Psalm 96:10
Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.
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(10) Say among the heathen.—The watchword of the Restoration, “Jehovah has become King” (see Psalm 93:1, note, and comp. Isaiah 52:7), is an Evangel not only for Jerusalem but for the world at large. But to it is added (see the difference of arrangement in 1Chronicles 16:29-31) the further statement of the stability of the world, emblem of the stability and justice of the Divine Government.

Psalm 96:10. Say among the heathen — You converted Gentiles, declare to those who yet remain in the darkness of heathenism; that the Lord reigneth — That God hath now fixed his throne, and set up his kingdom in the world. The world also shall be established, &c. — And, as that kingdom shall never be destroyed, but shall stand for ever, Daniel 2:44, so the nations of the world shall, by the means of it, enjoy an established and lasting peace: see Psalm 72:3; Psalm 72:7; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 66:12; Zechariah 9:10. He shall judge the people righteously — He shall not abuse his almighty power and established dominion to the oppression of his people, as other princes frequently do, but shall govern them by the rules of justice and equity, which is the only foundation of a true and solid peace: see Isaiah 32:17.

96:10-13 We are to hope and pray for that time, when Christ shall reign in righteousness over all nations. He shall rule in the hearts of men, by the power of truth, and the Spirit of righteousness. His coming draws nigh; this King, this Judge standeth before the door, but he is not yet come. The Lord will accept the praises of all who seek to promote the kingdom of Christ. The sea can but roar, and how the trees of the wood can show that they rejoice we know not; but He that searches the heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit, and understands the words, the broken language of the weakest. Christ will come to judge the earth, to execute just vengeance on his enemies, and to fulfil his largest promises to his people. What then are we? Would that day be welcome to us? If this be not our case, let us now begin to prepare to meet our God, by seeking the pardon of our sins, and the renewal of our souls to holiness.Say among the heathen - Among the nations; all nations. Make this proclamation everywhere. This is changed from the parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 16. The language there is, "Fear before him, all the earth; the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved: let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let people say among the nations, The Lord reigneth." The sense is, however, essentially the same. The idea here is, "Make universal proclamation that Yahweh is King."

That the Lord reigneth - See the notes at Psalm 93:1.

The world also shall be established ... - Under the reign of God. The meaning is, that the world is fixed or immovable. It has its place, and it cannot be moved out of it. The government of God is fixed and stable. It is not temporary, changing, vacillating, like the dynasties of the earth, but is stedfast and abiding, and is well represented by the earth - so fixed and firm that nothing can move it from its place.

He shall judge the people righteously - The people of all lands; the nations of the earth. See the notes at Psalm 67:4.

10. Let all know that the government of the world is ordered in justice, and they shall enjoy firm and lasting peace (compare Ps 72:3, 7; Isa 9:6, 7). Say among the heathen: you converted Gentiles, declare this to those who yet remain in the darkness of heathenism.

That the Lord reigneth; that God hath now set up his throne and kingdom in the world. And as that kingdom shall never be destroyed, but shall stand for ever, as is said, Daniel 2:44; so the nations of the world shall by the means of it enjoy an established and lasting peace; which is every where mentioned as one of the blessings which the Messiah shall give to the world, as Psalm 72:3,7 Isa 9:6,7 66:12 Micah 5:5 Zechariah 9:10.

He shall judge the people righteously; he shall not abuse his invincible power and established dominion to the oppression of his people, as other princes frequently do, but shall govern them by the rules of justice and equity, which is the only foundation of a true and solid peace. See Isaiah 32:17.

Say among the Heathen,.... This is a direction to such as were converted to Christ among the Jews, or were first called out from among the Gentiles; or to the ministers of the word, the apostles and first preachers of the Gospel more especially, who were sent into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature, that a people from among them might he taken for the Lord:

that the Lord reigneth; whose Gospel should be received and obeyed, and his ordinances submitted to; who now reigns in heaven, at his Father's right hand, and must reign till all enemies are put under his feet; he reigns in the hearts of his people by his Spirit and grace; will reign more gloriously in his churches in the latter day, and with his saints for a thousand years in the New Jerusalem church state; and, after that, to all eternity in heaven: this is one part of the Gospel, or good tidings to be published among the Gentiles, Isaiah 52:7,

the world also shall be established, that it shall not be moved; not the natural material world; for that shall flee, and pass away, and be no more; it shall be burnt up, and all things in it; though that, and mankind on it, will be continued till all the elect of God are gathered in; Christ will uphold it, it being by his power that it shall not be moved till the work is effected: moreover, the church, in however fluctuating and unsettled a condition it may be now, sometimes in one place, and sometimes in another, yet ere long will be established on the top of the mountains, so that it shall not be moved; and the Gospel dispensation is what will remain unto the end of time, and the Gospel is an everlasting one; the ordinances of it will continue to the second coming of Christ; and he will be with his churches to the end of the world; he is reigning King of Zion; has set up a government, of which, and the peace of it, there shall be no end: during the spiritual reign of Christ, the world will be in such stable tranquillity as to have no commotions in it, nor to be moved with wars, and rumours of wars; and when the Millennium shall take place, the new heavens and new earth shall never pass away:

he shall judge the people righteously: he reigns over his people in a righteous manner, with a sceptre of righteousness, according to the rules of righteousness, by righteous laws and ordinances; he justifies his people with his own righteousness; he forms the new man in them, which is created in righteousness, and sets up a kingdom within them, which consists of righteousness; and he protects and defends them, and keeps them in safety from all their enemies.

Say among the {g} heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people {h} righteously.

(g) He prophecies that the Gentiles will be partakers with the Jews of God's promise.

(h) He will regenerate them anew with his Spirit, and restore them to the image of God.

10. Say among the nations, Jehovah hath proclaimed himself King. The message to the nations resembles the message to Zion, Isaiah 52:7. By His recent action He has proclaimed Himself King not of Israel only but of all the world. Cp. Psalm 93:1.

The Old Latin Version as preserved in the Psalterium Romanum (Introd. p. lxxii.) contains the famous reading Dominus regnavit a ligno, ‘The Lord hath reigned from the tree,’ which is quoted by many of the Latin Fathers from Tertullian onwards as a prophecy of Christ’s triumph through death. Justin Martyr appears to be the only certain Greek authority for the addition[53]. He treats the Psalm as a prophecy of Christ’s reign after His crucifixion (Apol. i. 41), and in the Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (c. 73) he charges the Jews with having falsified the text by erasing the words from the tree (ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου). The charge is groundless. Doubtless the words were simply a Christian gloss on the text, which had no wide currency, except through the Old Latin Version. No MSS. of the LXX contain them except the transliterated Graeco-Latin Psalterium Veronense, which has apo xylu, and cod. 156, which has the barbarism ἀπὸ τῷ ξύλῳ. In both cases the reading was probably introduced from the Old Latin.

[53] Possibly there may be an allusion to this reading in the Ep. of Barnabas, c. viii., ὅτι ἡ βασιλεία Ἰησοῦ ἐπὶ ξύλου.

The words have however been familiarised by Dr Neale’s translation of the hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt, ‘The royal banners forward go’ (by Venantius Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers,† a.d. 609),

“Impleta sunt quae concinit

David fideli carmine,

Dicendo in nationibus

Regnavit a ligno Deus.”

“Fulfilled is now what David told,

In true prophetic song of old;

How God the heathen’s king should be,

For God is reigning from the Tree.”

the world also &c.] Yea, the world shall be established that it be not shaken. So Psalm 93:1 c. On the reading he hath ordered the world, represented by the LXX, Symm. and Jer., see note there.

he shall judge &c.] He shall minister Judgement unto the peoples in equity. From Psalm 9:8 b, cp. Psalm 7:8. The first and third lines of this verse are omitted in Chron.

10–13. Proclaim that Jehovah is King, and let universal Nature rejoice in the prospect of His righteous rule.

Verse 10. - Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth (comp. Psalm 93:1; Psalm 97:1; Psalm 99:1). The world also shall be established that it shall not be moved. When God takes his throne, and manifestly reigns, the earth is at once "established," settled, placed on a firm footing (see the comment on Psalm 93:1, where exactly the same words occur). He shall judge the people righteously (comp. ver. 13). God, the Deliverer of old time (vers. 3, 4), God, the King of the whole earth (ver. 10a), is also God the Judge, who gives sentence on the "peoples" with equity. Psalm 96:10That which is to be said among the peoples is the joyous evangel of the kingdom of heaven which is now come and realized. The watchword is "Jahve is King," as in Isaiah 52:7. The lxx correctly renders: ὁ κύριος ἐβασίλευσε

(Note: In the Psalterium Veronense with the addition apo xylu, Cod. 156, Latinizing ἀπὸ τῷ ξύλῳ; in the Latin Psalters (the Vulgate excepted) a ligno, undoubtedly an addition by an early Christian hand, upon which, however, great value is set by Justin and all the early Latin Fathers.)

for מלך is intended historically (Revelation 11:17). אף, as in Psalm 93:1, introduces that which results from this fact, and therefore to a certain extent goes beyond it. The world below, hitherto shaken by war and anarchy, now stands upon foundations that cannot be shaken in time to come, under Jahve's righteous and gentle sway. This is the joyful tidings of the new era which the poet predicts from out of his own times, when he depicts the joy that will then pervade the whole creation; in connection with which it is hardly intentional that Psalm 96:11 and Psalm 96:11 acrostically contain the divine names יהוה and יהו. This joining of all creatures in the joy at Jahve's appearing is a characteristic feature of Isaiah 40:1. These cords are already struck in Isaiah 35:1. "The sea and its fulness" as in Isaiah 42:10. In the chronicler Psalm 96:10 (ויאמרו instead of אמרו) stands between Psalm 96:11 and Psalm 96:11 - according to Hitzig, who uses all his ingenuity here in favour of that other recension of the text, by an oversight of the copyist.

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