Psalm 87:6
The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.
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(6) The proud boast of the preceding verse is repeated here with allusion to the census or birth-register of citizens. (See Ezekiel 13:9; Isaiah 4:3; Psalm 69:28, Note.) No doubt these lists were often produced or appealed to in triumph to mark the superiority of a native of Jerusalem over those born at a distance.

Psalm 87:6. The Lord, shall count, when he writeth up the people — In the book of life, that register of heaven, kept by God himself, in which men’s names are entered, not as born of flesh and blood, by the will of man, but as born of the Spirit, by the will of God; that this man was born there — By a spiritual birth, and therefore, that he is a genuine and free citizen of Zion, that is, God shall esteem such a one, though of Gentile race, a true member of his church, when he takes a particular account and survey of all his citizens and subjects. The psalmist alludes to the custom of princes or governors of cities, who used to write and preserve a register of all their people. Observe, reader, the birth here spoken of, the second birth, the birth from above, not of water merely, but of the Spirit, producing love to God, deadness to the world, and holiness of heart and life, (1 John 4:7; 1 John 5:4; 1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:18,) is the only birth we ought to value ourselves upon, because this alone gives us a title to “the inheritance of the saints in light.” Such, and only such, are written among the living in Jerusalem, Isaiah 4:3. Or, written in the writing of the house of Israel, Ezekiel 13:9. Or, in the language of the New Testament, such only have their names in the Lamb’s book of life, Php 4:3. And we know the consequence of not being found written there: see Revelation 20:15.

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.The Lord shall count - That is, God himself will honor those who are so born. In the previous verse, the effect of such a birth was described as securing honor from human beings. Here a higher honor is adverted to - that which will be derived from God himself.

When he writeth up the people ... - The word rendered "people" here is in the plural number. At the time of making an enrollment of the people, or taking an account or a census of the nations, he would mark, or cause to be marked, with special honor the man that had his birth in Zion. Out of such would his own people be taken, and those thus born would have an honor which no one else would receive from him. He would not mark with any special approbation those who had been born in Egypt, in Babylon, or in Tyre, but he would mark with special interest those who had been born in Zion. The practical truth suggested here is, that God will in the main take his people from among those who have been born in the church. As a matter of fact, while it is true that others are converted and added to the church, the great mass of church-members consist of those who have been born of Christian parents; who have been early dedicated to God; and who have been trained up for his service. See the notes at Isaiah 44:3-5.

6. The same idea is set forth under the figure of a register made by God (compare Isa 4:3). The people; or, his people. So it is only a defect of the pronoun his, which is very frequent, and easily understood out of the foregoing word,

the Lord. The sense is, when God, the Maker and Governor of this city, shall take a survey of all his citizens and subjects. It is an allusion to princes or governors of cities that use to write and keep a register of all their people. Hence holy then and true Israelites are said to be written among the living in Jerusalem, Isaiah 4:3; or, in the writing of the house of Israel, Ezekiel 13:9.

The Lord shall count when he writeth up the people, Not in the Lamb's book of life; for that was written from eternity, Revelation 13:8 but in the writing of the house of Israel, among the living in Jerusalem, and with his righteous ones; which is done at effectual calling, and when admitted members of Gospel churches, whereby they openly appear to be the children of God, and are taken into the list and catalogue of saints; see Ezekiel 13:9 or in the last day, when the Lord will take the number of his people,

and cause them again to pass under the rod of him that telleth them; and will make up his jewels, complete the number of them in conversion, and collect them all together; and his counting and writing them may denote his exact knowledge of them, and his care that he lose none; but this will only concern regenerate persons; the Lord will not count nor make any account of any others, as follows:

that this man was born there; and the man that is born in Zion, even every regenerate man, will be counted and numbered by him, and declared to be his, when he makes a general survey and muster of his saints another day.

Selah. See Gill on Psalm 3:2.

The LORD shall count, when he {f} writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.

(f) When he calls them by his word into the Church, whom he had elected and written in the book.

6. Jehovah shall reckon, when he registers the peoples,

‘This one was born there.’

Jehovah holds His census of the nations, and writes their names down in His book. One after another of them He registers as ‘born in Zion.’ It is the official confirmation of their rights of citizenship. Allusions to the registers of citizens are found in Psalm 69:28; Isaiah 4:3; Ezekiel 13:9; and the importance attached to genealogical registers appears in Ezra 2:62.

Verse 6. - The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people; rather, the peoples, (see ver. 4). That this man was born there. He shall enregister every individual among the converted nations as a true citizen of Zion, entitled to all covenant privileges. Psalm 87:6Inasmuch 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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