Psalm 87:5
And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) And of Zion . . .—This verse must be taken as antithetical to the preceding. The poet claims a prouder boast for natives of Jerusalem, because it was established by the Most High. Render, But of Zion it is said, “This man and that (literally, man and man) was born in her, and her the Most High established.”

Psalm 87:5. Of Zion — Concerning the church of God, whether composed of Jews or Gentiles, it shall be said — It shall be mentioned by God, and acknowledged by men, as a great and wonderful work of Jehovah, that this and that man was born in her — That is, persons of this and that nation: not only a few of one nation, as formerly, but now multitudes of all sorts and conditions, without difference of nations, shall become members of the church, Galatians 4:28; Colossians 3:11. Hebrew, אישׁ ואישׁ, ish veish, man and man, that is, every man, or, all sorts of men, without respect of persons; any man whosover that shall turn to God; so this very phrase, man and man, is rendered Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 17:13; as, by day and day, is meant every day, or, from day to day, Esther 3:4; Psalm 61:8. And the Highest himself shall establish her — Uphold her to perpetuity, Matthew 16:18. This shall not be a sudden and transient, but a lasting work: and the accession of proselytes, out of divers nations, shall be so far from occasioning discord and division, that it shall contribute greatly to Zion’s strength; for God himself having founded her upon a rock, whatever convulsions and revolutions there may be of states and kingdoms, and however heaven and earth may be shaken, she shall be found among the things which cannot be shaken, but must remain, Haggai 2:6-7; Hebrews 12:27. Zion shall continue in its strength and fertility, because the almighty God is its founder and protector, and will finish the work which he hath begun; the Highest himself who can do it effectually, shall undertake to establish her.

87:4-7 The church of Christ is more glorious and excellent than the nations of the earth. In the records of heaven, the meanest of those who are born again stand registered. When God renders to every man according to his works, he shall observe who enjoyed the privileges of his sanctuary. To them much was given, and of them much will be required. Let those that dwell in Zion, mark this, and live up to their profession. Zion's songs shall be sung with joy and triumph. The springs of the joy of a carnal worldling are in wealth and pleasure; but of a gracious soul, in the word of God and prayer. All grace and consolation are derived from Christ, through his ordinances, to the souls of believers.And of Zion it shall be said - In respect to Zion; or, in honor of Zion. People shall regard it as a privilege to have been born in Zion. They shall speak of such a birth as a marked and honored distinction. "This and that man," etc. Designating them, or pointing them out, as having been born there. Those in a crowd, those passing along, those brought in any way to notice, will be spoken of in reference to their birth in Zion, and will be treated with a degree of favor and esteem, arising from their birth there corresponding to what those receive who are born in Egypt, Babylon, or Tyre. They will not be shunned and avoided on account of their birth as if it were ignoble, but they will be honored for it.

And the Highest himself shall establish her - Will establish Zion, or will give it prosperity and perpetuity. This, too, is what would be "said" respecting Zion by such as should speak of those born there; and it indicates

(a) their conviction that it would be permanent; and

(b) their desire that it might be: that a place so honored and distinguished might be perpetuated.

The practical truths suggested by this verse, as applied to the church, are

(1) that it is a privilege to have been born in connection with the Christian church; to have had a Christian parentage, and to have been early dedicated to God;

(2) that the time will come when this will be a ground of commendation, or when it will be spoken of as an honor, or when it will be regarded as presumptive evidence of a claim to esteem in the eyes of the world, that one was born in the church, was early devoted to God, and was trained up under the influences of religion;

(3) that the character of those who are thus born, and who are thus trained up, will constitute, in the view of the world, evidence of the stability of the church, and proof that God regards it with favor. It has not always been deemed an honor, or a passport to favor, to have been born in the church, but the time will come when this will be universally so; and, even now, no child can fully appreciate the honor and the real advantage of having been born in a family where God is served, and of having been early consecrated to God by parental purpose, by prayer, and by Christian baptism.

5. The writer resumes—

This and that man—literally, "man and man," or many (Ge 14:10; Ex 8:10, 14), or all (Isa 44:5; Ga 3:28).

the highest … her—God is her protector.

Of Zion, i.e. of Jerusalem, or the church of God. It shall be said; it shall be mentioned by God, as was said, Psalm 87:4, and it shall be observed and acknowledged by men, as a great and wonderful work of God.

This and that man, i.e. men of this and that nation, i.e. of every nation, indifferently, Jews or Gentiles, according to that prediction, that Egypt, and Assyria, and Israel should be all joined together, and blessed and owned by God for his people, Isaiah 19:24,25. Heb. Man and man, i.e. every man, or all sorts of men, without difference of nations; as this very phrase man and man, Leviticus 17:10,13, is rendered every or whatsoever man; and as by day and day is meant every day, or from day to day, Esther 1:1,4 Psa 61:8. And the Highest himself shall establish her: and this shall not be a sudden and transient, but a lasting work; Zion shall continue in its strength and fertility because the Almighty God is her Founder and Protector, and will finish the work which he hath begun.

And of Zion it shall be said,.... The same with the city of God, the church before commended:

this and that man was born in her; this and that great man, in opposition to a mean person, in the preceding verse: "or a man and man" (d); men of all sorts, and of different nations, Jews and Gentiles, and great numbers of them:

and the Highest himself shall establish her; the church of God, though founded by him, and laid on a sure foundation, on the Rock of ages, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail, yet is sometimes fluctuating and unsettled;

it is tossed with tempests, the persecutions of men, the errors and heresies of false teachers, and the contentions and divisions of its own members; and is not always in one place, but is removed from one place to another, and is obliged to flee into the wilderness; but in the latter day it will be established and settled; it will be a tabernacle that shall not be taken down nor removed; but shall be established for ever, Psalm 89:37, and this is the work of God, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, whatever instruments he may make use of, as ministers of the word, and kings of the earth; as it is his work, and his only, to establish particular believers, 2 Corinthians 1:21, so it is his to establish the church in general: or it may be rendered, "he shall establish her on high" (e), which will be the case when she is established upon the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills, Isaiah 2:2.

(d) "vir et vir", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Vatablus, Gejerus, Michaelis. (e) So the Targum, and Ainsworth.

And of Zion it shall be said, {e} This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.

(e) Out of all quarters they will come to the Church, and be counted as citizens.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. The Psalmist speaks, echoing the divine decree from Zion’s point of view, dwelling upon the honour which will accrue to Zion by this accession of citizens.

Yea, of Zion it shall be said,

Each and every one was born in her;

And the Most High himself shall establish her.

Not merely certain specified nations but all the nations shall call Zion their mother-city. One after another comes to be reckoned among her children[49]. Grammatically it is possible to understand each and every one of individuals, but the context is decisive in favour of taking this verse to refer to nations, as Psalm 87:4; Psalm 87:6 do. Each nation, reckoned as a whole, receives the right of citizenship. Individuals receive it as members of their nation.

[49] The reading of the LXX, though due apparently simply to a textual error in the Greek (μήτηρ for μήτι, Vulg. numquid), catches the spirit of the Psalm too strikingly to be passed over: O Mother Sion, shall a man say.

The LXX and some other Ancient Versions render hath founded her; but shall establish her, as Psalm 48:8, is certainly right. Under the protection and blessing of the Sovereign Ruler of the world she grows ever stronger and nobler as each fresh nation joins the universal kingdom of God.

Verse 5. - And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her. A repetition, but emphatic, and perhaps intended to assert of individuals what in the preceding verse was said of nations. And the highest himself shall establish her; literally, and he, the highest, shall establish her (comp. Matthew 16:18). The Church is "established" on a Rock, forever. Psalm 87:5Inasmuch now as the nations come thus into the church (or congregation) of the children of God and of the children of Abraham, Zion becomes by degrees a church immeasurably great. To Zion, however, or of Zion (ל of reference to), shall it be said אישׁ ואישׁ ילּד־בּהּ. Zion, the one city, stands in contrast to all the countries, the one city of God in contrast to the kingdoms of the world, and אישׁ ואישׁ in contrast to זה. This contrast, upon the correct apprehension of which depends the understanding of the whole Psalm, is missed when it is said, "whilst in relation to other countries it is always only the whole nation that comes under consideration, Zion is not reckoned up as a nation, but by persons" (Hofmann). With this rendering the ילּד retires into the background; in that case this giving of prominence to the value of the individual exceeds the ancient range of conception, and it is also an inadmissible appraisement that in Zion each individual is as important as a nation as a whole. Elsewhere אישׁ אישׁ, Leviticus 17:10, Leviticus 17:13, or אישׁ ואישׁ, Esther 1:8, signifies each and every one; accordingly here אישׁ ואישׁ (individual and, or after, individual) affirms a progressus in infinitum, where one is ever added to another. Of an immeasurable multitude, and of each individual in this multitude in particular, it is said that he was born in Zion. Now, too, והוּא כוננה עליון has a significant connection with what precedes. Whilst from among foreign peoples more and more are continually acquiring the right of natives in Zion, and thus are entering into a new national alliance, so that a breach of their original national friendships is taking place, He Himself (cf. 1 Samuel 20:9), the Most High, will uphold Zion (Psalm 48:9), so that under His protection and blessing it shall become ever greater and more glorious. Psalm 87:6 tells us what will be the result of such a progressive incorporation in the church of Zion of those who have hitherto been far removed, viz., Jahve will reckon when He writeth down (כּתוב as in Joshua 18:8) the nations; or better - since this would more readily be expressed by בּכתבו, and the book of the living (Isaiah 4:3) is one already existing from time immemorial - He will reckon in the list (כתוב after the form חלום, חלו, פּקוד equals כּתב, Ezekiel 13:9) of the nations, i.e., when He goes over the nations that are written down there and chosen for the coming salvation, "this one was born there;" He will therefore acknowledge them one after another as those born in Zion. The end of all history is that Zion shall become the metropolis of all nations. When the fulness of the Gentiles is thus come in, then shall all and each one as well singing as dancing say (supply יאמרוּ): All my fountains are in thee. Among the old translators the rendering of Aquila is the best: καὶ ᾄδοντες ὡς χοροί· πᾶσαι πηγαὶ ἐν σοί, which Jerome follows, et cantores quasi in choris: omnes fontes mei in te. One would rather render cholaliym, "flute-players" (lxx ὡς ἐν αὐλοῖς); but to pipe or play the flute is חלּל (a denominative from חליל), 1 Kings 1:40, whereas to dance is חלל (Pilel of חוּל); it is therefore equals מחוללים, like לצצים, Hosea 7:5. But it must not moreover be rendered, "And singers as well as dancers (will say);" for "singers" is משׁררים, not שׁרים, which signifies cantantes, not cantores. Singing as dancing, i.e., making known their festive joy as well by the one as by the other, shall the men of all nations incorporated in Zion say: All my fountains, i.e., fountains of salvation (after Isaiah 12:3), are in thee (O city of God). It has also been interpreted: my looks (i.e., the object on which my eye is fixed, or the delight of my eyes), or: my thoughts (after the modern Hebrew עיּן of spiritual meditation); but both are incongruous. The conjecture, too, of Bttcher, and even before him of Schnurrer (Dissertationes, p. 150), כל־מעיני, all who take up their abode (instead of which Hupfeld conjectures מעיני, all my near-dwellers, i.e., those who dwell with me under the same roof)

(Note: Hupfeld cites Rashi as having thus explained it; but his gloss is to be rendered: my whole inmost part (after the Aramaic equals מעי) is with thee, i.e., they salvation.)),

is not Hebrew, and deprives us of the thought which corresponds to the aim of the whole, that Jerusalem shall be universally regarded as the place where the water of life springs for the whole of mankind, and shall be universally praised as this place of fountains.

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