Psalm 87:2
The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 87:2. The Lord loveth the gates of Zion — That is, the city of Zion, or Jerusalem, gates being often put for cities. He saith Zion rather than Jerusalem, to intimate that he loved Jerusalem for Zion’s sake, or for the temple, which he chose for his peculiar dwelling-place. He loved the gates of the temple, of the houses of doctrines, as the Chaldee interprets it; more than all the dwellings of Jacob — More than all other places of the land of Canaan in which the Israelites dwelt. For though the tabernacle was for a season in some other parts of the land, yet the temple, the place of God’s fixed residence, was nowhere but in this city of Zion. Concerning this God had said, This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it. There he met his people, and conversed with them, received their homage, and showed them the tokens of his favour. From which we may infer how well he loved those gates; God indeed loved, and loves, the dwellings of Jacob. He has a gracious regard to religious families, and accepts their family worship; yet he loves the gates of Zion better; not only better than any, but better than all the dwellings of Jacob. God was worshipped in the private dwellings of Jacob; and family worship is family duty, which must by no means be neglected; yet when they come in competition, public worship is to be preferred before private.87:1-3 Christ himself is the Foundation of the church, which God has laid. Holiness is the strength and firmness of the church. Let us not be ashamed of the church of Christ in its meanest condition, nor of those that belong to it, since such glorious things are spoken of it. Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, even Jesus Christ. The glorious things spoken of Zion by the Spirit, were all typical of Christ, and his work and offices; of the gospel church, its privileges and members; of heaven, its glory and perfect happiness.The Lord loveth the gates of Zion - Compare Psalm 78:68. The gates of a city were the places of concourse; where business was transacted; where courts were held. The particular allusion here seems to be to the thronging multitudes pressing into the city for public worship - the numbers that gathered together at the great feasts and festivals of the nation; and the meaning is, that he looked with more pleasure on such multitudes as they thronged the gates, pressing in that they might worship him, than on any other scene in the land.

More than all the dwellings of Jacob - Than any of the places where the descendants of Jacob, or where his people dwell. Much as he might be pleased with their quiet abodes, with their peace, prosperity, and order, and with the fact that his worship was daily celebrated in those happy families, yet he had superior pleasure in the multitudes that crowded the ways to the place where they would publicly acknowledge him as their God.

2. gates—for the enclosures, or city to which they opened (Ps 9:14; 122:2; compare Ps 132:13, 14). The gates, i.e. the city gates, being oft put for cities, as Deu 15:7 16:5 Psalm 9:14.

Of Zion; largely so called, as was now said, to wit, of Jerusalem, which was built upon and near Mount Zion. He saith Zion rather than Jerusalem, to intimate that he loved Jerusalem for Zion’s sake, or for the temple, which is oft said to be in Zion; which place he loved and chose for his peculiar dwelling-place.

More than all the dwellings of Jacob; more than all other places of the land of Canaan in which the Israelites dwelt. For although the tabernacle was for a season in some other parts of the land, yet the temple, the place of God’s fixed residence, was no where but in this city. The Lord loveth the gates of Zion,.... Which the Targum interprets of the schools, as preferable to the synagogues: the Lord loves Zion herself; that is, the church, and therefore has chosen it for his habitation, took up his rest and residence in it, has founded it, and set Christ as King over it, and by whom he has redeemed it; and he loves her gates, the public ordinances; he loves them that come to Zion's gates, and wait and worship there, and who enter in and become members thereof; and he loves what is done there, he being there publicly prayed unto, and publicly praised by a large number of his people; where his word is faithfully preached, and reverently attended to, and his ordinances truly administered, and the graces of his saints exercised on him: wherefore, because all this is done socially, and in a public manner, and so much for his own manifestative glory, he esteems these

more than all the dwellings of Jacob; the private habitations of his people; yet he has a regard to these, the bounds of which he fixed from eternity, and where he was delighting himself before they were in being; and he loves the persons that dwell in them, and what is done there in a right manner, as closet and family worship; but when these are put in competition with public worship, the latter is preferred unto them, because done by more, and more publicly; Zion and its gates, the church and its ordinances, are preferable to all the dwellings of Jacob put together.

The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. the gates of Zion] A poetical expression for the city, specially appropriate with reference to the thought of the crowd of pilgrims (Psalm 122:2) entering it from all nations (Isaiah 60:11; Revelation 22:14).

more than all the dwellings of Jacob] Better than any of the other cities of Israel, though they too are goodly (Numbers 24:5, where the same word is rendered ‘tabernacles’).Verse 2. - The Lord loveth the gates of Zion (comp. Psalm 78:68). More than all the dwellings of Jacob; i.e. "more than all the other dwellings" - more than Shiloh, more than Kirjath-jearim, more than any other of the ark's resting places. Here, too, almost everything is an echo of earlier language of the Psalms and of the Law; viz., Psalm 86:7 follows Psalm 17:6 and other passages; Psalm 86:8 is taken from Exodus 15:11, cf. Psalm 89:9, where, however, אלהים, gods, is avoided; Psalm 86:8 follows Deuteronomy 3:24; Psalm 86:9 follows Psalm 22:28; Psalm 86:11 is taken from Psalm 27:11; Psalm 86:11 from Psalm 26:3; Psalm 86:13, שׁאול תּחתּיּה from Deuteronomy 32:22, where instead of this it is תּחתּית, just as in Psalm 130:2 תּחנוּני (supplicatory prayer) instead of תּחנוּנותי (importunate supplications); and also Psalm 86:10 (cf. Psalm 72:18) is a doxological formula that was already in existence. The construction הקשׁיב בּ is the same as in Psalm 66:19. But although for the most part flowing on only in the language of prayer borrowed from earlier periods, this Psalm is, moreover, not without remarkable significance and beauty. With the confession of the incomparableness of the Lord is combined the prospect of the recognition of the incomparable One throughout the nations of the earth. This clear unallegorical prediction of the conversion of the heathen is the principal parallel to Revelation 15:4. "All nations, which Thou hast made" - they have their being from Thee; and although they have forgotten it (vid., Psalm 9:18), they will nevertheless at last come to recognise it. כּל־גּוים, since the article is wanting, are nations of all tribes (countries and nationalities); cf. Jeremiah 16:16 with Psalm 22:18; Tobit 13:11, ἔθνη πολλά, with ibid. Psalm 14:6, πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. And how weightily brief and charming is the petition in Psalm 86:11 : uni cor meum, ut timeat nomen tuum! Luther has rightly departed from the renderings of the lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate: laetetur (יחדּ from חדה). The meaning, however, is not so much "keep my heart near to the only thing," as "direct all its powers and concentrate them on the one thing." The following group shows us what is the meaning of the deliverance out of the hell beneath (שׁאול תּחתּיּה, like ארץ תּחתּית, the earth beneath, the inner parts of the earth, Ezekiel 31:14.), for which the poet promises beforehand to manifest his thankfulness (כּי, Psalm 86:13, as in Psalm 56:14).
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