Psalm 97:5
The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
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(5) The hills melted.—Comp. Psalm 68:8, Note: Micah 1:4.

The Lord of the whole earth.—An expression first met with exactly in Joshua 3:11-13, though Abraham speaks of God as judge of the whole earth (Genesis 18:25). (Comp. Micah 4:13; Zechariah 4:10; Zechariah 6:5.) Though Jehovah was the tribal God, yet in marked distinction to surrounding tribes Israel regarded Him as having universal dominion.

97:1-7 Though many have been made happy in Christ, still there is room. And all have reason to rejoice in Christ's government. There is a depth in his counsels, which we must not pretend to fathom; but still righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. Christ's government, though it might be matter of joy to all, will yet be matter of terror to some; but it is their own fault that it is so. The most resolute and daring opposition will be baffled at the presence of the Lord. And the Lord Jesus will ere long come, and put an end to idol worship of every kind.The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord - They seemed to flow down as if they were like melted wax: that is, they could not stand before him. The most firm, solid, lofty things were as nothing in his presence. Compare Revelation 20:11; Judges 5:5; Micah 1:4; Nahum 1:5. The object here is to describe the sublimity, the greatness, the majesty of God, as if nothing could stand before him; as if everything fled away when he approached. There is perhaps a general allusion to his glory and power as manifested at Sinai.

At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth - The Creator and Ruler of the entire world. The God who thus manifested himself is not a local Deity, or the God of a particular nation or country, but the God of the whole world, before whom all created things are as nothing.

3-5. The attending illustrations of God's awful justice on enemies (Ps 83:14) are seen in the disclosures of His almighty power on the elements of nature (compare Ps 46:2; 77:17; Hab 3:6, &c.). The hills; the strongest and loftiest parts of the earth; whereby he may understand the great potentates of the world who set themselves against the Messias.

The Lord of the whole earth; whose dominion shall not then be confined in Canaan, as now in a manner it is, but shall be enlarged over the whole earth. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord,.... Kimchi interprets the "hills" of the kings of the wicked; and it was verified in Herod and his nobles, and the citizens of Jerusalem, who, when they heard of the coming of the Messiah, of the birth of the King of the Jews, were exceedingly moved and troubled; their hearts melted like wax within them, Matthew 2:1, so when he appeared, in the power of his Gospel, in the Gentile world, and went forth in the ministration of it, conquering, and to conquer, all fled before him; every mountain and island were moved out of their places; and the kings of the earth, and great men, ran to the rocks to hide them from his face, which they could not bear, Revelation 6:14, and the like events, and more terrible, will they be, when he comes to destroy antichrist, and especially to judge the world, Revelation 16:19.

at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth; as Christ is; he is Lord of all, the Prince of the kings of the earth, Acts 10:36, Revelation 1:5, and as he will show himself to be at the great day; and that is the reason why the proud and lofty, comparable to hills and mountains, shall melt at his presence.

The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
5. From Micah 1:4; Micah 4:13; cp. Zechariah 4:14; Zechariah 6:5. The dissolution of the most solid and ancient parts of the earth is the expression of its terror and the measure of His power. Cp. Habakkuk 3:6.Verse 5. - The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord (comp. Judges 5:5; Isaiah 64:1; Micah 1:4). The earth itself is regarded as not only shaken (ver. 4), but as melting and crumbling away at the descent of God from heaven to earth (comp. 2 Peter 3:10). At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth (comp. Joshua 3:11, 13; Micah 4:13; Zechariah 4:14; Zechariah 6:5). The chronicler changes שׂדי into the prosaic השּׂדה, and כל־עצי־יעל with the omission of the כל into עצי היּער. The psalmist on his part follows the model of Isaiah, who makes the trees of the wood exult and clap their hands, Psalm 55:12; Psalm 44:23. The אז, which points into this festive time of all creatures which begins with Jahve's coming, is as in Isaiah 35:5. Instead of לפני, "before," the chronicler has the מלּפני so familiar to him, by which the joy is denoted as being occasioned by Jahve's appearing. The lines Psalm 96:13 sound very much like Psalm 9:9. The chronicler has abridged Psalm 96:13, by hurrying on to the mosaic-work portion taken from Psalm 105. The poet at the close glances from the ideal past into the future. The twofold בּא is a participle, Ew. 200. Being come to judgment, after He has judged and sifted, executing punishment, Jahve will govern in the righteousness of mercy and in faithfulness to the promises.
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