Verses 1-3. - The praises of Zion.
(1) She is built upon the holy mountains;
(2) God loves her pre-eminently; and
(3) a glorious future is assigned to her in the counsels of God. Ver. 1. - His foundation is in the holy mountains. God's foundation - the city which he has founded - is "in the holy mountains;" i.e. in the hill country of Judaea, a congeries of mountains, "holy," since they surround the holy city and belong to the "holy land" (Zechariah 2:12).
The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Verse 2. - The Lord loveth the gates of Zion (comp. Psalm 78:68). More than all the dwellings of Jacob; i.e. "more than all the other dwellings" - more than Shiloh, more than Kirjath-jearim, more than any other of the ark's resting places.
Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.
Verse 3. - Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. The psalmist probably refers in part to the predictions of older prophets, but also in part to the revelations made to himself, which he is on the point of recording (vers. 4-7).
I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.
Verses 4-6. - The Almighty is introduced as making a revelation to the psalmist. He will cause the Gentiles to flock into his Church, even those who have been hitherto the most bitter enemies of Israel (ver. 4), and will place these strangers on a par with such as have belonged to his Church from their birth (vers. 4, 5, 6), admitting them to every blessing and every privilege. The Church, thus augmented, shall be taken under his own protection, and "established," or placed on a sure footing, forever. Compare our Lord's promise to St. Peter," On this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). Verse 4. - I will make mention of Rahab; i.e. of Egypt. The context requires this meaning, which is found also in Psalm 89:10 and in Isaiah 51:9. Literally "Rahab" means "pride, arrogance." And Babylon. The fitting counterpart of Egypt, equally antagonistic to Israel, and equally lifted up with pride and presumption. To them that know me; rather, among them that know me; i.e. as belonging to them, included in their number (comp. Isaiah 19:21, "And the Lord shall be known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day;" and see also Psalm 72:11, 17; Psalm 82:8; Isaiah 66:23). Behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia. Other hostile nations (comp. Psalm 83:7; 2 Chronicles 12:3; 2 Chronicles 14:9-13). This man was horn there. There is no "man" in the original, and it is better to understand "nation;" this, that, and the other nation - all those mentioned, and others - are grafted into Zion, and have a second birth there.
And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.
Verse 5. - And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her. A repetition, but emphatic, and perhaps intended to assert of individuals what in the preceding verse was said of nations. And the highest himself shall establish her; literally, and he, the highest, shall establish her (comp. Matthew 16:18). The Church is "established" on a Rock, forever.
The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.
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.
As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.
Verse 7. - As well the singers as the players on instruments; literally, and singers as well as dancers [shall say]. (On dancing as an element of religious service, see Exodus 15:20; 2 Samuel 6:16; Psalm 68:25; Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4.) The psalmist intends to represent the converted nations as coming in a grand procession, with songs and dances, to celebrate their admission to Zion, and there one and all exclaiming, All my fresh springs - i.e. "all my sources of life, and joy, and happiness" - are in thee. The verse is possibly but "fragment," as Professor Cheyne supposes.