Psalm 47:4
He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
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(4) The excellency of Jacob.—This phrase, which literally means the loftiness of Jacob, is used in Nahum 2:2 of the national glory, in Ezekiel 24:21 of the Temple, but in Amos 6:8 has a bad sense, “the pride of Jacob.” Here, as the text stands, it is to be understood of the country. (Comp. Isaiah 13:19.)

Psalm 47:4. He shall choose our inheritance for us — The Syriac, Arabic, and Latin, render the word יבחר, jibchar, here used, in the past time, he hath chosen, which, if understood of God’s choosing Canaan for the Israelites, and placing them in it, is certainly more proper, being according to the matter of fact. The word, however, is in the future tense, and if interpreted of the Gentiles, who were to be called into God’s church, and to receive the blessings of grace and glory for their inheritance, the more proper rendering is that of our translators, He shall choose, or, he will appoint, and bestow upon us, our inheritance — That is, the inheritance intended for us, designed to be ours, namely, God himself, who is the portion of his people, or the presence, worship, and blessing of God. This God had chosen for the Israelites, and had resolved to choose, or set apart, for the Gentiles. The excellency of Jacob — Or, his glory, or boast, as גאון, geon, also means; that wherein he gloried and excelled all other people, namely, not Canaan, but God’s sanctuary, the ordinances of his worship, and his presence and blessing. See Ezekiel 24:21; Amos 6:8; Amos 8:7. He may mean the person of Jacob, who, though he never had the actual possession of Canaan, yet had the Lord, and his presence and blessing, for his inheritance. Or, rather, he means the people of Israel, who are frequently called Jacob; for these did actually enjoy both the promised inheritance of Canaan and the presence of God in his sanctuary. Whom he loved — This he adds, partly as the reason why he chose such a noble inheritance for them, which was not any peculiar worth in them, more than in other people, but only for his free love to them, as he declares, Deuteronomy 7:7-8; and Deuteronomy 9:5; and partly as an evidence of the excellence of this inheritance, because it was chosen for his beloved people.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.He shall choose our inheritance for us - He has chosen or selected the land which we inherit. Of all the countries which compose the world, he has chosen "this" to be the inheritance of his own people, or the place where they should dwell. The thought in this verse is based on the idea so common in the writings of the Hebrews, that their country was the glory of all lands - the place of all on earth most desirable to dwell in. It is in view of this fact that they are here called on to praise God, and to rejoice in him.

The excellency of Jacob - literally, "the pride - גאון gâ'ôn - of Jacob." Septuagint, "beauty" - καλλονὴν kallonēn. So the Vulgate, "speciem." The meaning is, that it was a land of which Jacob, the ancestor of the people, might be proud, or which he did boast of. It was ever regarded as an honor among the Jews that they dwelt in a land which had been the abode of the prophets; and especially was anything regarded as of value that could be traced to Jacob; that bad been once in his possession; or that could be regarded as his gift. Compare John 4:12.

Whom he loved - As one of the patriarchs. Perhaps special allusion is here made to "Jacob" rather than to Abraham and Isaac, because the land came actually into the possession of the Hebrew people in the time of Jacob's sons. It was divided among the descendants of his sons, the twelve tribes, bearing their names; and thus Jacob was most naturally referred to as having been in possession of the land. Abraham and Isaac dwelt in the land as strangers and pilgrims Hebrews 11:9-10, Hebrews 11:13, having no possession there, not even of a burying-place except as they purchased it (compare Genesis 23:12-16); and the land actually came into the possession of the nation only in the family of Jacob.

4. He shall … inheritance—the heathen to be possessed by His Church (Ps 2:8), as Canaan by the Jews.

excellency of Jacob—literally, "pride," or, that in which he glories (not necessarily, though often, in a bad sense), the privileges of the chosen people—

whom he loved—His love being the sole cause of granting them.

4 He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.

While as yet we see not all things put under him, we are glad to put ourselves and our fortunes at his disposal. "He shall choose our inheritance for us." We feel his reign to be so gracious that we even now ask to be in the fullest degree the subjects of it. We submit our will, our choice, our desire, wholly to him. Our heritage here and hereafter we leave to him, let him do with us as seemeth him good. "The excellence of Jacob whom he loved." He gave his ancient people their portion, he will give us ours, and we ask nothing better; this is the most spiritual and real manner of clapping our hands because of his sovereignty, namely, to leave all our affairs in his hands, for then our hands are empty of all care for self, and free to be used in his honour. He was the boast and glory of Israel, he is and shall be ours. He loved his people and became their greatest glory; he loves us, and he shall be our exceeding joy. As for the latter days, we ask nothing better than to stand in our appointed lot, for if we have but a portion in our Lord Jesus, it is enough for our largest desires. Our beauty, our boast, our best treasure, lies in having such a God to trust in, such a God to love us.

Selah. Yes, pause, ye faithful songsters. Here is abundant room for holy meditation -

"Muse awhile, obedient thought,

Lo, the theme's with rapture fraught;

See thy King, whose realm extends

E'en to earth's remotest ends!

Gladly shall the nations own

Him their Lord and God alone;

Clap their hands with holy mirth,

Hail him Monarch of the Earth.

Come, my soul, before him bow,

Gladdest of his subjects thou;

Leave thy portion to his choice,


He shall choose, i.e. he will appoint and bestow upon us. This verb of the future tense may seem to agree well with the Gentiles, because this blessing was not now present, but future, and so the sense designed by the Holy Ghost may be this: Though at present we are wicked and wretched creatures, and strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, yet there is a time coming wherein God will choose or take us into the number of his children by gracious adoption. But futures are variously rendered; and accordingly the vulgar Latin, Syriac, and Arabic render this word. He hath chosen. The Chaldee renders this and the following words, He will take pleasure in us, so as to give us our inheritance. Our inheritance; either the land of Canaan; or heaven, which was typified by that land; or rather, God himself, who is called his people’s portion or inheritance, as Psalm 16:5 73:26, and elsewhere, or the presence, and worship, and blessing of God. This God had chosen for the Israelites, and resolved to choose or set apart for the Gentiles. The excellency, or glory; wherein Jacob gloried and excelled all other people. See Ezekiel 24:21 Amos 6:8 8:7.

Of Jacob; either,

1. Of the person of Jacob; who, though he never had the possession of the land of Canaan, yet had the Lord, and his presence and blessing, for his inheritance. Or rather,

2. Of the people of Jacob or Israel, who are frequently called Jacob, as Numbers 23:7,10,23 Psa 14:7 44:4, &c., for these did actually enjoy the promised inheritance of Canaan, and the presence of God in his sanctuary.

Whom he loved: this he adds, partly as the reason why he chose such a noble inheritance for them, not for any peculiar worth in them more than in other people, but only for his free love to them, as he declareth, Deu 7:7,8 9:5; and partly as an evidence of the excellency of this inheritance, because it was chosen for his beloved people. He shall choose our inheritance for us,.... Either a portion in this life; God knows what is best for his people, and therefore they should leave it with him, who can make a better choice for them than for themselves: an Heathen (c) once gave this advice,

"give thyself wholly to the will and disposal of the celestial ones; for they who are used to give good things easily can also choose the fittest.''

Or the heavenly inheritance, so called in allusion to the land of Canaan, subdued and possessed by the Israelites, in which Christ is greatly concerned; his people are predestinated to the adoption of children, that is, to the inheritance they are adopted to by him, in whom they obtain it; through his death they receive the promise of eternal inheritance, he being the testator of that will of their heavenly Father which bequeaths it to them; it is his righteousness which gives them a title to it, and through his grace they have a meetness for it, and he will at last introduce them into it; all which is a reason for joy and gladness in them. The Arabic version renders it, "he hath chosen us an inheritance for himself"; so the Lord's people are, Deuteronomy 32:9. Christ asked them of his father, and he gave them for his inheritance, he having chosen them as such, and greatly delighted he is with them, Psalm 2:8;

the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. The saints, who are, in his esteem, the excellent in the earth, and who will be in the latter day an eternal excellency, Psalm 16:3; even the whole church, consisting of Jews and Gentiles, the spiritual Jacob or Israel of God, whom Christ has loved with an everlasting love, and therefore has chosen them for his portion and peculiar treasure; as Jacob in person was loved when Esau was hated.

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.

(c) Socrates apud Valer. Maxim. l. 7. c. 2. extern. 1.

He shall choose {c} our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.

(c) God has chosen us above all other nations, to enjoy a most glorious inheritance.

Verse 4. - He shall choose our inheritance for us; rather, he chooseth, or hath chosen, our inheritance for us. God originally chose Canaan as the inheritance of his people (Genesis 12:1-7), and gave it to Abraham. Later on, he enlarged the gift, making the boundaries such as they became under David and Solomon (Genesis 15:18). The excellency of Jacob whom he loved. The Holy Land is called "the excellency of Jacob," or "the pride of Jacob," on account of its beauty, and the excellence and variety of its productions (see Deuteronomy 8:7-9; 2 Kings 18:22). (Heb.: 46:9-12) The mighty deeds of Jahve still lie visibly before them in their results, and those who are without the pale of the church are to see for themselves and be convinced. In a passage founded upon this, Psalm 66:5, stands מפעלות אלהים; here, according to Targum and Masora (vid., Psalter, ii. 472), מפעלות יהוה.

(Note: Nevertheless מפעלות אלהים is also found here as a various reading that goes back to the time of the Talmud. The oldest Hebrew Psalter of 1477 reads thus, vide Repertorium fr Bibl. und Morgenlnd. Liter. v. (1779), 148. Norzi decides in favour of it, and Biesenthal has also adopted it in his edition of the Psalter (1837), which in other respects is a reproduction of Heidenheim's text.)

Even an Elohimic Psalm gives to the God of Israel in opposition to all the world no other name than יהוה. שׁמּות does not here signify stupenda (Jeremiah 8:21), but in accordance with the phrase שׂוּם לשׁמּה, Isaiah 13:9, and frequently: devastations, viz., among the enemies who have kept the field against the city of God. The participle משׁבּית is designedly used in carrying forward the description. The annihilation of the worldly power which the church has just now experienced for its rescue, is a prelude to the ceasing of all war, Micah 4:3 (Isaiah 2:4). Unto the ends of the earth will Jahve make an end of waging war; and since He has no pleasure in war in general, much less in war waged against His own people, all the implements of war He in part breaks to pieces and in part consigns to the flames (cf. Isaiah 54:16.). Cease, cries He (Psalm 46:10) to the nations, from making war upon my people, and know that I am God, the invincible One, - invincible both in Myself and in My people, - who will be acknowledged in My exaltation by all the world. A similar inferential admonition closes Psalm 2:1-12. With this admonition, which is both warning and threatening at the same time, the nations are dismissed; but the church yet once more boasts that Jahve Tsebaoth is its God and its stronghold.

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