will be matter of joy to them. Though the word used may be rendered as it is in Psalm 111:9; "reverend" or "to be feared" (b), as he is; see Isaiah 8:13; both on account of his goodness, as the Redeemer and Saviour of his people, Hosea 3:5; and of his greatness, being equal with God, and King of saints. As it follows;

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.

For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
2. We may also render as in R.V. marg.,

For the Lord is most high (and) terrible,

or better still,

For Jehovah, the Most High, the terrible,

Is a great King over all the earth,

for the universal sovereignty of Jehovah is the prominent thought of the Psalm. He is not merely King of Israel (Psalm 47:6) but King of all the earth (Psalm 47:7). It is to Him that the title ‘great King,’ so arrogantly assumed by the king of Assyria (Isaiah 36:4), really belongs. This verse links together Psalm 46:4 and Psalm 48:2. For the epithet ‘terrible’ cp. Psalm 76:7; Psalm 76:12; Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 7:21; Deuteronomy 10:17.Verse 2. - For the Lord Most High is terrible (comp. Deuteronomy 7:21; and see also Psalm 65:5; Psalm 68:35; Psalm 76:7-9). God is "terrible" - i.e. awful to contemplate-on account of his vast power and his absolute holiness. He is a great King over all the earth. Not only over Israel, or over the nations which David has conquered, but ever every nation on the face of the earth (comp. Psalm 95:3, 4; Psalm 96:10; Psalm 97:1, etc.). (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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