Psalm 99:3
Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.
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(3) Great and terrible name.—The rabbins see here the mystic tetragrammaton, whose pronunciation was kept so secret.

For it is holy.—This is grammatically possible, but as Psalm 99:5; Psalm 99:9 repeat the expression, evidently as a refrain, and there it needs the masculine, it is better to read here, “Holy is He.”

In this way, too, we avoid an awkward construction in the next verse, which should be joined closely with this: Let them praise Thy great and terrible name (saying), “Holy is He, and mighty, a king that loveth justice.”

99:1-5 God governs the world by his providence, governs the church by his grace, and both by his Son. The inhabitants of the earth have cause to tremble, but the Redeemer still waits to be gracious. Let all who hear, take warning, and seek his mercy. The more we humble ourselves before God, the more we exalt him; and let us be thus reverent, for he is holy.Let them praise thy great and terrible name - The word rendered "terrible" means "to be feared or reverenced;" that is, his name - his being - he himself - is suited to inspire awe and reverence. The word "them" here refers to the nations over whom God reigns. It is a call on them to praise their king and their God.

For it is holy - See the notes at Isaiah 6:3; notes at Revelation 4:8. The fact that God "is" holy - that he is pure and righteous - that he cannot look upon sin but with abhorrence - is a just foundation for universal praise. Who could worship or honor a God who was not pure and holy?

3. thy … name—perfections of justice, power, &c.

great and terrible name—producing dread (De 10:17), and to be praised by those over whom He is exalted (Ps 97:9).

it is holy—or, "He is holy" (Ps 99:5, 9; Isa 6:3).

Them, to wit, all people, last mentioned.

For it is holy; for it is not only great, but holy, and therefore most praise-worthy.

Let them praise thy great and terrible name,.... All people, especially the Lord's people; those that dwell in Zion, where his name is great, in high esteem, venerable, and valued; as his name Jesus, or Saviour, is amiable and lovely to his saints; and his name, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, is terrible to his enemies:

for it is holy; his name is holy, as well as reverend and great; his nature is holy, both divine and human; holy in all his ways and works; and is holiness to his people, and therefore worthy of praise; holiness is the ground and foundation of his praise from the seraphim, Isaiah 6:3.

Let them {b} praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.

(b) Though the wicked rage against God, the godly will praise his Name and mighty power.

3. thy great and terrible name] Cp. Psalm 47:2; Psalm 111:9; Deuteronomy 7:21.

for it is holy] A possible rendering; cp. Isaiah 57:15; but the parallels of Psalm 99:5; Psalm 99:9 point rather to the rendering of R.V., Holy is he. His highest claim to adoration is His absolute moral perfection. Cp. Psalm 22:3 note.

Verse 3. - Let them praise thy great and terrible Name. Even the Gentiles, after conversion, will praise the Lord, sing of him, and bless his Name. (On the "greatness" and "terribleness" of God, see Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 7:21; Deuteronomy 10:17; Nehemiah 1:5; Nehemiah 4:14; Psalm 68:35, etc.) For it is holy; rather, holy is he. This may be a suggestion to those about to praise God - a putting of words into their mouth; or it may be an almost involuntary outburst of praise on the part of the psalmist. Psalm 99:3The three futures express facts of the time to come, which are the inevitable result of Jahve's kingly dominion bearing sway from heaven, and here below from Zion, over the world; they therefore declare what must and will happen. The participle insidens cherubis (Psalm 80:2, cf. Psalm 18:11) is a definition of the manner (Olshausen): He reigns, sitting enthroned above the cherubim. נוּט, like Arab. nwd, is a further formation of the root na, nu, to bend, nod. What is meant is not a trembling that is the absolute opposite of joy, but a trembling that leads on to salvation. The Breviarium in Psalterium, which bears the name of Jerome, observes: Terra quamdiu immota fuerit, sanari non potest; quando vero mota fuerit et intremuerit, tunc recipiet sanitatem. In Psalm 99:3 declaration passes over into invocation. One can feel how the hope that the "great and fearful Name" (Deuteronomy 10:17) will be universally acknowledged, and therefore that the religion of Israel will become the religion of the world, moves and elates the poet. The fact that the expression notwithstanding is not קדושׁ אתּה, but קדושׁ הוּא, is explained from the close connection with the seraphic trisagion in Isaiah 6:3. הוּא refers to Jahve; He and His Name are notions that easily glide over into one another.
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