Psalm 87:3
Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. Selah.
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(3) The meaning of this verse is obvious in spite of its many grammatical difficulties. The praise of Zion had found many tongues, but the poet implies that he is going to swell the chorus.

Psalm 87:3. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God — “As the prophet began, in a rapture, to speak of the holy city, so now, in a fresh transport, he changes the person, and suddenly addresses himself to it. The old Jerusalem was the city of God, and glorious things were therefore said of it by the Spirit. “Pleasant for situation, and magnificent in its buildings, it was the delight of nations, the joy of the whole earth; there was the royal residence of the kings of Judah; there were the temple, and the ark, and the glory, and the king of heaven dwelling in the midst of her: her streets were honoured with the footsteps of the Redeemer of men; there he preached and wrought his miracles, lived, died, and rose again; thither he sent down his Spirit, and there he first laid the foundation of his church.” — Horne. Yet of this church of Christ, the gospel church, more glorious things are spoken. It is the spouse of Christ, the purchase of his blood, a peculiar people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, the light of the world, the salt of the earth, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High, the temple of God, and a habitation of God through the Spirit. And he, the Holy One of Israel, is said to be in the midst of her, and that therefore she shall not be moved; for he is mighty, and will save her; yea, he will rejoice over her with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over her with singing, 1 Peter 2:9; Psalm 46:5; Ephesians 2:21-22; Zephaniah 3:17. Let us not be ashamed, then, of this church, in its meanest condition, nor of any that belong to it: let us not disown our relation to it, though it be turned never so much to our reproach, since such glorious things are spoken of it, and not one iota or tittle of what is said shall fall to the ground. We must remember, many base and ill things were spoken of Jerusalem by its enemies, to render it mean and odious; but by Him whose judgment is according to truth, glorious things were spoken of it; and therefore its genuine citizens, believing what God had spoken, rather than the slanders of its enemies, were not ashamed of it; and shall we be ashamed of that church, of which Jerusalem was but a type, and of which things so much more glorious are spoken by Him who cannot lie?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.Glorious things are spoketh of thee, O city of God - Jerusalem, called the "city of God" as being the place of his unique home on earth. The word rendered "are spoken" may mean either "have been spoken," or "are to be spoken;" that is, either, such things have been said, or they may be said. They have been placed on record; or, they may now be put on record concerning thee. Probably the former is the true meaning; and the language would embrace such points as these:

(1) Those things which had been spoken as to its beauty of situation; its magnificence and splendor. Compare Psalm 48:2-3, notes; Psalm 48:12-13, notes.

(2) such things as had been spoken or recorded in regard to its future prosperity, its triumphs, and its influence in the world; the promises which had been made in reference to the prosperity of Zion, and the spread of the true religion from that point as a center.

Compare the notes at Isaiah 2:3. The Old Testament abounds with promises concerning the future glory of Zion - the "glorious things" that are spoken respecting the final triumph of religion in the world. Of this the statement here is to be mainly understood, where Zion is referred to as the seat of the true religion, and as therefore the representative of the true church on earth. It is that of which the real record has been made, and not merely of Jerusalem or Zion as a city. That might pass away; the church, of which that was the representative, will endure forever. Compare Isaiah 54:1-3; 60; Revelation 21:2-4.

3. spoken of thee—or, "in thee," that is, the city of God (Ps 46:4; 48:2). O Jerusalem, though thou and thy temple are yet in some sort in your ruins, and desolate and contemptible not only to thine enemies, but also in the eyes of thine own people, yet comfort thyself with these great and glorious things foretold concerning thee in the holy prophets, as Isaiah 62:1,7 65:18, &c.; Isaiah 66:10, &c.; Zechariah 1:14, &c.; Zechariah 2:4,12 8:3, &c. Zechariah 12:2, &c. Among other things, it was foretold that the glory of the latter house should be greater than of the former, Haggai 2:9. All which prophecies are to be understood, as this place also is, of a spiritual and evangelical glory accruing to Jerusalem; as by the birth and presence of Christ in it, so also by the accession of all people and nations to it, of which he speaks in the next verse. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Which is to be understood not of the city of Jerusalem literally, which was a magnificent city, compact together, full of inhabitants, and spacious houses, the metropolis of Judea, and seat of the kings of Judah; and what was most glorious of all that could be said of it, it was the city of God; and so Jarchi interprets it, the glory spoken of it is, that it is the city of God; here the temple was built, and many glorious things were in it; here God granted his presence, and his worship was kept up: and besides, there were other and more glorious things spoken of it, by way of prophecy; as, that the Messiah should come in person into it, as the owner of it, and give it a greater glory than the first temple had; here he was to preach his doctrines, and do his miracles, which he accordingly did; near this city he suffered, died, and was buried; rose again, ascended to heaven; and here he poured forth the gifts of the Holy Spirit in an extraordinary manner: but rather this is to be interpreted of the church of God, comparable to a city, and which is of God's building, and where he dwells; See Gill on Psalm 48:1 of which glorious things are spoken for the present; as, that it is the city of the King of kings, the name of which is "Jehovah Shammah", the Lord is there; its foundation is Christ; its walls and bulwarks are salvation; its gates are praise; glorious ordinances are administered in it, and glorious truths are preached here; and so the words may be rendered, "glorious things are spoken in thee" (x): and of it also glorious things are spoken, by way of prophecy, as, what shall be in the latter day; a great effusion of the Spirit upon it; the gracious presence of Christ in it in a more visible manner; a great increase of converts both among Jews and Gentiles, which shall flock into it; and the great spread of the Gospel, which shall be the means of it; the unity, harmony, and concord of professors of religion; the holiness of their lives and conversation; and the very great peace and prosperity which will everywhere abound; and especially glorious things are spoken of the New Jerusalem, the city of our God; of which see Revelation 21:1.

Selah. See Gill on Psalm 3:2.

(x) "in te", Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius, Schmidt, Syr. vers.

{b} Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.

(b) Though your glorious estate does not yet appear, wait with patience and God will accomplish his promise.

3. Glorious things are spoken of thee] This need not be limited to the utterance of Psalm 87:4 ff., but may include the great prophetic promises generally, such as Isaiah 2:2 ff; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 19:20 ff.; and, if the Psalm is post-exilic, Psalm 60:1 ff. O city of God] Of His choice, His love, His care. Cp. Psalm 46:4; Psalm 48:1-2; Psalm 48:8.Verse 3. - Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. The psalmist probably refers in part to the predictions of older prophets, but also in part to the revelations made to himself, which he is on the point of recording (vers. 4-7). The situation is like that in the Psalms of the time of Saul. The writer is a persecuted one, and in constant peril of his life. He has taken Psalm 86:14 out of the Elohimic Psalm 54:5, and retained the Elohim as a proper name of God (cf. on the other hand Psalm 86:8, Psalm 86:10); he has, however, altered זרים to זרים, which here, as in Isaiah 13:11 (cf. however, ibid. Psalm 25:5), is the alternating word to עריצים. In Psalm 86:15 he supports his petition that follows by Jahve's testimony concerning Himself in Exodus 34:6. The appellation given to himself by the poet in Psalm 86:16 recurs in Psalm 116:16 (cf. Wisd. 9:5). The poet calls himself "the son of Thy handmaid" as having been born into the relation to Him of servant; it is a relationship that has come to him by birth. How beautifully does the Adonaj come in here for the seventh time! He is even from his mother's womb the servant of the sovereign Lord, from whose omnipotence he can therefore also look for a miraculous interposition on his behalf. A "token for good" is a special dispensation, from which it becomes evident to him that God is kindly disposed towards him. לטובה as in the mouth of Nehemiah, Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 13:31; of Ezra 8:22; and also even in Jeremiah and earlier. ויבשׁוּ is just as parenthetical as in Isaiah 26:11.
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