Verse 1. - O clap your hands, all ye people; rather, all ye peoples. The nations of the earth generally - not Israel only - are addressed. The events which have taken place - the great extension of God's kingdom, by David's conquests, are for the advantage of all, and all ought to be thankful for them. Shout unto God with the voice of triumph; or, with a voice of joy. Professor Cheyne renders, "in ringing tones."
For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
Verse 2. - For the Lord Most High is terrible (comp. Deuteronomy 7:21; and see also Psalm 65:5; Psalm 68:35; Psalm 76:7-9). God is "terrible" - i.e. awful to contemplate-on account of his vast power and his absolute holiness. He is a great King over all the earth. Not only over Israel, or over the nations which David has conquered, but ever every nation on the face of the earth (comp. Psalm 95:3, 4; Psalm 96:10; Psalm 97:1, etc.).
He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
Verse 3. - He shall subdue the people under us; rather, he subdues, or hath subdued, peoples under us. The reference is to recent victories (comp. Psalm 18:47). And the nations (rather, and nations) under our feet. David subdued all the nations between the river of Egypt and the Euphrates, and left the inheritance of this kingdom, or rather empire, to Solomon (1 Kings 4:21).
He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
Verse 4. - He shall choose our inheritance for us; rather, he chooseth, or hath chosen, our inheritance for us. God originally chose Canaan as the inheritance of his people (Genesis 12:1-7), and gave it to Abraham. Later on, he enlarged the gift, making the boundaries such as they became under David and Solomon (Genesis 15:18). The excellency of Jacob whom he loved. The Holy Land is called "the excellency of Jacob," or "the pride of Jacob," on account of its beauty, and the excellence and variety of its productions (see Deuteronomy 8:7-9; 2 Kings 18:22).
God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Verse 5. - God is gone up with a shout; the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. As God "comes down" when he interposes for the relief or deliverance of his people (Psalm 144:5), so after the relief or deliverance is effected, he is viewed as "going up" - returning to his glorious abode, reoccupying his seat in the heaven of heavens, and there remaining until some fresh call is made upon him. If the interposition has been one of a striking and unusual character, if the relief has been great, the deliverance signal, the triumph accorded to his people extraordinary, then he "goes up with a shout" - amid the exulting cries and loud jubilations of rescued Israel. When the occasion is such as to call for a public manifestation of thanksgiving at the house of God (2 Chronicles 20:28), then he "goes up" also "with the sound of the trumpet," which was always sounded by the priests on great occasions of festal joy and gladness (see 2 Samuel 6:15; 2 Kings 11:14; 1 Chronicles 13:8; 1 Chronicles 16:42; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 2 Chronicles 7:6; 2 Chronicles 29:27; Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:35).
Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.
Verse 6. - Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises unto our King, sing praises Praise him, i.e., both as God and King - especially as "our King" - that is, as Israel's King.
For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
Verse 7. - For God is the King of all the earth (comp. ver. 2). Sing ye praises with understanding; literally, sing a psalm of instruction. As Hengstenberg remarks, "Every song in praise of God, on account of God, on account of his glorious deeds, contains a rich treasure of instruction and improvement." Here the special instruction is that God is King over the whole earth, that he reigns over the heathen, and that the heathen shall also some time or other own his sovereignty.
God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
Verse 8. - God reigneth over the heathen. God had manifested his kingly power over the heathen by subduing great numbers of them, and making them subject to Israel. He would one day manifest it still more by bringing all nations into his Church. God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. The throne from which he exercises a just, a righteous, and a holy rule.
The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.
Verse 9. - The princes of the people (literally, princes of peoples) are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham; rather, to be the people of the God of Abraham (Revised Version) - i.e. to form, together with Israel, the one people, or Church, of God (comp. Isaiah 49:18-23). For the shields of the earth belong unto God. The "shields" are the "princes" of the first clause, those whose business it is to protect and defend their subjects (comp. Hosea 4:18). The princes of the earth belong especially to God, since "by him kings reign, and princes decree justice" (Proverbs 8:15). At the great ingathering of the Gentiles into the Church, they would belong to him still more, since they would voluntarily place themselves under his rule (Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 60:3, 11, 16). He is greatly exalted. The perfect submission to God of all his rational creatures is his highest exaltation and glory. When "all people bow down before him," and "all nations do him service," when rebellion and resistance to his will are at an end, then will he be established in his rightful position, and his exaltation will be complete.